ULANZI MT-52 FLEXIBLE TRIPOD
Ulanzi’s MT-52 is an Octopus Tripod Vlogger Kit with Dual Boom Arms and this flexible tripod may be the most creative and versatile small tripod on the market. Ulanzi have taken their original MT-11 Octopus tripod, adapted and accessorised it with the intention of improving lighting and microphone options for vloggers.
The MT-52 is a three legged mini/medium tripod with rubber clad metal legs that are very flexible and hold the shape they’re bent into. To this tripod you can attach to similar boom arms, which expand your creative options enormously.
The legs are made of metal and clad in a pleasing black rubber covering, designed in finger-hold increments making it very comfortable to carry, hold and vlog with.
From base to tip, the unextended tripod is 280mm long, but can be bent into a smaller shape to fit into any accommodating camera bag. The rubber feet each have small indents to increase the grip capacity.
The square ball head mount is 20mm wide and hosts two cold shoe mounts on both of its sides, while the ball head tightening nob on the rear. The mounting plate supports a ¼20” mounting screw for your camera, phone, lighting or microphone set up.
The plate sits 18mm above the ball head, and has the capacity to drop the plate into a 90 degree position. Perfect for portrait (or vertical) orientated use. This is made possible by the groove designed on the ball head, which sits opposite the tightening nob. This tripod is very well made, standing at 260mm tall, occupying a ground space of 230mm x 230mm x 230mm if legs are extended straight. Each leg is 210mm long and the tripod weighs 318 grams making it ideal to travel with.
DUAL BOOM ARMS
The MT-52 Octopus Tripod Vloggers Kit includes two additional octopus arms. The arms slide comfortably into the ball head cold shoes, enabling effective lighting and microphone options for the vlogger.
You may choose to use one or both at once and any accessory with a hot shoe mount can be effectively attached. From the cold shoe on one end to hot shoe mount adapter on the other the boom arm is 225mm long and each weigh 93 grams. This means when fully assembled Ulanzi’s MT-52 weighs a total of 504 grams.
The Octopus arms hold the same flexible and strength qualities as the tripod legs, but has slightly narrower finger grips for easy use. At each end of the boom arms can be found the trademark red Ulanzi twist screw that enables the securing of each mount.
The cold shoe can be completely removed from the Octopus Boom arm revealing a male ¼20” screw, which can be used in collaboration with other accessories.
I took my Nikon Z6, with L-bracket, FTZ adapter and 14-24mm wide lens, the heaviest single set up I have and put it on the MT-52 Octopus. This camera set up weighs a total of 1.8 kgs. I’m glad to report that my camera didn’t fall off, but I did need to position the lens so that it sat over one of the three legs. The ball head tightening nob was tightened to its full extent, yet it was easy, to gently touch the camera, and have it move the ball in the socket. I imagine, for stress free use, ensuring your camera remains safe, and with the boom arms fully loaded (with a. light and a microphone), that the load capacity or camera weight limit would come in somewhere around 1 – 1.2 kgs.
The two extra arms can be connected together to create an extended arm should you need it. This will give you the total reach of 440mm and can be bent into all manner of configurations so you can position whatever you’ve attached to it, precisely where you desire.
I discovered that you can use these arms, by attaching them to the hot shoe of your camera to position a light more effectively for a product shoot, or a microphone more effectively for video purposes. A further use is to attach a single arm to the octopus tripod and use that, supported by the tripod, to position a light for photography or a microphone for interviews, and other creative projects.
It’s very impressive how the rubber leg grip, is effective enough to easily hold your camera to a slippery metal pole. This is a huge win, and extremely helpful, enabling mounting in a wider array of situations. An unfortunate shortcoming of this tripod is when it’s mounted, as seen below, the groove that enables the mounting bracket to sit in a horizontal position, does not allow the camera to sit straight. If the camera is to be moved into that position, it would point up at the sky rather than at the subject. To navigate this flaw, you would need to find an angled mounting point, such as a branch on a. tree. This limitation is true for the first Octopus tripod, which if fixed in future editions of this product would give the customer a truly superior product.
I think it goes without saying that this set up can be used to position a camera against a tree, pole, or any surface that lends itself to the entanglement and grip of the boom arms and tripod legs. You can even attach the two boom arms to each other, and once attached to the ball head, can have even greater reach around a mounting opportunity.
Having mentioned these creative applications, do take note that the cold shoe on each of the boom arms cannot be tightened fully, and remains in a slightly swivel state, even when maximum tightening is applied. I feel this is an oversight, however minor, on the design side of things that once remedied will offer even more security and creativity. This oversight means that when you attach a light or microphone to the cold shoe, it has the potential to gradually move or be knocked from the position you formerly chose. It’s firm but not tight.
PRICE AND CONCLUSION
The Ulanzi Smartphone Camera Photo Video Filmmaking Vlogging Kit also known as the MT-52 Octopus Tripod Vlogger Kit with Dual Boom Arms will cost you $79.95 and you can get yours today here. By now you’ll know if this is a product you need and will use and if so I’d recommend it to you, for its build quality, and creative applications.
Thanks to Ralph Mayhew for the review article, here is the link to the original article.