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D. Accessory: Bilora Stabilo w/ pan head.

Discussion in 'User Reviews' started by Xenol, May 30, 2015.

  1. Xenol

    Xenol Well-Known Member


    Bilora Stabilo - The Ultimate Budget Travel Tripod?

    I went on a very nice holiday to Devon the previous week, and, like a fool, forgot my tripod. After some frantic charity-shop searching I managed to purchase this for the princely sum of £8.99 (The original price on the box was £4 19s 9d!). Well after a week, I thought I'd share my findings:

    [​IMG]

    General

    Solid, all metal construction (except rubber feet which where cracking with age)
    attractive grey, metallic finish
    2-way pan head

    Legs
    4 extensions with click-in locks. The legs extend simply by pulling, and retract by pressing the very top button and pushing in. One of the three legs also has a friction lock to allow precise adjustment of the height and level once erected:
    [​IMG]

    The legs are of crimped-metal construction, which makes them remarkably strong, considering how thin the metal is.
    [​IMG]

    Interestingly, the hub does not have fixed positions for the legs - aka, they can swing from straight down to 90 degrees horizontal. This allows the tripod to go extremely low:
    [​IMG]

    As well as giving it the ability to assume more unusual poses. This came in very useful when attempting to remain level on uneven ground. The picture here shows a possible arrangement for macro-shots:
    [​IMG]

    The legs are secured with bolts which are tight enough to stop them dangling around uselessly - but on a smooth floor, they might (if placed too far akimbo) start to slip. New rubber feet would probably cure this.



    Head
    [​IMG]

    The pan head provided is of very solid, fully metal (except the handle) construction, and has a nice heft to it. It can be removed (as seen above) via a bolt in the bottom which also serves to hold the handle when packed up for travel:
    [​IMG]


    Many stabilo tripods are found with ball heads which are (by most accounts) fairly weak. My pan however (despite it's small size) easily takes the weight of whatever I put on it with no signs of wobbling.
    [​IMG]

    Up-down movement is smooth and locked by twisting the pan-handle as is standard. The pan movement is firm but very smooth, and (with some practise and perhaps a longer handle) would give very nice pans. It is locked by a small knurled lever on the right hand side.
    [​IMG]

    Dimensions and Usability
    Fully extended and with the legs a reasonable distance apart, I measured the height at 1 metre 28 cm. A little short to be at eye-level when in normal use, but tall enough not to be a wearisome task to use.
    [​IMG]

    What makes this tripod remarkable is that it's folded dimension are only ~44cm long!
    [​IMG]

    I measured the weight at just under 1.2Kg which gives it a nice heft for the size, but doesn't make it too wearisome to carry around (as long as you're not carrying too much else)

    Nitpicks

    • The pan-handle is a little bit awkward when looking through the viewfinder, but not terribly so.
    • The handle is also a bit too short for video-quality pans, but no-one can blame them for that
    • The rubber feet have gone hard with time and now provide very little grip on smooth surfaces. Some new feet would cure this.
    • For it's size, it's surprisingly heavy.
    • The leg-metal, being fairly thin might dent with a decent knock, preventing that leg from extending.

    Conclusion
    Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised with this tripod, especially for just under £10, and you're on the lookout for a cheap travel tripod, I'd probably recommend. It will be accompanying me whenever I need a decent tripod and space is a premium

    [​IMG]
    https://flic.kr/p/tNZeNbIMG_9315
    https://flic.kr/p/tNZeNb by Samuel Levy - Amateur Photographer https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321487@N04/, on Flickr
     
  2. Xenol

    Xenol Well-Known Member

    I apologise for the state of my lawn as well - I left the cut grass down too long before raking. :p
     
  3. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    I think my first tripod was a Stabilo - probably still got it. Yours looks like the luxury model.
     
  4. miked

    miked Well-Known Member

    Resourceful and adaptive seems to have been the watchword. The purchase of the Bilora was both of those things.
    My very first tripod in the 1950s was a Bilora. A couple of years ago I bought a useful little cousin - a Bilora Stabilet. It is compact and useful for smaller cameras - my Fuji Xpro1 for instance.
    [​IMG]
    http://s1272.photobucket.com/user/MikeD640/media/stabilet1_zpsabg6alnx.jpg.html[/IMG]

    Here it is with the feet folded up and stored in the central tube: It cost me the princely sum of £4 on Ebay (inc. postage)
    [​IMG]
    http://s1272.photobucket.com/user/MikeD640/media/stabilet2_zpsnnr2fxql.jpg.html[/IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015

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