I’ve been conducting an ongoing search for the best travel tripod for a while now. But as much as I love travel tripods, sometimes they’re just too small and light for some shoots, whether it’s with a big lens, a heavy panning robot, a time-lapse where I just need it to stay super still, or a tall tripod to get over the heads of the crowds, sometimes I just need something that’s bigger, taller, and stronger.
I often use an Induro AT413 alloy tripod. It’s big and heavy and takes a beating in its stride, but it sure is stable and solid and ridiculously tall.
Recently I’ve been trying out the Oben CT-2391. The folks at B&H Photo sent me one to try. It’s much lighter than the Induro but also handles heavy loads and has a tall stance.
First, the basics. It’s a 3-section carbon fiber tripod. Its legs use twist locks for the extensions. It has a maximum load capacity of nearly 40 pounds, and it weighs nearly 3.5 pounds. Folded down, it collapses to 28 inches, so it’s too big to qualify as what I’d call a travel tripod (for one thing, it’s too big to fit comfortably in carry-on).
The Oben CT-2391 is sold as just a set of legs or bundled with a tripod head. In the measurements and specs here I’m referring to just the legs only. I paired it with the Oben BC-166 ballhead, a heavy-duty head that makes a good combination.
The legs are in three sections that extend to a maximum height, without the center column extended, of about 63 inches. (There’s also another 4-section version that folds down about 5 inches shorter.)
The extensions can be adjusted independently and lock in place with twist locks. The locks are rubberized and grippy enough to use easily in cold or damp conditions. There’s no special sealing at the joints, so they require the usual care you would exercise to guard against grime and grit getting inside the sections.
Each of the legs can be splayed independently at a choice of three angles. The angle lock is fully manual, which means that adjusting it requires pulling it out and pushing it in manually (contrasting to the spring-lock that some tripods have).
At the top of the legs is a bubble level.
Extending the center column all the way up makes the overall height just over 6 feet.
But fully extended the column does have a little give at the joint, introducing a slight wobble. So for maximum stability, you’ll probably want to keep the center column down.
The head base is broad and a good foundation for larger tripod heads.
And if you want to shoot extra low, you can splay the legs wide and remove the center column.
It comes with rubber feet. They’re removable, so you can unscrew them and replace them with steel spikes or some other kind of attachment if you like.
What’s in the Box?
It’s sold in various configurations, but in the legs-only version it comes with the legs and a soft case that has pretty substantial padding, solid zippers, and is long enough to take the legs and a ballhead attached.
Maximum Height (with center column extended): 72.4 inches / 183.9 cm
Maximum Height (without center column extended): 62.9 inches / 159.8 cm
Minimum Shooting Height: 7.0 inches / 17.8 cm
Closed Length: 28 inches / 71.1 cm
Maximum Load: 39.6 lbs / 18 kg
Weight: 3.45 lbs / 1.56 kg
Leg Sections: 3
I found it to work well. It’s a lot lighter to lug around that the heavy Induro tripod I often use when I need a larger tripod but still offers good stability even when putting a pretty heavy load on top of an Oben BC-166 ballhead holding a Nikon D810 with a battery grip and a Sigma 150-600 super-telephoto lens. It also offers plenty of height, which can be handy whether you want a comfortable shooting height or are trying to shoot over the top of something or someone in the foreground.
The Oben CT-2391 is available at B&H Photo for $450.