Rollei’s CT-5A tripod: the solution to baby giraffe and bouncy castle syndromes?


posted Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 4:28 PM EST

The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A tripod, shown with the short legs attached. Photo provided by RCP - Technik GmbH & Co KG.Taller photographers and tripod manufacturers alike are faced with something of a dilemma: it's relatively easy to make a sturdy tripod that offers comfortable eye-level shooting, or one that offers great opportunities for shooting low to the ground, but making one that can perform equally well in both areas is a challenge, to say the least.

Typically, manufacturers take a couple of approaches. They can increase the number of leg sections and make each section shorter, but given that the joins between sections are one of the bigger sources of flex, they quickly end up with a tripod that can manage a creditable impersonation of a baby giraffe. Alternatively, they increase the angle at which the legs can be splayed outwards. This gets the camera lower, but brings its own issues for photographers shooting in a cramped space, since the legs are arrayed spider-like around the camera. It also removes the opportunity for bracing the legs off the center column or each other in some manner, and it places a greater sideways load on the legs, causing them to flex more. (The tripod needs really sturdy legs for this method to work very well, or the photographer gets the feeling that they're trying to shoot from on top of a bouncy castle.)

The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A tripod, shown with the standard legs attached. Photo provided by RCP - Technik GmbH & Co KG. Click for a bigger picture!
The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A tripod, shown with the short legs attached. Photo provided by RCP - Technik GmbH & Co KG. Click for a bigger picture!

The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A tripod comes bundled with a second set of legs that yield a greatly reduced working height. Shown approximately to scale.
Photos provided by RCP - Technik GmbH & Co KG.

A new aluminum tripod from RCP - Technik, the company behind the iconic Rollei brandname, takes another approach. Depending on how you look at it, it's either a clever way to have the best of both worlds, or of gaming the spec tables.

The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A's legs are actually removable, and Rollei includes two sets in the product bundle. One set has three extensions per leg, which together with the extendable center column will get you to a height of 157 centimeters (5' 1.8"), or if used as a monopod, up to 165 cm (5' 5"). The other option is to remove the center column and switch on a set of short, stubby legs that will let you get down to as low as 11 - 45cm (4.3 to 17.7") depending on the leg splay. Packed away, the CT-5A occupies a length of 43 cm (16.9").

The short legs allow a working height of just 11 centimeters (4.3 inches) Photo provided by RCP - Technik GmbH & Co KG. Click for a bigger picture!

The short legs allow a working height of just 11 centimeters (4.3 inches)
Photo provided by RCP - Technik GmbH & Co KG.

The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A kit weighs 1.74kg (3.84 lb), and can support up to 8kg (17.6 lb) according to its manufacturer. The tripod comes bundled with a padded carry bag and strap, a screw hook that stores in the center column, a small tool kit, and a 52Q ball head with spirit level. Available immediately, it's priced at €250 or thereabouts in the European market, with a two year guarantee. No plans have been announced for sale in the US market at this time.

Press Release

Rollei Fotopro presents the all-rounder: CT-5A

Hamburg, 24 April 2012--Rollei presents its CT-5A, a real all-rounder. Like all Rollei Fotopro tripods, the aluminium tripod is made of T6 aluminium and, with a maximum working height of 1.57m, weighs just 1.7 kg incl. tripod head. With a maximum load of 8 kg the tripod is suitable for average photographic equipment, but it also offers some interesting features. The compact tripod has a folded size of just 43 cm thanks to the 180° leg angle mechanism, but it also has a few more surprises for the photographer. Thanks to accessories it can be conveniently converted into a monopod. Not just one tripod leg but all three are equipped with an appropriate threaded connector. These can also all be unscrewed and replaced with short, extremely stable tubes, which can be found in the accessory pack. This means you get maximum stability as a table-top tripod for night-time or macro photography. All 6 tripod legs are covered in foam on the upper section, enabling them to be used equally well in cold weather.

The central column can of course be taken apart, so you can achieve a minimum working height of 11 cm incl. tripod head. Like all Fotopro tripods, the CT-5A also has a ball head with 3 spirit levels and a quick release plate, which can be locked anywhere across its width and very firmly held in place. The tripod is available in elegant black with metallic blue trim on the leg fasteners and central column. It is non-reflective thanks to its matt black legs, which are made up of 4 sections.

Included in the package:
The CT-5A is unbeatable in terms of accessories. It is supplied with a padded bag, 4 small leg sections, hook (3/8" screw, can be stored in the central column), extra padded carrying strap, monopod holder, tools and even a tripod holder.

Availability and price:
The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A has a 24 months guarantee and is now available in stores for an RRP of EUR 249.95.

The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A tripod kit. Photo provided by RCP - Technik GmbH & Co KG. Click for a bigger picture!

The Rollei Fotopro CT-5A tripod kit.
Photo provided by RCP - Technik GmbH & Co KG.