Review: K&F Concept TM2324 Lightweight Travel Tripod

Review: K&F Concept TM2324 Lightweight Travel Tripod

I have a love-hate relationship with tripods. I love using a tripod for the obvious reasons, most notably that I’m more apt to have a perfectly focused, sharp image. On the other hand, I hate tripods because I’ve never been able to find the perfect tripod. Maybe I’m overly fussy but the tripod that is sturdy and stable enough for my liking, is all too often, much too heavy to carry for longer periods of time. On the other hand, those that are light enough to take on long hikes or while traveling, tend to be unstable or too breakable. I’ve yet to find the perfect one — my tripod soulmate.

I do have one that I love. I’ve talked about it before – it’s a heavy carbon fiber tripod made by Vanguard that I paired with an extremely heavy but nearly perfect head made by Sirui. This combo is very well made, balanced and rock steady. Unfortunately, it’s big, bulky and heavy. It’s not enjoyable to carry on long hikes or even short ones so I’ve kept my eye open for a decent travel tripod.

Around a year or so ago, it seemed that all of the photography blogs, at the same time, were writing about a supposed “perfect” travel tripod made by MeFOTO. I read all the great reviews and ponied up the $199 to see for myself. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. There was no doubt the tripod was well made, and it was available in twelve pretty colors (I chose the blue one). Unfortunately, its legs were as spindly as Phyllis Diller. It held my mirrorless rigs ok but I didn’t trust putting my DSLR’s on it and I would never use it on a gusty day so it now sits in the corner of my studio, gathering dust.

A week or so ago, a company called K&F Concept contacted me asking me to review one of their tripods. I told them I’ve been searching all my life for the perfect travel companion and wondered if they had anything that would fill that void in my life. They kindly sent me their TM2324 Lightweight Travel Tripod for review.

 

Initial Impression

Right away I was impressed because the tripod comes with a beautiful, heavy duty, black canvas bag with high-quality zippers, padded handle and shoulder strap.

Upon opening it and pulling the tripod out of the plastic bag it’s shipped in, I found the ball head to be protectively contained in a black velvet bag. Nice touch!

The tripod itself seemed to be lighter than my MeFOTO and it is, weighing in at 2.5lbs, whereas the MeFOTO weighs 3.6lbs. The K&F Concept tripod is over a pound lighter! That’s great but it got me concerned because it might be lighter because it’s more cheaply constructed using thinner aluminum tubing with more plastic parts so I resolved to test it very carefully.

 

Upon Closer Observation

The TM2324 does use a bit more plastic than the MeFOTO most notably on the leg locks. The MeFOTO uses the more common dial locks whereas the TM2324 uses snap locks. Personally, I’ve always preferred the snap locks but, although it’s never happened to me, the snap locks tend to be more breakable and will more often snag on things such as bushes and branches. For me, I’ve never had an issue with them and they’re easier and quicker to operate so that’s why I like them.

Leg locks on the TM2324

The quality of the metal is the same as the MEFOTO and it appears the weight difference is because the MeFOTO is a 5-section tripod and the TM2324 is 4-section. Because the MeFOTO has more sections, it folds down slightly smaller than the TM2324, I measured the MeFOTO to be around three inches smaller when folded completely down but since the TM2324 weighs so much less, I don’t think that small difference in size matters.

The MeFOTO folds down smaller than the TM2324 but the TM2324 is just over one pound lighter

Looking at the spec sheet for each tripod indicates that the MeFOTO is 61.6 inches fully extended and the TM2324 maxes out at 62 inches. In real use, that isn’t what I found – putting them side-by-side, fully extended, showed the TM2324 to be around two to three inches taller than the MeFOTO. I guess that’s why the MeFOTO compacts down three inches more than the TM2324.

 

There is a spring-loaded hook at the bottom of the center column allowing you to hang a steadying weight.

 

Also, the center column reverses allowing you to mount the camera upside down which helps when shooting some types of macro photography. Finally, the legs have three positions allowing you to get the tripod extremely low to the ground.

 

In Use

I found the TM2324 to be very steady and I felt my cameras to be secure and safe. Because it’s a four-section tripod, the tubing of the skinniest legs have a larger diameter than the thinnest legs of the five-section MeFOTO. The topmost legs of the MeFOTO are definitely thicker, but that makes little difference when it’s bottommost legs are so thin. That issue is avoided with the four-section TM2324.

My main concern is that the leg clamps are plastic and I fear they could crack in cold weather or if the tripod is dropped. With that said, the plastic is heavy and has the look and feel of Bakelite.

 

Ball Head

The ball head is extremely strong for its size and locks down with confidence. One thing they don’t mention on their website, but I verified with use, is that the ball head is Arca-Swiss style and easily accepts all of my Arca-Swiss plates. That is important to me because I have enough to concern myself with and it really would stink being out on a shoot only to find that I brought along the wrong plate. The ball head has a cloth handle to aid in carrying when the tripod is not in its case. It also has a single bubble level.

The head has a lock knob for the ball and one for the base. It turns 360 degrees and feels solid when doing so. Unfortunately, there isn’t a micro-precision knob that is often found on more expensive ball heads. It is a travel tripod and even though the ball-head is strong and the tripod is steady, I still wouldn’t trust putting my full frame D800e with battery pack, on it, on a windy day, but it works fine in most situations with most of my cameras.

 

Summation

No matter the quality of a travel tripod or the size of the price tag, we have to keep in mind that they are what they are and meant for specific types of situations – that is, travel and hiking when size and weight matters. The TM2324 compares nicely and even outperforms the MeFOTO and when taking into consideration that the price of the TM2324 is nearly three times less than the MeFOTO, I think it’s a no-brainer.

Take a look at it by Clicking Here

 

Full Disclosure: As mentioned in the article, K&F Concept sent me the tripod for free, for my review.

 

 

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