In landscape photography and especially in long exposure photography a sturdy tripod is a must. There is a jungle out there with different types of tripods, made of different materials, functions etc. Not long ago I had the great opportunity to try a tripod from the German brand Rollei. They sent me the Rollei Rock Solid Tripod Beta 180 Carbon for me to test on the field during my photo trips. Now when I have tried this tripod in different weather conditions and different surfaces and locations I’m happy to share my thoughts.
The most important characteristics in a tripod in my opinion are: it’s sturdiness, it’s weight and construction. Before we move on to my personal review, here is first a short introduction to the tripod and some useful technical details:
Rollei Rock Solid Tripod Beta 180 Carbon
This tripod comes in both carbon and aluminium, I opted for the carbon version as carbon fiber is lighter (this tripod weights only 1,87kg!) and stronger than alumimium and also dampens vibrations better. Another benefit with a carbon tripod is that carbon is less sensitive to temperature so whether you are going to freezing Iceland or the hot Sahara deserts, this tripod will not let you down.
You can load up to 10 kg on this tripod and the maximum height is 170 cm which is perfect for me as I measure 172cm. The tripod is designed to endure wearing conditions so if you are a seascape photographer, no need to worry if its feet will be standing in salt water, nor in sand, in cold or hot weather. This is a high quality tripod made to accompany you on your adventures, no matter weather or surface conditions :-)
The “180” refers to the fact that you can unlock the central column and rotate it for a 180 degrees and do overhead shootings at 90 degrees. This genius function makes it ideal for over head shots (usually in food photography ) and macro shooting.
The Rock Solid Tripod 180 from Rollei can load up to 10 kg and can be used in practically any kind of weather condition, it’s protected against corrosion and can be used in surfaces with sand and even saltwater. This tripod will not limit you on the field and when you have reached your spot it is very easy to pull out the legs thanks to the quick release for leg-locking. As the pipes are made of 100% carbon you will feel how light-weight it is when you carry it around and with the swiveling center column you can save your back and effortlessly take overhead photos from 180 degrees.
When you buy this tripod the package is complete with everything you might need (except for the ball head that you will buy separately) Included are following useful accessories:
- a short center column for close to the ground shots
- a side hook for adding a counter weight
- steel spikes for a secure grip (useful in sand, lawn etc)
- a 1/4″ to 3/8″ adapter
- Allen key to use when you wish to take apart the tripod legs
In the field
The Rollei Rock Solid Tripod Beta 180 Carbon has followed me to adventures in Italy, Iceland, Normandy and Ireland. In other words I have had the opportunity to try it on different locations, weather conditions and surfaces.
On the Black Beach in Iceland the spikes were very useful and easy to use. When using the tripod in sand or lawn spikes should be used as they ensures a better grip. They are already attached to the tripod legs, you simply need to remove the rubber feet. The weather in Iceland was very cold and with strong winds, during this time it was still easy to work with the tripod. No impact on its functionality at all. When the wind was very strong, I added extra weight, by using my backpack, and hung it on the hook that can be found on the central column. This made the tripod even more secure and sturdy to work with.
When I’ve been shooting on cliffs, read uneven surface, it has been very easy to set up the tripod as the legs are independent from each other which makes the tripod to adapt to the situation with no difficulties.
The fact that the tripod, thanks to the carbon pipes, is light weight, it has been easy to attach on my backpack and walk with it to the different photo locations.
Benefits of a tripod with a lateral arm /side arm
When shooting overhead, for example in food photography a tripod with a lateral arm / side arm you will not need to balance on a chair in order to get above your subject in order to take a photo fr 180 degrees and you will spare yourself from future back pain! In food photography in most cases the aim is to have many subjects in the composition and therefore an overhead angle is optimal. The camera will have to be above your subjects. With this tripod from Rollei it’s easy done. Simply unlock the central column, tilt it and then extend it as much as needed until your camera will be exactly above your subjects. If you are working with a heave camera and lens make sure to add a counter weight in order for the camera not to tip over.
After a few months testing the Rock Solid Tripod Beta 180 Carbon from Rollei I can say I’ve been very pleased with it’s functions. It’s light-weight, easy to carry around, yet it is sturdy and keeps my camera and lens in safe position while shooting. It is a reliable tripod and in my opinion it covers all needs a photographer might have. The “bonus” with this tripod is that it is possible to flip the center column in order to do overhead shootings. If there would be something I would like to change on the tripod then I would have liked to have the quick release for the leg-locking replaced with a twist lock. However that’s just a personal preference, both leg-locking systems works perfectly fine and none of them has any negative impact on the functionality of the tripod.
The Rollei Rock Solid Tripod Beta 180 Carbon fulfilled all my needs and demands I have from a quality tripod and I can truly recommend it, even for food photographers ;-)