There's no shortage of good tripods on the market, and it can be difficult for any new models to stand out from the multitude of alternatives. So, in lieu of any novelty features, most simply compete on their basic requirements, namely sturdiness, portability and ease of use.
The Velbon Ultra Rexi L gets off to a good start on all three. Aside from its aluminium legs, it make use of magnesium alloy in its construction - the same material used for the chassis of most DSLRs. It's also billed as a being third smaller than similar tripods when closed, with its 36mm length making it suitable for carrying as hand luggage on flights.
It also employs Velbon's Trunnion 5-section legs, which are simply twisted one way or the other for locking and releasing.
The tripod supports a maximum weight of 4kg, which is bettered by many other tripods but is still more than enough for a pro body and lens combination. Its reversible two-section centre column and multi-angle legs enable it to be used at a minimum height of just 9.5cm, while its maximum height of 153cm is on a par with its peers.
It's a shame that there's no way for the centre column to be removed and positioned to face the ground or any other angle, though.
Still, the tripod's simple design translates to simple operation. The legs can quickly be extended and shortened with just a few twists, and padlock icons with arrows remind you of the turning direction, should you forget.
Leg covers are missing, though, which may make it less comfortable (but less bulky) to carry than other tripods.
The lever that releases the Velbon Ultra Rexi L's centre column is a little stiff, but lifting it up and down is easier than having to turn any screws until they're tightened. Still, it takes a while to fully unscrew the column should you not need it.
Overall the tripod's a winner, and is ideal for either the travelling photographer or one who simply wants a sturdy support that won't be a burden to carry.