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.
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.