Sunday, March 4, 2012

Oben 1410 Tripod Review

Oben 1410 Tripod Review
March 2012, Carl Garrard
 

Oben AC-1410 Tripod Review: Tripods may not be everyone's forte but for some photographers they are just as vital for photography as a camera is. There are many manufacturers that make tripods on the market but only a relative few that make tripod that are competitive for light duty field work. Typically I like tripods that are lightweight, compact, and offer a lot of full size tripod features in a much more svelt and compact form. Today I'm reviewing the Oben 1410, which is a medium height tripod that comes in at a relatively middle of the road price of $119.00 retail. What does the Oben 1410 offer for the price? We'll depending on your needs the Oben seems pretty well spec'd on paper.  I've been using the Oben 1410 for about a month now and I'm reporting my thoughts here on this review.

Oben AC-1410 Best Price Check

Oben AC-1410 Tripod Review: Introduction- Oben tripods are more for the budget conscious photographer. And based on their specifications seem to offer a decent amount of features for the price. This tripod is a compact all aluminum 4 section tripod with quick release tab legs with two legs covered in neoprene for cold weather or shoulder comfort. It has all the looks of an expensive tripod. Lets take a quick look at the manufacturer highlights of the Oben AC-1410 4-section tripod.

OBEN AC-1410 Highlights

  • 11 lb Load Capacity
  • Maximum Height of 60.4"
  • Folds Down to a Mere 21"
  • All Anodized Aluminum for Max Stability
  • Cast Aluminum Chassis
  • Lightweight - Weighs Only 3.2 lb
  • 5 Bubble Levels
  • Removable Head

Oben AC-1410 Tripod Review: In the Field- The little Oben 1410 seems to be a pretty compact tripod. I hardly notice it while on longer sustained hikes which is really the big test of its size and weight. If I'm not noticing it, then it's doing its intended job- taking care of business without weighing me down. To me this is what photographers should be concerned about most, not nitpicking grams or reading specs.

The Oben AC-1410 4-Section Tripod Just fits in my medium sized Clik Elite backpack

Another important aspect of tripods to me is how sturdy they are, and how much equipment the ball head and legs can hold without getting wobbly. Oben states the AC-1410 can hold 11 lbs of equipment on its smallish ball head- After using it a while I'd feel more than comfortable to load it up with about 9lbs easy. I'd feel pretty confident at that point that the ball head would stay fixed with little movement after I tighten the main adjustment knob down.

That means a pretty big camera and lens can be attached without having worry about post adjustment sag or vibrations ruining long telephoto shots. Not bad at all here for such a small and compact tripod. It's all aluminum construction and tight build quality do its job.

Oben AC-1410 Best Price Check

I tend to prefer using less weight than the stated max load capacity on tripods so that there is minimal movement or stress on a ball head. The Oben 1410 has handled my largest DSLRS and mid range bright telephoto lenses without any worries, although I'd still categorize this tripod as a minimalist's long range hiker's tripod.

The Oben AC-1410 can easily handle medium to large DSLRs in the field


Oben 1410 Legs Fully Extended

Max stand  up height is pretty short, but comes to eye level when you extend the center section fully upward- enough height for a person that stands about 5' 9" tall. Having to fully extend the center section in order to do this is a little disappointing but the Oben makes up for it by being stiffer and more secure than most tripods in this class. It felt secure and stiff fully extended- no worries here at all for lightweight to medium heavy equipment on top (1-9lbs). Oben AC-1410 Best Price Check


Leg locks are a tad stiff, but not too bad. Note the spirit bubble and the fast Q.R. center section adjustment knob

The quick release plate and lever system is quite nice for a tripod of this price and class. The locking lever ensures that your camera and lens investment don't go tumbling to the ground in case of an accidental snag or release of the lever. The footplate is covered in rubber to minimize scratching, and it has an extra pin for camera that have the extra mounting hole for extra security. Oben AC-1410 Best Price Check


Mounting plate in the locked position, note 3 more spirit levels

In the unlocked position. The extra lever must be pulled back in order to release the plate ensuring your camera/lens doesn't go for a tumble.

This pin is rounded and sprung so that when you attach it to the camera base, it minimizes scratching. I found however that if you twist the camera at all while mounted and secured to the tripod, this pin will leave marks on the bottom of your camera. Not deep gouges or anything, but I prefer that a base not leave any trace of use ideally.

 
Oben AC-1410 Tripod Review: Final Conclusion

Oben's AC-1410 Tripod leaves me with an overall positive impression. It's a tripod that I liked enough to replace my current lightweight backpacking low cost tripod. This is no small feat because I've grown very much attached to my current backpacking tripod.  In use it reminds me of my larger Manfrotto tripod (my big gun) in its sturdiness and usability. The only areas my current lightweight tripod has it beat are in overall standing height and macro shooting capability. In ALL other areas the Oben AC-1410 is a much better tripod, which is why I lean towards using it vs. my current one.



Being frank, I didn't expect the Oben to replace any of my kit. It's certainly not the best tripod out there but for the price it makes a pretty strong statement for itself. My main likes are its surefootedness and included ball head. The ball head lever doesn't get sticky and it really locks down tight the first time. Camera creep (as I like to call it) is bare minimum due to its stiff all aluminum design and better than average ball head for tripods in this class. Also adding to the lack of creep is the solid quick release floor plate that secures very tightly on the camera and the ball head itself. 

This is a critical plus if you hate having to make several adjustments to your composition due to "squishy" mounts. I know I do, and its on of the most irritating things when using a tripod- especially for macro work.

Speaking of Macro work, this is the Oben's biggest con in my opinion. The legs go out very wide for low to ground shooting, but the center section isn't removable for near ground level shooting in a normal position- you have to reverse the center column. There are some work arounds, but for lenses that have a short max magnification register, you'll need a tripod with a removable center section or deal with the reversible column. 

Since macro work on a tripod is just a very small amount of my photographic needs, this doesn't make it a deal breaker- but it is an oversight in my opinion. My current lightweight tripod is half the price and has a removable center section; this should be standard fair on all tripods.


Overall though the Oben 1410 left me more impressed than I thought I'd be when it first arrived for review. In some ways it can do the work of both of my current tripods and makes me wonder if I should simplify my gear down to just one tripod instead of two. 

Final Rating: Definitely Recommended

If you want to purchase an Oben AC-1410 Tripod I recommend only a handful of retailers, mainly B&H Photo who always have competitive prices and excellent customer service. You can check the latest best price on the Oben AC-1410 Tripod here:
Oben AC-1410 Best Price Check 

In case you like shopping at Amazon, their best price for the Oben AC-1410 Tripod can be found here:
Oben AC-1410 4-Section Aluminum Tripod


As usual, be safe and happy shooting.
-C. Garrard


Note: All pro's and con's are subjective to your own needs, as this list is to mine. Even though I have cons listed none of them are deal breakers for most circumstances. Items in bold note the best and worst in this list, according to which list they are categorized in.
Pros
  • Well built overall, seems very durable
  • Good soft leg neoprene comfy and resists cold weather
  • Better than average ball head and max load for tripods in this class
  • Degree markings easily readable
  • Spirit bubbles aplenty for level shooting
  • Quick release foot plate
  • QR locking mechanism works very very well
  • Foot plate has a nice rubber foot to resist scratches (see cons *)
  • Good price and overall value
  • Versatile size, could be a one tripod solution for most shooters
  • Lightweight for its price
  • Comes with a nice case
  • Very stable with 4 section quick release tab style legs
  • Legs are very stiff due to spined design
  • Center section is gasketed when fully retracted to resist water getting into main center tube
  • Center height adjustment knob is fast and easy to use, secure
  • Tab style leg locks, legs fall smoothly (don't have to pull each section to extend)
  • All adjustments are well tensioned, the Oben is fast and easy to use overall
  • Removable head means you can use different types (a real plus for this class)

 Oben AC-1410 Best Price Check

Cons
  • Center section does not unscrew, makes Macro photography difficult for normal shooting.
  • Cannot swivel ball head unless you release the main lock- not very friendly for panorama shooters. Must loosen adjust, then re-adjust
  • Foot plate can put minor scratches the bottom of your DSLR if you twist it when secure. This is because of the sprung secondary lock mechanism *
  • Upper leg locks are a bit stiff to pull out, but may loosen a bit in time
  • Pretty long overall when compacted- considering the legs are not full length
  • Made in China (although that doesn't affect its build quality at all)

Oben AC-1410 Best Price Check

    3 comments:

    1. Thank you for the tripod review! Not many review sites take the time to review camera accessories- much appreciated. Sounds like a good tripod for the dollar, and its nice that you have images of it in your pack so I get an idea of it's real life size. Well done.

      John Beesley

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    2. Thanks for the detailed review, in your review you mentioned "My current lightweight tripod is half the price and has a removable center section;" can you please let me know what is the tripod that you are currently having...am planning for a one. this will help me to decide.
      -Rajkumar

      ReplyDelete