Recently I was asked to test out a new tripod, so I gave it a go and did some comparisons against two other tripods I already own and use. Let's see how the K&F Concept TC2534 Carbon Fiber Tripod Monopod Kit stacks up.
K&F Concept TC2534 Tripod – What's in the kit
The K&F Concept TC2534 Tripod comes with a nice carrying bag, ready to travel. This is a nice feature if you walk any distance with your tripod, and there's room inside the bag to stuff a few other little accessories too.
The tripod comes folded up to its smallest size. The legs fold back up against the center column, which makes this a great feature if you're looking for a tripod to travel with.
It will easily fit inside an average sized suitcase.
Size and price comparison
The size of the K&F Concept Tripod falls in between my two other Promaster ones in their folded position. Below from left to right, you see:
- Promaster XC525C Carbon Fiber Tripod (this one also has a detachable monopod) – retail price $299.95 USD.
- K&F Concept TC2534 Carbon Fiber Tripod – retail price $179.99 USD.
- Promaster C426W Carbon Fiber Tripod legs only – the actual one I have is discontinued but this one is the closest. It retails for $315.99 USD but does NOT include the ball head. That is a Manfrotto 494RC2 ball head ($64.88) – total cost of that rig is $380.87 USD.
As you can see the K&F tripod falls in the middle size wise but is the lowest on the pricing scale.
Is it a good option and does it provide good value? Let's find out.
As for the actual size and weight of the K&F tripod, here are some of the specs for it:
- Maximum height is 66.14”(168cm) – with the center column fully extended.
- The maximum height of the mid-axis is 55.51”(141cm) – with the center column lowered.
- Minimum height 20.47″ (52cm) – tripod set up.
- Size folded 17.5″ (44cm)
- Weight 3.33lb (1.51kg)
- Maximum load 22.05lbs (10kg)
Bonus feature: The K&F Concept TC2534 Tripod does give the option of reversing the center column so you can get your camera a lot lower to the ground.
Most tripod manufacturers will put their name on the product somewhere. These guys take it to the next level with branding. Their name is everywhere on this thing! That's neither here nor there, just an observation.
So I'd say they're pretty proud of the products they make, with good reason. I'll get more into the nitty gritty shortly, but as a quick summary, I give this tripod pretty good marks.
The legs on the K&F Concept TC2534 tripod are made of carbon fiber. That means they are strong and fairly light-weight.
I can't put my finger on it but they just felt a bit less solid than the other Promaster ones beside it in the photos above. It just feels a bit thinner and less sturdy.
They are 4-section legs with twist locks.
Twist versus clip locks on tripod legs is really just a personal preference. How many sections you go for on your tripod determines two things – how small it will fold down to, and how long it takes to set up and put away.
The more sections the legs have, the smaller the tripod will usually fold up.
Above, you can see the ends of the legs have good solid rubber ends. This type is similar to the other two tripods as well.
Below are two other handy features of this tripod.
- Detachable monopod. One of the legs screws off to be used as a monopod.
- One leg is covered in a foam to make handling in cold weather a bit easier.
One thing I noticed about the leg that turns into a monopod was that it loosened way too easily. I was attempting to open the legs and twisted one of the leg sections below, and the monopod started coming off instead. I had to really crank it back on tightly to make it stay and carefully twist the leg section below.
The legs themselves loosened and tightened back up again nicely. I personally prefer the twist-lock legs over the clip because I find the clips work themselves loose and need frequent tightening. So you always need to make sure you carry a set of Allen keys (mini hex wrenches) with you.
Leg angle adjustments
As with most tripods, you can adjust the amount of spread between the legs. At the top of each leg, you see two things, a release button to allow you to adjust the leg angle, and a bolt to tighten the leg.
Most tripods (or anything with any moving bits for that matter) will eventually need some maintenance. You'll have to tighten all the bolts and screws, as they have a habit of working their way loose. I haven't used the K&F Concept tripod for very long so I can't speak to how well it holds up there – but they do send along an Allen key with the tripod so if you keep it in the bag you'll be set.
I did find that the leg release clip seemed a bit less (how shall I word this?) structurally sound as compared to my Promaster ones. There is a little spring inside (you can kind of see it above) behind the clip and it just feels like the clip could pop out or work it's way out. Again, time may tell on this one – but for now, just something that I noticed as I was testing it.
The tripod head has a nice large ball (1.42″ 46mm) for added stability.
There are two knobs to tighten it – the larger one on the side loosens and tightens the ball itself so you can tilt and adjust the shooting angle. The lower knob allows you to rotate the whole tripod head. There is also a handy scale marking 360 degrees (circled in red below). This is a very nice feature that can help you shoot panoramas more accurately.
There is a removable tripod insert which you mount to your camera for faster setup and tear down. It fits into the head and is tightened with one knob. You'll also find a small level next to the tripod plate which I found almost useless. Once you mount your camera onto the tripod, you can't even see it unless you attach the plate to the camera sideways.
For me, that was a bit odd, but you can make it work and you can see the level that way. It just means the knob to release the plate and the camera is then under your lens which makes it a bit awkward to get to.
Speaking of the level and the tripod plate, I want to point out a few differences between this tripod and my others. Some of them I'd call shortcomings, but for the price point, many of them can be overlooked.
First, I already mentioned the small level on the K&F Concept tripod. It's great that it has one, but my Promaster 525C has a triple one on the head, and another on the middle platform of the tripod.
Secondly, there is a release button on the Promaster tripod head. This is so that you can't accidentally loosen the knob and have the camera slide right out and go BOOM! That would be bad. You must press that button even after loosening the knob in order for the plate to release. There is no such button on the K&F Concept tripod.
At $120 less expensive perhaps they had to cut corners somewhere to keep the price down. But to me, this is a pretty crucial safety feature to have on a tripod head and plate. Otherwise, you need to be really conscious of making sure that is knob is clamped down tight.
The center column of the K&F Concept TC2534 is only tightened by the twist lock on the column itself. But notice on the Promaster tripod (left) there is another screw that holds it all tight. It just adds another level of stability and more thing keeping it all in place.
Finally, you can also see in the image above the leg angle adjusters are a bit different. I already mentioned that the K&F ones felt a bit flimsy like it might pop off. The Promaster ones are solid. I've owned that tripod for more than six years, never had any issues with those clips.
Extra features of the K&F Concept TC2534 Tripod
Okay so having said all that, there are several really great features of this tripod from K&F Concept. Many higher priced models do not offer these things and they're certainly nice to have, including:
- A center column that is reversible
- The detachable leg that becomes a monopod
- There's a carry strap attached to the tripod itself
- The handy carrying bag
- There is also a bag hook under the center column
Let's look at that last one. Many tripods offer this feature which is designed to help keep the tripod steady even in windy conditions.
I've actually lost this part on my Promaster tripod so I like the fact there is a little plastic or rubber ring helping to keep it on the K&F Concept tripod. Hopefully, this will help you to avoid losing it like I did. They just work their way loose as you're walking or using it and POOF all of a sudden it's gone.
Adding weight to the center like this anchors the tripod more securely to the ground. Just make sure the bag isn't swinging in the wind as that will totally defeat the purpose!
Summary and conclusion
At the end of the day, the big question is – would I use and/or recommend the K&F Concept TC2534 Carbon Fiber Tripod?
YES! This is a great entry-level tripod if you're just buying your first one, and if you shoot mirrorless or a compact camera this may be the only tripod you ever need.
I will give this tripod 7 out of 10 overall, docking it only for the small things I mentioned above (the small level, lack of security button on the plate release, etc.). But if your budget is $200 or less, you shoot with a smaller DSLR or mirrorless camera, and you like to travel – I will increase it to 8.5 stars.
In that price range (under $200) I've seen a lot of crappy tripods that just don't measure up in many ways. While this one from K&F Concept has a few shortcomings, I think for the price you'd be making a good choice with the K&F Concept TC2534 Carbon Fiber Tripod.
If you're still not sure, head over and read this: Stress-Free Tips for Buying a Camera Tripod