Everything you need to know about Leofoto Tripods
Leofoto is a booming tripod brand with tripods made of carbon and tripod accessories. They have a broad and diverse assortment, as there are many different types of photographers, each with their own wishes. Currently, more than 45 different Leofoto tripods are available on the market. How to find the perfect carbon tripod that suits you, among all these tripods? We will explain how to quickly navigate through the Leofoto assortment!
Carbon fibre tripods very popular among photographers.
Carbon fibre tripods are very popular among photographers. This is easy to understand, because the carbon will not oxidise under influence of (sea)water and oxygen, which makes the tripods quite durable. They are extremely strong, light-weight tripods that are able to handle some impact.
It should be noted that the Leofoto tripods are good quality and not even very expensive in comparison with other brands. The special feature of the Leofoto carbon tripods is that they are manufactured from 10 layers of cross-over woven carbon. This is two to four layers more than other tripod brands. These additional layers make the carbon even stronger, more stable and dampen even more vibrations!
Leofoto has more than 45 different carbon tripods and in terms of naming the tripods are very much alike. How to determine the difference between an LS-324C, an LM-365C and an LX-254CT tripod? This is easy: the naming of a tripod is based on the specifications of the tripod. The names are thus structured logically.
Leofoto has a number of different tripod series, each with unique features. The letters in the tripod name indicate which series the tripod belongs to. For instance, all tripods of the Ranger-series start with the letters LS, and the tripods from the Urban series start with LX.
LX - Urban series
LM - Summit series
LS - Ranger series
LE - Traveler series
LN - Hiker series
Learning the names by heart is not necessary as the name of the series is on the tripod. Leofoto tripods starting with EF or RF are virtually similar to models from the Ranger and Urban series. There are multiple Leofoto tripod series with the letters LN, like the Mountain-series and the Armour-series.
The three digits in the name should be read in two parts. The first two digits explain more about the diameter of the thickest leg section of the tripod. For instance, the first (upper) leg section of the LS-365C has a diameter of 36 mm.
The third digit of the name concerns the number of leg sections on the tripod. In case of the LS-365C there are 5 sections.
The name LS-365C should thus be read as follows: it is a Ranger Carbon tripod of which the thickest leg segment has a diameter of 36 mm, while the tripod has 5 leg sections.
In addition to the standard naming that ends in C or CT (Carbon/Carbon Tripod), some tripods were given an extra addition to the name. These are specialist tripods with a very specific addition to the regular version of the tripod. For instance, the LS-324CEX with the letters ‘CEX’ in the name. This means that the tripod is equipped with a levelling base instead of a standard plate. In combination with a video head, this makes these tripods ideal for shooting video.
Furthermore, there is a Ranger tripod with ‘CVL’ in the name, the LS-284CVL. These letters indicate that the tripod is equipped with a tiltable centre column. By tilting the centre column, it comes horizontally over the tripod; which is quite interesting to be used for top view and/or macro-photography.
Finally, there are a number of tripods of which the name ends in ‘CM’; this stands for Medium. These tripods have short legs in comparison with other tripods from the same series. They are super compact tripods and excellently suitable to take on a trip.
The Leofoto tripods are excellent quality and can be used for many years. That is the reason that every Leofoto tripod includes no less than 10 years of warranty.
You can register your Leofoto product here.
Also for the Leofoto ball heads, the main specification is processed in a part of the name. The number in the name indicates the diameter of the ball. For instance, the LH-40, the NB-40 and the CB-40 ball heads all have a 40 mm ball. Although the design of the mentioned balls will slightly vary for each type, they basically all have the same functions. The letters in the name have no further meaning. The LH ball heads can be found on the Rangers, the NB ball heads on the Armours and the CB on the Traveler-tripods. The included ball heads on the Urban-tripods start with the letters XB.
Most of the Leofoto ball heads have a spirit level. In order to be able to easily read the spirit level, you place the tripod plate lengthwise under your camera. The rotary knob of the ball head, used to fix the plate, can be found underneath the lens.
Currently, there are two ball heads with an addition in the name.
- the LH-40PCL ball head has a QR-clamp instead of a QR-lock fastener and a second horizontal axle, so you do not need to level it every time for panorama or video-recordings.
- the LH-40GR ball head is a compact geared head with panorama function to meticulously set your horizon. This ball head is ideal for landscape- and architecture photographers.
Each Leofoto ball head has an Arca-Swiss compatible quick release shoe. This means that every plate fits any camera, which is convenient if you are using multiple tripods/cameras. The length of the plate differs per ball head. The lengths vary from 25 mm to 70 mm. Again, the main specification can be derived from the name. The quick release shoe PU-25 for instance, has a length of 25 mm, while the QP-70 is 70 mm long.
Many Leofoto tripods are supplied including a ball head, but this can be exchanged for another tripod head. Almost all Leofoto ball heads have a 3/8-inch threaded hole, allowing you to attach them to any Leofoto tripod. Perhaps the small XB-32 ball head (basis diameter 40 mm) will look rather silly on the large 100 mm platform of the Summit LM-404C, but it is a possibility.
In addition to the regular ball heads, Leofoto also has a large number of other tripod heads, like mini ball heads, video heads, and the PG-1 gimbal head. For specialists in the area of architecture photography, Leofoto has designed a geared panning ball head (LH-40GR and G2). These alternative tripod heads are separately available.
Summit-series (LM)Summit series, for instance, was designed to be able to carry the larger, heavier cameras and lenses. Thick legs with a diameter of 40 mm, 36 mm and 32 mm are the standard here. Also a video half bowl is included, specifically to be able to combine with a levelling base. Summit-tripods are supplied without a ball head, because the Summits can be considered a modular tripod that can be extended in many different ways. The Summit-series consists of 9 different tripods.
The Ranger tripods are qualified as the all-round powerhouses and with 27 different tripods it is the most extensive series. It includes tripods with thick legs with a diameter of 36 mm up to ‘skinny legs’ with diameter of 22 mm at most. The included detachable centre column (*for most models) is one of the unique features of the Ranger-series. The centre column being adjustable gives the tripod more stability. With centre column you can increase the maximum work height by 20 cm, up to 32 cm! Not all Ranger-tripods are supplied with a ball head, there are also a number of specialist tripods without a ball head.
The Urban-series are praised for the compactness of the tripods. These four tripods represent the best relation between weight, compactness and versatility in work height. This makes them ideal to take on trips. The reversable centre column of the Urban-series sinks between the legs and is a ‘fixed’ part of the tripod. You can reverse the centre column, which is convenient for photographing objects close to the ground. Detaching the centre column is not really something you are supposed to do, but it is possible if needs be. In that case you can use the included short macro column as a tripod plate. An Urban tripod has an additional advantage in winter, one of the legs has a rubber handle!
The Hiker was designed for tougher jobs in the field. The two different Hiker-tripods both have a reversable centre column. The centre column has a large butterfly nut, allowing you to also adjust the tripod while wearing gloves. One tripod leg has a rubber upholstery to prevent cold hands during carrying and holding. The Hikers are supplied without a ball head, so the photographer can autonomously select a tripod head that matches his way of working. If you wish for a ball head to be included with the tripod, then look for a Leofoto Armour-tripod.
The name is self-explanatory, the Traveler-series is inextricably linked to travelling. The three different Traveler-tripods each have appropriate features. The Traveler-series is supplied as a complete tripod including a reversable centre column and ball head. The tripods can be compared with the Urban-series, but their unique feature is that one of the tripod legs can be used as an individual monopod. Also the foam handgrip is a unique feature of the Travelers. It ensures comfortable operation of the tripod during cold weather.
The smoothly telescoping carbon tripod legs have a Twist-Lock screw locking, so you can effortlessly screw and unscrew the tripod legs, even using just one hand. In addition, the Twist-Lock system has the advantage that the locks remain screwed much tighter. Maintaining the tripod legs after a photo-trip is also quicker and easier. You can unscrew the leg segments all the way and clean the individual segments.
A more technical advantage is that the ‘shims’ of Leofoto tripods are manufactured from one single piece. A shim is the part that ensures that the legs adequately remain in place. Regarding other brands this part may sometimes bend or get damaged, as a result of which the legs can no longer be extended smoothly. Things often go wrong during the cleaning of the legs. Fortunately, this is not the case with the Leofoto carbon tripods.
Of course, it should be possible to slide the carbon tubes together, as a result of which the diameter of each section becomes a few millimetres less. The measurements decrease from 40 mm, 36, 32, 28, 25, 22, 19, 16, 13 to 10 mm.
- the Summit LS-323C has 3 leg sections: 32 mm, 28 mm and 25 mm.
- the Ranger LS-225C has 5 leg sections: 22 mm, 19 mm, 16 mm, 13 mm and 10 mm.
In addition to the handy Twist Lock system, the legs of the carbon tripods have another great advantage. The tilting angle of the carbon tripod legs can be adjusted into three angles: 23°, 55° and 85°. In case of the largest tilting angle, you can place the tripod legs almost flat on the ground, allowing you to get very close to the ground. As such, most tripods have a minimum work height of 15 cm to 25 cm, the reason for which is the height of the ball head in most cases. The mechanism with which you adjust the tilting angle may differ for each tripod series. For the series with a reversable centre column you had best turn the centre column. Or otherwise take out the centre column and use the included macro adapter.
The carrier bag
The Leofoto tripods are supplied in a padded carrier bag. The type of carrier bag depends on the series and the size of the tripod. All bags are made of nylon and have a handgrip. It may so happen that the size of the bag exceeds the size of the tripod. This way, also a ball head will fit in the bag, should you buy this separately with the tripod.
Rubber feet and metal spikes
The tripods are equipped with rubber feet that prevent the legs from slipping on a smooth studio floor. Apart from the rubber feet, most Leofoto tripods also include a set of spikes. If the tripod does not contain spikes, it means that the diameter of the leg section is too small for using spikes.
The rubber feet can be unscrewed, applying a bit of force, after which you screw the spikes into the leg. There is a hole on the side of the spikes, to enable you to firmly screw them by use of an Allen wrench. The diameter of the feet’s screw thread may vary per Leofoto tripod. So, there are different feet sizes. The feet/spikes of the thick legs of the LM-404C have a screw thread of 28 mm, that of LS-324C is 19 mm and that of the LX-254CT is 16 mm.
This is quite a convenient tool with different instruments for your Leofoto tripod. It is basically the only tool you will need. The tool has a coin opener to screw your quick release shoe just a bit tighter on your camera. In addition, it has a 3 mm Allen Wrench to attach separately available tripod accessories like a Magic Arm. The screws of the tripod legs should be tightened with the 4 mm Allen wrench. You can even use the tool to open a bottle of beer, although this has nothing to do with a tripod. Using the hook you can hang this key on your bag, so it can be reached easily.
The snap hook is included with all regular Ranger tripods, with the exception of the Ranger LS-223C. The Ranger tripods have a 3/8-inch threaded hole at the bottom of the centre plate.
Depending on the Leofoto tripod, a number of Allen wrenches are included. You can use them to screw the tripod screws of, for instance the legs, the ball head and possibly also the spikes.