There are times when virtually every photographer or videographer could make use of a small, lightweight, easy-to-use table top tripod. Like that time you were on holidays and missed that spectacular sunset in fading light. Or, that unique angle shot that would have added a lot of production value to a client video, but your regular gear was too big and bulky to get into the tight spot needed to capture it.
The solution for these types of situations could very well be the Oben TT-300 table top tripod. It provides photographers with a combination of high portability and a very reasonable load capacity, given its small size.
The Oben TT-300 tripod is quite small in its folded state measuring only 11.5” (29.2 cm) in length with the supplied BD-1 mini ball head attached, and only 9.5” (24.1 cm) with it removed. Featuring aluminum legs and an aluminum 2-section centre column, the TT-300 feels quite substantial for its small size and weighs in at just over 14 ounces (400 g). It has a carry strap for added convenience, and utilizes a ¼”-20 screw. It is ideal to shoot from flat raised surfaces like tables, or for low angle shots from the ground or floor.
When you fully open the legs of the Oben TT-300, they fit snugly into groves on the base of the tripod, creating a stable platform for your camera, and providing a rated load capacity of 6 lbs. (2.7 kg).
As a test I mounted my Nikon D800 along with my Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 zoom on the tripod at both its lowest and highest column positions. This camera/lens combination weighs about 3.5 lbs. (1580 g) which is about 60% of the TT-300’s rated load capacity. At this weight load I found the Oben provided good support when the camera/lens was mounted in a landscape orientation and the supplied BD-1 mini ball head was up to the task.
The tripod could take more weight than that, but the laws of physics being what they are, the unit will get more unstable the more top heavy it gets. Personally, about 3.5 to 4 lbs. (1.6 to 1.8 Kg) is about as much load as I would feel comfortable putting on the Oben TT-300. I would avoid using long, heavy telephoto lenses as these may be difficult to balance on the TT-300 given that its legs are 6.25 inches (15.9 cm) long.
The Oben BD-1 mini ball head that comes included with the Oben TT-300 table top tripod has a single tightening knob and works as well as can be expected for such a small, basic unit. Small point-and-shoot and lightweight mirrorless cameras are ideally suited to this ball head. You will have to tighten it down fairly hard if you have a DSLR mounted to it and you will find that the BD-1 cannot support the weight of a DSLR very well if it is angled away from a landscape orientation.
A slot in the ball head allows for portrait images to be taken and this works well with small point-and-shoot cameras or lightweight mirrorless cameras. You will definitely need a different tripod head to use DSLRs in a portrait orientation as the BD-1 mini ball head is not strong enough to support heavier cameras.
Even with a stronger ball head, the positioning of a heavy DSLR/lens combination when shooting in portrait orientation is critical as the weight can cause the tripod to readily tip over. This risk can be greatly reduced by ensuring that the camera is aligned with all of its weight centred directly over one of the tripod’s legs. This adds quite a bit more stability to the set-up.
There are small rubber pads on the tips of each leg to help minimize the risk of scratching tables etc., but exercising some caution when placing the tripod on a delicate surface is always advisable.
To raise the centre column you must loosen the twist lock ring at the base of the tripod by rotating it counterclockwise. When tightened, the ring locked the centre column very securely, giving it a height of 11’3” (28.7 cm).
The centre column can be further extended to a maximum height of 17.3” (43.9 cm) by loosening the twist lock nut at the top of the tripod neck in a clockwise fashion.
There is a rubber O-ring on the underside of the mounting screw fitting which helps to dampen shock when the second section is lowered.
As would be logically expected, in its fully extended position the Oben TT-300 will transmit motion from the camera body down through the tripod if you try to manually depress the shutter. It is less of an issue when the tripod’s centre column is not fully extended. In either case I’d recommend using a shutter release cable, wireless remote, or using the shutter delay setting on your camera to help ensure good, sharp images.
For maximum flexibility and quick camera mounting when using the Oben TT-300 for general use, I recommend mounting a Manfrotto or Arca-Swiss quick release plate on the BD-1 mini ball head.
The Oben TT-300 table top tripod readily accepts other small-sized tripod heads on it. All you need to do is remove the BD-1 mini ball head and take the thread adapter out of it. Then insert the thread adapter in other tripod heads you already own. For example, you could mount a MeFOTO Q1 ball head and use the Oben TT-300 as a small platform from which to take a series of panorama images.
I found that the thread adapter on my review sample tripod got stuck on the ¼”-20 screw and I could not remove it. Other than exposing the threads on the adapter to possible damage this was not a big issue since the other tripod heads I would typically use with the Oben TT-300 would need to be mounted with a thread adapter anyway.
You can also mount a small, lightweight photo/video head like the Manfrotto 391RC2 on the Oben TT-300 and use it to get some acceptable quality video clips. I had more success with slow pans than with tilts, but this was more a function of the video head’s motion quality than the tripod not being sufficiently stable. With some practice you can get some reasonable video clips with the TT-300/Manfrotto 391RC2 combination.
You can also use the Oben TT-300 as a mini light stand by mounting a Genaray LED-7100T light on it. This can then be used as a fill-in light for macro work, or as a small table top light for on-camera video interviews.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the quality and functionality of the Oben TT-300 table top tripod. I think it can be a great addition to any photographer’s bag whether used for travel, macro work, or product photography. Although small in size, it can add quite a bit of flexibility and creativity for amateurs and professionals alike, especially if you extend its use with other types of tripod heads as the supplied BD-1 mini ball head is a very basic design that lacks some functionality.
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Oben TT-300 Table Top Tripod
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I have several questions. I am thinking that it would be safe to just get the 300 model , so that if i need to lower it down to the height of 100 model, it will cover that, thus not having to buy both. Is that a good idea? Also, the price difference between 200 and 300 model is like $1, so why not just get 300 model right? Is it possible to remove the center stick to make the legs extend lower? Also, people say they use these table top tripods for macro photography, but dont people just hold their camera and close and take macro photos anyway? or use a normal tripod for like flowers? Can you show me pics taken with table tripods that wouldnt be possible without one? Thanks.
1) The centre column on the Obenn TT-300 tripod cannot be removed. 2) It is difficult to take good, crisp macro images without the use of a tripod. 3) Tripods come in all kinds of shapes and sizes to help photographers stabilize their cameras in all kinds of shooting situations. I have often used a table top tripod to have one of my Nikon 1 V2’s capture video footage from small, cramped areas where no other size of tripod could possibly fit. It really depends on the needs of the photographer at any given time. Some folks will pack a table top tripod in their bag when travelling so they can stabilize their camera in a pinch.
Thanks for the info and reply. I am into food photography, so i think a table top one will do justice. I just can’t decide between 100 or 200.
Will the TT-300 work with the Manfrotto MH054M0-Q2 054 Magnesium Ball Head with Q2 Quick Release?
The Oben TT-300 has a 1/4″-20 male thread and the Manfrotto ball head you mentioned has a 3/8″-20 thread size mount so you’d need to get a 3/8″ to 1/4″ adapter bushing. These are readily available at most camera stores.
I really enjoy the Trek-Tech T-Pod Mini. Similar in design. Trek-Tech does not get as tall but weighs less, packs smaller and is cheaper. It holds my D600 with 16-35mm and even 70-200f4 with some caution.
Always great to have other options for readers to consider as well.
Thanks for your comment and comparison to the Giottos QU 405B. It sounds like another option that readers could consider.
As I was reading this review, I noticed this tripod looks nearly identical to my Giottos QU 405B. The version sold now has silver legs, but mine has black legs just like this Oben. Another difference is the lack of tripod head. Otherwise, the legs, columns, and twist locks look the same. The Giottos without a head currently sells for about $18 less than the Oben, so if you’re just going to replace the ballhead anyway, you may want to look at the Giottos QU 405B. I added a Manfrotto monopod tilt head to mine.
I have found my tabletop tripod useful for when I don’t need much height, but need support. I have used it mainly for macro work and product photography. It’s good for working in tight spaces where a regular tripod just won’t fit. As shown here, it is also useful for holding a light or flash.
the Oben TT-300 table top tripod readily very powerful
It seems a little too specialized. Or, maybe I don’t really understand how it works. It seems to me anyone would be better off buying a travel tripod with a similar weight rating. I can’t think of anything this would do better, while a travel tripod would be much more versatile.
You are absolutely right….this is a specialized tripod and it does not have the overall versatility that a travel tripod would offer. Think of it as something that you’d have in a cargo pocket on your jacket.
I often have a table top tripod in my shoulder bag for occasions where I was not anticipating the need for a tripod at all…and then unexpectedly need one. Being able to quickly set up a small tripod like this that can handle the weight of a D800 and a decent sized lens does come in handy for those ‘surprise’ situations…or where a person is facing extreme size and weight limitations.
Actually, that’s a good idea. A few months ago, I was on the roof of a four story building, at an industrial site, with my Manfrotto 055CXPROB and wanted to get a pano of the entire site but there was a low, wide wall around the perimeter so I couldn’t get close enough to use my tripod on the roof floor or even hand hold and the wall was too high to use my regular tripod on top of it. I was cursing myself for not bringing my travel tripod but a table top tripod would have been even better. I’m just not sure I could justify buying one for such infrequent use, especially this one; I’d have to buy an arca-swiss plate for it, on top of the actual tripod’s cost. As you pointed out, it wouldn’t be very stable for portrait use but with my L-bracket that wouldn’t be a problem.
You wouldn’t necessarily have to buy an Arca-Swiss plate for it. You can mount other ball heads on it quite easily. For example, I have a MeFOTO convertible travel tripod that utilizes a MeFOTO Q1 ball head which is actually pretty decent. Just take the BD-1 supplied head off….use the thread adapter….and you can put one of your existing heads on the Oben TT-300.
If you shoot with a light, mirrorless camera there should not be any problem shooting in portrait orientation. A heavier DSLR will require you to mount one of your other ball heads on it…and you’ll need to make sure you centre the camera/lens weight over one of the legs of the Oben TT-300 to make it as stable as possible.
I have a monopod that I never use because it doesn’t have a head. I could borrow the head from a different tripod but… I’m just lazy I guess.
No mirrorless cameras for me, thank you.
I think the Oben TT-300 is a different animal…pardon the pun.
The GorillaPod provides more types of outdoor field solutions than does the Oben in terms of being able to wrap itself around things, its bendable legs etc. where the Oben is rigid and is more suited to flatter surfaces.
If you already own a GorillaPod I’m not sure if you would get much additional functionality from the Oben. As a video shooter I did like the stability of the Oben with my Manfrotto 391RC2 and being able to get useable video clips with that combination. I’m not sure how the GorillaPod would perform from a video perspective.
I think both the GorillaPod and Oben have the about same 6 lb. weight rating….the Oben is 6 lb and the GorillaPod is 6.6.
Something like the GorillaPod Focus provides higher weight ratings making it useable for heavy DSLRs.
How would you compare it’s usefulness to a GorillaPod?