Review: Explorer Ascent Professional Carbon Fibre Tripod
For some time now, I’ve been needing a larger professional tripod for my kit. I've been trying to find the best combination of stability, size, weight, and practicality. I was mostly wanting a larger, heavy duty tripod with a high load capacity, but one that is still reasonably light weight because I do a lot of hiking for some of my photography, and the Explorer Ascent Professional Carbon Fibre Tripod with EX-XL Ball Head fits the criteria perfctly.
This Tripod & Ball head set up can be purchased as a kit, or as individual items, so I'll write about each individually.
Starting with the: EX-XL Epic Explorer Extra Large Ball Head
A Ball Head is almost essential for landscape photographers. It will allow you to level the camera quickly and easily, even if the tripod it's self is not completely level. This will make your job as a landscape photographer much easier. The combination of this ball head and a tripod with an adjustable leg angle will have you setting the camera up in places you didn't think where possible.
The Explorer EX-XL Epic Explorer Extra Large Ball Head is a professional and practical ball head suitable for all landscape photography situations. It features a hollowed-out body and ball socket design to minimize weight (coming in at 562g), whilst maximizing strength, durability, and delivering a load capacity of 40kg.
It is suitable for supporting the larger set ups such as a full frame DSLR with a telephoto lens (exactly why I needed it!) but it is still lightweight enough to carry and use with camera and lens combinations of all sizes. I have been using this ball head with my Nikon D850 & Sigma 150-600mm lens with complete confidence and great results.
This Ball Head is CNC-machined from an aircraft-grade aluminium alloy and anodized with an oxidation treatment that ensures a durable, high-quality finish.
The main adjustment knob for the ball head features a rubber grip with friction control, and the separate panning clamp will allow you to rotate the ball head 360°, assisting with fast and precise adjustments. The quick release clamp is ARCA / RRS compatible. Which makes it compatible with a large range of quick release plates and L-brackets. I've been using my Sunwayfoto PNL-D850 Custom L Bracket for Nikon D850.
EX-ACPRO Ascent Professional Carbon Fibre Tripod
This is the largest of the new Explorer range, and most suitable to meet my criteria for a larger photography setup. When using a large telephoto lens for landscape photography, stability is essential. The 10X layer carbon fibre keeps the tripod rigid whilst keeping the weight to a minimum.
I have used this tripod in windy conditions multiple times over the past few weeks with complete confidence in its stability with a heavy set up attached, I didn't notice any vibration in these windy conditions, and the images certainly didn't show any sign of motion blur.
The stability is thanks to each leg being attached to the tripod’s collar via an offset leg joint, which helps to evenly distribute heavy loads and maintain the tripod’s rigidity.
Each of the three leg joints also feature a variable angle stop that allows and adjustable leg angle. If you have read my post on Tripod Selection For Landscape Photography, you will know this is one of the essential features to look for in a tripod.
The Ascent Pro Carbon Fibre Tripod has 4 leg sections which extend to create a maximum working height of 1445mm, and collapses for a portable carry. The leg angles can be adjusted to settle the tripod on uneven terrain and also allow for even sturdier or super low angle shooting when the legs are splayed out.
When combined, the Explorer Ascent Professional Carbon Fibre Tripod and Epic Explorer Extra Large Ball Head make an extremely sturdy and reliable tripod set-up, capable of securing the larger photography set ups, whilst still being lightweight enough to carry out on location.
This kit has met every criteria I had when looking for a new tripod, and so far has exceeded every expectation.