There are a lot of tiny, pocket tripods out there. But most of them can’t hold much weight. Nearly all of them can hold a compact camera or GoPro but struggle with a DSLR or large mirrorless setup. You can step up to a heavier-duty tabletop tripod, but that often adds bulk.
Really Right Stuff has recently come out with some new products designed for travel photography. First was the Multi-Clamp, similar in many respects to the venerable Manfrotto Super Clamp but smaller and lighter. It also allowed for various configurations when paired with other RRS accessories.
They’ve also released their Pocket ‘Pod, a small table-top setup designed for use on the go.
There are two versions of the Pocket ‘Pod legs. The basic version (model TFA-01) splays the legs in a single position. You can also stand it more upright, but because there’s no way to locks the legs in a more upright position the stability will vary by the amount of grip on the surface and the weight of the camera rig you put on it. But it’s also very strong–with the legs fully splayed it has a load capacity of up to 100 pounds.
The one I’ve been interested in and have been using recently is similar but adds locking mechanisms to each of the legs that allow each leg to be splayed in one of three positions. That allows for a lot of different options.
Basics of the Really Right Stuff Ultra Pocket Pod
The legs fold up neatly when not in use, and it doesn’t take up much space in the camera bag.
The main body parts are made of anodized aluminum, while the internal parts are stainless steel. It’s solidly made, and feels it, but is still extremely portable.
One of the core features of this tripod is that the legs splay and lock in place with a ratcheted lock at the top of each leg. Each leg can be opened to one of three positions.
There are two benefits to that. One is that you can safely use the legs in a more conventional upright tripod stance. That gives you a few inches of extra height, which can be more comfortable at ground level and can be better with wide-angle lenses. It does, though, narrow the base and make the center of gravity more important.
The other benefit is that it’s much more flexible for use on uneven surfaces because you can lock each leg in a different position.
The drawback of having the locks is that it also lowers the load capacity of the legs down significantly. Whereas the basic Pocket Pod has a load capacity of up to 100 pounds with the legs fully splayed, the Pocket Pod Ultra has a load capacity of up to 15 pounds. But that’s still plenty for a great many DSLR/lens combinations.
The tripod’s feet are wrapped with a rubber strip that adds grip.
Using with Larger Cameras
The load capacity with the legs fully splayed is 15 pounds, which is more than enough for most mirrorless and even DSLR setups, even something like a Nikon D810 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephotos. Smaller lenses are no problem at all.
But you also have to keep an eye on the center of gravity, especially if you’re using one of the upright positions.
When you splay the legs wide, it covers quite a bit more area, which adds lateral stability (ie. it’s less likely to tip over).
The TFA-01 Ultra refers only to the legs. And you can, if you like, attach the camera directly to the legs.
But that’s not going to give you much flexibility in framing the shot. Adding a compact tripod head solves that while adding a little height.
I’ve paired mine with the RRS BH-25 Pro, which makes for a perfect match for me—that’s the one you see in many of the photos I’ve included here. It’s small, strong, beautifully made, and uses an Arca-style quick release.
You could pair it with an even smaller and lighter RRS model, the BC-18 Micro Ball. And RRS offers the Pocket Pods in packages with some of their heads.
But there’s no reason you have to stick with RRS–it will work well with just about any other small, detachable tripod head. There’s a standard 1/4-20 stud attached to the top of the legs, and it includes a 3/8-16 adapter. So it’s compatible with just about any tripod head out there.
That said, the attachment point is pretty narrow, and the whole point of the Pocket Pod is to keep things light and small, so it doesn’t make much sense to use a large, bulky tripod head. A larger, heavier head also risks making the whole combination too top heavy.
Really Right Stuff TFA-01 Ultra Pocket ‘Pod Specs
Leg Material: 6061-T6 black anodized aluminum
Number of Leg Sections: 1
Load Capacity: 15 lb / 6.8 kg
Platform Diameter: 1.3″ / 34mm
Number of Leg Angle Positions: 3 (1st angle stop, 2nd angle stop, fully splayed)
Stud: 1/4-20 with 3/8-16 adapter
Folded Length with Stud: 5.9″ / 150mm
Height at 1st Angle Stop: 4.7″ / 119mm
Height at 2nd Angle Stop: 3.3″ / 84mm
Height Fully Splayed: 1.5″ / 37mm
Weight: 4.8 oz / 135g
What’s in the Box?
RRS don’t waste money with fancy packaging. It comes in a small, white cardboard mailing tube with a sticker indicating the model number.
- TFA-01 Ultra Pocket Tripod
- 2 x T10 Torx Keys (required to loosen/tighten leg angle tension)
- 1/4″-20 to 3/8″-16 Stainless Steel adapter bushing
- User’s Guide. You can find a digital version of the manual here.
You can buy the legs alone or in bundles with some of RRS’s small ballheads.
- The Torx keys can be used to tighten or loosen the tension of the legs. The tension is preset at the factory, but there might be usages where you want to customize that.
So it’s worth considering what the alternatives might be.
Disregarding some of the lightweight pocket tripods that have load capacities of under 10 lbs and aren’t well suited to use with a DSLR, the closest competitor is probably the Kirk TT-1. Both collapse into very small packages, and both mount the camera at about the same height, give or take.
The Kirk model is much stronger, with a load capacity of a massive 100 lbs, but the RRS model is much more flexible because the leg angles are adjustable. The basic RRS Pocket ‘Pod, without the ratcheting locks, is more directly similar to the Kirk.
The Varavon Baby T3 Mini Tripod is another small but strong option, but it is still a lot larger than the Pocket Pods.
Joby’s Gorillapod series is another popular option for ultra-portable supports. The largest in the series, the Focus, has a load capacity of up to 11 pounds. So that’s getting close to the Pocket Pod’s load capacity. You do gain even more flexibility in the legs, but my experience with using DSLRs on Gorillapods is that they simply don’t offer the amount of rigidity I’m after to really hold the camera still. And the price is still in the same ballpark as the RRS Pocket Pods, although that does include the very rudimentary ballhead that comes with them standard.
Another option, which takes quite a different approach, is the new Platypod Pro Max. Both rank very highly in terms of stability and portability, and the prices are comparable. The Platypod Pro Max, though, can handle far higher loads. Here’s my recent review of it.
Really Right Stuff have a reputation for beautifully made gear, and the TFA-01 Ultra Pocket Pod is no exception. All of the parts fit together perfectly with no looseness or give that can lead to movement.
After using the TFA-01 Ultra Pocket Pod for a while now with both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, I love it. It obviously doesn’t give you the height you get with a regular travel tripod, so you’ll need to be shooting either at ground level or putting it on something else to get some height, but for sheer pack-and-go convenience it’s hard to beat. It has quickly become a staple of my travel kit. I’ve found it to be a shot saver in a low-light pinch and stable enough for captures with anything from DSLRs to GoPros.
Where to Find Them
The Pocket ‘Pod is available in several configurations from legs alone to packages with RRS’s smallest, lightest ballhead, the BC-18, and the heavier-duty BH-25 Pro.
Until recently, Really Right Stuff only sold their gear directly. But you can now find them at B&H Photo.
You can also order them directly from RRS.
Ricoh GR III Accessories & Replacement Parts
Here are the model numbers of some of the core accessories and replacement parts for the Ricoh GR III.
- Ring Cap: GN-1
The ring cap is the small plastic ring that attaches around the lens. Chances are, it's fallen off. While you do have to remove it to attach the lens adapter, it's a poor design that tends to fall off and get lost far too often. I've lost a couple of them now.
The camera will work just fine without it. But that will leave some contacts exposed around the lens barrel, which isn't ideal.
The official replacement part is overpriced. But you can also pick up much less expensive aftermarket versions. They're also available in different colors, so you can bling up your camera with a personal touch--or make it look like the Street Edition.
- 【Compatibility】: Designed for Ricoh GRIII (only).This decoration ring is made of high quality...
- 【Easy to use & Protector】:Easy installation and removal and Protects lens barrel exterior.
The GR III has a USB Type-C connector port. When you get a cable, you can get them with another USB Type-C connector on the other end or a more traditional USB Type-A connector. Which you choose depends entirely on what you're plugging into. For example, some newer laptops only have USB-C, while most other computers have USB-A.
- The Anker Advantage: Join the 50 million+ powered by our leading technology.
- Enhanced Durability: Improved construction techniques and materials make a cable that lasts 12× longer.
Battery & Charger
- Battery: DB-110
It's a rechargeable lithium-ion battery rated at 3.6V 1350mAh 4.9Wh.
There are some other cameras that also use the same battery--notably, some Olympus cameras (the Olympus model number for the same battery is LI-90B). So they're quite widely available. You can get the official Ricoh version. There are also aftermarket versions that can be much better value but work just as well.
- This Wasabi Power kit includes 2 batteries and 1 charger for the Ricoh DB-110
- Each Wasabi Power battery features Premium Grade A cells, 3.7V, 1300mAh
- Charger: BJ-11
You can charge the battery in the camera (using a USB-C cable). There are also external battery chargers available. They're especially useful if you're using spare batteries, so you can charge and shoot simultaneously.
- AC Adapter: K-AC166
This is used to power the camera for longer shoots, such as time-lapse, or if you happen to be using the camera for live streaming as a webcam. It connects via the camera's USB-C port.
Wide-Angle Conversion Lens
- Wide-Angle Lens: GW-4
- Lens Adapter: GA-1
- Wired Shutter Release: CA-3
- Easy to operate, Half-press to focus, Full-press to shoot
- Fits macro photography well, eliminates camera shake
- Standard External Viewfinder: GV-1
- Mini External Viewfinder: GB-2
- ✪LCD Screen Protector perfectly fit for Ricoh GR 3 DSLR Camera . Not for other model. Easy to install...
- ✪9H Hardness - Longer tempering time, which made the screen protector has a higher hardness. Prevents...
- Soft Case: GC-9
- Neck Strap: GS-3
- Hand Strap: GS-2
Ricoh has produced a wide-angle conversion lens that takes the standard 28mm view down to a 21mm (in 35mm equivalent). While it does add some extra bulk to an otherwise small camera, it works well and adds a more dramatic, wider view. I have an [in-depth review of it separately](https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/ricoh-gw-4-wide-angle-conversion-lens/).
Something to be aware of, though, is that you will also need to pick up the lens adapter separately. For reasons I really don't understand, the wide-angle conversion lens doesn't come with the adapter, and both are required to make it work. So make sure you pick up one of those at the same time.
Remote Shutter Releases
This is the official Ricoh remote shutter. It connects to the camera via a USB cable, and it's a simple shutter release (i.e., there's no timer or intervalometer).
You can also find aftermarket shutter releases for the GR III.
The Ricoh GR III doesn't have a built-in viewfinder. But they make two versions of an external viewfinder that slides into the camera's hot shoe. It covers both the standard 28mm view as well as the 21mm view if you're using the wide-angle conversion lens. There's also a mini viewfinder; that model seems to be hard to find.
The back screen of the GR III is quite exposed, and if you lie the camera on its back, the screen comes in contact with the surface. Even if you're putting the camera in your pocket, there's a risk of keys or coins scratching the screen.
There's no official screen protector, but there are good aftermarket versions. The one I use is this one. It's essentially a consumable that protects the screen. If you scratch the protector, you can quickly and easily replace it with another from the pack.
You can, of course, use the GR III with just about any camera case or bag. But Ricoh does make a dedicated soft-case that fits snugly around the camera and offers some protection even if you're toting the camera around in your pocket. I've been using one for a couple of years, and it's held up very well, and it keeps my camera safer from bumps and scratches.
Again, there's no particular reason you have to use the official GR neck strap, but there is one. The main part is leather, and it even has a discreet, embossed "GR".
If you do use a different strap, be aware that the strap loops on the camera are very small and won't take thicker (i.e., stronger) attachment loops. So you might need to use some D-rings as well.
There's even an official "GR" leather hand strap! But, again, aside from the branding, there's no special reason to use the official strap. If you do use a different one, you might need D-rings if the thread doesn't go through the camera's small attachment loops.
The GR III doesn't have a built-in flash. It supports the Pentax P-TTL flash protocol.Pentax External Flashes: