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The first thing that strikes you about the MKC3-H01 is just how light it is. This is very much a carry-all-day kind of tripod, and as such would prove ideal for hikers and active landscape photographers looking to spend all day in the hills or on the move without getting weighed down with kit.
Of course, the crucial question with any tripod that’s been purposely designed to be light and easy to carry is just how sturdy it is, and whether or not you trust it to support your camera. Field testing our review sample with a Nikon D90 and Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 lens (combined total weight: 1.35kg) brought us close to the tripod’s claimed maximum load capacity of 1.5kg and yet we still felt, with some reservations that we’ll expand upon in a moment, that our camera was safe and secure.
We’re also pleased to report that the thumbwheel-operated locking mechanism works very well too, with no incidence of creep even with our relatively front-heavy zoom attached. Thanks to the chunky hand grip, maneuvering the ball-head proves pretty easy too. Our only minor concern regarding durability is with the thin (approx. 0.7cm) metal column that protrudes from the base of the ball-head connecting it to the top of the centre column. If anything on the tripod looks like it could break through mishap then this particular part looks to be the most likely contender.
As with many tripods, the MKC3-H01 is far more stable when the centre column is down. Extending it up to its maximum reach makes your camera feel precariously perched and also facilitates a small amount of wobble when pressing the shutter button (if possible, it’s always good practice to use a remote or even the camera’s self-timer when using a tripod). We also found that the MKC3-H01 felt substantially sturdier when the thinnest legs at the bottom of each leg are not extended. Of course this does cut approximately 29cm off the total height of the tripod, but the trade-off is a much more stable-feeling platform.
In use, we found the four leg-locks easy enough to operate, being neither too stiff no too loose. With a bit of practice we found we were able to fully extend all of the legs in less than15 seconds, with the time taken to fully fold it all back down about the same. One thing that may bug some users is that the centre column cannot be removed, and the legs only have the one position, meaning it’s impossible to get the quick release platform lower than about 44cm. If you’re fond of shooting from ground level this may not be the ideal tripod for you.
Also, given its light overall weight, we would ideally like to see a hook placed on the bottom of the centre column so that the tripod can be weighted down in windy conditions with bag or suchlike. As things stand, the MKC3-H01 isn’t really designed to take on a windy day. We’d be reluctant to use it in such conditions anyhow. Of course this is really just common sense, rather than any inherent fault with the tripod itself though.
Lightweight, extremely portable and yet relatively robust, the MKC3-H01 is undoubtedly a quality bit of kit. Built to support up to 1.5kg, it’ll easily cope with anything from an advanced compact to a compact system camera to a mid-weight DSLR and lens. If you’re looking for a tripod that won’t weigh you down for use in calm conditions then the MKC3-H01 ticks all the right boxes.