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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Looking for a sturdy, but lightweight tripod

In the past month my interest in photography grew again. I must admit, that I renewed my camera and lens equipment and started  to become a photographer again.
Unfortunately this wasn't the case in the past and I more or less took only point&shoot pictures.

Along with the re-activation of my camera gear came the interest in available light and night shooting.

I aways owned a very sturdy MANFROTTO X055 tripod, that weighs about 2,8 kg (including the ball head) and this led to the fact that it was staying home most of the time.

So I started reading about tripods again, compared a lot of different models and tried to find out the most lightweight and sturdy one that can hold my NIKON D800 + f2,8 Lens for night shots.

The results were't really promising, but eventually I came to the following shortlist:

Target was:
Weight </= 1,5kg ; Folded size </= 40cm; should hold >/=10kg

So the first result was, that it must be made of carbon-fiber i.o. to achieve the weight

Shortlist with Pro's&Con's

Pro's: Lightweight, compact, portable, price
Con's: Very few shops to get a hands on impression, probably not sturdy enough

  • SIRUI T-1204X

Pro's: Lightweight, compact, portable, price
Con's: Very few shops to get a hands on impression, probably not sturdy enough
           A little less compact than the 1205

Pro's: Lightweight, compact, portable, sturdy
Con's: Availability&Price

So this wasn't successful.

But last weekend there was a house trade-fair held by my favorite photo-dealer (BESIER-OEHLING Frankfurt) held in Wiesbaden that i visited. My target was to compare all available tripods that met my requirements.

In a nutshell: It took me 3,5hrs to have a hands-on experience on all of the available tripods and the result was, that I'd either buy a BENRO or a TILTALL tripod.
It turned out, that there a some rebranded SIRUI's and BENRO's sold and that the main elements like tube-diameters, heights, length and weight wre pretty much comparable.
The weight of the SIRUI's is always declared lower, since they always weigh them with the short center-collumn mounted.

Eventually I ended up with the TILTALL C254 tripod.(Most probably a rebranded SIRUI T1204X tripod)

It's weight is 1,1Kg, it holds up to 10kg, folds to 36cm and is a very sturdy, well-thought piece of equipment. The legs can be folded at  3 positions up to 180°, so the ball-head is embedded by the legs while traveling. You can convert the tripod into a monopod if you like, and the center-collumn can be mounted inversely if you a into macro photography.
The price was 290€, which left some space to buy a 330g SIRUI K-10X ballhead.
The whole combo now weighs 1,5kg.

First test-results are excellent.

The decision was mostly taken upon my hands-on experience. It could also have been the SIRUI T-1204X, but I couldn't get a grip to it.

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