In this Sunwayfoto T1C40T tripod review, I’m going to share my thoughts after using this Sunwayfoto tripod over the last year and the reason why I chose that model.
As a professional landscape photographer, a tripod is an essential tool to maximize the sharpness in my images, create panoramas, or do advanced techniques like bracketing or focus stacking. It’s also an indispensable piece of gear for photographing the Milky Way and the Northern Lights, two of my favorite things to shoot.
That said, there are dozens if not hundreds of tripod options in the market depending on your camera specs, the photography genre, and the quality. Therefore, picking the right tripod is not an easy choice.
In my case, I opted for the Sunwayfoto T1C40T as a lightweight compact tripod for traveling and general landscape photography.
I do most of my photography when I’m traveling and hiking scouting different locations, so the weight, size and build quality were the three key factors for choosing this tripod over other models.
After this short intro, let’s dive deeper into my experience using the Sunwayfoto T1C40T tripod.
Sunwayfoto T1C40T Tripod Review – Specs
First things first, below you’ll find a summary of the main specs of the Sunwayfoto T1C40T tripod model and the reason why these were important in making my decision to choose this tripod.
As a side note, before reading this Sunwayfoto tripod review, I want to mention that I had been using as my main travel tripod a Sirui 1204-TX model since 2017. The Sirui fulfilled all the specs I needed likewise the Sunwayfoto, but the materials didn’t stand the test of time as I expected and even after the first months some pieces wore down.
2.5 pounds (1.15 kg). As I told you, one of the vital factors for choosing my new tripod was the weight. When you are traveling and, especially when you’re hiking, carrying a heavy tripod has a toll, which is usually worse the more you travel and the longer the distance you hike. My weight limit for the tripod was 3 pounds, so the Sunwayfoto T1C40T was in the range.
Height with legs folded
1ft 45″ (44.5cm). Besides the weight, the most important factor for a travel tripod is the total heigh when the legs are folded. Most brands building quality travel tripods create compact designs that can be easily folded taking up less space. Something over 50 cm is usually difficult to pack in a small bag for traveling.
13.2 lbs (6 kg). The gear I’m using with this tripod is the mirrorless camera Sony A7II (19.61 oz/0.51 kg) and the heavier lens the Sony 200-600 mm (4.66 pounds/2.11 kg). As you see the Load Capacity of the ball head is more than enough considering the gear.
4.69 ft/1.43 m or 3.8 ft/1.16 m (with column retracted). Even though the height is not enough for my height at all (I’m 5 ft 9”), the main downside of travel tripods is the total height. It’s something I considered and don’t mind since I usually shoot relatively low.
7.2″(18.5 cm). This spec is crucial to me since I like shooting low to get close to the foreground in many landscape scenes. Having the possibility of removing the center column is a must in any tripod in my workflow.
Number of leg sections
Four (4). This is something that sometimes goes overlooked when looking for a lightweight travel tripod and has huge importance. The higher the number of leg sections, the thinner is the diameter of the smaller sections and the more unstable is the tripod when all the legs are fully extended. The max. number of legs sections is 4 for me, having tested some with 5 sections and turned out to be pretty shaky.
To consider this Sunwayfoto T1C40T tripod review, I paired this tripod with the ball head Sunwayfoto FB-36IIDL, which has a weight of 0.7 lb (328 gr) and a load capacity of almost 40 lbs (18 kg).
Therefore, the Tripod+ball head has a total weight of 3.2 lbs (1.47 kg).
Sunwayfoto T1C40T Tripod opinion – Build quality
After introducing all the specs of the Sunwayfoto T1C40T and the reason why these were important for me, the second essential thing to check in a tripod is the design and quality of the materials.
You can find many light travel tripods online with the same specs, but if they have a poor build quality, not only it’ll wear or break down in less time, but it’ll also translate into shakiness and less quality in your final images.
My best advice here is to stay away from plastic and flimsy tripods; the cheap price can look appealing, but investing in a good tripod is a long-term investment in safety for your gear and quality in your photographs.
In this section, the Sunwayfoto tripods stand out for their high quality and design, and the T1C40T model is a good example of the dedication that Sunwayfoto has put into creating a sturdy and reliable tripod even though it’s small and compact:
Carbon fiber Tripod Legs
This is the main quality factor in any tripod, and unlike aluminum, the carbon fiber has three main advantages:
- The shock absorption is much higher, which means that the tripod will be more stable and endure water, wind, and other conditions susceptible of producing shakiness.
- The material can endure the elements better and has a longer life.
- Its weight is four times less compared to aluminum, something crucial for creating an ultra-light travel tripod.
Quality anti-dust rubber twist locks
This is something I was very concerned about since the rubber was the first piece to loosen up in my former Sirui travel tripod. The result: I spent more than 2 years locking and unlocking the leg sections without the rub, which is tougher for your hands and less convenient in the field.
In the Sunwayfoto T1C40T, the rubber is firmly attached and doesn’t stick the dust and sand. I’ve been using it in volcanic beaches in Iceland, creeks, and forests in Pennsylvania and in snowy conditions in the Lofoten islands, and always worked perfectly. They actually look as glued and clean as the first day.
Sunwayfoto T1C40T Tripod – Design
Apart from specs and build quality, functionality is what you should never forget to pay attention to when choosing a new tripod. It’s always the trickiest part, since you don’t really know how comfortable you’ll be using this tripod until you put it to the test.
However, the experience can show you a few things related to design that you should consider. Here are the main design features I liked about the Sunwayfoto T1C40T:
Removable center column
If you’re shooting low, this design feature is essential. Unless you can remove the center column, you won’t be able to get really close when the foreground is in a low position.
Wildflowers, ice, rocks, or any interesting foreground stand out when you get close to it using a wide-angle lens. When I know that there’s a possibility of shooting low, I always make sure to remove the center-column before the shooting (which is most of the times).
Here I also find the first cons of this Sunwayfoto tripod: removing the center column requires 5 different steps and the use of a hex key. This is the main thing I miss from my previous Sirui tripod since I used to quickly remove or install the center column with no more tools than my hands.
Two different angle selections
Besides removing the center column, the other thing I liked about this tripod and I always look for is to have the chance to place the tripod at two different angles.
This, again, is key for shooting low, when you need to open and spread the legs to get as low as possible.
In the Sunwayfoto T1C40T tripod, the two main angles to use are 24º and 75º, and the way to change the angle is easy to adjust just pulling out the latch.
Center column counterweight hook
This small piece of metal is more important than it seems, especially when shooting in windy conditions with an ultra-light travel tripod.
The major disadvantage of this kind of tripods is the instability in windy conditions or when shooting from creeks/rivers. It’s the “price” to pay for having a light and compact tripod, but no worries, this can be solved by adding some weight in the center column.
The center column in the Sunwayfoto T1C40T can stand up to 33 lbs/15 kg. In my case, when I’ve been shooting in windy conditions like in Iceland or on the Lofoten Islands last February, I always attach my camera bag to the hook, and those extra 22 lbs add incredible stability to the tripod.
The tripod can be folded 180 degrees
This is another essential to consider in a travel tripod. This Sunwayfoto tripod can be folded reversing the legs. Not only it turns into a super compact piece, but also it protects the ball head.
Seamless connection of the leg sections
Any experience landscape photographer can tell that the number one issue with any tripod is the sand and dirt in the twist locks of the tripod legs. Sand and especially sea salt get stuck into the oily surface of the locks, making it difficult to lock the legs, and turning operating your tripod into a real nightmare.
This problem is partially solved with a good design, and the Sunwayfoto T1C40T includes a seamless connection in the leg section that truly makes a difference compared to my previous Sirui tripod.
Durable tripod leg joints
Another common issue in most tripod brands is the durability of the tripod leg joints. They usually become loose and you need to have your hex key in hand to tighten the legs.
The Sunwayfoto T1C40T includes a new design patented for avoiding the looseness of the tripod legs. This, however, is the main disadvantage I found on this tripod. Since the beginning, the tripod legs were loosening up and I have to tighten the screw more often than I’d like to.
Sunwayfoto T1C40T Tripod – In the field
I’ve been using this tripod extensively over the last year with my Sony A7II, including during two big trips to Iceland and the Lofoten Islands, so I’ve tested it under all types of conditions; wind, rain, snow, sand, etc.
Generally, the tripod has fulfilled all my needs and has proven to be sturdy and reliable, especially considering its lightweight and compact design.
Traveling with it is easy and convenient. I just pack it in the tripod bag that it’s included with the model T1C40T and put it into the checked-in luggage.
Once I’m at the final destination, I attach it to the side of my camera bag and can shoot and hike for hours but don’t feel any additional and uncomfortable weight.
For operating the tripod, something I love is the speediness opening and closing the tripod legs. Here, the seamless connection makes a huge difference, and I can open the legs and set the tripod in a matter of seconds.
In windy conditions, I pull just the upper and thicker sections of the tripod and keeping it low or attaching my camera bag to the counterweight hook when the center column is attached.
The only issue I found is the looseness of the tripod legs after some use. This is something that happens to almost every tripod so I always carry a hex key in my camera bag, taking just a few seconds to tight the screws. However, it’d be great if they could remain tight for a longer time.
Also, it’d be great if the leg ends could include metal spikes inside the rubbers. Even if the tripod has shown great adherence, the metal spikes are always the best option when you need to place your tripod on slippery surfaces.
Sunwayfoto T1C40T Tripod – Pros and Cons
Before wrapping up, I would like to summarize the main pros and cons of Sunwayfoto T1C40T tripod:
Sunwayfoto T1C40T pros
- Ultralight weight and compact design perfect for traveling and hiking
- Quality and durable materials in all the sections of the tripod
- Great design which makes easy and quick to operate the tripod
- Removable center-column and different angles for shooting at ground level
- Possibility of adding weight to the center column with the counter-weight hook for more stability
- Great range of ball-heads to pair this tripod with (+30 Sunwayfoto ball heads)
- Superb quality price, including the tripod bag with the price.
Sunwayfoto T1C40T cons
- The tripod legs loosen up more often than they should. (This issue can be easily fixed taking with you the hex key and tighten the screw).
- Complex process to remove/add the center column.
- The leg ends could include metal spikes for a better grip in some surfaces.
As you’ve seen in this Sunwayfoto T1C40T tripod review, I’m quite happy with this tripod being one of the essential items of me travel photography gear.
It makes my life easier for shooting on trips and long hikes. It’s very easy to use, durable and the most important thing: It’s a reliable tripod that has helped me shoot some of my most memorable pictures over the last year.
I’ll post an update in the future to let you know how this tripod stands the test of time.
I hope you found this review useful and, please, don’t hesitate to leave any questions in the comment section.