Aukey’s CP-T03 tripod is portable, flexible and cheap at £14. Its miniature stature makes it seem ideal for use with GoPros or smartphones, but its construction might allow for use with mirrorless or DSLR cameras as well. We’ve got a sample in to review, and here’s what we think!
- Flexible and stable structure
- Supports phones, cameras, etc.
- 360-degree rotatable ball & foam-coated legs
- Quick lock & release button and fast installation plate
- Fits up to 5.7-inch phones, cameras up to DSLRs and GoPros
- Also fits other devices with 1/4-inch screw mount
- Package contains tripod, phone mount, GoPro mount, two 1/4″ mounts
Like other tripods, the CP-T03 is characterised by three legs of equal size. Each leg is coated with soft foam, and segmented into nine pieces terminating in a grippy spheroid foot. The segmented construction allows each leg to bend considerably; you can easily fold a leg completely back on itself using only a single segment.
The three legs join together in the centre, where a ball socket joint allows full rotation of your chosen smartphone or camera. The ball socket can be tightened or loosened via a small handle nearby. Above this we have the mounting system for your choice of fittings, all of which can be released by pressing the two small buttons on either side. There are two 1/4-inch mounts on offer, which can be affixed to a phone or GoPro mount, or used directly with a DSLR, mirrorless or other digital camera with a 1/4-inch screw mount.
The smartphone mount has two 1/4-inch screw holes, allowing you to mount your phone in parallel or perpendicular to the tripod. The jaws expand to accommodate large smartphones, including the Note 8 (with a thin case installed, too).
The GoPro mount is of course smaller, with a tripartite design that meshes with the standard GoPro case (and that of its many imitators, e.g. the Tec Bean 4K we reviewed earlier this year).
As you have two 1/4-inch screw mounts, you can keep your GoPro and smartphone mounted and ready to go simultaneously, and swap out rapidly using the quick release tabs. This is pretty handy if you’re shooting with multiple devices using only the one tripod.
Generally, we found that this miniature tripod worked best with smaller cameras, as you might expect. Our Note 8 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones both fitted fine, even with cases attached, as did our knock-off GoPro. Expanding the jaws of the smartphone mount is a little disconcerting, but if you avoid being forceful it should last for a long time.
Our mirrorless camera, a Fujifilm X-T2, was slightly more challenging to use. The tripod could withstand its weight with the 18-55mm kit lens attached and the camera facing straight ahead, but angling the camera downwards was enough to topple it. That means this tripod won’t be able to replace our aging full-size tripod for taking review photos in the home office, sadly. If you have a smaller mirrorless camera, perhaps one made out of plastic instead of metal, or with a shorter and lighter lens, you might fare better than we did.
The flexible limbs of the tripod are easily moulded to fit almost any situation; you can affix a camera to a (spindly) tree, mount it on a motorbike (carefully) or just set up on your desk. While the limbs are nice and flexible, it is a bit annoying to try to get them straight and level again. I guess these are the breaks of a flexible rather than telescoping tripod.
Otherwise, our testing proceeded without incident. The tripod is small enough to hang out of a jeans pocket, and light enough to strap to your backpack without discomfort. The quick-release clips are handy for swapping between photographic devices, and the high coefficient of friction on the ‘foot’ of each leg means your tripod is unlikely to go anywhere without you.
The Aukey Mini Flexible Camera Tripod is a nice choice for smartphone and GoPro photography, and can work for smaller and lighter DSLRs or mirrorless cameras as well. You don’t get the height of a traditional telescoping tripod, but the strong and flexible legs allow creative minds to find novel camera angles and mounting methods. For £14, you definitely get your money’s worth.