Velbon 630 Champagne Tripod

The carbon fiber Velbon 630 tripod is a lightweight three section tripod with reversible center column and is marketed in the USA by Hakuba (mail order price $280). The tripod weighs 3.0 lbs and stands 50.5" with legs fully extended (center column lowered). A taller, 4 sections, Velbon 640 model is also available. The tripod can be secured to either 1/4" or 3/8" heads via a reversible bolt. Photo at right shows the tripod with the Velbon PH-268R Fluid Panhead.

The tripod operates smoothly and securely, even under the considerable weight of a 400mm f2.8 lens. The legs extend and retract with a smooth, confidence inspiring swoosh sound. The locking mechanism is a twist type.

The angle of the legs are continuously adjustable, with three preset angles. In most cases the tripod is setup using the normal leg angle depicted in all the photos on this page. It is not unusual for the angle adjustment to get altered between setups (e.g. during transport), which can come as somewhat of a surprise during setup. While this is simple to correct, it is a minor annoyance.

The tripod comes with a stone bag which attaches to the legs. When loaded with weight, the stone bag tends to bow the legs of the tripod inward slightly. More bothersome, however, is the nuisance caused when lifting the tripod. The weight of the stone bag collapses the legs and makes it very difficult to reposition the tripod. These factors, along with the time it takes to attach the bag in the first place, make it useless.

A much more practical solution is to simply attach an equipment bag or backpack to the center column using an inexpensive clamp.


If you are looking for a carbon fiber tripod, the Velbon 630 is a terrific bargain and performs in the same class as competitors costing twice as much. Lightweight, strong, and excellent build quality. Surprisingly, this tripod is not carried by the major mail order houses, but a search can quickly locate one.

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Posted 6/4/3