Today we are taking a quick look at a compact flexible mini tripod from the Chinese manufacturer Ulanzi.
We have already reviewed another interesting product by Ulanzi recently – the Live Broadcast Multi Boom Arm and showed how it can actually also be used for product and food photography.
The MT-35 “Octopus” flexible tripod is designed to handle most mid-size DSLR and mirrorless setups with a carrying capacity of up to 2kg (4.4lbs).
Maybe the most direct competition comes from the Joby GorillaPod 3K and 5K Pro tripods which can carry 3kg and 5kg respectively.
The GorillaPods have a different design with metal joints which got significantly better reviews than the non-pro inexpensive plastic Joby GorillaPods, however, these cost more than twice as much as the Ulanzi unit, and at least the regular 3K Pro kit lacks a few important features found on the MT-35.
The MT-35 “Octopus”
Main specs and features
The MT-35 measures close to 25cm without the head and about 32cm with the head. It weighs in at 435g (15.3oz) with the head and is made of a combination of metal and flexible rubber-looking material with some soft padding for the legs.
The head has an Arca style quick release with stoppers with a lock and an extra knob for pan which is a really nice touch for such a small head.
Compact but useful mini Arca ballhead
It has rotation markings for panorama shooting as well as side cold shoe for accessories such as mic, or a small light. We tried to connect a monitor but it was awkward and got in the way.
Our experience with the MT-35
We recently took the MT-35 for a shoot on the beach with our Sony A1 and several wide-angle lenses and it turned out to be really useful.
We could place it on a small rock easily and shoot with a timer without getting ourselves or the tripod wet.
We were later able to take a unique shot of a circle of blue light from a narrow side of a crane used for construction – something that no conventional tripod would be able to do.
Two things we noticed after using the MT-35 for a while are that the legs have two angles – closed – for travel or open – about 45 degrees. It can sometimes get annoying that there is no way of locking them in each position (to be fair that is true for a lot of tripods but on the MT-35 this mechanism is a little bit too loose for our taste).
On our review sample, we also noticed that you need to lock the head tightly to prevent the head from spinning. However, be careful. We over-tightened our head and the 1/4″ screw came out. We glued it back in with the head and it works fine now but we think that Ulanzi needs to rethink the design of this part or have it more secured in the production units.
Can hold on to many things
The MT-35 is a nice and useful little tripod from Ulanzi. It is not groundbreaking by any means but it has some nice and useful features and the ballhead design is very well made and can certainly hold a mid-size camera setup.
The flexible legs can be useful in some situations although we can’t be sure how well they will last after several years of abuse. On the bright side, this is a much more affordable product compared to some of the competition and the head will likely continue to be useful for a long time.
The MT-35 will soon start selling on the Ulanzi website for $54. The company already has a number of interesting mini tripod designs selling on its site, some with flexible and others with more conventionally designed legs.
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