REVIEW – For serious photographers, and casual Instagrammers, a tripod is a mandatory piece of equipment if you want to get that special shot. Carrying a big, heavy tripod isn’t always an option. What if there was a small and light, packable tripod with the strength to hold a real camera load? Pedco, a division of multi-brand Industrial Revolution, has released the third iteration of their UltraPod tripod line. Let’s see if it can hold the world on its shoulders or collapses under the pressure.
What is it?
UltraPod 3 is an ultra-portable, lightweight tripod with a claimed ten-pound capacity.
What’s in the box?
- UltraPod 3 tripod
- Cell phone holder
- Really basic instructions
But, let’s talk about the “box”. It’s a blister card – one of the evilest packages in the world.
Normally, I’d just rip the package apart completely, except, the back had more useful instructions than the actual instructions! Luckily, I have a set of blister pack cutters, but you can see that the packaging is still mangled. I’d prefer any other type of packaging.
- Dimensions (folded): 7.25” x 2” x 2.25” (18.4cm x 5.1cm x 5.7cm)
- Weight: 4.7 oz
- Strap length: 13” (33cm)
- Pan adjustment: 360 degrees
- Tilt adjustment: +/- 90 degrees
- Angular adjustment: +/- 20 degrees
- Max safe load: 10 lbs
Design and features
The UltraPod 3 (or UltraPod for short) is made of plastic with rubber sheaths on the tips of the legs and the backs of the two fold-out legs. The rubber tips give the UltraPod a non-slip stance and the rubber on the back of the fold-out legs gives it better grip with using the strap to attach the UltraPod to an object. In the photo above, I don’t have the legs fully extended. When you fully extend the legs, the flat part of the leg tip sits flat on the surface, improving stability.
The head operates with a single twist knob but offers really flexible maneuverability. The ball with the standard 1/4″ mount can swivel in all directions as well as twist. The head itself can pivot forward and back and locks with positive detents.
The included cell phone mount can attach either horizontally or vertically and expands to hold even the largest cell phone.
When collapsed, the UltraPod is quite compact.
If you don’t plan to use the strap, it can be removed.
I started by adding the cell phone holder. It easily expanded to hold my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
I decided to try using the strap to attach the UltraPod to a patio chair.
The rod was a little thin and the UltraPod couldn’t get a good grip. Still, I was able to get it to hold.
I decided to make the second test a little more difficult by trying a vertical rod, but also fairer by using something a little larger.
The UltraPod attached easily and held firm.
They claim it has a 10-pound weight limit. I plopped on my 2.4lb Sony RX10 IV.
The UltraPod held it like a champ, but it took some pretty stringent tightening to keep it from slowly tipping down when the lens was extended. Because of the limited size of my lightbox, I don’t have the front legs fully folded out. Even with that, the UltraPod was extremely stable.
I didn’t have anything with a threaded base that was heavier, so I put it on my Arboleaf scale and pushed down until the scale indicated 10lbs. The UltraPod held perfectly solid. Still, I think this is better suited for phones, action cameras, and small point-and-shoot cameras than massive rigs. But, in a pinch, if the UltraPod is the only tripod in your bag, it could save the day.
The one thing that I can’t test is the long-term durability and viability of the stiffness of the leg joints. If the riveted joints wear out, the legs won’t hold their position if not fully extended. They offer a limited lifetime warranty, so I can only assume they’ve considered that. And, that only really applies if you are in a situation where you can’t extend the legs to their end position where they cannot move any further.
Finally, if you’re a blogger, if you collapse the legs fully, the UltraPod can serve as a handle making it easier to hold your phone or camera steady in your hand.
What I like
- Light weight
- Small size
- Head position flexibility
- Mounting and leg position flexibility
What I’d change
- Get rid of the blister pack packaging
I like the UltraPod 3 tripod. It’s easy to toss in a bag. It is incredibly flexible and can secure your phone or camera on both level and uneven terrain. Having the ability to strap it to just about anything else brings even more shooting flexibility to the table. The head offers great adjustability. If you can’t get the shot with the UltraPod 3, the shot simply isn’t to be had.