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KF Concept TC2534 Carbon Tripod review

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K&F Concept TC2534 Carbon Tripod review

Lightweight 66″ carbon tripod and ball head


Keith has a range of tripod requirements, depending on the job, equipment needed and location.

This review looks at the TC2534 light weight tripod from K&F Concepts that could fit into a particular work niche.

It’s a 66″ carbon fibre tube tripod and comes with a sturdy ball head with an Arca Swiss style mount plate.

It’s rated for supporting up to 10kg (~22 lbs.)

tripod centre K&F TC2534

My tripod requirements

As an architectural photographer I have a variety of tripod needs. These go from small light weight ones that I can use indoors, right up to hefty survey tripods that I can use to mount a total station and Gigapan unit. Another one goes to 8 metres.

There’s a mid range though. Here I need to be able to securely attach a DSLR and shift lens such as the Canon TS-E17mm I use a lot.  The one below is the Irix 15mm that I’m testing in a nearby wood [click to enlarge]

woodland tripod test

It needs to be sturdy enough to chuck in the back of my car and support 10-15 second exposures without movement. At the same time it needs to be light enough so that it won’t cause problems if I have to walk half a mile with camera and a bag of 4-5 lenses.

The K&F Concept TC2534 has 4 section carbon fibre legs that combine stiffness with lightness. Now, I’m not someone who (by choice) walks miles to take photos, but saving weight does make a distinct difference if I’m spending a whole day on a large site at multiple locations.

Tripod Specs

  • Model: KF-TC2534
  • Item Colour: Black
  • Material: Carbon fibre
  • Weight: 3.32Ibs (1.507kg)
  • Max. tube diameter: 1” (25mm)
  • Load capacity: 22.04lbs (10kg)
  • Folded Height: 19.68” (500mm)
  • Maximum height: 66.14” (1680mm)

 

tripod specs

What you get:
  • TC2534 tripod (with ball head)
  • Carrying bag
  • Ball head bag
  • Tripod straps
  • Allen Key
  • Tripod short axis
  • User manual

The kit fits easily into the supplied bag. That reflective strip works quite well in dim light looking amongst a pile of kit and clothing in the back of my car at night.

tripod and bag

There is a hook at the bottom of the centre pillar that you can hang a bag off, for extra stability. This is probably more of use at full height.

You can also attach the ball head at the bottom. This lets you get the camera close to the ground (albeit upside down).

The centre column can also be swapped out for a short one giving a low profile.

low height tripod support

The legs fold over completely

tripod folded up

The bag is easy to do up – I do dislike bags for kit that skimp on space, so it takes 5 minutes to get everything in place to do up the zip.

I often tend to use the tripod between eye height  (I’m 6 foot) and ~4 feet.

The centre column gives nearly a foot range of adjustment, and a quick twist of the leg grips at the bottom level drops the height by a similar amount.

Swithland woods

The official heights…

tc2534 tripod heights

One thing I did notice is that you can attach the short centre column as an extension and get even more height.

full height

Obviously this is a bit less stable, but makes a real difference with things in the foreground you want to de-emphasise.

The most common reason I find is in large interiors with wide shots, because you’ve furniture in the way, or simply too prominent in the frame (always an issue with very wide angle shots).  Sure, I’ve a specialist tripod that goes to 8 metres, but that’s overkill (except when it isn’t…)

Parts of the tripod

I’ve looked at cheaper tripods in the past and have found that up to a point you definitely get what you pay for.

However there comes a point where you are paying for the name and the benefits of paying more rapidly diminish.

I’ve now carted the tripod round on a few jobs and used it for my recent testing of the Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens – how has it performed?

The ball head

A nice solid finish, with a level that seems accurate.

ball head

The Arca style grip is solid (the plate fits on the camera).

levelling

After a few weeks use, the ball still moves cleanly, even with the camera off level.

I prefer to use a ‘L’ plate/bracket for swapping the camera from horizontal to vertical. All of my base plates fitted just fine.

The ball head does come in its own bag – actually useful if you swap heads, to keep dust/grit out of the ball unit.

bag for ball head

The top section of the centre column is a metal plate which allows swapping between 3/8″ and 1/4″ attachments.

top plate

It screws into the centre column (long or short).

3/8" head fitting

Take care to tighten firmly, since the column insert is plastic.

tube top

This isn’t a problem of itself if everything is tight, but in the past, where I’ve had problems with plastic threads and metal inserts, it’s always come about through loose connections allowing uneven stress to build up and damage plastic parts.

The centre column support and hinges feel very solid – all metal.

K&F 2534 tripod centre

An Allen key is supplied to adjust the tension/stiffness at the hinges, but has needed no adjustment to date.

The click stops for setting leg splay angle are solid, and need a positive action to disengage them.

A few of the leg clamps were a bit stiff to start with, but soon loosened up to make it possible to release/tighten all three in with one hand.

OK … if your hands are big enough, as was pointed out to me when Karen borrowed the tripod

The monopod

One leg can be unscrewed from its hinge.

monopod attachment

Adding the long or short centre column between mounting plate and leg makes the monopod longer still.

A useful option if you use longer lenses, but I rarely do so.

The foam grip on the monopod leg also makes for a more comfortable carrying point for the tripod as a whole.

Conclusions

There are a lot of tripods available out there covering a range of prices. I don’t do comparative reviews [here’s why], but if you are comparing specs, the do be sure to compare like with like.

The 66″ TC2534 (see the K&F Concept web site for latest details and a lot of larger/smaller options) comes in at just under $170.  Remember that this includes a ball head which (if you don’t have one) can easily set you back $60 or more (a lot more if the name printed on the side matters).

I’ve found the one here useful where I don’t need the complexity and bulk of my larger PHQ3 tripod head. That’s great with all its levels and settings, but far more than I need on most jobs. Of course, when I do need it, it simply screws on instead of the ball head.

So, what would I change about this tripod? Not a lot really, since it does its basic job rather well. Maybe a tension adjustment on the ball head, but if I’m honest I’ve never found an actual use for one.

A lot about tripod choice comes down to just how you use one and with what kit. This one works for much of my day to day work (commercial/industrial/architectural photography), when I don’t need to be able to support 25kg or reach up to roof height.

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