Today in our Up for Discussion post I thought I might try reviewing the Sirui Tripods. I’ve recently tried a couple of them and they were great.
Up for Discussion – Reviewing Sirui Tripods
When I first started photography, I bought a tripod because I thought it was important, but I really didn’t look into which one to get too much. I found a Manfrotto on special at my local camera store, Vanbars, and I just bought it. As it turned out, it was a great one.
However, here we are 25 years later and I’m still looking at them. Recently I asked a question about what tripod do you use on a Facebook page, The Photographer’s Mentor, and so many people talking about the Sirui tripods. I had to find out more.
It is surprising to see that most of them are Carbon Fibre and the price, well it isn’t too bad. Of course, they are going to be expensive, in comparison to an aluminium one, but if you choose well, you will have it for a long time.
A tripod for every situation
The reality is that you will never find one that will suit everything you do. There will always be compromises if you decide to have only one tripod. Though, there is no rule anyway that says you can’t have more than one.
If you do landscape photography and/or long exposure photography, then you need one that is going to be sturdy and won’t be blown around by the slightest breeze. You would be after a heavy duty one, that will be just that, heavy. So, if you are walking around a lot, like in the city, then it is a lot to carry.
On the other hand, if you buy one that is too light then it will never work when the weather isn’t perfect. They are things you need to think about.
Having more than one
Something in the middle is what most people go for. Which can be fine most of the time, but there are always going to be times that it isn’t great.
As stated earlier, there is no rule in the book that says you can’t have more than one tripod. If you travel a lot then you will want a smaller one that is compact and will fit in your luggage. One that doesn’t weigh too much and won’t take up too much space.
If you also like landscape or long exposure photography, then a heavy one for that. On days when you are just wandering around, you can take the travel one. Then on days when you are going to be doing more of the other, then you have that heavy one that will cope with whatever the weather throws at you.
The Sirui Range
There is a tripod to suit everyone. There are ones to use for travelling that are small and compact, plus lightweight. If you want a heavier duty one, then they have you covered as well. Landscape photographers need a tripod that will stand up and stay still at all times.
I contacted Sirui Australia to find out more about their tripods and they loaned two to me. The A-1205 Carbon Fibre Tripod and the W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fibre Tripod. While I had them I took them both out and tried them to see how they both worked.
Sirui A-1205 Carbon Fibre Tripod
Sirui Australia says that this tripod is a good travel tripod and I would have to agree. It is small, light and compact, all the things you would want if you were travelling. With the Y-11 ball head, it weighs 1.3kg and when it is all closed up around 37cms. The tripod can be packed up, so the ball head is enclosed inside the legs.
The legs are made up of 5 sections and extended and retracted using twist locks. These are great and make using the tripod faster and easier. There are twist locks for the centre column as well.
It is a short tripod when the 5 sections for each leg are fully extended. It stands at 108cms, plus the ball head. For me, that is fine, as I’m only 159cms tall. I suspect that for much taller people it would be a problem. However, if it is a tripod that you are using just for travel, then it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
The centre column can be extended to give it more height, though that should only be done when there are no alternatives. The column can be removed so if you want to get your camera as close to the ground as possible then it is easier to do. You can also reverse it so the ball head is at the bottom if you want to do macro photography or something else where you need to be closer to the ground.
It is carbon fibre and retails in Australia for $329, which included the Y-11 ball head. Not a hugely expensive tripod that is well made and easy to use.
When using the tripod, I realized that for me it was too small and wouldn’t be good for a lot of what I do. However, if I was going to travel I would get it. Most of my tripods are much bigger and too heavy to travel with. I don’t really use a tripod a lot when I travel, so it would be perfect. Easy to carry around, but ready to use when I need one.
Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fibre Tripod
When I had the two tripods, this one was by far my favourite.
It is bigger and heavier. When fully extended it is much taller than me. When setting up it is very sturdy, and you know that for long exposure photos you won’t get any movement. I used this one the most when I had them.
It is Carbon Fibre, so it has that extra durability, though making it a lighter version of the aluminium ones of the same size. Carbon fibre is very strong and does have some give in it unlike the other ones.
When the 4 legs are fully extended it stands at 147cm, however, with the centre column and ball head it is taller. The legs also feature the twist locks on the legs. When the legs are reverse folded it measures 52cms. Again, the head also can be folded to sit in the middle for travelling.
The waterproof aspect is really appealing. Having had one tripod that salt water ruined, the idea of having one that wouldn’t be damaged attractive. The waterproof tripods from Sirui don’t let water, sand or dirt into the stems of the legs, so it protects them. Other tripods can let in, say, sand that can scratch and damage the carbon fibre.
Like the first tripod, the centre column can be removed or the end put in the reverse way for doing things that are closer to the ground.
This one is more expensive, which is to be expected. It retails for $549 in Australia without the ball head. That will cost you another $189, though there are quite a few other options.
The Y-11 head for the smaller tripod. It was a small one but, didn’t have any trouble holding the Nikon D850 or any of the lenses I choose to use with it. The ball didn’t slip and was easy to move and maneuver when needed.
The K-20x is designed for a lot more weight. It was on the second tripod and I found it easy to use. Though, at first it was really stiff. It was explained that if I used a 5 cent coin in the grooves of the knob used to loosen the ball, then you can make it looser at the end for moving it.
When I had to decide on the head for the one I would get, it seemed logical to get the K-20x. It does what I need it to without much trouble.
Both tripods have a leg that will detach to make a monopod. You can add the centre column with your ball head to give you more versatility. However, the Sirui tripods come with some extra parts so you can just put the ball head straight onto the leg. Just read the instructions to find out exactly how.
I used the monopod when I had the Tamron 150-600mm lens. The ball head on the monopod made it so much easier to move the camera and lens around. It was great not to have to hold up the massive lens.
The tripods come with carrying bags, and you can store you tripods in them. Inside the bag are also the instructions and the tools needed to change and maintain your tripod.
Picking a tripod for me
Once my time was up with the tripods and they had to be sent back I knew that I would want one. I had to work out which one would be best for me.
I knew the first one was too small for me, but the second one was a little too big. It seemed logical to find one in between.
The waterproof option was really appealing. I do a lot of photography by the ocean, so that is important. I can be lazy with my gear, so washing it every time I’ve been down to the coast is never going to happen. Though the lock twists make it very easy to clean.
Taking all that into account, I decided to get the W-1204 Waterproof Carbon Fibre Tripod. It is exactly the same as the W-2204, just a fraction lighter and shorter. Converting to a monopod is great and has been used that way as well. It is easy to convert, and the ball head makes it much easier to use the monopod.
So far, I have been really impressed with the tripods. I can’t think of anything that I would change. I can do a lot more with it than just use it for a tripod.
Being happy with a purchase is always a good thing. The tripod has been used for long exposures, and the images were really good. The easy conversion to a monopod is also another bonus. You have to like a piece of gear that can be used in a variety of ways. I can understand why so many people love their Sirui tripods now.
For now I would like to thank Sirui Australia for loaning me the first tripods. I am now going to be a reseller of them, so if you would like to order one, let me know. I would also be happy to help you work out what would be a good choice for you.
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