Where are Leofoto Tripods Made and How Much do the Cost?

Where are Leofoto Tripods Made and How Much do the Cost?

Brian Mathers

Have you ever picked up a tripod and thought “where is this thing made?!?”

Well, we are here to let you know that Leofoto Tripods are made in Guangdong, China. The brand Leofoto is owned by a company called Guangdong Laitu Imaging Technology Co.,Ltd. They have an extensive network throughout 40 countries to supply you with their Camera Gear including Tripods, Monopods, Plates, Heads ect.

The next question you may ask yourself is “How much is this thing!?!”

Again, we are hear to help you out with that one! The short answer is….it depends! 😊

In general, Leofoto products would be considered from mid to high end quality and price. What this means is that the cheapest tripod you can purchase from Leofoto is above the $100.00 mark and they go up from there depending on many different variables. Let’s quickly go over the variables and how to tell the difference.

The part number will show you the very first signs of what the price of the Leofoto tripod is. We have put a photo below this paragraph to help bring clarity as well. All Leofoto part numbers start with the letter “L”. This stands for the brand ‘Leofoto’. The second letter is for the tripod series (mountain, ranger, urban ect). The 3rd part is a two (2) digit number that stands for the diameter of the largest tube on the tripod, i.e. the diameter of the upper most portion of any of the legs on the tripod. The 4th part is a single digit number that stands for the number of sections in each leg. These are the pieces that collapse down into what can look like one piece but there are several moving pieces within the largest portion of the leg depending on what version and style tripod you get. The next letter in the part number stands for the material the tripod is mostly constructed of, in the below case ‘C’ stands for Carbon Fiber. The next two letters indicate which leveling mechanism it has, in the below case it is ‘EX’. The second to last letter is the size of the middle of the tripod, in this case ‘M’ is for middle or medium. The last letter is not on all of their tripods but it’s a letter ‘T’ that is present if the tripod can reverse fold, which essentially means it can hang your camera upside down while keeping it stable.

Leofoto Tripod Part Number Guide

Ok well the above took a little longer to explain then we hoped but let’s keep moving…let’s jump into the construction of the Leofoto tripods and how this effects the bottom-line cost to you. All the Leofoto tripods are constructed with an aluminum head, or top portion that the legs connect to. The legs are all made from Carbon Fiber. The catch/release mechanisms are made from plastic/rubber/steel/aluminum depending on which version of tripod you are looking at.

The aluminum heads are a large plus on the weight side of things, as Leofoto has designed a hollow aluminum head. But is the weight savings enough to offset the upcharge of aluminum for you….we will let you decide that! Every head is constructed of International Standard 6061-T6 aluminum which is a very strong aluminum (you can google for more details! 😊). This aluminum is cut/melted and poured into shapes/castings. The liquid aluminum is then let to sit and cool/harden. Each cooled piece is then inspected to ensure quality and any sharp edges are removed. You can see this process and the material costs are higher then using a cheaper material such as plastic.

The carbon fiber leg construction of the Leofoto tripods is interesting. Every leg is constructed of Toray 100% 10-Layer Carbon Fiber. All carbon fiber products are layered to give strength. Many manufacturers use 10-layers of carbon fiber but not many manufacturers use the cross Rhombuis layering technique. In simple terms this means that the carbon fibers are layered in such a way that they are crisscrossed and interwoven. Hence strengthening the leg as a whole and reducing vibration.  As this method requires heat to be used the tubes for the legs are allowed to cool before the inspection process. Leofoto uses and infrared testing method to ensure the thickness of the tubes is equal all the way around and down the product. This is a stringent testing measure that ads time and cost to the process. Once the tubes have passed the infrared testing, they carry on to a strength testing station. Each tub is tested using a machine to test the side load capacity to ensure that it meet or exceeds Leofoto's standards. Upon completion of the testing stage the tubes head into a sander to remove rough edges. Finally ending up at their final stage of a manual inspection to ensure they meet all criteria. Needless to say, this stringent testing and measuring adds significant time and cost to the product when it lands in your hands.

The next piece we want to discuss are the pieces that connect the head or center piece to the carbon fiber legs. These are the pieces that provide the pivotal movement of the legs. The Leofoto standard angle stop is a semi-automatic ratchet system. This means that is stops at 23, 55, and 85 degrees. It can be released and folded up by a push of the disengage mechanism. These pieces are very high quality and incredibly durable.

The next component on the list is the feet, yes the feet! These are the pieces of the tripod that make contact with the surface you are resting you tripod on to get that perfect shot. Leofoto tripods have a pretty cool feature that offers interchangeable feet. They have a few different options, the common ones being their standard angled rubber foot that is constructed with a steel core and rubber bumper. They also have a spike that is useful when shooting on slippery or soft slopes and terrain as the spikes can dig into what ever surface you are on. Lastly, they have a steel claw that is their most aggressive option. This provides a lot of gripping strength but can also cause a lot of damage to surfaces if used incorrectly.

Finally, lets quickly go over the item used that makes the tripod function smoothly! Lubricant! 😊 Leofoto tripods all come standard with their Nichimoly Japan made lubricant. The lubricant has been tested and proven to work well at as hot as 60 degrees Celsius all the way down to -40 degrees Celsius. That is something to respect as most humans have a lot of trouble dealing with that sort of temperature change!

Generally speaking, the Leofoto tripods are well priced for what you are getting. They can get a little pricey for a beginner photographer when you start looking at adding Leofoto’s high end heads with micro adjustments ect. At the Camera gear Store we would place them among the mid to high end tripods. Many people use the Leofoto heads on alternative tripods and others use alternative heads on the Leofoto tripod base.

We trust this gives you a little insight into why Leofoto tripods are not the cheapest tripod on the market and what you can expect for quality.