Aurora Aperture Inc. has announced an impressive, adaptable, and versatile tripod that aims to be the one tripod to rule them all.
The Gnu looks like a typical, albeit sleek, carbon fiber tripod at first glance. However, it is a modular tripod system that comprises two distinct yet interconnected modules. When photographers take full advantage of the set of the tripod and accessories, some very interesting configurations become possible.
“Inspired by the flexibility of interchangeable lens cameras, the Gnu modular system extends the versatility to tripods,” says Jeff Chen, founder and CEO of Aurora Aperture Inc. “With just one set of tripod and accessories, you will get five different tripod configurations to suit various shooting needs.”
One of these shifting configurations relies on a removable center column. Typically, a tripod either includes a center column, which can be raised or lowered as needed, or eschews a column altogether, which sacrifices convenient height adjustment in exchange for a bit more stability and the ability to bring a tripod extremely low to the ground.
While some tripods with center columns have found ways to get around the fact that the column hangs beneath the tripod head, the Gnu modular tripod enables photographers to remove the column altogether and use a column-less tripod.
Another possible augmentation is a horizontal column, enabling photographers to set up multiple cameras on a single tripod.
The Gnu also works with two different tripod heads, including a leveling head that tilts 15 degrees in any direction or a tripod with an integrated ball head. The ball head is fastened to the leg module using three screws, promising “unparalleled stability,” and it is Arca Swiss plate compatible and can be used for panoramic photography.
Carbon fiber is a popular choice for tripod legs due to its strong, lightweight design. However, some manufacturers make carbon-fiber legs by wrapping pre-made carbon fiber sheets around a metal tube. Aurora Aperture has opted instead for FilaWoven carbon fiber tubes manufactured using a filament winding process.
This manufacturing process builds hollow tubes by winding carbon fiber strands around a rotating mandrel.
“This yields unparalleled consistency and accuracy in ﬁber alignment, creating tubes of remarkable strength, stiffness, and durability. The process is commonly used in critical environments like airplane fuselages, rocket fuel tanks, and race cars, where high strength is required,” Aurora Aperture explains.
The Gnu comes in two leg module sizes. The Series 2 G24 is designed for full-frame cameras and “most” interchangeable lenses and has a payload of 55 pounds (25kg), which seems suited for “all” interchangeable lenses, at least those designed for still photography. The larger Series 3 G34 is built for “heavy pro cameras and telephoto lenses, as well as heavy slider setups” and supports up to 77 pounds (35kg). Each size includes four leg sections and multiple 1/4-inch threaded holes for accessories like extension arms.
The Gnu is currently being offered in a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, with backing options starting at $531 for the Series 2 option with the full suite of accessories and attachments. The tripod is also available as a base, which includes the tripod without a center column, starting at $343. The Gnu modular tripod system will be available to the general public beginning in February 2024.
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Image credits: Aurora Aperture