I travel light, just a bag on rear seat for my tours so every item has to be compact and essential or it gets left at home.This means I rarely have a tripod and so my photo composition has the limitations that presents.
Any glance at the better travel bloggers show photos mostly contain the person as well as the scene, something I have been slow to adopt.
Many years ago I got a QuickPod. The father of the modern selfie stick. This is a handy item that almost fits in your pocket but height is limiting and the tube and base are ‘wobbly’ for want of a better term. Next I got a 3 leg metal travel tripod from Adorama. This is good height but slightly bulky and slow to set up. I had this pair unsuccessfully for few years then recently got a Myamor brand mono pod when I purchased the Theta 360 cam. This pod has the height and is very light yet sturdy plastic tube however it is so unstable. The slightest breeze will blow it over as happened already a couple of times.
While visiting Yodobashi camera I came across a tripod called the Cube (or Q1) made by Velbon, a professional tripod company. (no affiliation to the shop or brand)
This is made from aluminium and uses square extension legs. At first it seems to move about but once accustomed to how it works it is quite stable.The legs extend very quick and auto lock. There is a tab to release them and you simply squeeze the three legs together that activates all tabs at once. The tripod swivel head is controlled quickly and smoothly with spring tension that is one button to adjust.
Height is always a trade off and it sits neither ideally high nor too low. It folds completely flat where as the Adorama pod is more bulky collapsed (despite my photo not conveying that). Being shorter is a big advantage how I can carry and pack it. It is about the best trade off in size I can find on the market at the moment – but smaller again would be better. The speed I can have it expanded and fit my camera is much better than the others and that is another good point to encourage use. But if you have something else to suggest then would love to hear of what other people are using.
Update April 2019. I used the new tripod on my recent ride a few times and can confirm it really is fantastic in how quickly you can deploy it and also how the legs flex to sit well on any surface. Could it be smaller – of course always that is the dream but so far love the Velbon Cube.