Review: Fotopro EGL-65 Carbon Eagle Series Tripod (E-6H Gimbal Head)

Fotopro EGL-65
The Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Series tripod and the E-6H gimbal head are serious pieces of kit that will serve you well, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for them.

When we go to buy cameras and lenses we barely bat an eye when it comes to dropping over four figures on new gear, but when we think about buying accessories such as tripods, the thought of spending that much probably sends shivers down one’s spine. At the end of the day though you have to keep in mind that the new camera and lens setup you purchased for untold thousands of dollars might at some point be supported by a tripod–so getting a good quality one that you can trust is a must. The Fotopro EGL-65 carbon fiber tripod along with the E-6H gimbal head have been designed with the pro photographer in mind. This tripod from Fotopro doesn’t really change anything when it comes tripods and their basic form and functions, but what they have done is elevate, and refine almost everything a tripod can do to heights I’ve not seen before.

But is the Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Series Carbon Fiber tripod with gimbal head a setup that you should seriously consider investing over $1,000 in?

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It’s made from 1K carbon fiber which is ridiculously strong and durable
  • There’s an incredible amount of controls that allow the user to dial in the perfect camera position
  • The head glides around with ease! It’s as smooth as butter
  • Easy to get perfectly level thanks to the quick adjust head and the large bubble level
  • There are three positions the legs can be placed which help with composing
  • The spikes on the end of the legs mean business

Cons

  • The handle which you use to pan with feels cheap (plastic handle) compared to the rest of the components
  • It took a while to figure out what all the controls do, and the instruction pamphlet is really no help
  • The twist locks on the legs feel a little cheap due to the quality of the rubber grips, and they feel gritty when locking and unlocking
  • it’s a little weighty at 4.58lbs, but then again this is a lot of tripod

 

Gear Used

The Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Series carbon tripod was used with the Pentax K1 II and various lenses.

 

Tech Specs

The technical specifications have been taken directly from the official Fotopro website.

Model: EGL-65
Material: Carbon Fiber
Sections: 5
Tube Max Dia: 28mm/1.10in
Min Hgt: 125mm/4.92in
Max Hgt: 1400mm/55.11in
Folded/Collapsed: 495mm/19.48in
Weight: 2.08kg/4.58lbs
Load: 15kg/33.06lbs

 

Ergonomics

 

 

The Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Pro tripod looks just like other tripods on the market today. There is really nothing ground breaking the design at all. The only thing that really sets this tripod apart is the fact that it has a gimbal head instead of the more common ball head.  We’ll take a look at the gimbal head more closely in a minute. First we will take a look at the legs. When collapsed the tripod measures in at 19.48 inches, so this is not exactly what would be called a compact tripod. You’re going to know you have it with you at all times. As you can see in the picture above, the legs have 5 sections, the main shaft which is then follow by 4 more extendable shafts. When the legs are fully deployed, the tripod stands at 55.11 inches, which is a pretty average size.

At the top of the legs you will see the clips which lock the legs into place. These clips simply pull away from the body so that you reposition the legs. When pushed in, the clips lie flat against the legs, when pulled out they protrude roughly half an inch. Underneath the base where the gimbal head sits you’ll find the hook which can be used to apply extra weight to the tripod if needed. The dial you can see in this image tightens, and loosens the gimbal head so that you can level the head easily.

Fotopro EGL-65

The bottom of the legs are covered with an angled rubber piece which covers the spikes that are permanently installed on the tripod. The rubber which covers the spikes is quite thick, and for good reason. As you can see, the spikes on the Fotopro EGL-65 are pretty serious. If you need to dig this tripod down into the ground (or fight off a bear, just kidding, don’t do that) these spikes will do the job easily.

Fotopro EGL-65

As you can see in this image, the gimbal head on the Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Series tripod sits right on top of the legs. There is no center column that can be raised or lowered here. The gimbal head is fully articulating though and can swivel around in the depression that it sits in which makes it very easy to get your camera level. There is also a massive bubble level at the base of the head as well. The dial which is used to loosen and tighten the floating gimbal head sits in-between two of the legs at the base of the head.

There are a total of five controls on the head of the tripod which all control how you position the head and control the tension of the movements. When you attach the camera mounting plate the only other dial you’ll find will be the one that controls the quick release plate. The handle, which you can use to pan and tilt the head, attaches to the rear of the mounting plate.

 

Build Quality

 

This is where the Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Series tripod really comes into it’s own. The build quality is exquisite for the most part. I have used the tripod on some pretty rugged terrain around the state of Oklahoma, and it has held up to absolutely everything I have been able to throw at it. The Fotopro EGL-65 specifically journied on some warm, humid spring days, some cooler spring mornings, and I have deployed the tripod out the strong winds that come sweeping down the plains, and the tripod has performed admirably. With the Fotopro EGL-65 being carbon fiber the legs do not absorb near as much heat or cold as say aluminum, or steel–so handling the tripod in those two weather conditions is as easy as pie. The metal clips that hold the legs in the position of your choice feel solid, and they slide in and out from the legs smoothly. All of the machined knobs and controls feel beautiful in the hands, and they too operate effortlessly.

The E-6H gimbal head is a work of art. Truly, it’s as beautiful as a tripod head can get. The precision machining makes everything fit together perfectly. The head clicks solidly into its various positions (0 +45 +90, and 0 -45 and -90), and it gives a feeling of confidence when being used. When rotating the head it clicks into place, but you can also adjust the tension so that the head glides around like butter; there is still a little resistance there otherwise it would just spin out of control. It’s incredibly satisfying to use. When the legs are fully deployed, and the tripod is at its greatest height, the Fotopro EGL-65 feels just as sturdy as it does when it is as its lowest position. It is incredibly well balanced, and very sure footed.

It’s not all good though. I do have a couple of complaints. This tripod and gimbal head combo costs over $1,000. At this price point and with all transparency, all aspects of this tripod should be top drawer, but they’re not. The tilt and pan handle for instance. The shaft of the handle from what I can tell is metal (not sure which kind), but would it have hurt to have been made from carbon fiber too? The grip of the handle is made from some of the cheapest feeling plastic that has ever crossed the palms of my hands. This is simply not acceptable. Fotopro could have at least provided a nice rubber grip instead of a poorly textured lump of plastic.

Fotopro EGL-65

The locks on the legs are also another sore point for me. The locks do indeed have a rubber covering, but again, it’s incredibly cheap feeling. Why Fotopro? Why cheap out on this? The locks also do not operate anywhere near as smoothly as the other controls on the tripod, in fact they almost feel gritty when they are being turned. Yes, both the handle and the locks on the legs not being up to par with the rest of the Fotopro EGL-65 are minor annoyances in the grand scheme of things, but they are not the fittings and finishes one would expect on a $1,099 tripod. Despite these gripes, overall the Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Series carbon tripod is one of the most well engineered tripods I have used.

 

Ease of Use

 

Fotopro EGL-65

Once you get used to all of the various controls and what they do, the Fotopro EGL-65 tripod and the E-6H gimbal head are easy to get along with. If you’ve not used a gimbal head before, it will serve you well to spend a little bit of time familiarizing yourself with how it operates. Forget about the instruction pamphlet, it’s worthless, just get to turning and playing with the controls. Once you have everything nailed down, you will be able to use the tripod to help you get the absolute perfect composition for your landscapes, you will able to to use it to help you easily track birds in flight, planes that whiz by at airshows, and cars that are zooming around a race track. Being able to slowly and methodically rotate the head really does help you compose with ease. As mentioned above, the head clicking into place fills you with confidence. Tighten down the the dials and you know that your camera is safe and secure, and that your composition won’t change. The beauty of being able to adjust the tension of all of the axes means that the E-6H gimbal head is perfect for those who need a rock solid tripod for video work too. The head just glides around effortlessly, and silently. Given that it can hold up to 33lbs of gear means that it will be able to hold heavier cine lenses with no problems at all.

While the rotating locks on the legs maybe don’t operate as nicely as the other parts of the tripod, they get the job done. One quick turn of the locks and the legs are free. Extending and retracting is a quick and painless affair, and with a quick twist they’re locked back into place. The center hook that is used to add extra weight to the tripod is easy to access and use, and unlocking the legs so that you can put them into one of their three positions is easy to do too. The bubble level is large and is easy to read as well so you can see at a glance how level your camera is. Really, at the end of the day it’s a tripod, there isn’t anything new or ground breaking here, just familiarize yourself with the gimbal head and you’ll be all set. Keep in mind that this isn’t the lightest tripod on the market. Even though it’s carbon fiber, it still weighs in at 4.58lbs. You’re going to feel it if it goes on long hikes with you, but the extra weight will be worth it.

 

Conclusions

Likes

  • Beautifully constructed
  • The gimbal head is a pure joy to use
  • It’s as sure footed as a mountain goat

Dislikes

  • The cheap fit and finish on the handle and twist leg locks
  • It’s a little weighty
  • It’s spendy at $1,099

Overall the Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Series carbon tripod is a wonderfully made tripod that is a joy to use. You can mount any camera and lens combo on it with complete confidence. The ability to be able to accurately, and precisely dial in the exact angle you want your camera to be at means that any photographer will be able to get the exact composition they’re looking for. Loosen up the head and you will be able to pan and track objects with ease. This Fotopro Eagle Series tripod will make a wonderful tool for serious landscape photographers who demand the best in terms of build quality, and sturdiness, and it will delight wildlife and some sports photographers too. It’s a huge investment to make at $1,099, but it’s one that will not let you down, and I believe that it will be one that will stand the test of time too.

We award the Fotopro EGL-65 Eagle Series carbon tripod with the E-6H gimbal head 4 out of 5 stars. Had it not been for the corners cut on the fit and finish of a few parts it would have been a 5 star tripod. When you pay this much money for a tripod you’d expect it to be right down to the last detail. The two small issues aside, this tripod is one of the best you’ll be able to get your hands on if you’re willing to splash the cash. You can pick one up on Amazon for $1,099.