Big Head!

on February 23, 2023
No, not you - the person standing next to you. What? There's no-one next to you? Awkward... The first thing that grabbed me about this Explorer was what they refer to as an extra-large ball head. This it certainly is, and the silver finish immediately attracts attention. It sits atop a carbon fibre set of legs with similar finish for the cradle. It all looks gorgeous. The price is commensurate with gorgeous, so consider this your big tripod purchase and plan to get the most out of it - it will support far more than you'll want to carry, but the fact that it is carbon fibre means getting up a mountainside will not be the epic that it could be with a set of metal legs. If pressed, however, I would still hire a Sherpa or conscript a teenager to do the carrying. Well, you have to get some good out of a family, don't you? The ball is massive - so the gripping forces should be sufficient for any large lens and camera combination without excessive force on the tightening mechanism. Ditto the traverse lock - and note that the turntable that the head swivels upon is wide and sturdy. The tripod gets interesting when you look at the sides of the turntable casting - there are two threaded sockets on one part of the yoke for 1/4" and 3/8". I don't know if they are intended to support articulated arms and video monitors - well, they would be perfect attachment points for this - or whether they are just there to store spare screws and accessories. But they are welcome. On another face of the yoke is a button - and this is brilliant - if you press it in and loosen the yoke screw you can lift the entire assembly out for separate packing - or to put a different head plate down into the yoke. This facility beats my Gitzo Studex 5 all hollow - I can change bed plates but I need a separate hexagon wrench and five minutes of mechanic work to do it. And there are numerous finger-catchers on that tripod that pose a danger. A final hurrah for the humble camera base plate made by Explorer - cast metal with a folding screw underneath and rubber feet on top. And a cast bar at the side into which you can thread a lanyard or safety strap - attaching the other end to some part of the tripod rig that will catch a wayward camera before it hits the ground. I have one of these on a camera grip, and my most expensive camera screwed on. My camera, lens, and microphone have only ever bolted for the woods once but the heavy strap stopped them from escaping and saved me several thousand dollars worth of grief. If it is there, make use of it...