So my quest for previously unattainable night cityscapes pushed me towards finally getting a tripod. Dilemma was not to spend more than a beginner-intermediate level is worth as well as not over $100.
After some homework, I decided to try this Dolcia after reading an awesome review over at Str8ShotPhoto. The current price tag of mere $55 considering all of the features this rig has sure beats anything found in retailers like Best Buy or Caulmet right now.
I wanted a solid, light tripod without leg connectors to be able to set it as high or as low as I’d want, a quick release plate, and a dedicated panning swivel joint and this Dolcia has all of these and then some.
So it comes with a very nice carrying bag, which I honestly wouldn’t expect out of $55 (though plenty of tripods have these as default accessory).
The head features a nice dual action release, that is said to help prevent any accidental slips- the knob on the left loosens the plate and then a button on the right lowers the safety peg that allows you to remove the plate off the mount. I’ve read that some people saying that the ball head does not hold the weight as well when over-tightened, and it seems true. To “fully” tighten it, you only need to twist the tightening knob a little bit as opposed to cranking it all the way down. A little odd, but a nice feature when quick repositioning is required. Lastly, the panning joint is very nice and smooth with some resistance even when it is fully loosened. Quite a nice feature to allow for a smooth pan instead of having some jerks in the process.
The camera mounting bolt can move a bit as well to let you fine-tune where you want this thing on the base of your camera. Helpful when you wish to offset it a bit or correct an offset mounting hole that certain battery grips have.
Next is something I would not expect even in some $100 range tripods: a weight hook with a twist- it mounts via standard bolt, so if you wish to mount the camera to the bottom of the center column, you no longer have to remove and flip the whole thing. Quite nifty for those tricky low-angle shots.
The base column can lock when extended all the way up. Extra safety or if you simply wish to ditch the hook mount altogether.
Legs are aluminum and sport 4 sections altogether, 3 being extendable and lockable via quick and simple locks.
Now legs are perhaps the most interesting features as they include both rubber tips and studs for those off-roading set ups, and unlike many other tripods this feature is integrated in this Dolcia. Simply twist the rubber feet all the way down or up to reveal the studs.
My D5100 in all its glory
And a couple test shots of our Christmas tree @ISO 100, f/22, and 15-20 second exposure + usual post processing.
And as always, updates will come as I take this thing for a field test.