The Tamrac Zipshot Tripod is one of the smartest travel tripods I have ever seen. The basic design of the Zipshot will instantly look familiar to anyone that has ever assembled a tent. The three legs of the Zipshot are essentially metal tent poles, with elastic straps inside to pull them together when you unfold it.
At a mere 10.9 ounces, tripods don’t get any lighter – and despite the lightweight design and flimsy looking legs, the Zipshot is remarkably sturdy. No – it won’t be a replacement for your heavy carbon fiber tripod used with a bulky dSLR camera, but for a basic point and shoot or lightweight Micro Four Thirds camera, it’ll certainly get the job done.
Unfolding the Zipshot really is that simple – you unbuckle the two straps, and let the tripod unfold itself. In about 5 seconds, it is ready for use. Folding it is just as simple – you pull on the three legs, and fold it back into its compact state.
When playing around with the Zipshot, I also discovered another (unmentioned by Tamrac) use for the product – as a monopod. By folding the legs in, and wrapping them with the locking straps, the Zipshot actually becomes a very usable monopod.
Stability is always going to be an issue with any lightweight tripod, but when combined with a remote trigger or timer, the results are very good. In moderate wind, the tripod stays quite stable, especially since you can flex the legs a little to keep things from moving around.
The camera mount is quite flexible too – a screw loosens a ball joint, allowing for some flexibility in positioning your shot.
The tripod is rated for cameras up to 3lbs and when fully extended, it reaches 44 inches. All in all, the Zipshot surprised me – it is “stupid light”, very compact and an actual viable replacement for a large(r) tripod.
PROS: Very, very lightweight, compact, easy to open and close, also functions as a monopod
CONS: Won’t be stable enough for large cameras
The Zipshot Tripod retails for $49.95 and is available from most major photography retailers and electronics vendors. An overview of all dealers can be found at the Zipshot site.