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04-23-2013, 09:01 PM   #1
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carbon travel tripod, Feisol vs Sirui vs Benro

HI guys,

I know there are many tripod threads but I still can't make up my mind. I don't currently have a tripod or a monopod except for a $20 cheapie. So I'm after a decent tripod that can be my all rounder for both travel and day to day photography.

A few key pieces of information:
  • I do not need a tall tripod. I am relatively short at 5'3" or 161cm so my eye level on the viewfinder only needs to be at about 145cm height.
  • I am after a 4-section carbon fibre tripod that is short and light for travel but still relatively stable. I've read the best tripod is the one that you have with you which sums me up very well.
  • My budget is medium range say $300-$600 for a tripod + head setup.
  • My equipment includes a K30 (600g) and my heaviest lens (at this stage) would be a Sigma 10-20mm (465g), so even with a an external flash my kit would probably only weight about 1.2kg.

After lots of reading I have narrowed down to three options, namely:
  1. Sirui T2204X + G20 ballhead = $320 delivered to my door [this comes as a kit, so the ballhead is really only $15 compared to legs only].
  2. Feisol CT3441S + Photoclam PC-33S = $650 delivered to my door from reallybigcameras.
  3. Benro C2682 + B1 kit = $318. delivered to my door [again, comes as a kit].

Tripd Legs:
Sirui = 1.1kg, 410mm folded length, 28mm-19mm leg width, max load = 15kg.
Feisol = 1.0kg, 430mm folded length, 28-? leg width, max load = 10kg
Benro = 1.4kg, 460mm folded length, 28.6-18mm leg width, max load = 12kg

The Sirui has the monopod functionality and comes with other inclusions such as built in spikes, a short center column etc.

Ballhead:
Sirui G20, 36mm ball, 20kg max load, seems to get quite good user reviews across the net including Amazon, B&H, other forums
Photoclam PC-33NS, 33mm ball, 30kg max load, has very good reviews.
Benro B1, 36mm ball, 12kg max load, has very poor reviews from what I have read and I would have to upgrade this to a Photoclam or similar.

My take away from all of the reviews and where I am currently thinking is that the Sirui provides very good value of the 3 options above.
At $320 delivered it is very light, is the shortest folded up, has the maximum load capacity of the three, and comes with a ballhead that is probably adequate for the casual photographer that I am. Worst case is that I upgraded the Sirui ballhead to a Photoclam or similar down the track.

Anyway, would be interested in peoples feedback on the three options above in case I have missed something. I have read very good reviews of the Feisol and Photoclam just not sure if it is worth spending $650 vs the Sirui which gives me a decent kit for $320. I was pretty sold on the Feisol until my reading came across the Sirui option. Thanks.


Last edited by WA-surfer; 04-23-2013 at 09:20 PM.
04-23-2013, 09:25 PM   #2
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Why not the T2205X instead? The smaller size folded makes it fit "everywhere". My brother uses one and it's perfectly fine for portraiture, landscapes and other non-action shooting. For action and long tele shooting I prefer my heavy really bulky setup as bigger balhead means smoother action and the extra weight keeps it steady but it's way to clumsy for travel and hiking. My brother is really happy with his T2205X and I actually borrowed it yesterday. My own heavy kit is Giotto MT-9170 with the really good FEISOL Ball Head CB-50DC.
04-23-2013, 09:28 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
Why not the T2205X instead? The smaller size folded makes it fit "everywhere". My brother uses one and it's perfectly fine for portraiture, landscapes and other non-action shooting. For action and long tele shooting I prefer my heavy really bulky setup as bigger balhead means smoother action and the extra weight keeps it steady but it's way to clumsy for travel and hiking. My brother is really happy with his T2205X and I actually borrowed it yesterday. My own heavy kit is Giotto MT-9170 with the really good FEISOL Ball Head CB-50DC.
I would prefer a 4-section tripod to a 5-section. The more sections the less stability so given that it would be not only for travel but for my everyday tripod as well I am looking for a 4-section.
04-23-2013, 09:35 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by WA-surfer Quote
I would prefer a 4-section tripod to a 5-section. The more sections the less stability so given that it would be not only for travel but for my everyday tripod as well I am looking for a 4-section.
I haven't tried the 4-section myself but I will ask my brother if he has. I don't think there will be much difference in stability but I'm guessing.
This poster says that he actually finds the 2205X more stable: Sirui Tripod T2204x vs T2205x carbon fibre series

04-23-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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This is by far the best travel tripod EVER (assuming you aren't using heavy telephoto lenses).

Sirui T-025 5-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball BSRT025

It holds solid my K-5 + DA* 60-250 (that was just a test - I don't use a tripod with the 60-250), and folds up to the size of a pringles can. I can confidently say that I will never buy another tripod for traveling ever again, unless it's to replace this one. When hiking, if I am doing landscape work, I don't bring my regular tripod anymore (a Benro Travel Angel, which is ginormous in comparison) - I bring this one, and sometimes forget it's with me.

I have been meaning to do a full review of it, so this gives me some motivation to do that. I can not recommend it enough.

The Ballhead is strong and accepts every Arcaswiss plate I've tried mounting to it. A great touch is also the included bag hook under the center (fixed - doesn't move) column so you can hang your bag under it for extra stability.

And it's only $219

-Heie

Last edited by Heie; 04-23-2013 at 09:52 PM. Reason: typo
04-23-2013, 10:07 PM   #6
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I can vouch for the Feisol. I have the 3441T (taller version of the legs you're looking at), and the 40d ball head. They are both fantastic, and I have no gripe whatsoever after 1-2 years of use. Getting the Feisol ball head would save you a bit of money vs. the Photoclam, and I don't think in practice would require any sacrifice.

I must say though, I had not heard of the Sirui product until now, and after Heie's description, the wheels are turning...

Best,
Brandon
04-23-2013, 10:32 PM   #7
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Have you looked at any Slik or Vanguard tripods?

They are distributed locally by CRK, and on eBay the dcexpert store (CRK) often has various carbon fibre models listed for good prices.
04-23-2013, 10:55 PM   #8
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Go for the Sirui, ive got this one Sirui T-025 5-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball BSRT025 and it cant be beat for the size it folds up to and then extends too plus has a high load

04-23-2013, 11:12 PM   #9
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FWIW I have two Benro Travel Angels (previous generation that went out about 1+ year ago ) and I like them very much. The smaller one is carbon fiber. It's also the only quality tripod that I could fit inside my backpack, so I didn't have to announce to everyone on the street "hey look, I'm a photographer and I have some expensive equipment in my backpack!"
04-24-2013, 01:14 AM   #10
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I beat you to it (see above)

QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Go for the Sirui, ive got this one Sirui T-025 5-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball BSRT025 and it cant be beat for the size it folds up to and then extends too plus has a high load
But TOUGEFC is actually who I got the recommendation from in the first place for the T-025.

-Heie
04-24-2013, 01:18 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I beat you to it (see above)



But TOUGEFC is actually who I got the recommendation from in the first place for the T-025.

-Heie
Glad to hear your loving it mate

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
folds up to the size of a pringles can.I can confidently say that I will never buy another tripod for traveling ever again, unless it's to replace this one. When hiking, if I am doing landscape work, I don't bring my regular tripod anymore (a Benro Travel Angel, which is ginormous in comparison) - I bring this one, and sometimes forget it's with me.
I have been meaning to do a full review of it, so this gives me some motivation to do that. I can not recommend it enough
04-24-2013, 01:37 AM   #12
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Thanks for the great replies.

OK Heie and TOUGEFC, sounds like Sirui is the way to go which is what I was thinking. Very reassuring.

However one question.

I can see that the T-025 looks perfect for travelling and gets fantastic reviews. BUT, if this was your one and only tripod for everything (ie around the house, long exposures and a bit of travel) would you still go for the T-025, or would you consider a happy medium between size and stability such as the T2204X (or T2205X)?
04-24-2013, 02:47 AM   #13
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Here are a couple of additional thoughts....
  • I have had a Benro Travel Angel for about 4+ years now. It fits in my carry on luggage, and is just fine for most items. There are times when a heavier tripod is called for - windy conditions, etc. That is my only real complaint. Light weight is great, until you need some weight.
  • What type of shooting are you planning on doing? Stitched Panos? If so, you will quickly find that you need the ballhead's turn table above the ball and not below it (i.e., built into the base like almost all ballheads), unless you perfectly level the tripod each time (and in that case, you really do not need a ballhead for level panos). Feisol has a turntable that is able to slide between the clamp and the ballhead, that will enable you to take level stitched panos easily. Either that or you can get a ballhead that has the turntable on top of the ball like the Acratech GP or Acra Swiss P0.

04-24-2013, 04:05 AM   #14
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I vouch for Sirui. using a t1204x with k10x ballhead.
06-15-2013, 06:28 PM   #15
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I have the Sirui N-2204 tripod with K20x ballhead. Paid around 400$, it was not that cheap but the quality is excellent. I love this tripod and the ballhead (the K series is recommended against the G because the K has the tension adjustment that make working with the ballhead such a breeze).

I compared it to a knock off ebay korean tripod with same kind of functionalities (monopod, spikes, etc) that one of my friend bought. On his first outing one of the leg dismounted by itself. And the whole feeling is cheap. You often get what you paid for I guess.

That said I think they should remove the monopod function, it's not that useful (are you going to risk your whole tripod if breaking the monopod part?).

The Feisol got great rating also, they usually don't have a center column and it's a GOOD thing for max stability.
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