One of the most sought after pieces of photography gear that I hear about is a photographer’s first tripod. The struggle for new photographers comes when the good tripods are just so expensive and there are so many cheap tripods available. While I am sure some cheaper tripods are fine, more often I hear about the cheap tripods that are poorly made or not stable enough to do long exposures. Those cheap tripods usually get thrown away and a more expensive option is purchased anyways. My goal in reviewing the Polaroid PLTRIC was to see if it could be a quality entry-level tripod that a photographer is going to be happy with for more than just their first year. In short, the answer is yes, I do think this is a great starter tripod at a good value.
The big attraction for this tripod are the nice carbon fiber legs. They are very sturdy and lightweight. Finding a decent carbon fiber set of legs for under $150 is a really good value. While I love the legs, the ball head leaves a little to be desired. It is fully functional and will work fine, but you will probably want to upgrade at some point. I don’t see this as a big deal as once you get into higher end tripods, you usually buy the legs and head separately anyway. For under $150, you just cannot expect to get a great ball head with legs regardless. So, I would recommend getting this combination and then later just upgrading the ball head when you want something nicer.
I wouldn’t call this call this a travel tripod as it doesn’t fold down as small as would be ideal for true travel, but the upside of that is the added stability. I have found travel tripods lose some stability because the last sections of legs are so thin, you lose stability. So that is a benefit to this tripod that offsets the slightly larger size. The light weight of this tripod definitely does make it useful for hiking or travel though even with slightly longer legs than a true travel tripod.
The flip lock legs are something I don’t have a real opinion on yet. They are definitely faster and more convenient to use than the twisting locks, but my concern is how well they will hold up. As of now, I am having no problems so I can’t complain about them.
Overall, I think this is a really solid option for someone looking to get a good, stable and light tripod without spending a lot of money. The ball head is not my favorite, but it will definitely get the job down and allow you to upgrade in the future without needing to replace the legs as these legs will be more than adequate to work with a higher end ball head. I love carbon fiber legs at this price point and they are very stable for the light weight, which is important to someone like me who always carries their tripod.