Leofoto LS-284C Review

The LS-284C is a travel tripod from Leofoto’s portable ‘Ranger’ line.  This line lacks a center column, thus producing high performing, compact tripods.  As we will see, the LS-284C is no exception to that.  If you can tolerate the lack of flexibility from removing the center column, there are numerous rewards in performance and portability.  This performance combined with the low cost of the tripod makes the LS-284C one of the best values available.

NameLeoFoto LS-284C
Yaw Stiffness479 +/- 1 Nm/rad
Yaw Damping0.152 +/- 0.015 Js/rad
Pitch Stiffness2320 +/- 9 Nm/rad
Pitch Damping0.364 +/- 0.036 Js/rad
Retail Price$200
Weight2.47 lbs (1.12 kgs)
Manufacturer weight rating26.5 lbs
Maximum Height47.4 in (120.4 cm)
Minimum Height10.8 in (27.4 cm)
Center ColumnNo
Base Diameter1.9 in (4.8 cm)
Folded Length17.5 in (44.4 cm)
Folded Circumference8.8 in (22.4 cm)
Folded Volume108.0 cu. in. (1.8 liters)
Leg MaterialCarbon Fiber
Leg Sections4
Primary Leg Angle22 deg
Leg LocksTwist
Top Tube Diameter28.0 mm
Second Tube Diameter25.0 mm
Third Tube Diameter22.0 mm
Fourth Tube Diameter19.0 mm
Exchangeable FeetYes
Foot TypeRubber
Bottom HookNo

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 that we notice is the relatively low size, height, and weight of the tripod.  As said above, this makes the LS-284C solidly a travel tripod.  With the maximum height of 47.4 in., most people won’t be able to get the camera to eye level.  If you shoot using a tilting screen, this isn’t an issue.  Otherwise, using this tripod will require some hunching over to look through the viewfinder.  The design of the tripod precludes the use of a normal center column, so that can’t save the day here either.

The leg angle of the LS-324C is 22 degrees.  I consider 25 degrees to be ideal, and 22.5 to be the low end of the acceptable range.  22 degrees begins to make the tripod both less stiff and more prone to tipping over.  The difference is so small though that it is unlikely you will notice a difference.  The LS-284C tests well in stiffness despite the too narrow leg angle, which only begs us to ask “How good could this tripod have been?”  Based on the stiffness vs leg angle research, I estimate that the answer is about 15% stiffer if it had been built with a 25 degree leg angle.  Of course it would have been an inch or so shorter as well.  Narrowing the leg angle is a way that manufacturers try to increase the height of the tripod without increasing the weight or bill of materials cost.  Clearly I wish they didn’t.

What’s in the Box?

The LS-284C comes with a carrying case, a tool kit, a carabiner for hanging weight, and two sets of feet.  The case is of perfectly acceptable quality.  You certainly won’t feet the need to get a different one.  It includes enough space to use with an appropriately sized head.  As it doesn’t usually make sense to use a carrying case for the tripod, this will provide a nice case for the tripod and accessories while they are in storage.  One of the two included carabiners is a combination tool and bottle opener.  Never seen that one before.

Some sellers also include an attachable center column that screws onto the top of the tripod.  If you need extra height from the LS-284C, this is the only way to do it.  The use of such a center column is awkward though.  The center column must be detached when the tripod is folded up for transport, which makes its use cumbersome.  The center column also cannot be fully retracted, again, because it screws onto the top of the tripod.  With the legs at full extension, adding the center column puts the camera above eye level for most people.  The whole process and use is just awkward, and it is difficult to imagine many people actually using that center column in practice.  If the center column is something you want though, make sure that it is included by whichever seller you are purchasing from.  My particular copy of the LS-284C did come with such a center column.