We review tripods of all shapes and sizes, but rarely ones as large as the Kingjoy SolidRock C85. Kingjoy is a new entrant to the UK and US market, with three ‘SolidRock’ carbon fibre models that are each sold either with or without a matching ball head. The C85 is the largest of the trio, and it’s a monster.

At a glance:

  • $694 (without head) / £574 with head
  • 163.8cm max height
  • 66.8cm folded length
  • 2.65kg weight (5 pounds, 13 ounces)
  • 30kg rated load (66 pounds)
  • www.kingjoyuk.com
Kingjoy C85 with T30X head

The Kingjoy C85 with T30X head is impressively hefty and extends to 163.8cm

This is a four-section carbon fibre tripod that does without a centre column for maximum stability. You might think that his would limit its maximum height, but in fact, it reaches a massive 164cm. I’m about six feet tall, and this tripod places the camera’s viewfinder well above my eye level when it’s fully extended. The main penalty is a much longer folded length than usual, at 67cm. It’s also quite weighty, although perhaps not as much as you’d expect, at 2.65kg.

Kingjoy SolidRock C85 tripod with T30X ball head: Key features

  • Friction: A dial inset within the main locking knob adjusts the friction of the ball head
  • Accessories: A single 3/8 in thread on the central spider allows a magic arm to be attached for holding accessories such as lights or a monitor
  • Arca Swiss: The camera clamp accepts standard dovetail plates and has its own panning mechanism
  • Carry case: The tripod comes with a large, well-padded case, with both a shoulder strap and carry handles
Kingjoy C85 levelling base

The Kingjoy C85’s levelling base aids with setting your camera straight when shooting landscapes

One notable feature is a levelling base, which is controlled using a large twist lock in the middle of the legs. This lock can be pulled downwards for easier access, which is useful when you’re wearing gloves.

No fewer than four large bubble levels on the leg-set, head platform and quick-release clamp aid with getting your kit set up straight and level. This is really handy when shooting landscapes on uneven ground.

Kingjoy C85 with T30X head folded

Folded down, the tripod is much longer than most modern models

The leg sections employ twist locks with O-ring seals for protection against sand or grit. Each leg can be set independently to three different angles, using large semi-automatic levers.  The main head lock is likewise large and chunky, which makes the pan locks for the head base and the camera platform look incongruously small and fiddly.

Once set up, this is an impressively stable tripod that gives a totally solid base when fully locked down. It comfortably handled all the kit that I had available to test it, up to a full-frame camera with battery grip and 100-400mm zoom. With no centre column, though, it’s tricky to adjust the tripod’s height; I’d have liked to see scales marked on the lower leg sections for this.

Low level shooting is straightforward, as there's no centre column to remove

Low level shooting is straightforward, as there’s no centre column to remove

The ball head isn’t the smoothest I’ve ever used, either, which means it can take a bit of fiddling around to set the camera exactly to your desired composition when using a telephoto lens.

Kingjoy SolidRock C85 tripod with T30X Verdict

Kingjoy’s SolidRock C85 is an impressive piece of kit, although it’s probably overkill for most photographers. It’s best suited to landscape photographers shooting with high-resolution cameras, who need a sturdy, reliable support that won’t be fazed by difficult conditions such as wind or sand.

4.5 stars

The Kingjoy SolidRock range

Three SolidRock models are available. The smallest C82 is relatively portable, but only extends to 1.2m. It costs £279, or £359 with the matched T20X ball head.

Kingjoy C83 tripod

The medium-sized Kingjoy SolidRock C83 is similar to the C85 in design, but lacks a levelling base

Meanwhile, the medium sized C83 (above) perhaps represents the happy medium, with its 1.38m height. The leg-set costs £299, while the kit with a T30X ball head is £399. Finally, the C85 is available without a head for £449.

For more options have a look at the best camera tripods, or have a look at the best camera phone tripods.

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