Tamrac Zipshot ultralightweight instant tripod

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Every dedicated photographer knows that the times you most need a tripod are the times you did not bother to bring one.  Given the bulk and weight of even modern carbon fiber tripods you can hardly blame someone for not bringing a tripod everywhere.  With the incredibly small, incredibly light, incredibly easy to use Tamrac Zipshot you won’t have excuses anymore!

I came across the Zipshot at Ritz Camera today and knew I had to have one.  It is stunningly simple in its design and execution and is a boon to anyone looking for an effective tripod that is truly painless to tote around.

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Here is the Zipshot with a medium-sized camera bag and small digital SLR for scale.

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The elastic bands that hold the Zipshot in its folded position can also be used to attach it to your camera bag.  Nice touch!

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To set up the Zipshot just undo the elastic, hold it at arm’s length… and let go.

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Once the legs are released, elastic bands within the legs unfurl the tripod and lock the legs in place.  The blurring you see above is the fast-moving legs going through the motions.  The whole process takes a few seconds.

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Voila’!  Instant tripod, complete with ball head!

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The Zipshot proved to be solid enough to hold a digital SLR without any problems.  Here it is holding my Pentax K20D, which is very solid and runs a bit on the heavy side compared to most digital SLRs selling for under $1,500.  If you are using big pro cameras or long tele lenses you better plan on bringing a full-sized tripod.  It’s good at what it does but be sure to use it within its limits.  It’s perfect for use with interchangeable lens cameras like the Olympus Pen series, Panasonic G series, and the new Sony NEX cameras.  I’ll be writing about the Sony NEX-5 this week, so be sure to stay tuned.  I picked one up today along with the tripod and though it has its quirks and may not be for everyone, it is EXTREMELY impressive and is definitely going to give the Micro Four-Thirds cameras from Olympus and Panasonic a run for their money.

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There aren’t any adjustments other than the ball head and leg angle, but then again, you did not have a bulky tripod to carry around, either.  I plan on using mine for night photography in Tokyo and Las Vegas.

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