I have written about tripods before. In my opinion, they are an unfortunate, heavy, cumbersome, necessity. If you want to do any form of low light photography or video, a tripod is a must-have item. For traveling photographers though, they can be a very heavy burden!
Recently I was looking for a mini tripod to support my Zhiyun Crane, a 3 axis gimbal. There were lots of very cheap looking contraptions around. Most looked as if they would crumple under the weight of a mirrorless camera, let alone one attached to a gimbal.
It was then that I came across the Cullman Magnesit Copter CB2.7. If you think that catchy model name has a slightly Teutonic feel to it, you would be right. Cullman is a German manufacturer and the quality and engineering of this tiny tripod show its roots. Let's have a look at it in more detail.
Here Are My First Impressions
It really is tiny. Its maximum height folded up is 22cm and it weighs in at a mere 250g. The package actually contains two parts. The tripod legs themselves plus a ball and socket head that screws directly to the top of the legs.
The legs are made of sturdy high-quality aluminium, with solid rubber stops at the ends. Folding the legs out shows just how sturdy this tiny tripod is. Even if you push quite hard directly down on the tripod top, there is very little bowing or flexing of the legs.
Equally the ball head is also very well engineered. The rotation is smooth and frictionless and like all good ball heads, there is the option to turn the camera vertically. The locking knob is also well designed, with a decent feel to give you the confidence that the camera is locked off.
The ball head has an interesting party trick too. You can remove the flat round disk that the camera screws into. Underneath is a hot shoe giving you the option to easily use the tripod of mounting flash guns or microphones. I could see this being of particular use to interior or real estate photographers who could carry a Cullman for each flashgun.
So…What Is It Like To Use?
As mentioned at the top, the primary use for my Cullman was to support my three-axis gimbal. For this purpose, I remove the ball head and screw the gimbal directly into the 1/4” screw on the base plate. Despite the weight of the gimbal plus Fuji X-T2, 18-55mm lens, and square filter system, the tripod remained very steady.
I would not wander away from such setup or leave it standing in strong wind, but in most average conditions it worked well. With the gimbal giving extra height it also worked very well as a remote-controlled video tripod. The gimbal being able to pan and tilt via a smartphone app.
For photography, you need to either shoot low down or find an elevated surface from which to shoot. This is a mini or tabletop tripod after all. In both these cases, I would recommend using a remote control or in the case of my Fujis, a real old fashioned cable release.
As sturdy as the tripod is, anything you can do to minimise contact is a good thing. I have only done some brief tests at home but the whole set up seems very solid. The specifications suggest that maximum weight it can support is 1kg, my Fuji combo is pretty close to this and it still seems very sturdy. If your camera has a longer telephoto lens on, I suspect you may find the tripod becomes unbalanced.
One area that Cullman tout as a potential use is as a tool for handholding video shots. Having a gimbal I have not tried this, but I think you would probably need both in-body and lens stabilization to get good results using it in this way.
Overall I am very pleased with this inexpensive mini tripod. It means when traveling with my wife for shoots we can take one full-size tripod and the mini and both be able to get good results on locations both for stills and video. For the price, and compared with the competition, the Cullman gets my vote.
More Reviews Of Tabletop Tripods – So Judge For Yourself
Top 12 Best Tripods Round-Up 2017 – ePhotoZine has a tripod review with 4 tabletop tripods included in their roundup
Tabletop & Mini Tripods For D-SLRs: A Diverse Range Of Three-Legged Supports – Shutterbug has reviewed a large range of mini tripods
4 Ways to Stabilize Your Camera Without Using a Tripod – And if you are out and about and have left your tripod behind, check out our previous post