March 25, 2023

Ulanzi F38 Journey Tripod Evaluation | A True Peak Design Various

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Ever take a lower than optimum shot since you didn’t need to be bothered with lugging a heavy tripod alongside?

Or suffered greater than you wanted on an extended and arduous hike due to the load of your digital camera gear?

Or left your tripod at house as a result of it simply wouldn’t slot in your pack?

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Enter within the Ulanzi & COMAN Zero F38 journey tripod.

It’s tremendous compact, loopy mild, and at a worth level far beneath its closest rivals.

I’ve been utilizing it for nearly two weeks now, and it’s undoubtedly an unbelievable enchancment over something I’ve ever used earlier than…

(Though granted, I’ve by no means had the funds to splurge on the Peak Design Journey Tripod – Ulanzi’s greatest competitor proper now.)

In case you’re a panorama or cityscape photographer, usually shoot in low mild, or love macro images on the run, you’ll need to give this journey tripod some critical consideration.

Let’s check out what the Ulanzi F38 has to supply to see whether or not it’s one of the best journey tripod of 2022. 

Ulanzi and COMAN Zero F38 Journey Tripod Evaluation



  • Extraordinarily small and light-weight
  • Fantastically transportable
  • Fast to arrange/tear down
  • Properly-designed
  • Lovely construct
  • Leg joints and locks work easily
  • Nice peak vary
  • Quite a few configuration choices

  • Fast launch plate will be awkward
  • Some center-column wobbling when totally prolonged

Ulanzi F38 Specs

  • Supplies: Carbon Fiber and Aluminum
  • Ballhead load capability: 6 kg (13.2 lb)
  • Leg locks: flip-lock model
  • Max peak (with heart column raised): 1590 mm (62.6”)
  • Low mode: 180 mm (7”)
  • Internet Weight 1.1 kg (2.4 lb)
  • Folded Size: 425mm (16.7”)
  • Legs: 5 leg sections 
  • Leg Angles: 20/55/75

Construct High quality

As a substitute of utilizing knobs, twist locks, or buttons, Ulanzi has chosen to make use of levers to launch each the middle column and the ball head. (The discharge for the middle column will be seen right here.)

At first contact, the Zero F38 feels so small and light-weight that it won’t maintain as much as prolonged use, however spend a bit time with it, and also you’ll understand that is one high-quality construct.

The vast majority of the elements are made from carbon fiber and aluminum – the legs being solely carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber can’t take impacts in addition to aluminum, nevertheless it’s extremely sturdy and light-weight (which is why the Ulanzi F38 tripod can maintain 6x its weight). 

Ulanzi says the legs are additionally abrasion and scratch-resistant, however I haven’t had it lengthy sufficient to place that to the check.

After all, there’s no solution to actually understand how a lot abuse the legs and heart column may actually take, however all in all, all the things feels exceptionally well-built.

I anticipate that with an affordable quantity of care, this tripod can be with me for an extended whereas. 


Ulanzi & Coman tripod design

It’s within the design that this tripod actually shines. Ulanzi and COMAN have paid consideration to each element.

After all, one of many predominant targets was to maintain issues mild with an especially small type issue. On this, they’ve far exceeded any expectations I may have thrown at them.

The whole tripod weighs simply 1.1 kg/2.4 lb! Actually! On the identical time, its load capability is 6 kg – nearly 6x its personal weight. You’re not going to seek out quite a lot of high quality tripods which are as mild as a literal kilo.

In a pack, the Zero YF38 is hardly noticeable, both by way of weight or footprint. Folded up, your complete unit is just a couple of foot and a half and solely 3.5 inches at its widest level. The ball head isn’t any larger than the width of the legs when folded up.

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All collectively – case and all – I can simply match this tripod into the water bottle pocket of my LowePro Photosport 24L, the smallest bag I take advantage of with my Sony A7III gear:

Photosport 24L

With or with out its case, the Ulanzi & COMAN F38 suits properly within the small aspect pocket of my Photosport 24L – the smallest of all my digital camera luggage.

The leg locks are clip-style and are positioned in a method that they will all be opened on the identical time with one hand.

For me, it’s a lot faster than utilizing twist locks. One other profit to having levers for leg locks is that you already know when a leg is totally safe.

Macro photography configuration

You may get actually near the bottom by taking the middle column aside and reinserting the smaller piece.

One other cool facet of the design is that the middle column splits in two so that you could use the shorter part to shoot near the bottom.

The instrument for taking it aside and placing it again collectively is cunningly hidden within the gear hook at the underside of the middle column.

You can even put the middle column in the other way up if you could get even nearer to the bottom:

Macro Mode

Further configurations embody a aspect portal for attaching a mobile phone and, with the extra ¼” heart column piece, the power to show the tripod right into a video set-up or change to a different ball head.

One other characteristic is that the short launch plate is supposedly suitable with Peak Design’s quick-release system.

I didn’t discover this to be true on the Peak Design Seize Clip, nonetheless. The F38 is a hair smaller than the CC plate and doesn’t sit snugly inside.

(I’m a bit bummed about this as I take advantage of the Seize Clip every so often and having to vary base plates on a regular basis is a critical killjoy.)

Peak Design compatibility

Whereas the F38 fast launch plate is meant to be suitable with the Peak Design system, I discovered it a hair too small to work with the Seize Clip.

Talking of the ball head…

Ball Head

Ulanlazi tripod ball head

The Ulanzi and COMAN F38 ball head comes with a panning screw (left) and a Protected Lock button (proper) that lets you lock the short launch plate into place.

The Ulanzi F38 Falcam ball head offers the shooter 360-degree positioning when the middle column is barely raised.

Each the highest plate and the bottom mount are designed to be totally suitable with the Arca-Swiss mount system.

The ball-head stress is managed by a lever that sits horizontally on the pinnacle, slightly below the pano numbers.

(Within the photograph above, reverse the branding and due to this fact out of sight.) There’s additionally a panning screw for added side-to-side motion.

Further options embody a slot for turning your digital camera on its aspect and taking pictures vertically, a degree, and a “protected lock.” The protected lock is meant to stop any unintentional releases.

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Whereas I like the concept, I’m not an enormous fan of this protected lock button but. I’ve been discovering it exhausting to maneuver the button into and out of Impasse mode. 

Leg Locks & Joints

Ulanzi leg joints

The leg joints are managed by flip locks.

The multi-angle locks on the Zero F38 are fairly normal, providing three totally different angles: 20 levels, 55 levels, and 75 levels.

I discover them a bit stiff and “pinchy” for my style, however once more it would simply be a query of getting used to them.

The 5 leg sections are managed by aluminium flip locks. On the base of every tripod leg is a detachable rubber foot (for easy flooring) that’s interchangeable with the included steel spikes (for gentle and/or tough floor).

Tripod leg locks

Every rubber foot unscrews and will be simply changed by the steel spikes that include the Zero F38.

I gotta say, I actually love how easily the leg joints transfer – they slide like silk but aren’t overly slippery.

I additionally get pleasure from how simply the leg locks open and shut. I’ve tiny fingers, but I can open and shut all 4 locks simply with only one hand.

Dimension & Dealing with

Ulanzi travel tripod height

With a Nikon D7000 hooked up, the Zero F38 simply reaches eye degree of Michael, who’s 5’10”. (Abraxas the cat included for added perspective.)

Getting used to the Zomei Z699c, I used to be actually shocked, not simply by the lightness of the Zero F38 but in addition by its most peak.

I’m solely 5’4″, and the Zomei was by no means tall sufficient to achieve eye degree for me.

With the middle column totally prolonged, the Zero F38 simply reaches the attention degree of somebody who’s 5″10, not to mention lil ol’ me.

Ulanzi vs. Zomei Height

With each tripods totally prolonged, the  Zero F38 (left) is far taller than the Zomei 699C (proper).

As talked about earlier, there’s not a twist lock to be discovered on the Ulanzi & COMAN Zero F38 tripod.

I’ve by no means labored with a tripod that used a lever for the ball head in addition to for the middle column, and it undoubtedly takes some getting used to.  

To me, the lever appears much less delicate than the massive(r) knob I’m used to utilizing on my Zomei 7699c. That being stated, it hasn’t been exhausting to get used to it. This final day trip, I didn’t even discover it.

I discover the panning screw extra problematic, nonetheless. On mine, the screw factors within the “up” place when locked down, interfering with the place my fingers have to be to get the short launch plate on and off.

I’ve tried taking it out and reinserting it to get it to lock down in one other place, however no luck but. A minor annoyance, however repeatedly so.

My best problem with dealing with this tripod is working with the quick-release plate. It’s simply not straightforward to get it locked into the ball head. I really ended up lacking out on a couple of pictures final evening as a result of it took me so lengthy to get it lined up.

A part of it’s because there solely appears to be a method that the plate goes on. One other half is, as talked about earlier than, the panning screw is commonly in my method. Whereas I’m used to a bigger plate, I’ve by no means struggled this a lot so constantly with getting a fast launch plate on and off any tripod regardless of its measurement.

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One other minor situation I’ve with the quick-release plate is that its screw doesn’t include a deal with (not like the Zomei).

I’m used to simply with the ability to loosen and tighten the plate. This one’s come unfastened quite a lot of instances now (particularly once I’m taking pictures within the vertical place with a telephoto).  

All this being stated, I actually love how this tripod works total and suspect I’ll get used to its quirks. (For instance, I’ll simply have to hold a fast plate tightener on a key chain like so many different photographers.) 

Different opinions point out that there’s some wobble on the becoming a member of part when the middle column is totally prolonged.

I haven’t encountered that but, however possibly that’s with heavier setups? The heaviest I’ve used thus far is a Sony A7III + Sony FE 70-300mm. 

Alternate options to the Ulanzi F38

tripod size compared

The F38 (prime) is significantly narrower than the Zoom Z799C journey tripod. It’s additionally fantastically lighter and has a a lot larger most peak.

In case you’re undecided if the Ulanzi & COMAN F38 is the precise journey tripod for you, there are a couple of options on the market, although none are as fairly priced.

The primary of which is Peak Design’s carbon fiber journey tripod. It has related options and a comparable footprint, although it undoubtedly trumps the F38 by way of its weight restrict – 20 lb vs. 13.2 lb.

That being stated, the Peak Design journey tripod is available in at a a lot larger worth level: round $650 vs. simply upwards of $360!

You could possibly additionally check out the favored but much more costly Gitzo Collection 1 Traveler (upwards of $550 with out the ball-head). I haven’t used it earlier than, so I can’t converse to it. I do discover, nonetheless, that it’s greater than twice the load of the F38.

In case you’re on a decent finances, the Zomei Z699C retails for lower than $120 today. It’s not as small nor as tall and positively not as mild, nevertheless it’s a tremendous possibility for many who don’t need to shell out the $350-$700 for one of many costlier choices listed right here.

Worth for Cash

Provided that Ulanzi & COMAN F38 journey tripod is sort of $300 lower than its nearest competitor, I’d must say that it’s a rare worth for the cash.

After all, not everybody goes to have upwards of $300 to spend on a journey tripod, however these of us who shoot HDR, do evening images, and/or are significantly into panorama images will discover this a greater than cheap worth for the intense portability.

Ulanzi F38 Journey Tripod Evaluation | Conclusion

Ulanzi travel tripod head

Actually, the Ulanzi and COMAN F38 journey tripod is (largely) a delight to work with.

The standard of the construct, coupled with how small and light-weight it’s (but tall when totally prolonged), makes it greater than definitely worth the buy.

For me, it’s remarkably harking back to going from taking part in the trombone to taking part in the penny whistle. (Properly, it might be extra like shifting to the trumpet, however having by no means performed the trumpet, I’ll accept penny whistle…)

After being encumbered for therefore lengthy, I really feel like I’m just about flying.

There are, in fact, the problems I’ve had with the quick-release plate, however as I discussed earlier than, I anticipate to get used to it in time.

However again to the query of whether or not it’s best for you…

In the long run, what issues is 1) whether or not it’ll work in your package and a pair of) whether or not it’s mild sufficient and compact sufficient so that you can take with you when you’ve the selection.

For me, the reply is a convincing sure on each accounts.

My digital camera + largest lenses all fall nicely inside the load restrict, and the Ulanzi F38 is a lot lighter/smaller than what I’m used to that I’ve been going out of my method currently to do extra evening images.

In case you work with massive prime lenses and/or lengthy telephotos, although, you’ll undoubtedly need to pay shut consideration to the 6 kg/13.2 lb weight restrict on the F38. 

In any other case, this can be a incredible tripod, and I’m excited so as to add it to my package. I hope to be utilizing it for an extended, very long time to come back.