Tripods. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re an essential piece of photography gear. As part of the never-ending pursuit for the best carbon fiber travel tripod, I recently picked up the iFootage Gazelle TC6 – a budget-friendly, carbon fiber travel tripod with a number of interesting features.
iFootage Gazelle TC6
The iFootage Gazelle TC6 is part of the “Gazelle” line of carbon fiber iFootage tripods which also includes a smaller, more compact TC5 and a “fast bowl” TC7. I opted to try the TC6 because it was the tallest option available at 65″ (because I’m a tall guy), and because it included a center column like the shorter TC5.
After unboxing the tripod and using it, I noticed a number of interesting design features which set this tripod apart from other carbon fiber travel tripods in this price range.
Most tripods come with two types of feet — a rubber foot and a metal spike. Switching between them typically requires you to unscrew and remove one type of foot, then replace it with the other. This can be a time-consuming process when out in the field, and it’s another accessory that could easily get lost or misplaced while traveling. The Gazelle TC6 solves this problem with a unique foot design which includes the rubber foot and the spike together. Simply screw-in the rubber feet and you have spikes. Unscrew, and you’re back to rubber feet again.
Integrated into the collar of the Gazelle TC6 is a 3/8” female thread. This makes it possible to securely mount accessories to the side of the tripod instead of the camera. I tested it with a SmallRig Magic Arm (plus a 1/4″ to 3/8″ adapter) and a Feelworld HDMI monitor and it worked very well.
Center column bag hook
Hanging a camera bag or some kind of weight from the center column is a good method for adding stability to any tripod (to help minimize vibration). That said, I own two tripods with broken center hooks because they were constructed using thin plastic and metal. The iFootage Gazelle TC6 however has a thick hook integrated into the center column, and from what I can tell it appears to be much stronger than your average budget tripod hook.
I love this! The base on the Gazelle TC6 — where you attach your ball head or fluid head — makes leveling your camera easy. Simply loosen the red collar underneath, then tilt your camera until the bubble level is dead center. Lock it back up, and your shots are perfectly level. The reason I love this is because leveling a camera typically requires lengthening or shortening the tripod legs. With this, the base functions independently; making it easy to level your camera on natural terrain.
Self-locking leg locks
With most tripods, getting them super low to the ground requires pulling-out the locks at the top of each leg, lifting them up, then re-locking the legs by hand when they’re returned back to their starting position. With the Gazelle TC6 however, you simply push the legs back down and the locks incrementally lock back into place — making it easy to return a low tripod back to its standard setup after lifting it off the ground.
Unlike most tripods which have threaded screw caps or tiny flip locks, the iFootage Gazelle uses large, strong, easy to use red levers. Super useful when used outside in the cold wearing gloves.
Need to store the tripod legs with a ball or fluid video head? With most tripod bags, you’re out of luck. The bags aren’t long enough because they’re sized to fit only the tripod. The iFootage Gazelle TC6’s bag however is magical, for its length can be extended when you need to store the tripod without taking your ball or fluid video head off.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the Gazelle TC6. For me, it’s the perfect weight, size, and height for most photography and video work. It’s not robust enough for doing landscape photography in severe weather, but for everything else, it works. Also, now that I’ve experienced a tripod with an integrated leveling bowl, I don’t see how I could ever go back to a standard tripod.
In this video review (also embedded below), I walk through all the basic features of the iFootage Gazelle TC6, the aforementioned special features, and offer some final thoughts on whether the tripod is worth buying.