The Centennial 2 Series Aluminum is the first tripod from the upstart manufacturer the “Colorado Tripod Company”. It is rare for a new manufacturer to come along and especially difficult to break into a space that is already crowded with options. To succeed, the new offering must perform better, be substantially cheaper, or have an innovative new set of features. The Centennial tripod is looking to hit that second mark, excellent performance and build quality at a price ($300) that is far lower than we have previously seen. After anxiously waiting the Centennial’s arrival after kickstarter campaign, I am delighted to finally have the tripod on hand and to put it to the test.
This tripod was purchased through retail channels. I was not paid by any party to write this review, and the opinions are entirely my own.
|Name||CTC Centennial 2 Aluminum|
|Yaw Stiffness||790 +/- 4 Nm/rad|
|Yaw Damping||0.373 +/- 0.037 Js/rad|
|Pitch Stiffness||1853 +/- 7 Nm/rad|
|Pitch Damping||0.855 +/- 0.086 Js/rad|
|Weight||3.4 lbs (1.542 kgs)|
|Manufacturer weight rating||N/A lbs|
|Maximum Height||49.8 in (126.5 cm)|
|Minimum Height||3.6 in (9.1 cm)|
|Max Height with Center Column||61.6 in (156.5 cm)|
|Base Diameter||1.9 in (4.8 cm)|
|Folded Length||20.3 in (51.6 cm)|
|Folded Circumference||11.5 in (29.2 cm)|
|Folded Volume||214.0 cu. in. (3.5 liters)|
|Leg Material||Carbon Fiber|
|Primary Leg Angle||25 deg|
|Top Tube Diameter||29.0 mm|
|Second Tube Diameter||25.0 mm|
|Third Tube Diameter||21.0 mm|
|Fourth Tube Diameter||17.0 mm|
The test results are included here as I consider them to be part of the tripod’s specification. For full discussion of the stiffness and damping, see the test results page of the review.
The first thing we note is that the height is a little bit on the short side for an all purpose tripod. It isn’t that far off from what we typically expect, but most of the competition in this space is several inches taller. The height is more in line with what we expect from travel tripods, but the folded size and designation as a 2 series tripod place this solidly into the all-purpose category. At roughly 50″, most users will find the camera placed significantly below eye level. The center column can easily make up for this, with the typical corresponding loss in stiffness.
The weight is a little bit higher than expected. Colorado Tripod Company says that the weight is 3.3 pounds, whereas the copy I received weighed in at 3.39 pounds. Perhaps they are conveniently rounding down? They also state that the weight of the tripod without the center column is 2.9 pounds, however, I measured 3.15 pounds. This is a big discrepancy, and I would like to see the manufacturer be more accurate with their specifications.
Normally at this point I have to bash the manufacturer for their choice of leg angle. Not so here. I am delighted to report that the Centennial has a leg angle of 25 degrees. This stance is on the wider side, and greatly contributes to the stiffness, helping the Centennial out perform similar tripods with larger diameter tubing.
What’s in the Box?
The tripod comes with a neoprene case, the center column and a protective bag for the center column, and two hex wrenches for maintenance. The neoprene case is a pleasant surprise. Usually when a tripod includes a case, it is cheaply made with a myriad of zippers and pockets to store all of the unnecessary accessories that come with the tripod. Here, the case is simple, easy to use, and feels very rugged. Note however, that the case is exactly the length of the tripod. If a head is mounted to the tripod, it will stick right out the top of the bag. You could place another case over the top of the head (such as the one that comes with Highline ballhead) or remove the head during transport.
The tripod comes with the center column detached, rolled up in the canvas bag. This is unusual, but the message is clear. The Centennial tripod is intended to be used without the center column to create a slightly lighter and more compact package. In general, I agree with this philosophy. The center column is a great tool for providing fast height adjustments and occasionally a high camera position, but for general use, the camera should be kept as close to the apex as possible. However as we shall see on the subsequent pages, removing the center column compromises the stiffness of the system, so it should be kept attached.