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02-24-2010, 04:19 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Slik Sprint Pro II helpful info and a question

Tired of heavier tripods, and needing one that could fit into today's highly restrictive baggage allowances, I purchased a Slik Sprint Pro II three weeks ago, from a UK supplier through eBay.

While it was difficult to get official info on this tripod, retailers like Microglobe provide a run-down. But not all the info is correct. For instance I can be pretty sure this tripod will not bear a weight of 63.78 lbs!

It is certainly a popular enough model to have garnered a good number of mentions and even some more comprehensive reviews.

And of course Pentax Forums came to the rescue. Steve from Vancouver provided the impetus for a nice thread on the tripod in January 2009. He liked it but decided to return it as it was not sturdy enough to bear the weight of his system.

Note that this tripod has improved over the years. Earlier models did not come with a quick-release plate on the head, which would be a serious downer. Also, until recently the legs did not have foam padding at the top.

One thing I have never seen noted, so let me be the first to say it: this tripod is available with two different heads! Everyone seems to get the ball head, model SBH-100DQ, but instead I purchased a three-way head. One knob loosens to change rotation and pitch. The other controls yaw. Thing is, I'm pretty confident that this head would bear more weight than a cheap little ball head. I don't use huge lenses, but I have no problem trusting my K20D on this.

In fact, let me try the Vivitar 105/2.5. That's a honkin' big lens for me. Certainly as big as any I would take travelling. Yep, steady as a rock.

In fact I am totally impressed by the build of this thing for the price. I paid 70 pounds sterling since I didn't want the ball head and could find only one vendor with this specific head. Otherwise I could have got away paying ten quid less. For that price I cannot imagine a better built item. But please do not start comparing it with a 300 or 500 pound professional unit! Those would be a lot bulkier anyway.

The legs lock at different angles and the mechanism is very cool. It took me a moment to understand and then I was blown away by the elegant design solution. Just remember to push the leg in slightly, pop up the tab to the next position, then pull the leg out until it clicks.

The centre column is reversible by the simple expedient of unscrewing it and attaching the pieces back in upside down. Great for those macros!

The leg clasps are easy to use, unlike the monsters on my Manfrotto monopod.

It even came with a camera bag, though that is made useless by a too-small strap.

Highly recommended! But even so, I have just decided never to take a tripod on another holiday. That's what God gave us shake reduction for!


Last edited by rparmar; 02-24-2010 at 05:34 PM.
02-24-2010, 05:25 PM   #2
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I have some weight measures. The K20D is 800g with battery and the Vivitar 105/2.5 is 660g. So the tripod can handle 1.4kg no problem. I tried tipping the head at extreme angles and it did sag, though slowly. I would not use a full 2kg load at anything but gentle angles.

Here are a couple of shots with that combo. Taken in poor light. These were at ISO 400 to avoid over-long exposures and because I like the noise the sensor produces at 400.

eggshell



f/16 for 1.5s


Schweppes takes a nap



f/6.7 for 1s

Last edited by rparmar; 02-24-2010 at 05:36 PM.
02-24-2010, 05:27 PM   #3
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Oh yes, my question.

The head is supposed to come off. How do you do that?
02-24-2010, 06:14 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Oh yes, my question.

The head is supposed to come off. How do you do that?
Just screw it off counter-clockwise

02-25-2010, 05:50 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blaze Quote
Just screw it off counter-clockwise
But it is designed to rotate. Turning it one way or another and it just spins and spins.
02-25-2010, 08:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
But it is designed to rotate. Turning it one way or another and it just spins and spins.
With the ball head, you just fasten the locking knob first, haven't used a three-way
02-25-2010, 11:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
But it is designed to rotate. Turning it one way or another and it just spins and spins.
B&H's listing seems to imply that one also simply screws on there: it says "Head mount thread size 1/4:" I presume that means it's basically the same as the ballhead's reported to be.. If the panning won't lock enough to let you remove it, maybe you can get a strap or chain wrench around the base of it and remove it that way? I'm guessing there's no room for any kind of set screws underneath where it mounts to.

(The only other possibility I can think of is that underneath a plug or cover is a screw or other fastener that goes right down into the column or onto the same screw that the ballheads come on (like you'd see if you flipped the camera platform out of the way, looking straight down from above.) They made some older aluminum-channel tripods that way, at least, ...not really expected to be taken apart for light stands or cannibalization, I suppose. I'd try the strap wrench first: if this case is the state of affairs, you likely either won't be able to budge it anyway, or you'll be able to turn the base of the housing but the head still won't come off. (cause all you'll have done is loosen that fastener inside just enough that the whole thing really turns freely. )

I love ballheads, but I think going for the three way one when cheapness/excessive smallness is a factor is a pretty good move. They don't even claim that one's suitable for a full-sized DSLR, so you're probably safer that way.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 02-25-2010 at 12:22 PM.
02-26-2010, 09:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
If the panning won't lock enough to let you remove it, maybe you can get a strap or chain wrench around the base of it and remove it that way?
Hey thanks, I got the head off. I was simply not giving it enough torque before, not wanting to strip some mechanism or other.

Now I need to find some sort of adapter so I can use this for my microphones as well. It would be the perfect portable recording setup!

02-26-2010, 12:25 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Hey thanks, I got the head off. I was simply not giving it enough torque before, not wanting to strip some mechanism or other.

Now I need to find some sort of adapter so I can use this for my microphones as well. It would be the perfect portable recording setup!
Heehee. Does your microphone have one of those socket-shaped clips? You might even just be able to point one of the head's handles upward and stick it on there, if they happen to be a suitable size.
02-26-2010, 05:13 PM   #10
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My mics all have proper clips plus I have a bracket for stereo mounting a pair of cardioids.

As near as I can tell, the standard sizes are:
microphone clips and stands: 5/8" = 16mm
tripod and camera bases: 5/16" = 8mm

But I have also come across these for microphones:
3/8" = 10mm mic

And furthermore this tripod screw is called 1/4". Maybe that's just wrong?

If so, I need a converter from 5/16" to 5/8.
02-26-2010, 06:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
My mics all have proper clips plus I have a bracket for stereo mounting a pair of cardioids.

As near as I can tell, the standard sizes are:
microphone clips and stands: 5/8" = 16mm
tripod and camera bases: 5/16" = 8mm

But I have also come across these for microphones:
3/8" = 10mm mic

And furthermore this tripod screw is called 1/4". Maybe that's just wrong?

If so, I need a converter from 5/16" to 5/8.
Well, 1/4 x20 is the standard camera-screw size: many tripod head mounts will use 3/8, though. Apparently not in this case, according to B&H. (If a camera fits on it, it'll be 1/4 x20. )

If you have anything that has a 3/8 socket, a regular reducer bushing should allow you to attach it to either the camera platform or the head mount...

It's been so long since I dealt with audio microphones, I can't picture any of the mounts very clearly. There's probably lots of folks here much more familiar with them. (Pics? )

But, only so many metric sizes actually are the same as English ones, so I wouldn't expect them all to correspond.
I suppose the easiest way would be to take a plain bracket, maybe L-shaped: use a 1/4x20 nut to fix that to the tripod, and then use whatever sized bolt to attach the microphone/s to that?
02-26-2010, 07:34 PM   #12
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Slik Sprint Pro II with centre column out



This shows that the column unscrews into three pieces. In this shot the head is still attached to the top piece.


Slik Sprint Pro II with centre column inverted

[/lang]

One can easily put the centre column through the legs upside down. Now the little piece is on top (out of frame) and prevents the column from falling through the centre opening.


Slik Sprint Pro II closer look at legs



This is just to show the little leg latches.

For scale, I should tell you that the camera in these shots is the K100D Super.
02-26-2010, 07:41 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Well, 1/4 x20 is the standard camera-screw size: many tripod head mounts will use 3/8, though.
Thing is, I have seen 1/4" referred to as 5/16". Not sure which is correct, but there are not two sizes here. It's just two ways of referring to the same thing.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
It's been so long since I dealt with audio microphones, I can't picture any of the mounts very clearly. There's probably lots of folks here much more familiar with them.
Well, as a recording engineer, I am pretty well familiar with them. It's just cross-matching between mics and photo gear that I need to get used to.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
But, only so many metric sizes actually are the same as English ones, so I wouldn't expect them all to correspond.
The metric correspond 1:1 only because there were not separate metric standards. The metric is just an approximation for the Imperial.

So, there are three sizes:
1/4" x 20BSW = 5/16" = 8mm, the photographic standard
5/8" = 16mm x 27UN, the microphone standard in the US
3/8" = 10mm x 16BSW, microphone standard in Europe
03-08-2010, 05:15 PM   #14
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I got this same tripod a couple months ago. What drew me to it is its tiny size and super light weight. I chose the ball head over the 3-way head specifically because it's even lighter. Thanks to its 4 leg sections, it collapses really small and fits perfectly on my backpack's tripod mount. It also comes up to a maximum height where I can look into my camera's viewfinder without having to bend over (I'm 6'1" tall).

The ball head supports heavy equipment just fine. With a DA* 50-135mm lens and a battery grip attached to my K-7, the complete assembly weighs in at 4.4 pounds, which is the advertised maximum weight capacity for this tripod. Unfortunately, the battery grip shifts the tripod mount over to the side and makes everything unbalanced, so it's not very stable. I prefer to remove the battery grip when I use the tripod at full height (which is very rare). Also, I believe the quick-mount plate for the ball head is smaller than the one for the 3-way head. This makes it less annoying on my camera.

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Compared to my SMC Pentax F 35-70mm lens and the DA* 50-135mm hood

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On my K-7

The smallest leg extensions are pretty rickety and the rubber feet aren't terribly grippy. But the leg clamps work flawlessly and grip solidly. I haven't had any camera shake issues when using 2-second delay or a remote control, even at full extension. I've used this thing in 3 feet of snow, in pouring rain, in very windy conditons, and indoors. It's been extremely useful. For something more stable, I also purchased a sturdier cheap tripod that I leave at home. It's bigger and heavier, and I can bring it to shooting sessions where I don't intend to bike or hike.

This tripod is so small and light, I never go anywhere without it. "Unobtrusive" is the word of the day:

03-08-2010, 05:43 PM   #15
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A great description. I don't have an easy way to attach the tripod to my backpack so it is still not so easy to carry around. I need to meet someone clever to figure that out for me!
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