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MegaMast – a 28 foot camera tripod/mast review

  |   Articles and reviews, Composition, Hardware review, Review   |   3 Comments

MegaMast – a 28 foot tripod/mast review

Simple elevated photography setup


Keith looks at a relatively lightweight and portable solution to get your camera into an elevated location.

The Carbon Fibre MegaMast from Seaport Digital can take your camera up to 8.4 metres ~28 feet.

Keith looks at how easy it is to use for elevated mast photography in this initial review.

That’s him in the photo, far below, controlling the camera with the WiFi based CamRanger unit via the iPad he’s holding.

Available from B&H and in the US direct from Seaport Digital

down street from 28 feet

Mast and elevated camera solutions

One problem I often encounter in architectural work is that I want my tripod to go up an extra foot or so. Indeed, I’m sure that if it did, then I’d sometimes want higher still.

There are a number of fairly hefty elevated mast solutions available, but they often fit on the back of a vehicle or if stand-alone need a fairly strong assistant to move into place.

I was looking for a solution that was suitable for occasional use, that I could pop in the back of the car and have available on a job ‘just in case’.

The MegaMast I’m looking at here is a basic tripod stand, with a central section of carbon fibre tubes that extend up a fair way, as you can see in this view taken outside my house.

What do you get

The stand comes in a soft padded carrying bag (black of course) and weighs under 7kg.

The specs are given as:

  • FOLDED LENGTH: 64.25″ (163 cm)
  • FOOTPRINT: 59″ (150 cm)
  • MATERIAL: Carbon Fibre Risers with Aluminium Legs
  • MAXIMUM HEIGHT: 330″ (840 cm)
  • MAXIMUM LOAD: 6 lbs (2.7 kg)
  • MINIMUM HEIGHT: 64.5″ (164 cm)

I note that the maximum load is at full extension, but is enough as it is to take the weight of my Canon 1Ds3.

In the examples here, I’m using my much lighter Canon 100D, controlled via a CamRanger unit and MP-360 motorised head.

It’s a fairly still day in the examples here – you might want to look at additional attachment in windy conditions (there is a stabilising system on its way according to Seaport Digital)

Here’s the basic unit in my kitchen…

Stand at minimum height

It’s just like a very much more solidly built version of my lighting stands.

The top has a tapered threaded fitting.

threaded fitting on stand

The taper makes it much easier to fit the tilting head and less likely to cross threads or otherwise damage the fittings.

tilting head unit for camera stand

The head takes a standard quick release plate (1 supplied) and has a reassuring solidity to it.

Quick release plate fitted to tilting section

Carbon fibre is strong, but relatively easily damaged (compared to aluminium), so it’s good to see very solid clamps.

I believe the hooks are related to the additional stability mechanism – attaching lightweight guy strings for example?

This review is about my initial testing, so I’ll have to see what the stand is like in use to comment further.

main tube clamps

Using the MegaMast

I decided to start out with some photos of the street outside of my house.

The CamRanger unit allows me full wireless control of my camera, and motorised head.

CamRanger control unit for camera

The control unit sits in the bag and is securely attached to my camera mount plate.

pan and tilt head fitted with electronic control unit

The mount is an Arca style mount, with an ‘L’ plate for positioning the 100D in portrait orientation.

camera 'L' plate

Here’s the camera connected up ready for testing.

I’m using the EF-S10-18mm IS lens [review]

camera fitted for testing

Everything is moved outside.

tripod legs extended to full width

Note how the legs extend, giving extra stability and a means of adjusting for uneven ground.

tripod leg extension

The carbon fibre tube sections all move quite freely, and the locking grips have a solid feel.

main carbon fibre tube

The camera unit (after switching on and testing for a connection to the iPad) is fitted.

camera on motorised head for testing

Even just the first section takes the camera to a useful height.

raising the first tube section

The view from the mast – I’ve full control over the camera, with liveview and autofocus.

Photgraph taken from about 3 metres high

Another section and all is solid.

camera stand with two sections extended

At only three sections it’s getting a very different view.

Note that the lean is because I’m tilting the camera upwards. It is actually perfectly vertical.

three sections extended for elevated mast

At full height I can see the frost on the slates of our roof.

Camera live view on iPad from 8.4 metres above gound

I’ve looked at some other aspects of the CamRanger when seeing how X-Rite’s ColorTRUE colour management solution for the iPad was implemented.

I’ll finish off with a couple of views of our street, taken from the full 28 feet.

Looking up the street…

photograph of houses taken at 8.4 metres elevation

Looking the other way…

Looking down the street - view at 28 feet

Conclusions

A very well made and sturdy camera stand that gives quick access to elevated photography for when I want it.

For its height (over 8m) the stand is light enough to be easily portable, particularly in the supplied bag.

Update: By 2016 I’ve used the Megamast several times, with my 50MP Canon 5Ds

This view of the Leicestershire Fire Service HQ was taken in a busy car park, where the height gives a striking clear view of the building

fire service HQ

This view of a Georgian building in Bury St Edmunds was taken from behind a street market in a relatively narrow street using the EF11-24mm lens on a Canon 5Ds

bank

Buying the Megamast (US only) – if you buy a Megamast via our link, we get a small affiliate payment that helps support the site. No cheaper I’m afraid.

Summary

8 metre carbon fibre camera stand with 2.7kg camera capacity at full height. Weighs under 7kg and comes with carrying bag

Distributed in the UK by Calumet – direct sales from the US manufacturer

Available from B&H and in the US direct from Seaport Digital

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  • Keenan Ford

    I just purchased a MegaMast from Seaport Digital. I love it, and will get plenty of use of it for sure! I wish I had found it sooner…

  • Leslie Hoerwinkle

    Different, but useful.

    • Keith Cooper

      Yes, I don’t use it often, but it’s more than paid for itself in getting suitably different views, or taking unwanted foreground stuff out of the shot.