Leofoto LS-324C Review

The LS-324C is a midsize tripod from Leofoto’s portable “Ranger” line.  It is bulky enough that I have categorized it as ‘All Purpose’, but this could easily be used as a travel tripod.  It is lighter and more compact than many of the tripods I have characterized as such.  This is largely a result of the design not including a center column, and having no provision for one.  This is a recipe for success in my rankings, by shedding weight and boosting stiffness.  As we will see, this makes the LS-324C one of the best value tripods I have tested.

NameLeofoto LS-324C
ClassAll Purpose
Yaw Stiffness674 +/- 4 Nm/rad
Yaw Damping0.337 +/- 0.034 Js/rad
Pitch Stiffness2922 +/- 17 Nm/rad
Pitch Damping0.79 +/- 0.079 Js/rad
Retail Price$288
Weight3.06 lbs (1.39 kgs)
Manufacturer weight rating33 lbs
Maximum Height51.3 in (130.3 cm)
Minimum Height3.1 in (7.9 cm)
Center ColumnNo
Base Diameter2.0 in (5.1 cm)
Folded Length18.9 in (48.0 cm)
Folded Circumference10.0 in (25.4 cm)
Folded Volume150.0 cu. in. (2.5 liters)
Leg MaterialCarbon Fiber
Leg Sections4
Primary Leg Angle21.5 deg
Leg LocksTwist
Top Tube Diameter32.5 mm
Second Tube Diameter28.0 mm
Third Tube Diameter25.0 mm
Fourth Tube Diameter22.0 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 weight of the tripod.  As said above, this makes the LS-324C an easy tripod to travel with.  Unfortunately the height is on the short side as well.  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 center column, so that can’t save the day here either.

The leg angle of the LS-324C is 21.5 degrees.  I consider 25 degrees to be ideal, and 22.5 to be the low end of the acceptable range.  21.5 degrees begins to make the tripod both less stiff and more prone to tipping over.  The LS-324C 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 a couple inches 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-324C 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-324C, 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-324C did not come with one.