One of the biggest innovations in tripod design was the use of carbon fibre instead of metal. Carbon fibre used to be restricted to high-end tripods, but the price-point has been steadily falling over the years and they're now within the financial range of pretty much all photographers. All of which brings us along to the BA225 from K&F - a lightweight carbon fibre tripod released recently at an extremely competitive ticket-price.
The BA225 is a well designed tripod that concentrates on the essentials instead of pointless flashiness. Principle amongst these essentials is the tripod's weight - a mere 1.02kg. I already own a couple of carbon fibre tripods so I'm used to the weight savings that carbon makes possible, but the BA225 still caused me to raise my eyebrows the first time I picked it up. It's the sort of tripod you could strap to your bag and completely forget that it's there.
Don't be fooled by the lightweight design however, this is a really well put together tripod, with machined aluminium for the load-bearing parts, the main joints and the ball-head. It's a rugged design - one that's designed to be used, not just looked at - and which features a surprisingly versatile construction.
The legs are extended using the spiral 'twist' type of locking system. I have these on my current main tripod (a carbon fibre MePhoto Roadtrip travel tripod) and I found that they slip when wet. I had no such problems with the locking system on this tripod and experienced none of the sudden disappearing leg sections which bedevilled the MePhoto and which caused me several heart-in-mouth moments. You need to be able to trust your kit and whatever locking design K&F are using, it works well and locks securely. On the subject of the twist-lock system, it has its advantages and disadvantages - but it's certainly no quicker than the traditional clip style.
In terms of sizing - the tripod's only 35cm when fully folded up, but can stretch out to a maximum height of 153cm with the central post fully extended. Thanks to the graduated angle adjustment buckles, you can also use the tripod at very low angles while safely locking the legs off. The tripod-ends seem to have been designed with this in mind as they have a bezelled finish that sits well on rough surfaces.
The ball-head on the tripod is a standard Arca Swiss design secured by a screw-in clamp. There's a spirit level built into the base plate and a rotatable 360º design to assist with panoramic photos. The little twist-lock for the tripod head holds position well, but you can of course swap out the head if you wish as it's attached using the standard ¼" screw. Amongst the tripod's other features are a detachable leg to convert to a monopod and a hook on the base for hanging weights for additional stability in high winds.
At $132AUD, the BA225 is a compelling option for anyone in need of a lightweight and fuss-free tripod. It might not have the snob-appeal of something like a Gitzo to a label-conscious photographer, but some of us buy camera equipment to use it, not to stress about every little mark and blemish on it. This rugged little tripod is designed to be put through its paces and you won't stress about getting a bit of saltwater on it like you would with a $1000 tripod. There are no performance issues with this tripod and no corners have been cut - it's just a great basic little tripod at a great price.