I've been testing out the Centennial Tripod from Colorado Tripod Company and I love it. Buying US-made products is cool, but when those sellers offer top quality at a good price, it's even more awesome! Read on to see why I think your next tripod should be made in Colorado.
A friend of mine told me about the Colorado Tripod Company after I spotted his sleek-looking new sticks on Instagram. I immediately asked where he got it, only to find out that it was made less than an hour from my house. They have taken some of the quality designs of other tripod manufacturers, made improvements, and offered a more reasonable price.
There are so many options out there when it comes to tripods. You can spend anywhere from $100 to $1,000+ on a carbon fiber tripod, and sometimes, it can be hard to tell what you're getting. Having used so many cheap tripods over the years, I was excited to see a top-quality product in a more affordable price range.
The Centennial Tripod is suited to the professional or amateur photographer seeking a functional, rugged, and reliable tripod that won't break the bank. Let's talk through build quality, usage, and features.
Tripod Build Quality
When I opened the box on my new tripod, I was immediately impressed with the quality and attention to detail. It comes packed with a nice protective case that is great for traveling and storing safely (although I'll probably never use it.) Upon further inspection, I was again impressed by the functionality and attention to detail.
In the past, I have been frustrated by tripods that are either too hard to use (legs don't lock effectively) or don't adjust easily (ball head constantly too tight or loose). This tripod just works. It is made with precision and fine attention to quality.
The carbon fiber legs feel extremely sturdy, and the ball head functions just as you would expect. The fine adjustment allows you to dial in the perfect amount of tension, and quarter-turn adjustments on the legs allow you to quickly adjust height.
All the features I expect in a top-quality tripod (quick locking legs, smooth ball head, easy camera mount, removable center column, etc.) are all just how and where I expected and intuitive to use.
Tripod Features I Love
1. Quick Locking Legs
Several features of this tripod really made it stand out as high quality. The first was the quick locking legs. With a quarter-turn of each section, the legs smoothly extend to full height. No more fussing to get your tripod quickly deployed.
2. Camera Plate Mount
The second feature that I really liked was the camera plate mount on the ball head. The adjustable lever clamp allows you to dial in the tension on your camera plate so that the plate is locked in securely and quickly. In the past, I've used the knob style plate mounts that you tighten down with several turns.
The design on the highline ball head is much easier and faster to use. I also appreciated that the adjustable tension can be used with a variety of style plates and not just the one provided with the tripod. I use Peak Design plates, and the compatibility was seamless.
3. Removable Center Column
A quickly removable center column was the third feature that really stood out. I've used tripods that have a complicated process to remove the center column, but on this tripod, you just unscrew it. When you need additional height, simply thread it back together and extend the column upward. I love when products are simple and intuitive!
Usage and Examples
This has quickly become my go-to tripod for astrophotography and long exposures (waterfalls, time-lapses, etc.). It has stayed mounted to my pack for a variety of shoots recently, and I expect it will stay there for the foreseeable future!
My main complaint about this tripod over others I've used was the size. I'm usually a minimalist when it comes to tripods, so this was larger than I might choose, but overall, it didn't bother me too much. It's not intended to be the smallest tripod on the market, and it does provide an excellent height for its weight (3.4 lbs for a 58" max height, including the center column). This allows the majority of people to mount the camera at eye level. It's not a super light and compact backpacking tripod, but it is durable and tall.
I've taken this tripod on a ski hut trip and several camping trips, as well as numerous shoots. I love how quickly I can set it up and how stable my camera is when locked in place. Despite being tossed around in the back of my truck and strapped to the side of my camera bag, it shows minimal signs of wear, and I expect it will last much longer than some of my previous tripods.
I found myself using this tripod more than others in the past because of the high-quality features. The large rubber grips on the leg sections made it easier to set up even with gloves on, and the quarter-turn locks made it quick to know if you were turning the locks the right way. Once locked, the legs are firmly held in place, which means you never have to worry about your camera crashing to the ground unexpectedly!
This is the best tripod I've ever used, and if you're in the market for a quality tripod, you should check it out. The combination of high-quality features and a great price make it an excellent value. And for an extra bonus, it's made in the USA!
I really liked all the quality features on this tripod, especially the quarter-turn leg locks and the lever clamp to mount a camera. These made it so easy to work with, which helps reduce the main barrier to using a tripod: setting it up!
The main improvement I would like to see is reducing the overall size and weight of the tripod, although I suspect this would cause it to be less stable. Right now, this tripod feels extremely stable and rugged, so maybe there is some extra weight that could be reduced in a future generation. Best sure to check out this tripod at the Colorado Tripod Company for $449.
What I Liked
Quarter-turn leg locks
Lever clamp camera mount
Max height of 58 inches
What Could Be Improved
Overall size and weight reduction