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01-21-2013, 06:59 AM   #1
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First Impressions SIRUI Aluminum Tripod T2004X

My wife is getting better at watching over my shoulder while I peruse "photo accessories" and with an upcoming birthday she said add to cart . I own a Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod (Black). I have taken this with me everywhere and it has performed very well. It has seen temperatures ranging from high 30's to -40 Celsius. Sandy beaches , wind and snow. With a maximum load capacity of 7kg it was more than enough for anything I currently own. I have never had an issue with the leg locks either, I do like that style. I was just looking for something a little lighter and smaller for travel as well as something that did not cost me a small fortune. The manfrotto added to my Cullman 40200 ball head came in at about 7 1/2 pounds.

I came across the SIRUI tripod by chance. Happened to be on Future Shop web site (it is like a Best Buy , in fact Best Buy owns them) and saw the SIRUI Aluminum Tripod T2004X for $180.00. The price was just about where I wanted to be. I could not find a lot of information on this , so I took a chance and ordered it.

The specifications are:

Product Features
Light-weight, 4-section aluminum tripod; Max loading capacity: 33 lb; Weight: 3.3 lb;
Folded length: 16.1 in; Max leg diameter: 1.1 in; Center column: rapid; Max height: w/Column Extended : 58.3 in, w/ Column Retracted: 48.4 in; Min height: 5.12 in;
Head mount thread: 1/4"-20; base mount thread: 3/8"-16; Silicon twist locks; Two leg-angle settings (52 & 80);
Position is independently locked into place at two different angles; Short center column allows the tripod to reach extremely low positions; Leg warmer on one leg which facilitates handling in extreme weather conditions and help to protect the legs;
Center column hook; Sturdy shoulder strap for carrying; Well-designed padded traveling bag; 6-year warranty against manufacturing defects;

I was losing about 2 pound of weight , more compact for packing and as a bonus rated for more than twice the load of the Manfrotto.

Be advised I have not used this in the field yet, these are , as the title suggests , first impressions. And what are impressions without pictures

How it is delivered



What was in the box , all components in a nice travel case.



What came in the bag, the tripod, a shoulder strap, some instructions , Alan keys and a short column (with case) which can also be used as a column extender.



The next two pics give a sense of size. First on beside my K20D , second one beside the Manfrott 055XPROB. This is fully compressed with the large center column attached. You could shorten it a few more centimeters using the small column or take the center column right out.





I am a little over 6'2" I enjoyed the size of the Manfrotto. As you can see here the SIRUI is quite a bit shorter, however I don't think that will be much of an issue as with the column raised a bit and the Cullman 40200 ball head I don't really have to bend down that far.



Here is more or less the biggest load I will put on it (maybe add the grip , but it's close). I felt no wiggle room and purposely pointed the Sigma 50-500 downwards to see how the balance worked. It appears rock solid. I also did a 'lean' test. Being relatively tall and heavy (about 230lbs) I l]eaned on the set up and did not find it slipped at all.



For macro work , with the large center column attached seems pretty solid as well (K20D, sigma 105)



if you take out the large center column and put in the short one , you can get 'on your belly low'



And finally in this set up (K20D, Sigma 50-500, Cullman 40200 ball head) the top of the camera almost at my chin so as I said I don't have to bend down that much and I can raise the column to make it higher.



The SIRUI also has spiked feet that can be retracted. It does have the twist locks. It will take more time to set up than the clip locks. I also found you have to make sure you give them a good twist to pass the 'lean test'. It also has a center hook to add some weight for stability.

So far I like what I see. i think it's a good compromise between price and weight. I may look at a lighter ball head at some point, but the weight was not my biggest concern (overall travel size was). I will be field testing this on an upcoming vacation and if the weather breaks here , will go out for some shots as well.

01-21-2013, 07:24 AM   #2
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Interesting review Dave. I have the same Manfrotto tripod. I always figured the next one would be carbon fiber but you've made a good case for reconsideration of that. I'll be interested to see what you think of it after some field work.
01-21-2013, 08:32 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
Interesting review Dave. I have the same Manfrotto tripod. I always figured the next one would be carbon fiber but you've made a good case for reconsideration of that. I'll be interested to see what you think of it after some field work.
I was in the same boat. I was looking at some Carbon fiber that was running anywhere from 2 to 3 times the price (and some 4 and 6 times) . Was fortunate to come across this one. Weight was not that critical to me , smaller size was. I don't think you can go wrong buying a quality tripod. I am hoping this meets my needs and if not I don't have to worry about the resale value as I have a daughter who tends to inherit some of my used photographic items (she'll likely get the Manfrotto).
03-08-2013, 06:11 AM   #4
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Update :

I took this set up with me to a recent trip to Mexico so now I have some actual field testing to comment on:

Pro's:
Fit easily into the travel bag and suitcase , could have been a carry on, however I already had two (Camera Bag / Laptop)
Very stable - some mornings were very very windy. Most times I had a very good floor (sand). Only one morning I used the center hook to hang my camera bag for extra weight.
With the column almost fully extended, I found it a good height (I am 6"2') and the stability did not seem affected.
Center column adjusts quickly
While not an issue where I was (it was warm) having two zip on cover for the legs is a nice touch
Ability to spread the legs beyond 180 degrees' mean you can get really low . It comes with a shorter center colum , however I never used this as I found all the legs collapsed low enough this time
Light weight and compact. Fully compressed I just hooked it on my camera bag (Crumbler 7 million) by sliding one the legs through the carrier handel (I was using the shoulder strap)

Cons:
The zip on leg covers would move up to the top of the leg and be on where you press the legs to get lower. This meant the leg would not lock. I had to unzip. lower the cover, zip it back up.
It has 4 extensions with twist on locks. The most convenient place to grab the tripod is by the center column grip. Sometimes while adjusting the legs , I would also loosen the center column.
Being used to the Manfrotto snap on locks, it takes considerably more time to adjust all the legs with twist on. Also on occasion I would miss a leg or not tighten it enough so the leg would slip back up
Sand in the twist on locks - I did make it a point to hose down the tripod eveytime I used it on the beach, hopefully I got it all out every time. I never noticed the twist locks feeling gritty
No level to adjust for straight

Overall the cons . to me were pretty minor. Takes a little longer to set up, generally not an issue. I would rate this guy a solid 8/10.


** a word of caution if using as a carry on , on a flight ***

One the way back I threw the carry case into my wife's carry on. The actual tripod was in the checked luggage. The tripod comes with a short center column, instructions and a little bag with 4 alan wrenches for tightening. It was hard to understand the Mexican security as their English was bad and my Spanish was worse ha! What it boiled down to was there were too many alan wrenches. Not sure how many are needed to start taking a plane apart, or what the limit is , all I can tell you is 4 is too many for a carry on. So they are still in Mexico , likely in someone's toolkit at this point. I was not going to back up and try and check them as our luggage was long gone at that point. So if you want to bring the Alan wrenches and plan to use the travel case and tripod as a carry on, take them out and put them in your checked luggage

That's my $0.02 ...........Dave

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