Ordinary Light Photographs

Cullmann CU1002 Compact Tripod Review

Updated Mar 19, 2009

I bought my Cullmann CU1002 from B&H Photo.

When shopping for tripods the commonly stated rule of thumb is that you want a tripod that is inexpensive, sturdy, and lightweight. You can pick any two of those characteristics. While the Cullmann CU1002 Compact Tripod doesn't break the laws of economics it does gives you very good value.

My primary tripod is a Bogen 3001Pro with a 386rc2 ball head that has served me very well. The combination, which weighs about 5lbs, is easy enough to carry that I don't mind bringing it along when I go out to take pictures. However, there are many situations when I don't want the bulk of a fullsize tripod but could use some camera support. To that end I started looking at compact tripods that offered both low weight and small size when folded.

At less than 1.2lbs, the CU1002 is a small, lightweight tripod. When folded it measures just over a foot long. It only extends to about 3' so it's not something you'll want to be working on all the time. The legs of the CU1002 can be spread independently from one another but the tripod does not have multiple settings for the angle of spread.

While the CU1002 will not wow you with its stability, when you consider how much it weighs it doesn't feel flimsy by any means. The added weight provided by mounting the camera to the tripod makes the setup feel much more solid. In order to increase the stability of the tripod I extend the thickest leg sections, thinnest leg sections, and then center column in that order depending on the height required. The center column is also easily reversed allowing for very low level shooting.

The included ball head is suprisingly decent. It easily handles my 10D with 17-40mm f/4 L attached. The ball head even supports the camera and 70-200mm f/4 L, provided I use the lens's tripod ring, with no drooping. It attaches to the legset via 1/4"-20 screw so while it is possible to attach a larger head (you'll need a 1/4"-20 to 3/8" adapter for most heads) this would add a good deal of weight. Adding a Bogen RC2 adapter plate allows the CU1002 to be used with the quick release plates I already have.

With the Cullmann CU1002 you get a small, lightweight tripod that compromises a little stability. It is much better than many travel tripods and at around $60 it provides very good value. I find that it is especially well suited for backpacking and travel but is good to have in any situation where you otherwise would not have a tripod with you.