Velbon sherpa 600r

Build quality

Considering its street price of just £80, the Velbon Sherpa 600R's build quality is pretty good. Everything operates smoothly and efficiently, from the clip locks on the legs to the centre column and head. However, a few corners are cut in the pursuit of value.

There are no grub screws for fixing the head securely to the platform on top of the centre column and, in our tests, it proved quite easy for the head to work loose. Similarly, there are no screws for re-tensioning the clip-locks for each of the leg sections, if necessary. Even so, the locks should give years of trouble-free service.

Performance

The Velbon Sherpa 600R is a relatively lightweight tripod. Indeed, it's only 0.2kg heavier than the similarly sized Jessops Major Carbon Fibre tripod. Despite this, it's remarkably stable and resistant to flexing, even at its maximum operating height with the legs fully extended, and is certainly a lot more rigid than the Jessops tripod.

The locking mechanism for adjusting the three-position multi-angle legs is quite unique, featuring sliding clamps at the top of each leg. They look a bit cumbersome but work well in use.

Up on top, the three-way head has a regular twist lock for swivel but a single locking arm for both pan and tilt. It actually works very well and saves time in positioning the camera, compared with more conventional three-way heads that rely on two locking arms.

There's also the bonus that you don't need to remove one of the two arms before you can pack the tripod away in the supplied bag.

The downside is that for very fine adjustments in positioning your camera, the dual-action lock lacks a little precision. It also makes pan-only movements more difficult to achieve, for example when taking a series of shots to stitch into a panorama. Even so, if the centre column isn't raised, you can simply loosen its locking screw and pan using this instead.

Verdict

The Velbon Sherpa 600R is quite a bare-bones affair, lacking the advanced features included in some of the latest and greatest tripods. However, it's remarkably sturdy and stable for a combined tripod and head that tip the scales at a mere 2kg.

We liked

The modest feature set is reflected in a relatively cheap selling price but there's plenty of stability on offer, and that's the most important thing in any tripod.

We disliked

Maximum height is a little lacking at just 166cm and, without grub screws in the centre column platform, the tripod head can work loose.

Final verdict

Collapsing to a folded height of 63cm, the Velbon Sherpa 600R is a good travel companion and well worth the asking price.