Tamrac has just unveiled one of the most innovative new tripod designs we’ve seen in years. Called the ZipShot, it was created with the intention of making a full-sized tripod that can fold down small enough, and is lightweight enough, to bring with you anywhere. And at 44-inches tall when fully set up, 15-inches when folded up, and weighing 11 ounces, it certainly fits the bill.
Of course, this design is not without its quirks. First, the height is set at 44 inches. While Tamrac doesn’t officially recommend it, we quickly realized that you could pull the lower sections out to disconnect them and then let them flop on the ground to make the whole thing shorter, or do so with only one or two legs to accommodate for uneven terrain. The reason Tamrac would rather you not do this is because it will place undue strain on the bungee cord and might make it break. They’re exploring ways to modify the ZipShot to overcome this.
Another peculiarity–the ultra-thin legs aren’t the most stable, so even the process of pressing the shutter button will make the whole rig shimmy for a second or two. Tamrac suggests using your camera’s self timer to let it settle down before the image is captured, or using a wireless remote to trigger the shutter.
Still though, this little ‘pod is stronger than you’d expect. Tamrac rates it to hold 3 pounds, so you shouldn’t break out your 300mm f/2.8 with the ZipShot. However, as with any tripod, you can count on being able to overload it slightly. It easily held a Canon EOS 40D with an EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens attached, which together weigh about 2.7 pounds. In addition to using it as a camera support, the ZipShot could also be used to hold a small light, such as a hot-shoe flash with a tripod adapter (most accessory flashes come with a table-top stand that has a tripod socket in the bottom).
We’d run out and buy three or four to set up a multi-flash wireless lighting rig, but at $50 each, we quickly had to nix that idea. As a bring-anywhere camera support that’ll let us shoot images when we know we’d never otherwise have brought a tripod along, we’ll settle for just buying one.
— Philip Ryan