Among all the industrial-type photo and video equipment I came across, the Ulanzi Coman Zero Y tripod turned out to be the most expensive. And to my incredible horror, it turned out to be one of those things I cannot use in everyday life in its basic configuration. And not because it is bad, but because it is quite the opposite. It’s… However, let’s go in order.
The tripod costs $400. Or a little more if you buy it bundled with the best smartphone mount I’ve ever seen and used, and the Ulanzi F38 quick-release platform.
What’s in the Box?
At the same time, even the basic configuration of the Ulanzi Coman Zero Y does not require any additional devices or accessories for operation.
Just unbox it and use it. Actually, the kit includes instructions, a set of spiked legs for working on the soil, as well as a shoulder bag with fairly high-quality accessories.
As for the Zero Y itself, I’m sure you’ll love it as soon as you take it out of the box. The fact is, Ulanzi’s flagship tripod design was influenced by carbon fiber fashion. Thus, the legs are made of carbon fiber, not metal.
Which increases strength, resistance to weather and scratches, and at the same time reduces weight.
The maximum height of the Ulanzi Coman Zero Y is 1567 mm, with three legs of 5 sections from 12 to 25.5 mm thick. The height without the raised central section is 1,320 mm.
Actually, the maximum height is one of the advantages of the tripod. Because my current one’s max height is 130 mm lower, while it weighs almost 200 g more.
On top is an articulated head with an Arca-Swiss clamp and pretty good panoramic hydraulics. The head can rotate and tilt up to 180 degrees – yes, even vertically up and down – thanks to special grooves on both sides of the hinge clamp.
The platform is small but has a screw that fits both a flat screwdriver and a hexagon. It is fully compatible with Arca-Swiss, and therefore with the Ulanzi Claw Gen2 base, and even with the Ulanzi Falcam F38 platform.
However, the standard platform is imperfect because it has an inexplicable protruding “lip”, which can interfere with mounting on large cameras. And I don’t even really understand why this lip is needed, at all.
The hinged head clamp is relatively reliable but is made with a knurled handle, unlike the lever clamp to fix the hinge itself. Oh, and the panoramic head is made with a triangular clamp – which can also be lifted if clamping or squeezing is inconvenient.
I also positively note the 1/4 inch thread on one side and the triangular center section locking lever on the other. There is also a fluid level on the pivot head itself. Which, however, moves a little when the lever is pressed, keep that in mind.
The hero of the review is as interesting as possible feature-wise. For example, it can be lowered to an incredible height of 153 mm. But this is hindered by the central section, which is 240 mm high. What shall I do? And that’s what!
At the bottom of the central section, there is a hook that can be used to hang the tripod upside down. But it… unscrews. And at the other end, it has a hexagon. What to do with it? Turn the hinged head down 180 degrees, freeing access to a special hole.
Next, push the unscrewed hexagon all the way into the hole, and… unscrew most of the central section. This reduces the maximum theoretical height of the Coman Zero Y to 1320 mm, but the minimum is reduced to almost floor level.
Well, if you need to stick directly into the floor, you can always get the central section and push it up with a lever. The hexagon, by the way, can be used when working with ALL the screws on the tripod. Including the screw on the platform from above, and the leg clamps both from above and from below.
The problem is that you will hardly be able to UNSCREW or tighten the last screws, the tool is thin and lacks a lever for turning.
Recommended reading: What Is Arca-Swiss And How It Changed The World? ft. Ulanzi Claw Generation II
In any case, if you don’t have any other long tool – this hook at the end can be hooked with a hex screwdriver of a different size and used as a handle. Although not very elegant and not on the first try, but it works.
So. We recorded that the hero of the review is super. Lighter, stronger, more versatile, and easier to transport and store. So why doesn’t it suit me? Because the hinged head cannot be removed and replaced with a full-fledged and professional video head, let’s say.
Neither I nor anyone, in general, has the right to take this as a drawback of the tripod. Because it is specialized – for tourists, for travel, and for photos. It is for operators with small cameras with a small weight.
In the case of using these particular cameras, even the panoramic head easily withstands the load and scrolls softly and smoothly. However, install a Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K with a medium weight Sigma Art 18-35 F1.8 lens on it, plus a cage and a basic body kit – and that’s it, panoramic scrolling starts to jam.
I even tried to Frankenstein it by adding a professional video head that I have on top, but this put SUCH a load on the panoramic base that when I tried to tilt the video head forward… I could hear the hydraulics sputtering. That is, you can simply kill the panoramic “module” with this.
And this is the norm! I’m not talking about killing, I’m talking about the load. The specs of the tripod are written in black and white – 18 kg for the central section and up to 3 kg for the articulated head. And this is for the head itself, as I understand it, not for the panoramic module, which does not hold that much.
So yes, I made a fool of myself trying to use the Ulanzi Coman Zero Y with a film camera at all.
I’ve also had no body kit at all, and on a Micro 4/3 lens, the Coman can even be used with a Blackmagic and a video head if required. Simply, different tripods are different things for different tasks. And it would be a very gross mistake to consider this a disadvantage of Ulanzi Coman Zero Y.
And… I was writing all this before I happened to see from YouTuber Mr. Baz that there is a… 1/4” threaded center section for the Coman Zero Y. However, it costs $30. On it’s own.
But naturally, it will allow me to replace my main tripod with the Ulanzi Coman Zero Y. And now I have, excuse me, Manfrotto 290 Light.
Shortcomings and How To Solve Them
Now the question. Does the tripod have any shortcomings… the real ones? Yes, there are. As much as one and a half. Half of the shortcoming is that it just freaks me out how hard it is to push the center triangular section back through the bottom if it has to be screwed back on. And what’s funny is that the tripod is fitted with almost surgical precision, which indicates decent quality.
And I found a solution – to lower the rest of the section with the hinged head down a little so that it protrudes below the guides. At the same time, my proposal remains the following – in the updated version, the guides should be with beveled corners inward. This way the section can be touched and entered immediately. Or something like that.
And the real downside is that the 1/4″ taper on the side sits too deep and doesn’t allow for screwing in… hardly anything wider than 12mm, as wider stuff prevents the legs from folding.
For reference – the Ulanzi F22 platform, the platform itself, this tiny thing, is 19mm at its narrowest point.
Moreover, the hole itself is slightly recessed. Thus, even a clever combination of an extra-long screw from SmallRig 1713 and a 3/8-inch adapter does not allow you to fasten anything quick-release there.
Actually, the company itself informed me in a dialogue that indeed – it is made for magic hands. And it’s true – I have three of them, and two of them are suitable for this case. As long as you don’t have to move the tripod. The big nameless hand will have to be unscrewed because it won’t fit.
A small hand will fit in, but it is difficult to fix it, the legs of the screw interfere.
I solved this problem by filing the 1/4″ to 3/8″ adapter, then taking the same longest 1/4 flat cap screw from the SmallRig 1713 and using that set to secure the Ulanzi F22 platform.
This system looks very strange and too DIY-ish. I was incredibly lucky that I filed the adapter to the almost perfect thickness, and screwed the platform exactly vertically… But it adds the Ulanzi Coman Zero Y to the Ulanzi Falcam F22 ecosystem. It also allows one to carry the tripod in the bag that comes with it.
By the way, it would be nice for the bag to have some additional pockets to store spiked legs. Of course, I’m nitpicking. I have no idea if it can be done at all, or if anyone managed to make it. But – here’s an idea for you.
Ulanzi Coman Zero Y Summary
This is a travel tripod for photo and hybrid cameras. And it is absolutely incredible. Is it worth $400? Even compared to my Manfrotto – yes, worth it. It is light, flexible, versatile, and well thought out. It also has an upgrade potential, and I will try to upgrade it as soon as I can.
It’s not 10 out of 9 perfect from an engineering point of view. However, given the build quality and the fact that you can fix all the flaws yourself, it’s hard for me not to recommend the Ulanzi Coman Zero Y. But again, be sure to get the center section for the 1/4″ platform. And, voila, you’re all set and done.
Video Review of Ulanzi Coman Zero Y
You can look at this marvelous device in action here:
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