Leofoto LS-365C with PG-1 - First test Photography News
Leofoto LS-365C + PG-1

First test by Photography News

This tripod and accompanying gimbal head make shooting fast-moving subjects much easier, without compromising camera flexibility or stability. We check out what Leofoto has to offer

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You probably know all about the benefits of a gimbal head

IF YOU’VE USED long telephoto lenses to shoot aeroplanes or birds, you probably know all about the benefits of a gimbal head. If you don’t, and this form of photography is an area of interest, check out the Leofoto LS-365C tripod legs and PG-1 gimbal head combo.

The LS-365C is a five-leg section tripod and only available in Europe as part of this kit. It’s constructed and finished to Leofoto’s exacting standards, including Toray ten-layer, cross-rhombus structure carbon-fibre legs and twist-grip locks that are great for stability, while being smooth and decisive in use. There’s no centre column, so the folded-down tripod has a slim profile, with the potential for quick and easy low-camera positions.

Being five-section means the collapsed tripod measures just 48cm (49cm with the supplied spiked feet) without any head. Fully extended and with the legs at their default angle, the head mounting plate is 1.52m off the ground, so there’s enough height extension for most users. Giving the tripod shoulder a firm twist at its full extension showed precious little flex, which is impressive. At the other extreme, with the legs splayed out, the same plate is only 8cm off the ground.

This is a reasonably lightweight long lens set-up
This is a reasonably lightweight long lens set-up,
and the PG-1 is capable of taking much heavier loads with no problem
Gimbal heads are precision bits of kit, not mass-market items.

Gimbal heads are precision bits of kit, not mass-market items, so tend to be expensive. The PG-1 is £450,00 or €559,00 on its own. It weighs just 1kg and fits on the tripod via the standard 3/8in thread fitting. The mounting plate is Arca- Swiss compatible and a bubble level helps with accurate set-up.

Correctly in place, the centre of gravity is directly above the tripod’s centre. You should be able to take your hands off the camera, slacken off the locking knobs and have the kit remain perfectly balanced and level – or at whatever angle you want. If your kit is front- or back-heavy, you’re not set up correctly. Loosen the lens locking plate and adjust the lens position until it’s balanced. When your flying bird/plane happens along, you can grab the camera and smoothly pan in any direction, without time being lost unlocking knobs.

The knobs can be used with gloves on, lock very securely, and the gimbal action is smooth.
A mounting plate is supplied and the built-in bubble level helps accurate set-up
The knobs can be used with gloves on, lock very securely, and the gimbal action is smooth. A mounting plate is supplied and the built-in bubble level helps accurate set-up.
Ergonomics rate highly on the PG-1.

The PG-1 has two locking knobs, so absolutely no problem using them with gloved hands. The one at 12 o’clock locks the tilt, while the other locks rotation. You have both unlocked for free movement in any direction, or just one lock working if you want a vertical or horizontal pan. The third lock allows camera height to be adjusted within a 10cm range.

I experimented with several camera/lens combinations, including the Canon EOS R6/800mm f/11, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II/300mm f/4 and Fujifilm X-S10/100-400mm. I also tried a Vanguard Veo HD 80A spotting scope. They all performed really well, with a smooth, fluid action and great stability. I didn’t have a pro DSLR on hand with a 600mm or 800mm lens, but can’t see a heavier combo being an issue with the PG-1, thanks to its 25kg load rating. The legs have a 20kg maximum load rating. WC

This tripod and accompanying gimbal head make shooting fast-moving subjects much easier
This tripod and accompanying gimbal head make shooting fast-moving subjects much easier,
without compromising camera flexibility or stability.
Specifications

Specs LS-365C Tripod:

  • Legs material:
    Toray ten-layer carbon fibre
  • Maximum height:
    1.52m
  • Minimum height:
    8cm
  • Folded length:
    48cm
  • Leg sections:
    5, Top tube is 36mm diameter, bottom tube 22mm diameter
  • Leg angles:
    85 , 55 , 22
  • Maximum load:
    20kg
  • Weight:
    1.77kg
  • Prices LS-365C:
    £749,00 or €899,00

Specs PG-1 Gimbal:

  • Plate:
    Arca-Swiss compatible
  • Material:
    Aluminium
  • Maximum load:
    25kg
  • Dimensions (hxlxw)
    24.5x20x7.6cm
  • Base diameter:
    6cm
  • Weight:
    1kg
  • Prices PG-1:
    £450,00 or €559,00
  • In the box:
    LS-365C, PG-1, 10cm quick-release plate, custom carrying case, rubber and spiked feet, ballast hoo, three hex keys
Verdict

Leofoto kit isn’t cheap, but in life you usually get what you pay for. There’s no disputing the build quality of the Leofoto LS-365C legs and PG-1 head, and the pair make for a wonderful, high-performing combination that comes very highly recommended. The LS-365C legs are not for sale on their own, but the PG-1 is – at £450,00 or €559,00 – so if you have a good set of legs and the idea of a gimbal appeals, then it has got to be on your shortlist. It’s beautifully machined, built to last and works like a dream.

PROS Great performance, good handling, beautifully made

CONS Reassuringly expensive

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