Innorel RT85C Carbon Fiber Tripod

Started Dec 17, 2017 | Discussions thread
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JamesIceland New Member • Posts: 7
Innorel RT85C Carbon Fiber Tripod

Hi guys,

I have recently been searching for a new tripod and just wanted to post my experience having chosen the Innorel RT85C.

As a bit of background, I used to live in Hong Kong so I'm very familiar with Aliexpress in China. As a result I have got a fair bit of my camera gear from there over the years and I would say the hit rate for good quality is about 70% (i.e. 30% of stuff is not great).

As a rough guide I would say avoid things like filters, filter holders and lenses on there. Definitely consider LED lights (Godox), Flashes (Yonguo) and things like the cheap collapsible photography studios.

The other product I would recommend considering would be a tripod. I bought a QZSD Q999C carbon fibre travel tripod about 3 years ago and it's been fantastic, for the price. It is still in top condition, easy to maintain, stable for it's size and light to carry. Ditch the included ball head and it's a very decent tripod.

However, I am tall and focus on landscapes here in Iceland where I live. I don't have the budget for the RRS, Gitzo's or equivalents right now so wanted to see what taller tripods were available on Aliexpress. I found the Innorel RT85C. I made contact with the team there before buying asking some basic questions about the tripod and how it compared to similar competitor brands on there.

*Top Tip: to get a sense of how professional a company is on Aliexpress, ask questions before you buy and judge the responses.

The response from Innorel was fast, professional and they took the time to break down some of the pros of the RT85C vs another model they sell themselves which was more expensive. I liked that honesty.

I went ahead and ordered the tripod for US$170 with discount coupons and free shipping via DHL. Admittedly, my timing wasn't great with the Chinese 11.11 sales meaning shipping was SLOOOOOOW but the guys at Innorel chased DHL everyday and even called me by phone with updates from China to Iceland! Once it started moving in the system it arrived in 4 days. Speedy.

The tripod arrived packed very well in a box with no spelling mistakes (believe me, this is not always guaranteed from some brands). It has its own well made carry case which contains the tripod and the spike feet along with an Allen Key for tightening.

The tripod itself is solid. It is heavier than my Q999C but still light enough to use for hiking I would say. I went for the option without the ball head and added my Sirui K20-X to it. The weight remains manageable on my backpack for hiking. The folded size is about 50cm but it folds down well around any ball head.

Unfolding the legs, they are a bit stiff initially but can be loosened if needed. The legs are thick and sturdy and the screw type tighteners for each part are high quality and operate very smoothly. One leg can be detached as a monopod although I have yet to use this feature on any tripod I have bought.

This is a tall tripod. I'm 190cm and without a ball head, it extends to my height, with the centre column raised. I prefer not to use a centre column for stability so with it down, and with a ball head and camera attached, it's almost at my eye level - no more stooping down for me (for fully extended tripod photos at least). That said, with the centre column extended, stability is extremely good. I wouldn't use it like this in high winds but it's very solid.

The centre column has a notch so it won't rotate which is a surprisingly annoying issue I have had with other tripods. There was a shard of carbon fiber on the centre column which did give me a small splinter when I first extended it but it must have been a one off issue as I could find no other sharp points anywhere on the tripod - the finish is excellent.

The legs can be adjusted to 3 different heights ranging from almost parallel to the ground to the most upright setting. Adjustment is made with a pull down latch which is the best implementation of this that I have seen outside of the Gitzo's. It feels well made and not flimsy. My Q999C uses a pull out tab method which is a bit cheap feeling and in the cold, can seize up a bit when the lubricant thickens. I don't foresee this happening with the RT85C - it is a different level in build quality.

The rubber feet are screw on types and can be replaced with the included metal spikes. These fit well and work great so far.

Overall the stability at full height (without centre column raised) is as good as the top brands I have tried. The build quality of the metal, rubber and carbon fiber components is definitely the best I have seen from Aliexpress. It matches the service level I received from the team there. If I sound positive about this tripod it's because I am - sure it's not a dirt cheap Aliexpress special but even though it's on the more pricey end for an unknown brand, it's still orders of magnitude less than the big name tripods. And the quality is definitely not orders of magnitude less. I'm seriously impressed.

If I would recommend improvements they would be to replace the hanging hook from the centre column. It's a generic version and whilst it'll do the job, it's the only bit that looks a bit cheap. I'd also like to see Innorel develop a tall tripod without the centre column, similar to the Gitzo top end tripods. They do have one already but it's not as tall.

I wrote this review because I hadn't heard about Innorel and could not find any reviews prior to buying from them. I have been extremely impressed by the product quality and customer service - they are in a different league to a lot of the sellers on Aliexpress. They are miles ahead of the Zomei and QZSD tripods yet aren't anywhere as well known. I feel it's worth giving a company a shout out like this when they've produced something good and worth considering.

I would dearly love to own a Gitzo but budgets right now don't allow for it. Therefore, if anyone is thinking about a high quality, full size carbon fiber tripod that is also good value, I would highly recommend considering the RT85C. It would also be a worthy 2nd tripod for people too. I'm really impressed!

Here are some photos for you all too. Not the best quality but I had limited space and it's big!

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