Latest sample galleries
Latest in-depth reviews
The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD boasts an impressive zoom range in a relatively compact package. How does it perform? We took a look.
|The fully extended Leofoto LM-364C with a compact (non-Leofoto) gimbal, full-frame camera, and 500mm prime lens.|
Leofoto is a brand of Laitu Photographic, a manufacturer that has been making tripods, heads and accessories since 2014, both under their own name and for other brands. The early products from the Leofoto brand were clearly 'inspired' by the designs and appearances of successful products from other companies. However, they have recently developed some of their own innovative gear, as well as a broad catalog of photographic accessories; from plates and clamps to straps and camera cages. The quality of this new gear is intended to compete at the same level as some of the best in the market, as well, and that is what we're here to evaluate.
The Leofoto LM 'Summit' series are all modular apex, systematic tripods, like the older and larger 'Mountain' series, and come in 32, 36, and 40mm top tube sizes. Within the Summit series, there are three, four, and five-section leg options, as well as regular and long versions. Recently, Leofoto even added an entirely olive green version of the LM-364CL.
|In addition to the LM range, Leofoto also makes the LS 'Ranger' series, which share the same leg options, but top them with a compact apex for a slimmer, lighter package. This series includes the CEX models, with a built-in leveling half ball on the slim apex. (Ranger shown on top, Summit below.)|
The top platform on the LM-364C can be replaced with the generously included 75mm bowl insert to accept large video heads or appropriately-sized leveling half-balls. Leofoto also offers carbon-fiber quick columns, geared columns, and horizontal columns to fit this 70mm central opening. Whether these accessories are readily available in your part of the world can still be uncertain, though Leofoto is gaining distributors in many regions.
|To get really low, and still be level, the Leofoto LB-75S leveler fits into the LM-series apex.|
|This tripod was tested and compared with its modular apex peers. Left to right; ProMediaGear TR344, Really Right Stuff TVC-34, Sirui SR-3204, FLM CP34-L4 II, Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS.|
The Leofoto LM-364C was tested and compared alongside tripods in the same class of 'Series 3' (33-36mm top leg tube diameter) "Systematic' (modular apex with removable platform) type, in terms of size and utility, including products from Sirui, Really Right Stuff, ProMediaGear, Gitzo and FLM.
All of these tripods were used in four seasons of sand, snow, mud, rain, and salt water; set up in the bog-like Atlantic salt marshes and the wind-swept Appalachian mountains. They have been loaded with gimbal heads, ball heads, geared and pano-heads, and up to 4kg (8.8lb) lenses attached to cameras ranging from APS-C to medium-format, shooting anything from long-exposure landscapes to extreme telephoto birds-in-flight. The only test they did not go through was being rough-handled at the airport, thanks to pandemic travel restrictions.
Below is a relative height comparison between the Leofoto LM-364C and a 6 foot (1.83m) photographer.
|The Leofoto Summit LM-364C standing tall on thick legs with a leveling aid inserted into the 70mm opening of the modular apex.|
The 36mm top tubes of the LM-364C are the second largest in this group, and the aluminum parts are impressively finished for the price, with a well machined apex and nice rubber grips on the leg locks. The wide range of Leofoto accessories available for these 'systematic' tripods increases their utility and appeal, and the fit and finish of these extras is equally good. In terms of materials and construction, the initial impression of Leofoto gear is quite good.
However, the proof is in the details. When fully extended but not yet locked, the leg tubes wiggle a bit more than expected, as if they aren’t a very tight fit inside each other, or the loosened locks allow too much play. Once the locks are tightened, of course, this flex disappears and the legs are rigid. This is still different from the feel of every other tripod in this group, and points to a less-precise mating of the tubes and locks.
The flat platform that comes initially installed is a thick and well-finished aluminum plug with deep sides, a large weight hook underneath, firm plastic disk on top, and a set screw to prevent a head from unscrewing off of it. This platform can be easily swapped out due to the clamping spider and repositionable locking lever, similar to the Gitzo method. However, unlike Gitzo, Leofoto put a pull-out safety button prominently on one side, so it’s possible that a loose platform could come out with an accidental knock of that button. That said, any responsible user should insure the platform is tightened down before moving or using any of these tripods.
|On occasion, the flat Leofoto Summit platform was swapped for the LB-75S platform leveler, or the included 75mm video bowl and a Leofoto YB-75SP leveling half ball. Both of these extras are as well made as the tripod itself, and very smooth and easy to level. Due to their standard sizes of 75mm for the half ball, and 70mm for the insert diameter and interior ridges, these accessories can be used in the apexes of four of the other tripods in this group, and worked equally well on those legs.|
The spring-loaded, ratcheting leg angle locks are easy to pull from the front or push from the back, and ratchet back in pretty well. However, when it gets really cold, the grease on the angle locks firms up and they don’t really snap back in like they do in the warmer months, or in the studio. Adjusting the angle of each leg is still easy and quick, but required a nudge sometimes.
Packed up, the LM-364C is about average in weight, but stays nicely tucked into its padded, 'horn-type' bag for longer trips. While the overall packed size is on the larger end of the group, its leg tubes are also the second widest, so there is a lot of tripod being carried around. One minor annoyance is that, like the Gitzo, there is no hard stop under the apex when folding the legs inward, so without a center column, they can be pushed to extreme angles. This made repacking the legs a bit more cumbersome compared to some others.
In use with heavy loads of long lenses and gimbals, medium-format cameras and geared heads, or even complicated panoramic heads, the hefty Leofoto never felt insubstantial or not up to the task. The stabilizing effect of those wider-than-average leg tubes was apparent, and the LM-364C only exhibited a few minor hiccups of sliding leg locks or slow angle locks while supporting whatever was the gear of the day. Considering how large the heads and lenses on top usually were, it was rarely noticed that the Leofoto is the shortest, fully deployed, set of legs in the group (by 1cm).
|The Leofoto leg locks are nicely wrapped in firm, grippy rubber, and are easy to grasp all at once and unlock. They require just a quarter turn to unlock, and the legs come out quite easily, but on more than a few occasions, the legs seemed locked after a quick turn, but then started a slow, sliding compression once weight or pressure was put on them.|
|The included rubber mushroom-style feet worked well on many different surfaces, and while the included spikes were easy enough to install, they seemed short and a little insubstantial. They still did their job on ice and some softer surfaces. Leofoto makes a range of other feet available, including titanium rock claws, which seem both excessive and fun to try out at the seashore.|
One thing to note, the apex of the LM-364C only has a single 3/8” threaded hole for accessory attachment, similar to the Gitzo ‘Easy-Link,’ rather than the typical 1/4” seen on most accessories and other tripods (while the ProMediaGear has both sizes). This just means that a reducer bushing will be needed to attach that ‘magic arm’ or clamp to hold a phone, battery pack or other small device. Naturally, Leofoto offers 3/8” threaded accessories specifically designed to use the anti-twist holes next to this attachment point.
Cleaning the legs of the LM-364C requires pulling off the one-piece shim with a lot more force than any other tripod, and it felt like this thin, plastic part was going to break. It did not, but it is still a little unsettling to do this for each leg section. The lack of rubber seals in the locks is also apparent.
Availability of extra shims is unpredictable in different regions, and no mention of spare parts was found anywhere from Leofoto, Laitu, or their distributors.
Vibrations can make even the sharpest lens turn out mushy, blurred photos, and can ruin long exposures. In the typical use cases for this class of tripod, reducing the effects of vibration is extremely important, since longer focal lengths and higher resolutions magnify the effects of any movement, and environmental vibrations like wind and water will have an increasing effect on larger legs and gear. Camera vibration can be mechanically minimized with mirror lockup, electronic shutters, and a remote shutter release, while adding weight to the bottom of the tripod (with the weight hook or a tripod stone bag) can help stabilize the whole setup. However, not all sources of vibration can be eliminated, so we tested whether the tripod will dampen them or transmit and reflect them to the camera.
The tripod legs were fully extended, and our vibration analyzer for heavy-duty tripods (an iPad on a 3.2 kg (7 lb) cantilevered weight) was mounted directly to the flat platform's 3/8" threaded bolt with a long lens plate. An industrial solenoid valve with a plastic hammer was used as a source of vibration (a knock to the bottom of one leg). The resulting graph of all three accelerometers shows both the resistance of the tripod to the initial shock, as well as the rate of decay for residual vibration within the tripod.
Leofoto LM-364C vibration resistance test results - click for larger graph
*Note that this graph is relative only to this class of tripods. The weight and test equipment was adjusted to provide a conclusive result for this size of tripod.
In the vibration testing, the Leofoto LM-364C showed the full advantage of its 36mm top tubes and solid construction, providing a good amount of resistance to the initial shock, and then a very quick dampening of any residual vibrations. This puts the 'Summit series' Leofoto in the upper half of this competitive group for direct vibration resistance, only edged out by the Gitzo and RRS. There is nothing to complain about here.
With Leofoto gear in general, you get a lot for the price paid, but in some cases, that 'value' is coming from the innovations and designs of others. When it comes to their tripods, they are generic enough that it's the performance that matters, and the LM-364C holds up quite well. This 'Summit' tripod provides a nice balance between size, weight and modularity, while remaining solidly in the middle of this demanding pack of competitors when it comes to performance.
The low price for this size and type of tripod is the real attraction, and after a thorough review and long testing period, there were only a few minor issues with the fit of all the parts. If you spend a lot of time using your tripod, this is a still a good choice and will be a satisfying companion in many instances. The wide range of options in the 'Summit' and related 'Ranger' series, with similar legs and materials, mean there is probably a good personal fit in the Leofoto tripod line for most needs.
One ongoing concern is after-sale support and availability of spare parts for a tripod of this type, which is intended to be maintained and used for a very long time to come. Admittedly, this can also be a concern for some other brands in this comparison if you are outside of North America.
The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD boasts an impressive zoom range in a relatively compact package. How does it perform? We took a look.
What’s the best camera for around $2000? These capable cameras should be solid and well-built, have both speed and focus for capturing fast action and offer professional-level image quality. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing around $2000 and recommended the best.
What's the best camera for shooting landscapes? High resolution, weather-sealed bodies and wide dynamic range are all important. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting landscapes, and recommended the best.
If you're looking for the perfect drone for yourself, or to gift someone special, we've gone through all of the options and selected our favorites.
Most modern cameras will shoot video to one degree or another, but these are the ones we’d look at if you plan to shoot some video alongside your photos. We’ve chosen cameras that can take great photos and make it easy to get great looking video, rather than being the ones you’d choose as a committed videographer.
Although a lot of people only upload images to Instagram from their smartphones, the app is much more than just a mobile photography platform. In this guide we've chosen a selection of cameras that make it easy to shoot compelling lifestyle images, ideal for sharing on social media.
|Reina by Great Bustard|
from in the style of a Large Format Portrait
|_SDI2370bw by rick decker|
from Crashing Wave
|2019_0720_163302AA by old shutter bugger|
from In The Style Of EDWARD WESTON's Sitll Lifes
|IMG_750-16662-2 Dusty drive by Jill Hancock|
from Daylight Pictures of Modern Trucks in Action
|Winter Days by DaveN01|
Peep some pixels from the hefty 100 megapixel files created by the new Hasselblad X2D 100C, as we prepare our DPReview TV review of the camera.
About 95% of Earth's oceans haven't been observed. Researchers at MIT have built a battery-free, wireless underwater camera that may help scientists explore more of the oceans.
Drone manufacturer DJI has moved its staff into an innovative and masterfully-designed new building in Shenzhen, China. Here is a first look.
We (metaphorically) sat down with Brandon Faith of Baggen Photos to ask him a few questions about what it's like to photograph motorsports events with his Crown Graphic large format camera.
Sony's new 320GB and 640GB 'Tough' CFexpress Type A cards are due out next month and while the 640GB card will offer the most storage of any Type A card to date, it doesn't come cheap.
Adobe's Photoshop and Premiere Elements apps make editing photos and videos easy for users of all skill levels. The latest versions add more editing tools, more AI features and improved performance.
The Sony FX30 is an explicitly video-focused camera, but could its technology herald a refresh of the company's APS-C stills line-up? We have a look at what that might mean.
The lens offers a constant F2.8 aperture through a rather unique focal length range for full-frame camera systems. It’s expected to be available starting October 27, 2022 for $699.
Can AI overcome the physical limitations of smartphone sensors and lenses? A Qualcomm executive thinks so, thanks in large part to improvements in processing power, hardware and artificial intelligence.
We're starting to see cameras offering 'open gate' video recording, so what is this tool and when is it useful?
The Sony FX30 is a 4K/120p-capable Super35 / APS-C cinema camera that wants to take the battle to the likes of Panasonic's GH series.
Sony's FX30 Super35/APS-C Cinema Line camera is effectively a crop-sensor version of the company's full-frame FX3 camera with sensor-based image stabilization, oversampled 4K/60p capture and '16-bit' Raw output and more.
If you've ever wanted to become an action figure, Hasbro is providing you the opportunity with its new 3D-printed Selfie Series action figures.
When you store photos on the cloud, you expect them to remain safe for a long time. However, some Google Photos users were scared over the weekend when they realized that their photo libraries had become corrupted.
DALL-E's Outpainting feature uses AI to expand existing images and artwork. Ad agency Ogilvy Paris has used Outpainting to expand Johannes Vermeer's famous painting, 'The Milkmaid.'
iOS 16.0.2 addresses, amongst other bug fixes, a problem wherein the second-generation sensor-shift image stabilization tech was causing camera shake issues in some third-party apps.
For the past eight years, the Library of Congress has been working on figuring out the subjects in a large collection of film, TV and music photos. Many of the mysteries have been solved. However, 17 photos have eluded the LC's best efforts, and the public's help is needed to help put names to the final unknown faces.
After having to pull the initial firmware update last month due to an issue that caused some units to stop working, Sony has re-released firmware version 1.1 for its a7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera.
Sigma's latest wide Art-badged prime for full frame is capable of some stunning landscapes. Check out a new batch of sample photos in the gallery.
Winners for this year's annual Comedy Pet Photo Awards have been announced.
While visiting the team in Seattle, Chris and Jordan attempt to eat some chowder. It's difficult. Also, this week they are puppets.
Meike has released its first adapter for Nikon Z cameras. The new MK-EFTZ-B adapter allows Nikon Z users to attach Canon EF and EF-S lenses to their cameras, complete with autofocus and automatic exposure functionality.
The Canon 5D Mark II was released in November 2008. Since then, a photographer used theirs to capture nearly 2.3 million images, which is an average of about 450 photos per day if they shot every single day. The camera is still going strong for its new owner.
Capture One for iPad users cvan now connect their camera, wired or wirelessly, to their iPad for quick image transfers without the need for memory cards and readers.
Digital film scanners can be pricey, so Lomo's latest scanners let shooters do it themselves. Whether you have a digital camera, or simply a smartphone, there's a DigitaLIZA that'll work with your kit. But are the results any good? Let's find out.
The Leica Q2 'Dawn' is the same camera on the inside, but features an all-black paint job and a special Japanese-woven fabric wrap produced by Japanese brand, Hosoo.
It's been a while since we've encountered a lens with a normal to super-telephoto range, how do the photos from the Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 look? Take a gander.
Also new is a built-in screen for checking the battery and shooting mode, as well as a Quick Launch feature for iPhone devices.
Venus Optics' Laowa 58mm F2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO is available for Canon R, Leica L, Nikon Z and Sony E mount camera systems.
Kubrick had three of the ten Zeiss Planar 50mm F0.7 lenses Zeiss produced re-engineered to work as cinema lenses. Kubrick is most known for using these lenses in a candlelit scene in his Oscar-winning film, Barry Lyndon.