I’ve had a Manfrotto 055-XPROB tripod for a good decade now, and it is a great tripod, however weighing in at 3kg with a ball head is quite significant, particularly when you consider that’s 3kg of a 11kg bushwalking pack – over 25% of the weight. It was time to buy something a bit lighter.
The Parameters for my new tripod search were:
- Tripod has to weigh no more than 1.5kg
- Tripod had to be able to have a detachable head
- Tripod had to cost less than $200 AUD
In the end it was a colleague that pointed me in the direction of Sirui tripods, partly because he was showing me their rather expensive carbon fibre models, however I came across the Sirui T-005SK with B-00K Ball head which had the specifications:
- Weight: 1.1kg with detachable head
- $179 AUD
Based on the recommendation (and a tax return!) I went ahead and purchased it on Thursday from DCW, with it arriving the following Monday.
What I really was not expecting upon the arrival of the tripod was just how small it is. This tripod folds to a length of just 30cm.
The other thing that you notice straight away is the build quality. It feels solid to hold with nothing feeling loose and all the components have a well fitting but fluid movement about them.
A really nice touch also was to include a basic nylon carry bag. The Manfrotto did not come with a bag and while not the end of the world, it did have a habit of it’s legs or head catching things.
The Arca-Swiss style quick release plate is also a departure from my more familiar Manfrotto QR plates and while well engineered I particularly dislike that to turn the thread that attaches the plate to the camera you must use a screwdriver or allen key. I feel the fold-down wire handle on the Manfrotto QR plates to be far more convenient if you need to make a change in the field.
The variable friction control rotation for the head is a welcome feature particularly for panning in videography and panoramic shots.
I was also initially concerned that the centre column would lead to stability issues when the tripod legs were not fully extended, before realising that the column was detachable, which the ball head able to screw directly onto the tripod base.
The tripod legs are split into 5 sections, with 4 sealed twist locks. It is definitely more time consuming to use these locks over the flip locks on the Manfrotto tripods. I am also not without my concerns about wear of the twist lock design having had some bad experiences in the past, but we’ll have to wait and see with that one.
It’s important to remember that in order to get a more portable and lighter tripod, you compromise on load and stability. The Sirui T-005SK is rated for a 5kg load, but with my EOS 6D camera 17-40mm lens weighing around 1.3 kg, the tripod did not feel particularly stable with the centre column attached, and a good gust of wind could potentially send the camera tumbling.
I’ve already mentioned removing the centre column to improve stability, but there is also a rather decent sized caribiner underneath the tripod shoulder to hang a backpack (or other heavy object) to lower the centre of gravity.
Overall I am really liking the looks of this tripod and can’t wait to get an opportunity to use it out in the field, hopefully in a couple of weeks time.