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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:



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

    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:

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

    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:

    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:

    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.


    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:

    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.

    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.

    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.

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

    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)


    • 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.

    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

    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.

    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)
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015

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