Here’s how my job works.
I hear about some cool new product. I ask to review it. I test it and write it up. Then I pack it up and send it back to the manufacturer. (No, I don’t get to keep anything.)
Unfortunately, my eyes are bigger than my stomach. Things pile up, especially smaller things that might not merit a full column. And I start feeling guilty.
That’s why, today, I’ve invented Pogue’s Summer Closet-Cleaning Special! It’s my chance to write mini-reviews of all the tech products I’ve been meaning to get around to. It’s my little way of boosting my shelf esteem.
Tamrac Zipshot Tripod, $50
A tripod makes a huge difference to your photography and video, especially in low light. But come on: Who’s really going to lug around a tripod? Tripods are big, heavy, sharp, and ouchy. When you travel, it’s another entire piece of luggage.
Not anymore. This tripod’s lightweight, spindly aluminum legs don’t telescope. Instead, each leg is in four segments, with a strong elastic cord running down the center. The segments fold up into a 15-inch bundle you can toss into a laptop bag.
And then when you need it, you unwrap two tiny bungee cords, shake the thing by the top, and bam — the legs spring out into position and self-assemble. It takes about three seconds and amazes onlookers. (Check out my video, above, to watch it in action.)
The big downside, of course, is that you can’t adjust the height. The Zipshot is 44 inches tall, just shy of four feet, and that’s what you get. And you can’t adjust the legs individually, except by splaying one leg farther out from the others. Still, that works fine.
There’s a nice ball head on the top, so you can adjust your camera’s aim and rotation (to 90 degrees).
The tripod can easily support pocket cameras and mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, but I wouldn’t put one of those big professional SLRs onto it. (And that goes double for the Mini version, which is $40, 28 inches tall expanded, and 9 inches long when folded.)