No other way to say it. The stiffness is bad. The damping is fine, but that is really secondary to the lack of meaningful structural stability.
|58.5 +/- 6 Nm/rad
|0.385 +/- 0.039 Js/rad
|143.8 +/- 1 Nm/rad
|0.661 +/- 0.066 Js/rad
The stiffness and damping data are the averages of 10 trials for each measurement. The reported error is the standard error, except in the case of the damping data. I have set the error in the damping at 10% as the standard error metric does not appropriately capture the error in fitting to the data. All of the reported specifications are measured, with the exception of the weight rating. The tripod is measured at full height, with the center column (if applicable) down.
Here are the test results for when the tripod is at full extension and the center column and maximum height:
|58.9 +/- 0.1 Nm/rad
|0.26 +/- 0.03 Js/rad
|21.6 +/- 0.2 Nm/rad
|0.66 +/- 0.07 Js/rad
The stiffness is laughably bad. Interestingly, the yaw stiffness is about the same, which I believe is due to the design of the center column. The pitch stiffness is about what you would expect from putting the camera on top of a long pole.
Recommended Gear Limit
The exact gear limit is highly dependent on the external conditions such as wind, and technique, such as the use of a cable release. Under perfectly still conditions using perfect technique, sharp images can be obtained using any tripod. For the Mefoto air, I wouldn’t put anything but the smallest camera systems atop it, such a phone, point and shoot, or mirrorless camera with a small lens.
Example Test Data
The following data is example raw data from the stiffness and damping measurements. The relevant information with regards to the tripod performance is entirely contained within the stiffness and damping figures presented above. The plots below are solely present so that the tested stiffness and damping figures are believed. Each plot and the corresponding Fourier frequency space plot correspond to one of the ten trials done on each axis to obtain the test results. For a more in depth discussion on the meaning of these graphs, see the methodology section and the understanding the test results page.
The really slow oscillations give away the lack of stiffness.
The frequency space shows this isn’t a mistake.
We see a little bit more stiffness in the pitch direction, but its still bad.
Clean data set, and again, no mistakes on observing the correct resonance.
Usually I don’t test for the center column up as well. But given how this tripod is supposed to be used, I did in this case. The following two plots are of the tripod measured with the center column at full extension.
There is essentially zero pitch stiffness. Its incredibly difficult to actually measure this little stiffness in a tripod, or in this case, a glorified monopod.