Tuesday, August 2, 2011

REVIEW: Velbon GEO E540 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod

This is really a mini-review of the Velbon GEO E540 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod because quite honestly I’m not a big fan of it.

If you look at the specs this seems like the dream tripod, but when you actually get it in your hands you realize that it’s not nearly as well made as the Induro CT014 yet it cost more – it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Here’s what I DO like about this tripod

Velbon GEO E540 full extended with the rock pouch attached adn a RRS BH-55 head
Fully Extended with Rock Pouch

This is a nice lightweight carbon fiber tripod that is in a small package with a nice batch of extras thrown in. It’s clear that the designers were trying to make the perfect tripod that had everything you’d want in one package, but sadly the design isn’t supported by a quality built product. If it were, my review might be much different.

Velbon GEO E540 Rock Pouch
Rock Pouch

Here’s a few noteworthy features:

  • The center column is in segments and can be quickly lowered or raised. It is a pain to flip, but that’s true of all tripods so that’s no knock here.
  • When extending the legs there are marks to help you set the same exact point on the others legs – this is a great feature that others should copy.
  • The feet have built-in spikes with covers. This sounds great until you use it and then you discover the covers are loose when covering the spikes so its easy to get the spikes to pop out and you worry about loosing the feet.
  • It has a brilliant built-in case / stone pouch that is the best solution I’ve seen to date. Again, I wish others had it, and this is a great design, but I’m not impressed with the materials used and long-term structural integrity.
  • For those that don’t like the pouch it offers a big hook to hang your bag, but it doesn’t stow away nicely (it must be added and removed rather than hiding away like other tripods)

Velbon GEO E540 Hook
A Hook For When The Rock Pouch Won’t Do

Why I’m not a fan of this tripod

As I mentioned in my Induro CT014 review, I hate plastic on tripods and this tripod is chock full of it. In fact, it has the same cheapo plastic leg locks that I despise on Bogen-Manfrotto legs. In addition the head mount would certainly break on its first fall on the concrete, so that’s a big turn off for me.

Velbon GEO E540 Cheap Plastic Base with 1/4" Head Fitting Stud
This base couldn’t survive one international flight I’ve been on

Here’s some noteworthy things that annoyed me about this tripod:

  • It has no reversible stud so most heads that use a standard 3/8” fitting will need to an adapter to accommodate its puny 1/4” head attachment fitting.
  • The foam used around the top of the legs is the cheapo kind that doesn’t hold up well over time.
  • As mentioned previously, the leg locks and head fitting use cheap plastic that isn’t in the same league as my tripod recommendations.
  • The built-in spikes with covers are very poorly designed and cheap

Velbon GEO E540 Leg Markings and Locks
The markings are great, but the leg locks suck

Conclusion

I can not recommend this tripod at all as I do not think it is well made. I’d recommend bargain hunters go with the cheaper Induro CT014  or if you care about quality go with the Gitzo GT1541 that I bought in August 2011 after enjoying them so much during my review.

If you still think you must have this tripod, then please support this blog by purchasing it via this link.

Disclosure

I may make a commission if you purchase any of the products mentioned in this article when you click my links. Thanks for supporting my blog by returning and using my links when you order.

B&H has provided me with this product to review and I have returned it to them when my review was completed.

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