- Affordable travel tripod packed with features:
- Very compact and lightweight, partly carbon fiber construction
- Decent ball head with Arca-Swiss compatible clamp
- Monopod operation when detaching one leg and ball head
- Weight hook
- Good value for money although build quality does reflect the price
- Would I buy it again? Yes
This tripod goes with different names, even in Amazon it is sold as XSOURCE, Andoer, Rangers, Beike, Afaith, Morjava, Goin, but it seem to be (at least almost) the same product. It is not uncommon for Chinese “manufacturers” to sell same products under different names. The common factor is the model name Q666C. Mine is the XSOURCE Q666C which sells for £79.99 in Amazon.
Note: I do not know if all above-mentioned tripods are exactly the same but they do look same; however, prices differ slightly.
This is not an in-depth review but some thoughts I have gathered in very occasional use in one year’s time.
This tripod offers impressive feature list for its price: Arca-Swiss compatible decent ball head, monopod function, weight hook, and very compact size and light weight. It ticked all the boxes in my travel tripod wish list for rather low price so I wanted to give it a try.
The most important feature of this tripod is its size: 35 cm when folded and weighting 1.32 kg. It means you can easily take it inside your backpack. Tubes are made of carbon fiber but to be honest I don’t think it will even save a lot of weight in a small tripod where most of the weight comes from ball head and other parts.
It also comes with a carrying bag which I must say is quite ugly.
Provided ball head is quite compact and has an Arca-Swiss compatible clamp. If your quick release plate has those slide-preventing screws there are supporting slots on this clamp.
Ball head has three knobs: lock for vertical rotation, ball friction, and the actual ball tightening. Feeling of these knobs is not the best possible but decent anyway. When it comes to size and stability the ball head is in par with the tripod itself. It feels quite stable when it is properly tightened; however, due to rather poor feel of the knobs it is not always obvious if it is properly tightened or not.
My heaviest combination at the moment is Olympus M5II with grip and 12-100/4 zoom. The weight of this setup is around 1.1-1.2 kg but as the lens is heavier it is significantly front-weighted. However, this ball head has no problems stabilising this setup securely even in tougher conditions.
Legs and centre column
Legs are made of five parts. While this is inevitable for decent working height and compact folded size, it means the last leg piece is very thin and causes some instability if used.
Legs and centre column have twist locks which I prefer to lever-type locks.
Centre column is made of two pieces which you should never use if stability is important.
There are stoppers for two different angles for the legs. Wider angle is useful in soft terrain and rougher conditions, or when you need to get lower.
There is a hook under the centre column to hang a bag for additional stability.
Ball head and one of the legs can be detached and put together for a monopod.
Quality issues and flaws
Briefly, yes it is quite good value for money. But yes, you can feel it is a relatively cheap Chinese product. What worries me the most are the twist locks and leg joints. First of all, the rubber grip is not glued to the lock itself so it keeps rotating even when it is tight, giving a feel it is not tightening at all. Not sure if this is intentional not to break the carbon fiber by over-tightening? Anyway, it is quite annoying. You can also see some glue residues on the locks as seen below.
To be honest, when operating the locks I am little afraid I am going to break something which does not give the best confidence.
Another quality issue are the main hinges. They tend to tighten or loosen by themselves all the time which is why you need to have a fitting Allen key with you on the road. Again, this just does not feel 100% reliable.
While the ball head is of decent quality, one could also say that operating the knobs there do not give you exactly the feel and confidence you would wish for.
Stability and working height
As described above, the ball head is quite capable of holding medium sized camera-lens combinations when properly tightened. I would still say this is a tripod for Micro Four Thirds setup or similar sized systems, not larger. Even heavier setup will be ok if the weight is well balanced, basically meaning a tripod collar in the lens. Front-weighted setup may drift slightly but I have been successfully using this tripod with Olympus 12-100 lens with exposures of few tens of seconds. When all legs, locks, and knobs are secured it does feel quite solid and reliable.
All said above holds when you give up some of the working height. When fully extended, the height of this tripod is 150 cm. However, that means extending all five parts in legs and two centre column. And especially the latter means problems with longer exposure times and wind, etc. Even the weight hook will not help for wobbly centre column. Therefore, unless really required, I use this tripod without extending the centre column and leaving the last bit of legs retracted, as shown below. This gives a working height of only 100 cm but it is usually enough with articulating LCD. If I need more height, I use the last leg bits and use part of the centre column but never all of it.
After all this moaning we need to recall that this tripod offers probably more than any other model at this price. It is quite one of its kind.
Would I recommend it? Yes. For £80 you get a decent tripod and decent ball head in a very compact package. It has basically all the features you want from your tripod. This is a very capable travel tripod for small to medium sized camera systems.
Bear in mind its limitations though. This is a compact tripod with 5-part legs and 2-part centre column. Needless to say, it becomes wobbly if you extend all parts. This holds for all small tripods. However, if you keep the centre column down and do not extend the last part of legs, you get quite sturdy travel tripod. Hook your bag in the centre hook and/or spread the legs wider and it can withstand some elements as well.
Longer term durability remains question. I have had it for a year but use has been very occasional. I have not had any problems except the small material issues described above but the overall feel still makes me not to trust it 100%.
The main point of this tripod is its size and weight. If you can take something bigger and heavier, you will have better options. If it was an option, I would swap the carbon fiber legs for slightly heavier aluminium legs if it gave me better quality locks and knobs for the same price. Carbon fiber at this size saves possibly 200g-ish as most of the weight comes from other parts.
Let’s put it like that. If I was going for a photography trip I know I will be using tripod a lot, I would pick my Sirui N-1004KX (which is Chinese as well, btw) which is relatively compact as well but has a lot more reliable feel. The point is though that as a hobbyist I have not had one single trip like that. I usually take tripod “just in case” or “if I need it for an occasion or two”. This is where the Q666C comes in, given its compact size and light weight. Bigger tripods like my Sirui are over that “I will put it in my bag just in case” size.