Accessory Review: Tamrac Zipshot Tripod

Tamrac ZipShot Tripod
$59 / £54

Low weight, portability and ease of use are not words and phrases used to describe the average mid-size tripod, but the Tamrac ZipShot is designed to satisfy all three requirements. Unlike conventional 'telescoping' leg tripods, the ZipShot is constructed of thin, circular aluminum legs that are segmented in four places and strung together via a hefty elastic band. When the two maroon safety bands are released, the tripod's legs will fall, snapping into place in an instant. The Tamrac ZipShot is an odd piece of equipment by traditional standards, but at a street price of around $50, it might be the ideal solution for those who like to pack lightly.

Undoubtedly, the ZipShot's key feature is its simplicity. In just over five seconds the tripod can be fully deployed, awaiting a camera to be mounted to its omni-directional ball head. Tamrac offers a Quick Release accessory kit for an additional $10 that comes with attachments for a point-and-shoot and a DSLR, enabling photographers to snap a camera into place within seconds. With the Quick Release system, I was able to setup the ZipShot with a point-and-shoot mounted in under 10 seconds.

The Tamrac ZipShot deploys automatically in seconds. The ZipShot measures 15" in length, making it highly portable.

As for bulk and dimensions, the Tamrac ZipShot weighs 11 oz. and measures 15" in length when folded down for storage. The tripod can easily be tossed into a backpack. When the ZipShot is fully deployed, it offers a shooting height of 44" (1.1m). This is a decent height to shoot from, but keep in mind that the legs do not telescope, so it's fixed. The ZipShot can also be used as a monopod by bundling the legs together with the maroon safety straps, which increases total elevation by an additional four inches.

Of course, the ZipShot's travel-friendly traits come at a price. Since the aluminum legs of the tripod are thin, the ZipShot isn't as solid as you'd expect from a more conventional design. This was not as much of an issue with a little point-and-shoot mounted on top, but a Canon EOS 5D Mark III? Forget about it. Tamrac claims the ZipShot can handle up to three pounds of camera/lens, but in my testing, the unit isn't up to supporting anything bigger than a low-end interchangeable lens camera. You can shoot with a small DSLR and lightweight kit zoom atop the ZipShot, but you'd better have a remote shutter or 10-second Self-Timer activated, and hope that it's a windless day.

A smaller version, the ZipShot mini, costs $10 less and is more suitable for compact cameras and smartphones.

The Zipshot's head can tilt up to 180-degrees and swivel a full 360-degrees. Tamrac's Quick Release kit ($10) reduces setup time even further.

I thought lack of adjustability would be the ZipShot's achilles heel, but actually during my testing I found that it was fairly easy to get a level shot. The omni-directional ball head is not the most technically advanced mechanism in the tripod world, but it can tilt a full 180-degrees to accommodate portraits. The head can also swivel a full 360-degrees and the legs of the tripod can be brought in slightly to assist with leveling. Don't expect much versatility from the Tamrac ZipShot, but it gets the job done.

Summing Up

The Tamrac ZipShot is a great tool for photographers who pack lightly, thanks to its light weight and compact size. The unit can be fully assembled and ready to shoot with in a matter of seconds, and certainly draws a crowd during the process. Adjustability is easy, and the Zipshot can even be used as a monopod. On the downside, the lightweight ZipShot is only really suitable for compact cameras and small ILCs.

What we like: Ultimate portability, weighs next to nothing, lightning quick setup.

What we don't like: Unstable for larger cameras, fixed height.

This product is available on 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by or any affiliated companies.


Total comments: 94
By JulesJ (Jan 10, 2013)

I'm not impressed. I bought a £50 Manfrotto for a 7D and it's not wort using. This thing looks like it would sway in a breeze. Maybe ok for a P&s. I wold not ever buy a junior tripod again.

By Cane (Jan 3, 2013)

To everyone that thinks this will do everything their much bigger, and way more expensive, tripod will do with their huge dslr setup with giant zoom lenses; it won't. Obviously common sense didn't lead you to this conclusion already,so take my word, it isn't suppose too do everything your big expensive tripod does with your equipment. If you keep that little nugget in mind, you won't have the disappointment many here feel and may see it's usefulness in other ways finally.

By B-rad (Dec 31, 2012)

Is it possible to use a different head on one of these?

By boose44 (Dec 20, 2012)

I took mine to Europe this past summer and never had an issue with it. Like others, found it best to use with my Sony Nex 5n via remote.

By DaleOdell (Nov 29, 2012)

Good tripod if light weight & small size is important. I bought one a year ago to carry on motorcycle tours & it's great. It's only useful for small cameras like the Canon G9 I use with it. It's not a Gitzo but serves its purpose well.

By KCHAWK (Nov 17, 2012)

This is OK if you want light weight convenience. But in wind or uneven footing it is not very stable. I usually mount the camera and keep it mounted to the tripod. but when changing location I keep the camera strap over my neck for safety. Fun to own but I think a more expensive light weight might be more beneficial.

By MichaelGGSantaFe (Nov 8, 2012)

Highly questionable quality (or quality control), and consumer assistance on Tamrac Products (in this case Camera Straps)
On April 25, 2012 I purchased two sets of Tamrac Camera straps.
They were: Tamrac N-11 - Backpack Camera Straps - Black, and
Tamrac N27 Black Boomerang QuickRelease Camera Strap (Black).

On September 10, 2012 while on a photo shoot overseas, the strap came undone [from the camera eyelets], and the camera and lens fell to the ground, broken. ..I trust you will handle the shipping to Nikon, and any payment they require for their testing and determinations, as well as two new, more thoroughly tested sets of straps.
waiting, got a reply after 3rd attempt, FROM a different email address of mine!
Dear Mr. G,
Thank you for your email. Tamrac's warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship only. It does not cover consequential or incidental damages. ... You can send your strap in for repair.
Tamrac, Inc.

By GeorgeD200 (Jan 11, 2013)

I sympathize with you, Michael, but as you say, the strap came undone from the eyelets of the camera. Since Tamrac isn't the one who attached it to the eyelets, who should be responsible? I wouls say 90% of the camera straps that I see are attached incorrectly. Without showing a picture, it's impossible to say. Most people skip over the "attaching your strap" part of the camera manual, but I suggest you read it. Most people would be surprised.

1 upvote
By lippyjr (Nov 4, 2012)

Having this tripod was impressed for use with my point and shoot its quick on the draw. Shooting while traveling on a mountian bike its an asset.
I have used the product in extreme cold (down to -60) with no issues as long as nothing more than a point and shoot as the article states.
I does serve well as a Monopod with larger cameras in a pinch, all one has to have is a strap to hold the legs cosed.

By tedolf (Oct 17, 2012)

I have had this product for over one year. While it is not a bad idea, its actual use is very llimited. You can not use it like a conventional tripod. This thing rings like a bell and takes about ten seconds to settle down if disturbed. Thus, you can only take shots with a remote release or a self timer with anti shock (e.g. miror lock up) settingsregardless of how small your camera is. Having said that, within those limits it is usable.


Peter Mackey
By Peter Mackey (Oct 7, 2012)

OK it's a last resort. I borrowed one for a weekend and used it with an X100. Pretty hopeless really, very light, wobbly and you get exactly one shooting height.
I much prefer my small Velbon PH243 which is sturdier, almost as compact and offers adjustable height.

By teaberry (Oct 6, 2012)

I've had this tripod for a while and you have to be careful when packing for trips as the aluminum legs are so soft, over time, they don't assemble automatically when you take the bungee cords off. That said, I can use my NEX-5n with all lenses except the 18-200mm.

I wish they would make the legs with stronger material and I wouldn't mind to pay more because the design is great.

By EgidioTX (Oct 5, 2012)

The tripod is great. I have it and have even used it at home with a DSLR camera (it was under the 3-lb max weight). It's a perfect tripod to carry with you when you want/need to travel light.

Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (Oct 1, 2012)

Many people seem to misunderstand the target demographic for this tripod.

1) It costs about $50. If you spent over $1,000 on your camera and lens then you probably will shop for a different category of tripod.

2) Lightweight, tall/stable, cheap: pick two. Mountain bikers, backpackers and mountain climbers will be thrilled to have something light and cheap that delivers more height and stability than similar-priced pieces of flimsy kit. When the alternative is a beanbag or no tripod then this looks pretty darn cool.

1 upvote
By Managarm (Sep 30, 2012)

The Zipshots are great for having with you all the time on hikes or city strolls for when the situation calls for a tripod (nighttime, long exposures,...). Its meant for small cameras of course, works without any problems with my X100, DP2M and OM-D. I wouldn't use it for my heavier DSLR-rigs and it's also not as flexible as a full fledged tripod with adjustable heights and stuff.

Anyway, taking for example an X100 with you and lugging around a big, heavy, sturdy tripod pretty much destroys the whole point of picking something like the ultra compact X100 in the first place. 255g and 23cm in length of the Zipshot Mini on the other hand fits most small bags and does the job very well.

1 upvote
Barrie Davis
By Barrie Davis (Sep 28, 2012)

Notwithstanding that it appears a pretty poor tripod (?) I'd also like to know why I'm expected to pay £54 for a $59 item...[??]

Music Hands
By Music Hands (Sep 30, 2012)

Because your country is wealthier, and manufacturers and retailers know you can afford it more easily.

Saffron Shooter
By Saffron Shooter (Oct 1, 2012)

it's only £19.99 at WEX.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
Doug Frost
By Doug Frost (Sep 27, 2012)

Cheap, flimsy and unstable. In a word, useless.

If you need to pack light, get a good sturdy monopod instead. And if you need more stability, increase the camera's ISO and shutter speed a tad.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By sansbury (Oct 12, 2012)

Have you seen/used this product in person, or are you just offering an opinion based on third-hand conjecture?

1 upvote
By cleverinstigator (Sep 27, 2012)

So it is built out of tent poles. Old technology used differently. Don't expect to catch wildlife with this with all those moving parts it is bound to be noisy.

Dan Ortego
By Dan Ortego (Sep 27, 2012)

Good for the RX1, perhaps. I guess I have different taste or simply prefer something a bit more stable.

raimundo gaby
By raimundo gaby (Sep 26, 2012)

This will be perfect for my new RX1.

By slncezgsi (Sep 26, 2012)

Would this tripod be capable of supporting a 2 pound TLR camera? If yes it would be great for travel.

1 upvote
By junyo (Oct 17, 2012)

Yes, it supports my Yashicamat fine. And with no mirror flap, if you're not in the wind it's decent for long-ish exposures.

By Kriwoel (Sep 26, 2012)

Be carefull when you use the tripod, it can zip and shot (deploys automatically) and really poke your object or your partner... just like my tent's pole

By YoHahnMD (Sep 26, 2012)

Until you actually own one of these, you won't understand just how cool the Zipshots are.

I have both sizes.

Sure they are not a Manfrotto 055XPro, but they sure are handy when ultra light weight is of utmost importance!

The Zipshots are very popular with the mountain bikers, hikers and climbers.

1 upvote
By fz750 (Sep 25, 2012)

Please , if you are going to quote units of weight and length in your articles can you consistently use metric equivalents too.

Without getting into the politics of using units that most of the planet doesn't, a huge % of your user base will simply have zero idea what a weight of 11oz actually is? (err, like me.. :-)

By thinkfat (Sep 24, 2012)

So, I can mount an iphone on that one, right?

1 upvote
By ivan1973 (Sep 24, 2012)

They are obviously made for PNS under no wind condition.

1 upvote
By TitusXIII (Sep 24, 2012)

This contraption is got to be a joke.
Could any photographer in their right mind be taking this seriously?

By tbcass (Sep 22, 2012)

It apparently works the way tent poles do. It looks too unstable for a DSLR.

Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Sep 22, 2012)

Seems very good. I like Tamrac bags. They are well built and practical.

By boothrp (Sep 21, 2012)

These "poles" are very similar to the ones used in high quality expedition tents, usually made out of Easton aerospace grade tubing. It seems to be acknowledged in the tent world that flicking the poles out for them to extend and assemble themselves it sloppy practice and not good for the joints.
It may look like a good trick, but high quality gear deserves careful use.

I think people underestimate how good these kind of lightweight solutions are. If you rig up a long cord loop to hang from the centre and tension with your foot on the ground and use self timer, it expands the low shutter speed capabilities more than you'd think.

By Thorbard (Sep 23, 2012)

I think what is being missed here is that tent poles, be they carbon or glass fibre, or aluminium are stable when they're bent and this example doesn't provide for that. Your idea of pulling down on the centre might just solve that.

1 upvote
By balchinian (Sep 25, 2012)

I agree, I bought one of these last week, and I appreciate the idea! I was planning on using a "string tripod", but the thought didn't cross my mind that I can use the same tricks to make my zipshot more stable.

Amazon HAD a good deal on the full package with all accessories at around $60 or so, but since this article was published, it looks like they're sold out. This is the one I bought:

I'm glad I bought mine before this article made them hard to find!

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
By ScarletVarlet (Sep 21, 2012)

Seems like it would be a bit flimsy with Aluminium legs. OK for my mountaineering tent, which has to give a little in winds of 30 knots and stronger, but I wouldn't want to see that flexibility in a tripod. How about using Carbon tubes, which can be more rigid?

Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (Oct 1, 2012)

Rigid also means more brittle. There is a reason why they don't make collapsible tent poles out of carbon.

Anyhow, if you want something else then shop for a different category of tripod. Gitzo would be happy to sell you a carbon model for $300 or more.

By Rattus (Oct 2, 2012)

They do, but they're not all that cheap...

By techmine (Sep 21, 2012)

I bought it recently for my Colorado family vacation and used primarily with my Fuji X10. I loved the portability and design. This is mainly for a small camera and not for DSLR. The camera remained attached to this and that allowed us to take a lot of group shots with 5 second setup(unfolding). Constant height helps in faster setup. You can keep it folded and use it for video for better stabilization (as compared to hand held). It even fits in most pockets, baby strollers, backpacks. OMG very very flexible.
PS - I do have a Vanguard Tripod for heavy duty use.

I didn't know that there is a kit that makes it even better....Thanks!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
Agnius Griskevicius
By Agnius Griskevicius (Sep 21, 2012)

Save your money.

I bought one of those a while back (yes, it is NOT a new product) and there are just too many compromises - it is wobbly, can't adjust height easily, can't set it up on uneven ground, did I say it is wobbly - especially if it is windy. I did not like it at all.

Ended up buying Gitzo traveler and Arca P0, much happier now.

Some things can be made flimsier and still work OK, but this tripod is just too light and not ridgid enough - rubber bands don't hold it tight enough - hence wobble.

By Dennis (Sep 22, 2012)

I've seen them in person - if I needed to carry something very small & light I'd go for a gorillapod or some other tripod that sacrifices height to remain stable.

Joe Shaffer
By Joe Shaffer (Sep 24, 2012)

Yes.. a Gitzo/Arca setup also costs right around $800.. You're comparing an apple to an orange right now.

By balchinian (Sep 25, 2012)

More like an apple to a wedding cake. For small cameras, the zipshot works fine. And for the cost, it's not a bad deal at all.

By richardday (Sep 21, 2012)

I went for the Velbon UT 43D, much more rigid, almost as light and certainly better made, okay maybe more than 2x the price, but we aren't talking mega bucks here are we?

Together with the Velbon V4 extending arm unit I can fit this comfortably into the bottom of my Manfrotto Stile VII shoulder bag. Holds up to a D7000 with even the 70-300VR really well.

Amazon UK have them at reasonable prices, I'm sure the other sites do as well.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 21, 2012)

I just hope the legs themselves are made out of cardboard, I will be buying 3 of these nifty thingies then.

By meanwhile (Sep 22, 2012)

If you keep up this level of quality in your comments you can be up to 2000 by year's end. I know you won't let us down!

By marike6 (Sep 21, 2012)

Why not just carry something like a CF Benro Travel Angel or if you just want a stable platform for a P&S, a Joby GorillaPod? The Travel Angel is more than sturdy enough for my D800, yet extremely lightweight, making it not at all a burden to carry.

By choochoo22 (Sep 21, 2012)

The Travel Angel weighs three times the Zipshop weight and sells for eight times the price. These may be reasons "why not?" for some people.

By NancyP (Sep 21, 2012)

The REAL value of this for DSLR users is as an off-camera radio/infrared controlled slave flash mount. Of course, that doesn't help if you anticipate wanting flash at significantly lower or higher than 44". It also doesn't help if you have a huge and heavy diffuser. But if you are diffusing via translucent produce bag or some other lightweight DIY method, or using a snoot, the tent-pole tripod could be useful.

By Len_Gee (Sep 21, 2012)

do you recommend keeping the camera image stablization on since the tripod might be a bit wobbley? Thinking of using it with either MFT or Sony RX100 cameras.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
By qwertyasdf (Sep 21, 2012)

Probably adequate by using 10-sec timer, under not so windy conditions.
If it is till wobbling after 10 seconds, probably there's an earthquake

1 upvote
By lokthefish (Sep 21, 2012)

tent makers have been doing this for years! i have one and they are durable. but sturdy?? maybe for a point and shoot...nothing more

1 upvote
By Schnupps (Sep 21, 2012)

It should be noted, that there is also a smaller version of only 255g and 70cm height (23cm folded). Not bad for an always with you tripod. I´ll have to test how it compares in this area to my Cullmann DIGI-POD short (60cm, 320g).

Is it not possible to use just 2 leg segments, instead of all 4 for smaller height?

1 upvote
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Sep 21, 2012)

Unfortunately no, due to the quick-release tension method of leg extension.

By Curieux (Sep 21, 2012)

Do You have a tripod 2.5 meter height ?

By wootpile (Sep 21, 2012)

I like the new product reviews. Keep them coming

By dbirling (Sep 21, 2012)

I wish they made a more robust version as well, I've looked at those in the store and the legs themselves are not the weak point, it's the connection to the head and the flimsy ball head, with a robust head, or a 3/8" screw, the legs could hold a full size camera.

By DavidZvi (Sep 21, 2012)

I've had one for a couple of years, nothing new. It's actually great for sticking a flash on.

By increments (Sep 21, 2012)

Aah, good idea.

1 upvote
By ZorSy (Sep 21, 2012)

If this tripod is as steady as my tent (using the same system for frame), thanks but not! Plus inability to adjust the length to accommodate uneven surface...

By deep7 (Sep 21, 2012)

I could really use this. Great idea. Must see if I can get one in NZ.

I use this basic but clever technology for work equipment that gets abused in a way that would make cameras turn to dust and, after five years, they all work as new.

You should be able to compensate for a hill by "unfolding" one segment - is that right?

Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Sep 21, 2012)

Extreme hills will be a problem, but it can handle moderate hills by simply moving one of the legs inward. Unfortunately, there's no way to just unfold one segment at a time--they all have to be unfolded at once.

By Tan68 (Sep 22, 2012)

i imagine the bottom segments have metal tips on them. these metal tips make contact with the ground.

i am not sure, though, why one of the three legs could not have one or more sections folded up. this shortened section would not have the metal tip at the end. at the end would be exposed bungee (the band that runs up the middle) to rest on the ground. tent poles don't Have to be fully extended. people just choose to deploy them fully. for obvious reasons.

since these seem to be similar to tent poles and the bungee of tent poles is similar to the bungee on my gaiters, i make a guess that resting the exposed bungee at the tripod section joint against the ground will not cut the bungee.

i mostly use the gaiters on snow but have crossed exposed rock and have scuffed the bungee that runs under my boot. don't drag the tripod leg on the ground.. should be fine.

if these legs do not operate as tent poles do and the bungee is thin like a hair band, then all bets off. of course.

By Tan68 (Sep 22, 2012)

oh... if you do want to leave one or more leg sections folded up, you would have to use a rubber band or velcro wrap to keep that section folded up.

sorry for the long post..

By Langusta (Sep 21, 2012)

Ball head + 3 white canes + black paint...voilà a tripod :)

By tt321 (Sep 21, 2012)

How long will this last? It looks as if will work as a new device but frequent users may not have it survive the one-year warranty period. Does it even come with a one-year warranty?

1 upvote
By jikicz (Sep 21, 2012)

It can be very long generally, as you can see in durable tent poles.

1 upvote
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Sep 21, 2012)

I believe it's a 2-year limited warranty and I can see this thing lasting quite a long time if you take care of your gear.

By qwertyasdf (Sep 21, 2012)

DPreview, does the ball head give a tight lock, for lets say a 5DII plus a 16-35mm?!?

I do not think this is pointless. For travelers that go out for a whole day and only look forward to use a tripod at night, this makes absolutely perfect sense. It's simply not worth it to carry a tripod for 8 hours to take a few shots at the end of the day.
For safety, I won't worry much, will the legs just snap and the camera crash to the ground?! Not a chance.
Wind?! Might be a problem, it's so thin and probably very aerodynamic anyways.
Needs a 10-sec timer to be steady? so be it.

1 upvote
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Sep 21, 2012)

Just buy a carbon fibre tripod. If you carry the head in your bag, rather than atop of the tripod, weight will not be such an issue. This thing looks as if it will topple as soon as you mount a Canon 1100D, let alone your 5D II.

Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Sep 21, 2012)

I threw my 5D Mark III on top and the head remained locked in place, but I really had to ratchet down on the clamp. It's doable, but I wouldn't exceed that 3 lb. weight limit. I think the Zipshot is ideal for advanced point-and-shoots and ILCs.

1 upvote
By qwertyasdf (Sep 21, 2012)

I always think that CF tripods are way into the diminishing return territory, one hv to pay a lot for the rather small weight savings over alloy tripods.
If I use it once per day, I'll pay, but I use it once per year...

Tristan Tripp
By Tristan Tripp (Sep 21, 2012)

If you don't need the height I would highly recommend one of the little manfrotto table top tripods (model 209 I think?) with a ball head of your choice (I use an old leitz, but have just got a small FLM head for a different tripod which is fantastic). I have found that this works very well, and have not had any stability issues with heavier cameras.

By areseeuu (Sep 24, 2012)

I have one of these and occasionally use it with a Canon 40D /w Tamron 18-270 (original, non-PZD) while hiking. It works, marginally.

The legs won't snap, don't worry about that at all. However, you'll find that getting the ball head snug enough so that the camera doesn't repoint itself after you let go quite frustrating. This is especially true if you need to point it up or down, so the camera+lens's CG is out from under the ball head. For me, while hiking, the benefit of a lighter, smaller tripod outweighs this frustration.

I also wouldn't try to use it for multi-second exposures at night (or time lapse work) if there's much wind. It's stable, but it's not particularly rigid.

1 upvote
By MrTaikitso (Sep 21, 2012)

Other than the legs being the same height, the one issue that concerns me (I have tried one in a shop), is how long the elastic 'string' in the middle of the legs that makes the whole thing work will last. Even my posh (specific well known brand) tripod broke after a few years of very periodical use.

1 upvote
By hadilev (Sep 21, 2012)

I won't use this with my SLR, but it is perfect accessory for my phone, to use the ND filter or self-timer, or even to shoot a video of an event.

1 upvote
Total comments: 94