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05-22-2015, 08:03 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtux Quote
What is this Op-tech?
Here's their web site:

https://optechusa.com/

They make a modular system that I find perfectly amazing.

Instead of screwing a plate or hook on the tripod mount, their system uses the hooks already on the camera. Basically you attach two clips to the lugs on the camera (you can attach one to a tripod plate if that's your thing). Then you attach the actual strap any way you want. I use this type of sling strap (although I custom ordered the red "pro" one instead of the utility)

OP/TECH USA Utility Strap - Sling

I also purchased extensions, so I can use the padded part of the strap plus the extensions and make a regular neck strap out of it. since I prefer to wear my camera on the left side, I simply added reversing clips. If I want a hand strap, I use one extension and connect the two clips on the legs together, it'S not elegant but it works. When I use a tripod, I unclip everything and thus no camera strap gets in the way, moves with the wind, etc.

Normally only one clip is needed (like on the picture on their web site) but if I mount the 60-250, I have another clip attached to a plate on its base, and I attach this one to the second clip on the sling strap. More secure, doesn't get in my way.

It's really a fantastic system, both for its modular nature and for the fact that it attaches to the camera lugs, not the tripod plate area. Plus it's quite inexpensive, and very well made.

05-22-2015, 08:34 AM   #17
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Glad to see there's more satisfaction with he Sirui - I LOVE that thing

But I just wanted to quickly chime in and second Bernard's post about the OP/Tech - it's all I use with the single connection, including a gripped body + 60-250.

I'm on my phone so I can't upload any images, but if you go to my website and the ABOUT ALEX page, you'll see my combat camera outfit with a gripped K-5 and 60-250 attached to the SLING STRAP and the K-30/16-50 is using the BACKPACK/REPORTER of the same interchangeable system.

Alex Jansen Photography | About Alex

Never had an issue and as you can see from how and where that gear was used - it's taken a beating during combat ops

-Heie
05-22-2015, 09:00 AM   #18
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do you think the cheaper alu version of the tripod would perform alike? (exept beeing heavier)
05-22-2015, 09:24 AM   #19
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In my opinion, at this weight point, you aren't saving anything in weight between the two (if anything the CF might even be a bit heavier), but what you are losing is strength/load capacity and stability, which for such a tiny tripod, you don't want to skimp on.

I'd even venture to say that aluminum wouldn't be as durable with such skinny legs.

This is purely conjecture as I've never handled the aluminum version, but I can't imagine I'm too far off the mark.

-Heie

05-22-2015, 11:00 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by NoobOnTour Quote
do you think the cheaper alu version of the tripod would perform alike? (exept beeing heavier)
Vibrations will be the most visible difference. Load capacity, as Alex said, will be the second most important.
05-22-2015, 07:25 PM   #21
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it would be so much simpler... but I guess you are right ;-)
05-22-2015, 10:28 PM - 1 Like   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bagga_Txips Quote
Yeah, it's Heie's fault I have the tripod. It's Heie's fault I have a K5 as well. What should I buy next, Heie ?
It's his fault I switched from Nikon to Pentax, too. I already knew I liked the rendering Pentax offers and was kicking around the idea, but that video in Afghanistan where he buried the gear in dust and sand and rinsed it off in the shower sold me on Pentax much more effectively than a bunch of dry reviews.
05-23-2015, 01:41 AM - 1 Like   #23
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I was reading about the weather resistance of a D7100 in another forum and the nikon support answered this guy you could not bury it in a sandbox and shower with it afterwards. A Diving casing was recommended. Then someone else mentioned they wrote it probably because of this "pentax guy"(a link was included).
Iam getting "just" a k-50 but you convinced me, too :P


Last edited by NoobOnTour; 05-23-2015 at 06:27 AM.
05-23-2015, 06:37 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Instead of screwing a plate or hook on the tripod mount, their system uses the hooks already on the camera. Basically you attach two clips to the lugs on the camera (you can attach one to a tripod plate if that's your thing). Then you attach the actual strap any way you want. I use this type of sling strap (although I custom ordered the red "pro" one instead of the utility)
It looks interesting, but I prefer the way Peak design's Clip removes the weight of camera from my back and shoulder.
This way I don't feel any weight at all. and that was the reason I liked this Sirui tripod as it can be attached to the other side of my belt!
Here is the way I carry it, and I almost never have any strap around the camera, though if I decide to have one, peak design's straps are easy to attach and they go where camera's normal strap go.


I've shot this photo the night I received the system.
06-05-2015, 09:23 PM - 1 Like   #25
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So I've had some friends ask my advice on tripods recently. I came back to this thread, and the Sirui T-025x review on Pentaxforums (among other sources), and did my own tripod research as well. The T-025x does seem good overall, it's carved itself out a niche for itself above the questionable entry-level carbon fiber stuff, and below the bigger name brand carbon fiber things, putting some quality features into the very small travel tripod category. I was perplexed by a few things in the review however. I noticed the comparison table is chopped off on the right on page 10:

Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod Review - Value and Competition | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Also, I think the table is missing what would be some interesting competitors, and has at least one model which isn't really a competitor - the MeFoto RoadTrip is a bigger tripod that folds to 15.4", and the model listed is the aluminum RoadTrip, not even the carbon fiber model (which would be the one reason to include the MeFoto RoadTrip in the table IMO). The MeFoto Backpacker on the other hand folds down to the same 12.6" and is closer in weight to the Sirui. While the BackPacker is only available in aluminum, it is $150, which from all the reviews I've read indicate it's a quality tripod in it's class and a good value:

MeFOTO BackPacker Travel Tripod Kits - Choose Your Color!

Meanwhile, coming in at even less ($109) yet having similar specs is the Davis & Sanford TR553-P228 by Tiffen:

TRAVERSE TR-553-228 SUPER COMPACT TRIPOD WITH BALL HEAD

An then there's the $80 carbon fiber AmazonBasics 52-inch "Travel Tripod", which from what I've been able to gather doesn't have very good built quality (not surprising):

Amazon.com : AmazonBasics 52-Inch Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod : Camera Tripods : Camera & Photo

And there's the ($70 on Amazon at the time of this writing) Dolica TX570B150DS "Traveler 57" Tripod with Ball Head and Integrated Monopod" again in the same size and similar weight class, but again with (unsurprisingly) concerns about build quality:

TX570B150DS Reversible Traveler 57" Tripod with Ball Head and Integrated Monopod ? DOLICA

The consensus seems to be that while the Dolica has a quick release plate similar to Arca-Swiss, it's not quite compatible.

However the one that's really caught my eye is the Promaster XC522:

http://promaster.com/spec-sheet.html?catalog[name]=Promaster-XC522-Professio...ds][0]=1095138

It has good specs (though the only list the weight of the legs, not legs + head), good cost ($140), and the reports I've read from people who bought it are positive. It has an integrated monopod. I verified with Promaster today that the quick release plate is Arca-Swiss compatible.

By that same token, it's also worth looking at the Sirui T-005X, which is basically the $136 aluminum version of the T-025X from what I can tell, yet it has nearly the same weight as the carbon fiber version, which would be a good opportunity to test exactly what carbon fiber brings (i.e. how much more does carbon fiber actually dampen vibrations, allow tighter leg clamping and thus support more weight compared to aluminum, etc.)

There are also other things that I am curious about which weren't covered in the review, like the ease of access and quality of after-sale product support, which I think impacts value. It's nice that Sirui has a 6 year warranty, but if actually getting service and support turns out to be an ordeal or drawn out process, it's not worth much to me.

Last edited by nater; 06-06-2015 at 05:29 AM.
06-08-2015, 05:55 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
The T-025x does seem good overall, it's carved itself out a niche for itself above the questionable entry-level carbon fiber stuff, and below the bigger name brand carbon fiber
I wouldn't call it entry-level. It's on e the same level as all the other big names. You have to pay a lot more for, say, a Manfrotto of the same quality.

QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
the MeFoto RoadTrip is a bigger tripod that folds to 15.4", and the model listed is the aluminum RoadTrip, not even the carbon fiber model (which would be the one reason to include the MeFoto RoadTrip in the table IMO)
I believe it was done this way to match prices and total load capacity?

QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
The MeFoto Backpacker on the other hand folds down to the same 12.6" and is closer in weight to the Sirui. While the BackPacker is only available in aluminum, it is $150, which from all the reviews I've read indicate it's a quality tripod in it's class and a good value:
I believe it's a good tripod too.

QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
Meanwhile, coming in at even less ($109) yet having similar specs is the Davis & Sanford TR553-P228 by Tiffen:
QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
An then there's the $80 carbon fiber AmazonBasics 52-inch "Travel Tripod", which from what I've been able to gather doesn't have very good built quality (not surprising):
QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
And there's the ($70 on Amazon at the time of this writing) Dolica TX570B150DS "Traveler 57" Tripod with Ball Head and Integrated Monopod" again in the same size and similar weight class, but again with (unsurprisingly) concerns about build quality:
I have a Dolica. It has three legs. I like that. It holds the camera, I like that too. But it's many times cheaper than the Sirui. The head is worthless.

I believe the three you list here fall in the category of "you get what you pay for". With a cheap tripod you're likely to have to pay for a good head, and that STARTS at 100$. So in that view the Sirui costs 140$ because it already has a good head.

I purchased a few tripods before I found a good one. That's money wasted, and it would have cost me less to just buy a good one to begin with. That's advice everyone hears but nobody (including me) listens to. Do not get something too cheap. There are some variations in price, but there is no way a 80$ tripod will compare well with a 300$ tripod.

QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
However the one that's really caught my eye is the Promaster XC522:
Don't know about this one. From past experience with Promaster, I would guess that it's better than Dolica, worst than Sirui.

QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
By that same token, it's also worth looking at the Sirui T-005X, which is basically the $136 aluminum version of the T-025X from what I can tell, yet it has nearly the same weight as the carbon fiber version, which would be a good opportunity to test exactly what carbon fiber brings (i.e. how much more does carbon fiber actually dampen vibrations, allow tighter leg clamping and thus support more weight compared to aluminum, etc.)
Let's put it this way. My Dolica tripod is heavier, larger, with less leg sections than the Sirui. It vibrates more nonetheless, even if I don't extend its center column and leave the column on the Sirui.

Carbon fiber makes much more of a difference than I would have expected.
06-08-2015, 11:47 AM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I wouldn't call it entry-level. It's on e the same level as all the other big names. You have to pay a lot more for, say, a Manfrotto of the same quality.
I'd call it entry-level because from a construction standpoint because the metal parts are forged aluminum. Mid-range to high grade in my mind means magnesium alloys and/or CNC machining from solid metal blocks rather than forging.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I believe it was done this way to match prices and total load capacity?
Keeping an upper bound on the prices of tripods in a comparison makes sense, but keeping less expensive tripods out that otherwise are a close match in terms of size and design does not make sense to me. Regarding load capacity, there is no standard for rating a tripod or head, so I consider that value a manufacturer suggestion at best and not something I'd use to limit the range of tripods in a review.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I have a Dolica. It has three legs. I like that. It holds the camera, I like that too. But it's many times cheaper than the Sirui. The head is worthless.
I've noticed that Dolica has a lot of entry-level, very inexpensive tripods. I assume like many companies, they are re-branding tripods made by one of the big Chinese companies (probably Ningbo Weifeng Image Equipment Group Co., Ltd). Dolica's highest end product looks ok though from what I've gathered. Odd thing is, the higher end stuff seems harder to come by. There was also that brief period of time where Dolica acted as a reseller of Nest (the highest end product from Weifeng), and in fact is still selling a couple of alloy models at low prices (likely they moved all the carbon fiber Nest product already). The Nest product appeared to be higher end the top of the line Dolica. The Camera Cottage in Billings, Montana is the only place in the USA actively reselling Nest product right now, but it has good distribution in the UK and Australia as far as I know.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I believe the three you list here fall in the category of "you get what you pay for". With a cheap tripod you're likely to have to pay for a good head, and that STARTS at 100$. So in that view the Sirui costs 140$ because it already has a good head.
I think it's more complicated than "you get what you pay for". All indications are that the Field Optics Research Schonfeld KF6615T carbon fiber tripod, which sells for $199 from the Field Optics Research website or $149 from B&H, is the same tripod as the AmazonBasics 52-inch carbon fiber travel tripod, which sells for $79 with ball head. In some cases there isn't much correlation between price and value. That's why I read reviews and research things before I buy.

A more accurate statement could be, "Don't have high expectations for something you haven't paid much for relative to other products on the market unless you have research or data to back up those expectations."

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I purchased a few tripods before I found a good one. That's money wasted, and it would have cost me less to just buy a good one to begin with. That's advice everyone hears but nobody (including me) listens to. Do not get something too cheap. There are some variations in price, but there is no way a 80$ tripod will compare well with a 300$ tripod.
My interest in this thread has to do with being able to extract good information to relay to people I know to help them make decisions, and additionally to help me make a purchase decision for a second tripod since my primary tripod, while terrific, is not very portable. I can see how portable might be nice, but I need to determine my thresholds for functional tradeoffs based on facts, not conjecture.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Don't know about this one. From past experience with Promaster, I would guess that it's better than Dolica, worst than Sirui.
I'd agree based on Promaster's older tripods, but I'm not sure where they stand with these newer ones.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Let's put it this way. My Dolica tripod is heavier, larger, with less leg sections than the Sirui. It vibrates more nonetheless, even if I don't extend its center column and leave the column on the Sirui.

Carbon fiber makes much more of a difference than I would have expected.
I don't doubt that your Sirui vibrates less than your Dolica if you say it does, but there are a lot of potential factors that go into vibration, such as the overall design and construction of a tripod, the diameters of the tubing, the type and design of the metal parts, etc. I have seen lots of speculation and contrary experiences based on materials. I've seen multiple people claim that a magnesium alloy tripod from a particular manufacturer is less vibration prone than a carbon fiber variant of the same model. Perhaps a well designed and well built metal alloy tripod could outperform an inferior designed and built carbon fiber tripod. Perhaps there are design features that work better in a tripod with carbon fiber vs. alloys and vice versa, so if a manufacturer simply swaps out one material for another without redesigning, they could be making an inferior product for the sake a bullet point feature on a box and a way to charge more. The best tripod review would in my opinion make mention of the materials used but then objectively test tripods to see how they actually perform and provide the data from those tests, rather than imply performance based on materials or construction, or just relay subjective impressions.
06-08-2015, 02:53 PM - 2 Likes   #28
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QuoteQuote:
By that same token, it's also worth looking at the Sirui T-005X, which is basically the $136 aluminum version of the T-025X from what I can tell, yet it has nearly the same weight as the carbon fiber version, which would be a good opportunity to test exactly what carbon fiber brings (i.e. how much more does carbon fiber actually dampen vibrations, allow tighter leg clamping and thus support more weight compared to aluminum, etc.)
Just looking at face value at specs of the two (just go to B&H or Adorama to read it), the CF version offers over a 50% gain in load capacity and weighs half a pound less.

Looks like it brings quite a bit, especially for a tripod that's already so diminutive.

QuoteQuote:
The best tripod review would...
Then why don't you buy the tripod yourself and do a proper review?

QuoteQuote:
but then objectively test tripods to see how they actually perform and provide the data from those tests, rather than imply performance based on materials or construction, or just relay subjective impressions.
Also, are we talking about the same review? Or if we are, did you read through it or just stop at the construction overview of the review (which - I agree is quite comprehensive)? There's an entire page dedicated to the stability of the overall tripod system tested using...wait for it...A ONE MILLIMETER WIDE LASER BEAM.

Over multiple iterations and test parameters...

And then a gallery of real world examples of photographs taken using said tripod, including extremely long exposures captured with it, none of which suffered IQ loss, even at the pixel level, unless it was the fault of the user.

Of course more and more tests could have been added, and more tripods added to the comparison, but do we really need 15-25 items to do an effective comparison and before it can be considered valid? Do you have any idea how cumbersome that would be to compile? Do you even want to read all of that?

I seriously don't understand why this review has proven so inadequate for you.

-Heie

Last edited by Heie; 06-08-2015 at 03:08 PM.
06-08-2015, 08:18 PM - 2 Likes   #29
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Hi Heie! Thanks for your review, it's definitely one of the better ones out there.

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Just looking at face value at specs of the two (just go to B&H or Adorama to read it), the CF version offers over a 50% gain in load capacity and weighs half a pound less.

Looks like it brings quite a bit, especially for a tripod that's already so diminutive.
Those are manufacturer specs, and as I've mentioned they can't be trusted. I mean look at the games makers play, here's Cullman's Nanomax 200T CB 5.1 with it's 2kg weight rating:

https://www.cullmann.de/en/made-with-cu/made-with-cu/news/profi-fotograf-n-b...omax-200t.html

and then on that same page they link to a review from the famous photographer Nicolas Beaumont where he says:

"Even if the Nanomax 200T is not certified for more the 2kg I often worked with heavy gear on it, for exemple on the great wall near Beijing; it was loaded with the 1D Mk IV and 70-200 f/2,8 L; even like that it was stable !"

2.89kg clocks in at exceeding the "max" weight by almost 50%.

Some tripod makers are reasonably intelligent and actually list different weight ratings based on the angle, so for instance 3 Legged Thing has this in the specs of the EVO3 Punks Rick Carbon Fiber Tripod System:

23 - 20kg / 44lb
55 - 15kg / 33lb
80 - 10kg / 22lb

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Then why don't you buy the tripod yourself and do a proper review?
Not that I have the time or money right now, but to do it right I should probably launch a website and do a good series of comparative reviews. It's what I want to do.

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Also, are we talking about the same review? Or if we are, did you read through it or just stop at the construction overview of the review (which - I agree is quite comprehensive)? There's an entire page dedicated to the stability of the overall tripod system tested using...wait for it...A ONE MILLIMETER WIDE LASER BEAM.

Over multiple iterations and test parameters...
The laser beam isn't a bad idea, but I prefer what Mark Banas does in his reviews: "With the legs fully extended and the center column lowered, our vibration analyzer (an iPad on a 3 lb (1.36kg) aluminum block) was mounted to the ball head with a long lens plate. A large solenoid valve with a plastic hammer was then used as a consistent source of vibration (a knock to the bottom of one leg). The resulting graph of all three accelerometers shows both the resistance of the tripod and head to the initial shock, as well as the rate of decay for residual vibration within the tripod."

The laser pointer test was from what I can tell a controlled setting with a single lens. While I like Mark Banas' test, it could be further improved upon. Ideally we'd have a picture of how a tripod does on a variety of surfaces in different leg length configurations at different temperatures with different lenses at different center of gravity orientations experiencing different vibrations (i.e. I might be out on an overpass with vehicle traffic causing vibrations in the road, how will the tripod cope? I might be near a large waterfall with the vibrations of falling water shaking the ground, how will those be absorbed? I might be on a windy hilltop, how much will the tripod flex, vibrate, and transmit that to the camera?) Obviously a review can't test every scenario, but some reasonable subset should be determined and tested.

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
And then a gallery of real world examples of photographs taken using said tripod, including extremely long exposures captured with it, none of which suffered IQ loss, even at the pixel level, unless it was the fault of the user.
The lack of failure cases actually made it harder for me to determine just how good the Sirui T-025X is.

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Of course more and more tests could have been added, and more tripods added to the comparison, but do we really need 15-25 items to do an effective comparison and before it can be considered valid? Do you have any idea how cumbersome that would be to compile? Do you even want to read all of that?
"We"? I don't pretend to speak for anyone but myself. Are there other people out there like me? Sure. How many? I have no idea. But yeah I love long, detailed reviews with lots of data. Also ideally the comparison tables in a review would be dynamic and allow the reader to select multiple criteria, assign weights to them, and then generate unique and specific results for that reader. I think it's largely a mistake that so many sites task reviewers with creating static reviews that have a combination of implied and/or explicit criteria and then reaching a single conclusion (perhaps with a few variations).

Let me be clear - your review was good. Most reviews of photo equipment are terrible. But there is room and opportunity for reviews to be great.

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I seriously don't understand why this review has proven so inadequate for you.
Right, I haven't provided examples, so let me do that.

A great SD card market review:

On MicroSD Problems

A combination of using acid to dissolve the plastic casing, reveal the insides, and then use low level tools to reveal the card ID information, combined with good information about what companies actually make the flash and the controllers and how the market works, makes this great.

Pretty much any power supply review from jonnyGURU.com:

Andyson N700 700W Titanium Review

but also take note of the "Death of a Gutless Wonder" series:

Death of a Gutless Wonder V: Uncool to the Max Review

Why it's great is because it reviews the packaging, marketing, claims, aesthetics, physical design, fit and finish, extras, determines the true manufacturers of the parts and components, does cold bench tests and uses a $10,000 piece of testing equipment to hot box test and simulate a range of possible load scenarios, provide the collected data and oscilloscope graphs for the results, performs a teardown and analysis of the construction. Then the "Death of a Gutless Wonder" series provides that terrific counter-point to the excellent manufacturer-supplied power supplies by going out into the real world, buying something retail, cheap, off the shelf, testing it and seeing when it lets the magic smoke out.

The closest I've seen to this in the photo review world is S.C.V. Photography Ideas, with their reviews like this that have a tripod teardown in them:

S.C.V. Photography Ideas: Nest NT-6294CT Carbon Fiber Traveler Tripod Review

I think it's great, I'd love to see more of it in the photo world.

Any of John Siracusa's reviews over on Ars Technica, like his Yosemite review:

OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The Ars Technica Review | Ars Technica

25 pages that I really enjoy reading.

Hopefully this gives you some idea of where I'm coming from.
06-09-2015, 02:00 AM   #30
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I read the SCV review of the Nest tripod. It was pretty, but included a LOT of photos, many of which seemed to be redundant. As is often the case for me, my main intent was to skip to the Conclusion page and read the summary, to see if the item was attractive to me. In my hifi-snobbery days, decades ago, I was very highly motivated to understand highly scientific tests, and to find ways to tune my gear to the utmost. Nowadays I just want a nice compact review, by a reviewer that I trust, that tells me the pros and cons of the gear. It's horses for courses, sometimes reading reviews is fun in itself, sometimes I just want to buy good gear and have fun playing with it.
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