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Fotopro T-Roc MAX Tripod Review

This article offers a review of the Fotopro T-Roc MAX carbon fiber tripod, part of Fotopro's Pantour series of tripods. This sturdy yet lightweight tripod is great for many types of photography, and is especially ideal for nature, landscape, and travel photographers who want to minimize gear weight without sacrificing stability or quality.

Fotopro's T-Roc MAX carbon fiber tripod offers an excellent combination of portability, light weight, and stability, making it perfect for landscape and travel photographers on the go.

Summary of my overall impression of Fotopro Tripods

I've used a lot of tripods during my 15+ years as a pro photographer, including Gitzo, Manfrotto, Benro, Slik, Oben, Vanguard, and a few others that I have forgotten. I've used two Fotopro tripods, their Global Elite Photographer and T-Roc MAX models. I consider Fotopro tripods to easily be among the very best tripods I have ever used. They offer high quality, useful and thoughtful features and engineering, and rock-solid sturdy support. This high quality comes at a price, so expect to pay more for Fotopro tripods than for bargain brands. But, in my opinion, Fotopro tripods are completely worth it.

And the T-Roc MAX specifically? I absolutely love mine. It offers me the perfect mix of light weight, portability, stability, and quality that I need for my landscape photography. Of all the tripods I have ever used, it is my absolute favorite. And after a year of punishing use, it stills performs as well as it did on the day it arrived.

But, what is perfect for me and for my photography may not be perfect for you, so please take my enthusiasm for the T-Roc MAX with that very important caveat.

Don't like reading? Skip the prose and watch the video instead for my review of Fotopro's T-Roc MAX carbon fiber tripod. Below are some additional details about the tripod not included in the video. If you purchase here you can use discount code PLANTGEP15 and get 15% off.

Financial Disclosure

Fotopro has NOT paid me for this review. I am, however, a Fotopro brand ambassador (which doesn't pay me anything, but I do get some free tripods), and I was once paid by Fotopro to appear in a promotional video for their tripods. That is the extent of my financial relationship with Fotopro. This is a completely independent review without compensation from the manufacturer. I do, however, earn affiliate commissions from the retailer links provided in this review. We are committed to 100% transparency regarding financial relationships with equipment providers and brand partners, and we strive at all times to ensure that reviews are independent, honest, and free of bias.

Lightweight carbon fiber design

The T-Roc MAX is a carbon fiber tripod. Carbon fiber offers sturdy support at lower weight than other materials, but at a higher cost. The T-Roc MAX weighs 3.9 pounds (although I shaved off a few ounces by removing the center column, so mine is 3.6 pounds); that includes the weight of the standard ballhead. The T-Roc Max height when its legs are fully extended is 55 inches. With the camera attached to the ballhead, this brings the camera a little lower than eye level (more or less, depending on how tall you are); with the center column extended, the T-Roc MAX tops out to 67.3 inches, giving you some extra height if you need it.

Most of the time, I find the height of the T-Roc MAX to be more than sufficient—in fact, I usually have a much lower setup for landscape work—although when working on steep slopes or in deep water, I sometimes wish the T-Roc MAX was a bit taller. But, I'll happily sacrifice a few extra inches in height if it means a lighter, more portable tripod.

Locking ballhead comes standard

The T-Roc MAX comes with a really nice, lightweight Arca-Swiss clamp ballhead. That means you'll need an Arca-Swiss style plate (one comes with the tripod) or L-bracket to fit your camera on the ballhead (I recommend using an L-bracket, as it makes switching between horizontal and vertical camera orientation easy). The head has a small button built into the clamping knob, which acts as a lock to prevent your camera from accidentally falling off the head when attaching or detaching the camera to the clamp.

The head has a small panning knob and a larger knob for locking and unlocking the ball. The knob for locking the ball works really well, and it doesn't drift like some ballheads I've used (meaning, when you have your camera in the perfect position and you tighten the knob, when you let go of the camera, it stays in place instead of moving a little bit). The head also has a friction knob allowing you to adjust the ballhead's tension, which has a useful feature: it can be turned by hand, but it also has a slot for turning the knob using a screwdriver, coin, or key. This is nice, because I've had tension knobs on other tripods get stuck; being able to easily get some additional leverage to loosen a stuck tension knob is handy.

The friction knob on the T-Roc MAX has a slot, making it easy to loosen the knob with a key or a coin if it gets stuck.

Compact design for traveling

The T-Roc MAX has a 4-leg section design, allowing it to fold down to a compact size for traveling, with a minimum folded length of 19". This, combined with its light weight, allows you to easily slip the T-Roc MAX into a carry-on bag when flying, or stowed in your checked baggage without taking up too much space.

The T-Roc MAX is designed for the legs to fold back to minimize it's folded length, but this only works if you don't remove the center column (which needs to be fully extended to properly fit in between the tripod legs).

Many photographers think they need much larger tripods than they really do, and I see a lot of clients on my photo workshops who show up with massive tripods. They seem shocked to see me with such a "small" tripod. For a lot of types of photography, however, a big tripod is overkill, and it will actually diminish your creativity, as lugging around all of the extra weight can make you tired, and tired photographers are less likely to be creative photographers. Although there are specific instances where extra height or weight might be useful, overall, I find that the T-Roc MAX perfectly hits the sweet spot between portability and usability in the field.

Removable (or reversible) center column for ground-level shooting

One thing I really love about the T-Roc MAX is that the center column is easily removable, and the tripod legs can be splayed out to lie completely flat. This allows you to get down to an almost ground-level perspective. Getting this low can be useful for a variety of subjects, especially reflection shots. Only the tripod head is above the ground, allowing you to get your camera as low as 7" off the ground. For landscape work, I almost never want to get the camera any lower than this, so I find this minimum height to be perfect for my needs.

I've removed the center column on my T-Roc MAX, but if you keep the center column, you have the option of reversing it for a ground-level setup (if you don't mind shooting upside down, that is).

Adjustable leg angles

The T-Roc MAX features three different pre-set click-stop leg angles, helping you to get your tripod into the optimum position for getting the shot you want. Also, because the legs fold up for transport, you can go past the final click-stop, allowing you (as mentioned above) to lay the tripod completely flat on the ground if you want to. I've used tripods with cheap clips before that get stuck or break, but not these: the clips on the T-Roc MAX are strong, with a positive spring-loaded action.

Built-in foam grips

The T-Roc MAX has built-in foam grips on two of its three legs. This offers additional comfort when slinging the tripod over your shoulder, and adds a little warmth for your fingers, as carbon fiber tends to get extra cold. I'm not entirely sure why Fotopro doesn't put foam grips on all three legs.

The foam grips on the T-Roc MAX have some nice styling on them, as well as an easily-gripped tread.

Rubber feet and spikes

The T-Roc MAX sports rubber feet with a tread pattern, giving them extra gripping power even on slick surfaces. The rubber feet come off, revealing spikes underneath, which are great to use when working on ice. The rubber feet stay snugly in place and aren't likely to come off unless you want them to; I've lost a lot of tripod feet in the past, but I'm never worried that the feet on my T-Roc MAX will come off accidentally.

Made to withstand the elements

The T-Roc MAX is solidly built with durable materials. The metal parts of the tripod are made of anodized aluminum, which won't corrode or rust. This tripod has twist (collar) locks for the legs, which are easy to use and much more durable than clip locks. Each twist lock has double O-ring sealing, making them especially dust and moisture resistant. Over the past year, I've used my T-Roc MAX in a variety of punishing environments, including fresh and salt water and dusty desert environments. I've even used the tripod while photographing Death Valley's dunes in a full-on sandstorm (you can watch the video below). And my Fotopro has performed admirably. Even the best built tripod will eventually get grit and grime into the legs, but you can easily take out the leg sections for a thorough cleaning whenever needed.

The T-Roc MAX has plastic shims on the inside of the tripod leg sections (which keep the sections from flying off when you loosen the twist locks and extend the legs). Plastic shims offer several advantages: they are easy to clean, and they don't expand when wet like some other materials (which can result in stuck legs). But, they are less durable than other materials, and are prone to cracking. In any event, plastic shims are easy to replace. I haven't had to replace any of my shims yet, even after a year of punishing use.

When you screw off the twist locks, you can see that the T-Roc MAX is double-sealed with o-rings against moisture and dirt. If something does get in, twisting off the locks allows you to disassemble the tripod for easy cleaning.

And it just looks good!

If you are choosing a tripod because of its looks, you're probably missing the point; a good tripod should be functional, not a fashion accessory. That said, one final thing I really like about my T-Roc MAX is how good it looks! All black with silver accents makes it look like something Batman would carry, and I really like the stylish etching on the metal parts of the tripod. The T-Roc MAX is quite sleek, but not too flashy.

An example of the styling etched into the aluminum parts of the T-Roc MAX. I really appreciate Fotopro's thoughtful engineering and attention to even the littlest details. Their tripods work great, and look great too!

So, what don't I like?

Honestly, I struggle to offer any complaints about the T-Roc MAX. It's a great tripod, and you have to look hard to find any flaws. Sorry, but I'm coming up empty here.

That said, this tripod is obviously not ideal for all types of photography. Serious wildlife photographers would probably find the T-Roc MAX to be too small to support a large gimbal head and heavy telephoto lens. And for photographing in deep, fast-moving water (such as waterfalls or heavy surf), this tripod might not have sufficient heft to completely dampen down the resulting vibrations. That said, I have worked with this tripod in fast-moving streams and heavy surf. I find that I have to hold on to the tripod while gently pushing down on the legs to keep it from moving and to dampen vibrations as water moves past the legs, but nonetheless I still usually get sharp images, especially when working with wide-angle lenses (with longer lens, any vibrations will be magnified and more apparent).

No piece of equipment is perfect for all things, of course. But, I can't really find any reason to complain about the design, engineering, or performance of this tripod. It is very well-built and a joy to use.

Final thoughts

In the past, I have at best tolerated the many tripods I have owned. But I love my Fotopro T-Roc MAX. It's really lightweight, it has enough height and stability for most of my landscape applications, and it's ability to get low to the ground is vital to my work. After a year using this tripod, I haven't noticed any deterioration of performance. I highly recommend this tripod to anyone looking to lighten their load without compromising on quality or stability.

Where to buy

The T-Roc Max is available for purchase from a number of retailers. Please help support this site by using the affiliate links provided in this review (as noted above, I receive affiliate commissions from any such purchases). Thanks!

Stetinden Photo: If you purchase here you can use discount code PLANTGEP15 and get 15% off (this discount will work with the T-Roc MAX or any of the other Fotopro tripods on the site):

About the author

Whether hanging over the rim of an active volcano, braving the elements to photograph critically-endangered species, or trekking deep into the wilderness to places most people will never see, world-renowned professional photographer Ian Plant travels the globe seeking out amazing places and subjects in his never-ending quest to capture the beauty of our world with his camera. Known for his inspiring images and single-minded dedication to creating the perfect photo, Ian has reached hundreds of thousands of people around the world in his mission to inspire and educate others in the art of photography. Ian is a frequent contributor to many leading photo magazines, the author of numerous books and instructional videos, and founder of Photo Masters.

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