Novoflex Minipod

Wed 2011.04.06
by brian hefele

novoflex minipod aiming a sigma dp2 into a tree hole.

I try to remain as minimalist with my photographic equipment as possible. I loathe tripods, and use them sparingly. One of my go-to bits of gear, if I need a little bit of support, is the Novoflex Minipod. Generally, I just use it without a head, although sometimes I throw on a lightweight macro rail if I’m doing macro work with my Sigma DP2. Above, my DP2 is mounted on the bare Novoflex, with a +4 diopter attachment, pointed into a hole in the base of a tree for a 15 second exposure. The resulting image:

scene inside a tree. sigma dp2, 15″ exposure

While I originally bought the Novoflex for macro shooting my DP2 in the woods, it has found a lot of use outside of this. Despite its small size, Novoflex rates it to support up to 22 pounds. Indeed, it has seen plenty of use with my medium format cameras, and I’ve never really felt like I’m testing it. Even on lightweight duty, it works wonderfully in situations where weaker tabletop tripods would simply not be steady enough, like the three-shots-with-three-different-filters approach of trichrome. One of my favorite uses, however, has been getting close to the water while keeping my M645 dry…

cunningham falls state park, mamiya m645 1000s, 80/4 macro, efke 25

…a task that would be difficult to do with such closeness and intimacy using any other camera support. General usage of the tripod is simple: one large wheel attaches a head or camera body, each leg adjusts individually using twist-locks, and each leg’s ball joint has indents for 30º, 60º, and 90º (full range). Legs hold tight in general usage, but too much fiddling can result in inadvertently putting too much weight on the tripod, causing legs to adjust in frustrating ways. Keeping careful and mindful keeps this to a minimum, and the tripod is generally quick to use. Unfortunately, this does all come at a price — online vendors in the US charge around $200, and a set of extension legs will run another $60. I have no experience with the extension legs, so I can’t speak to their stability. All in all though, if you’re looking for a best-in-class small tripod, the Novoflex can’t be beat.