KingJoy VT-1500 – The Best Tripod for Under $100
Now I get a lot of questions on the channel about the type of equipment I use when I'm out filming. So I thought I'd put a few clips together and show you some of my favorite gear. Now. King joy is a company that there's a really good job of building quality products that are really clever with a lot of high end features and then at a price that most people can afford, and the BT 1500 is a good example of that now, in the Spirit of full disclosure – they did send me this tripod for review, so it is a sponsored review, but they only did that because I own a lot of their equipment. I have monopods and tripods by them. I'Ve got a couple of the 1500s and I contacted him and said: hey. I want to talk about your products on the channel. Would that be okay and they said sure we'd love to have you talk about them? We'Ll, send you a 1500 and you can use it for the review, so I promise you it's not going to affect my opinion. I like this technology. This is the tripod. I recommend, when people ask me which one should they use and when I get through the review you'll see why this one is like that perfect balance of high end features and again at a price that most people can afford. So let me start off by doing an unboxing of the product.
There'S, not a lot to see. If you rip open the box, you'll find that inside you've got this really nice carrying case and the tripods inside of it. I think it's, a nice touch that they give you this carrying case with a shoulder, strap on it really heavy duty and it fits in there really nice heavy duty zipper as well. So let me pop it out of there and when I pull a tripod out. It'S a heavy duty tripod, which means you can use it for really really large cameras, which is something that some of the other tripods really can't support. It'S a few more things in here, so there's, an instruction manual and there's, a desiccant pack in there. So I'll put that down in the ground now to get started, there's really two fundamental types of tripods on the market. You may know this already, but if you don't there's what are called video tripods and then standard tripods now standard tripods are lightweight they're portable. They can handle DSLR cameras, but they're not really built to handle larger cameras or even DSLRs, with large lenses on them, because the legs just basically self support there's no center column to it. A video tripod has two distinct features that separate it from standard tripods number one it's usually got a locking triangle in the middle and show you that in a minute – but second, probably more importantly, it's got a fluid head on the top.
Now, if you search for a fluid head, just put it any tripod, you could spend a hundred hundred and twenty five dollars easily on a fluid head. The fact that the king joy comes with a really cool fluid head on. It means that this is an incredible value before I even open it up, so those are the big differences between them, so here's, the instruction manual put that aside some of the features I love about this tripod number one. You can see that it's got this center column right here, which is really important for stability, so you can push it all the way down this thing's not going to go anywhere a lot of the tripods that are standard tripods that are about the same price point Don'T have this this stiffening bars at the bottom and then the legs get all wonky when you're out there in the field. So this is not going to go anywhere. It'S got a perfect triangular base, that's going to stay where you leave it. The other cool thing about it it's got a locking collar on the bottom. So if you want to stop this halfway, you twist this and it cinches up on that center column. That'Ll stay there. Now. I typically put it down all the way and we're good to go, but that's pretty cool. Another cool feature about this is it's, got pivoting feet with rubber on them, so these are most of these come with stiff feet on the bottom and then they're kind of at an angle when they actually touch the ground.
This one is self leveling feet that puts it exactly level on the ground again to make it very secure, so it's not going to move around on you. The unit itself is made out of all aluminum, so the down legs are aluminum and if you want to extend them, they've got little Catholic clasps on the side right here that you can open up now. Another thing you want to look for when you're looking at tripods – or this is a two section and again the height on this thing – will go from 66 centimeters all the way fold it up like this up to 166 centimeters, for you guys in the US that's. Twenty five point: nine inches fold it up and I think it's. Let me check yet 65 inches fully extended and that's plenty for most of the tripods, but it's got clamps on the bottom that actually let these legs slide out, and I like that now you can find them with the twists as well. I found with the twist, though they don't tighten up as tight as the clamps do so I like these clamps, but the thing you want to look for and most of the quality tripods are when these legs slide out there's a lot of play in that mounting Right there and a lot of the less expensive tripods. This will wiggle an awful lot and that's a problem, because when you put it out and clamp it down now, you've got tripods that are shaking a little bit if there's a little bit of wind and if you're filming anything, especially with a long lens you're gon Na see that shake and it's gon na it's gon na make the focus a little bit off.
So the fact that these really tightly fit in there is really nice there's, no wiggle whatsoever. Alright, put it back up now. Another thing that's really critical about this – is the fluid head and a fluid head is important for video because by having a fluid head, it provides a little bit of resistance when you're moving it both in the tilt in the pan section and a lot of these Have sort of a standard head on it that you can't really make a lot of adjustments on so you're kind of stuck with whatever, whatever fluidity is built into there. This one has adjustments, fine adjustments for both the tilt and the pan, so the pan adjustments right here and the tilt adjustments on the side. It also has locks for both of those. So if you only want to pan like this, you can loosen this one and tighten the tilt, and that way you know it's going to stay exactly where you had it and you can pan like this and get that perfect shot across the horizon. The same is true: if you only want to go up and down you, don't want to go up and down and have it move a little bit so you can. You can lock the side button here this little knob on the side and then loosen this one, and then you can tilt like this and again that resistance is so nice because it gives you a buttery, smooth movement of that camera image.
On top another thing they built into it, some of the other tripods have this as well, but I like this is a knob on the front where I can actually spin this up or spin this down, because, if you're shooting from below up against something, you want To have this up, so you can control it and if you've got it high above you you've got the ability to put this down like this. You can reach up and actually move it around that way, so that's really nice. Another feature I wanted to point out was the integrated bubble level on the front, and I think it's really nice, that they've included that with the product – and I know what may seem like a small thing, but it's super important with a tripod like this, because when You get out on site, the ground is going to be uneven and the first thing you're going to want to do is level your tripod, because, unlike tripods, that use a ball head where the camera can move in a lot of different directions and find a level Position with this one, you only have to range of motion, you have tilt and you have pan that's it. So if you put the tripod down and it's, not leveling, you lock your camera onto it and you start filming. The camera could be skewed a little bit, which means the horizons gon na be off, and your entire day is gon na be shot with that weird position, which is really difficult to fix later on a post.
So the fact that they built this and just makes it so much easier to use and I've had other tripods that have had bubble levels on them that are mounted in weird positions, maybe they're not into the arm here and you lay it down the bubble level Cracks off so they've kind of tucked this thing in right between the two arms, and that tells me that these guys are really thinking about how it's going to be used in the field all right. The next thing I want to talk about is how you raise and lower the camera. So you've got a crank on the side. You can crank it up as high you need to, and I like the fact that it's got a rib along the front, so I can get an exact position of where I want it now. A lot of the other tripods I use that are less expensive, have sort of a locking collar on the top. So you basically loosen the collar. You raise the camera up and you tighten the collar and that works okay for most situations. But if you've got a heavy camera or if it's a hot day, the friction doesn't really hold because gravity is working against it, so that weight of the camera is going to slowly work, the camera down and over time, what's gon na happen is the whole blockings Going to change so if you're shootin in the morning and you've got a certain blocking a couple hours later, you looked at and it's dropped down to inches or sup, then everything's going to be off and you're gon na have to play with it in post.
So I love the fact that I can get exactly where I need to go and then, on top of that there's, a locking, knob right here which will lock it into place. So once I tighten this up, this thing's not going anywhere and I can put really heavy cameras on the top of it matter. Of fact, this product will support a 22 pound weight up top there, which means I can put a DSLR on it with really large lenses, or it can put like a camcorder up there, that's really really heavy and it's not going to go anywhere. So I love the fact that they've built all that stuff in alright. So the last thing I want to talk about is the camera mount itself the plate? Now, because this is set up to use bigger cameras, you can actually put a larger camera on the top and the plate is really easy to use so there's a little quick release here that pops the plate off now I'll talk about the plate. First, a lot of these plates that you get that are larger like this, especially again on the less expensive tripods. This has got a full cork base here, which is really important because when you tighten your camera down on this, the friction between the camera or the tension and the friction between the camera and that plate are all to hold the camera from twisting side to side. And a lot of less expensive plates actually put and kind of cheat out.
They put little strips of cork on it or little pieces of rubber on there and the glue gives up over time. So I love the fact that the full base of this thing is cork, which means it's never going to move on me. You'Ve got a locking pin for your camera. If it's got it and to put this back into the tripod, it couldn't be easier. You basically just put the one end and like that after you've mounted your camera on it, push down and it locks in a position. You close this and it's not going to go anywhere and then you've got a really secure mount, because, if you're using some of the modern equipment for doing videos, you're gon na have really expensive gear sitting on the top of this thing. So you want to make sure you've got a stable foam base where it's not going to flip over on you and second, probably more importantly, that it's secured to the tripod so that even if it gets bumped or somebody hits it with their elbow, the camera is Not going to go tumbling off and the mounts gon na hang on to it so that's pretty now, I've spent a lot of time talking about the features built into this again. I'Ve spent a lot of time in the field with different tripods. I love the products. These guys make, I think King Joe, has done a great job with this tripod.
I still can't get over the fact that it's less than a hundred dollars. I think that the tripod alone is probably an eighty or hundred on a tripod and that fluid head is fifty or eighty eight dollar fluid head. So the fact that they can put that fluid head on this tripod for an 80 price point it's just amazing. To me, so if you have any questions of anything I've covered today, please drop them in the comments below and I'll get back to as quickly as I can. I love this tripod. I recommend it to everybody, who's asking me for a new tripod. I think you're going to be happy with it.