Welcome to the Novo Explora T20 Tripod review.
I am delighted to be doing this review of the Novo Explora T20 tripod. I have had this tripod for several months now but with Covid-19 I didn’t have time to test it out properly but finally I put aside some time to really give it a good thrashing on the coast.
I will be updating this review as I go along. The good news before we even start talking about how good this tripod is I can offer you aif you’re interested in buying some of them it will save you a bit of money. I do get any commission from sales made with my discount code nor was this review sponsored by Novo.
Simply enter the Novo discount code HAYES10 at checkout to get 10% off.
Ok, I had planned to do an unboxing video but thought I would stupidly have a cheeky peek myself first before I started filming… once I opened the box I simply couldn’t put it back in again though. For £299.- (£270.- with the discount code applied) you get a beautifully made tripod that also converts into a monopod if needed. There is a really good ball head in the kit and a nice carrying bag also in the box.
As always before I purchase a product I have a good look around and I just kept coming back to this one.
I know 2 photographers that use this model and love it, I can now completely see why. I was planning on being totally underwhelmed by this tripod considering the price but I am so very surprised at some of the lovely features and build quality.
I was waiting for reality to give me a serious kicking as this was just too good to be true. This beast has a load capacity of 20kgs!!!
Now most of us will never put half that load on it but it all helps the rigidity and stability of the tripod. So far it has proven itself to be incredibly stable for me.
I have had a slight issue with it but I found an amazing solution, I will get to that later on.
So the whole unboxing thing went a bit too fast and was a bit of a blur, that’s the most positive thing I could ever say about a product I have reviewed though.
Why did I buy a Novo Explora T20 tripod?
Why not buy one of the other well known brands?
They are both very good questions, firstly I wasn’t buying one tripod, I was in the market for 4 of them and at the price of the Gitzo tripods I didn’t feel like paying over €4,000. – for all of them.
I needed the 4 tripods for clients on workshops with me, I had been using Manfrotto 055 pro3 tripods but they kept failing apart on me and I was just fed up with them.
When your 4 year old daughter can break two of them it’s obviously time to give up on them.
On two different occasions she managed to break one. The first time she unscrewed the ball head locking knob and a tiny little insert piece that is loose on top of the knob fell inside the ball head and got stuck in grease and wouldn’t come out. It took over two weeks to get the replacement piece.
The second time she was playing with the centre column tightening nut and it broke… I kid you not and this was the second time it had gone in under 2 years.
So I left her play with the Novo tripod for 20 minutes and it survived. So that’s the first serious test passed then.
I am going to separate this review into two pieces one section for the legs and another for the ball head.
So on first examination in my studio the ball head was great, really solid and it had some amazing features. I don’t just mean nice features I mean really great ones. I have them separated out below as they all need to have their own space I feel.
1.- 20kg load capacity now thats great and I have tried it well and its rock solid with my gear.
2.- Swiss Arca plate. Now that’s a nice feature also to have in a tripod for using L-Brackets and also for micro positioning the camera for macro work. I have already used it a lot for macro product photography.
3.- Pano head, ok what do I mean by saying pano head surely that can’t be right, well it is and it isn’t, this head has a really nice feature in that you can level the ball head and swivel the top quick release plate through 360 degrees if you want too.
So no more spending ten mins trying to level the legs and ballhead together if you want to take a panoramic shot.
4.- Now one of my favourite features of this ballhead is the double locking dial as I call it. This means you can lock the ballhead’s tension making it really solid with the main dial and with the inner dial you can adjust the minimum tension or resistance you want which is so handy. In my case I use that a lot for landscape photography and also real estate photography.
You simply adjust the second locking point to the desired minimum tension or resistance you want on it. So your camera is reasonably free to be re-positioned on the tripod but wont fall over at the same time. That’s very important if you are using graduated filters.
5.- Levelling bubble. Nothing to get excited about there but handy to have at the same time.
So the ball head is a cracking bit of equipment and feels like it alone should be £150.- worth.
The tripod legs again seem to be really sturdy and with a 20kg load capacity it’s crazy strong for the price.
Did I mention this tripod is actually 1.6m high without the centre column raised!!!
That’s crazy tall and also incredibly handy as it comes with both a long and short extendable centre column which is a nice touch. Some of you might wonder why is a short centre column so handy? Well if you are shooting low to the ground the standard one ends out hitting the ground limiting how low you can go. I rarely use the centre column for landscapes although it is handy in the studio for product photography just raising or lowering the column gets you the angle you need without extending or retracting 3 tripod legs to do the same thing.
So now we come to the slight issue I had with this tripod. At first it was a serious problem but then I found a simple solution.
The spikes on the tripod legs rusted after only one use. Now in fairness the tripod had actually been in the sea 24 hrs before hand and I don’t mean they were dipped in I mean they were in there for an hour. I got home and poped the tripod in the shower as I normally do. This time I didn’t rinse it off though. The following morning there was rust showing on the spikes.
This probably won’t be an issue for most of ye especially if you are not dipping it in salt water.
So we come to the solution… I got tripod feet or claws made by Selens off Amazon and they haven’t rusted for me so far and they grip everything so well from rocks to seaweed to sand, yes I said sand, how can tripod feet grip sand well it’s actually simple they are wider then the tripod legs and when I am bedding in a tripod (pushing it firmly down into the sand) on the beach the extra width helps the legs from being pulled up slightly with the weight of the sand around them. So I would highly recommend the tripod claws or feet they are exceptionally good.
The legs are really solid and combined with the awesome ball head it’s a winning combination for me anyway.
If you have used or own a Novo tripod let me know how you are getting on with yours.
So to sum it all up this tripod is great value for money and the ball head is a real winner, the legs are sturdy and it’s great value for money… so if you are on a budget and need a great tripod that punches well above it’s weight then the Novo Explora T20 could be the one for you.
See you out there,
Kieran Hayes Landscape Photography Ireland Novo Explora T20 review My review of the Novo Explora T20 tripod and what I think of it. 5.0 43 updated on 13th of March 2021 https://www.landscapephotographyireland.com/novo-explora-t20-review