Ever heard of a tripod make called Sirui? I didn't either, till sometime ago! So have a read about the Sirui R-4203 Carbon fiber tripod and Sirui PH-20 Carbon fiber Gimbal head.
I recently moved away from Nikon to Canon. The main reason to go to Canon was the weight of the Nikon 600 mm compared with the new Canon 600 mm.
It also meant that i could "get away" with a lighter tripod. I really liked the Induro but it also had a center column which made photographing at low ground levels rather difficult and of course the Induro was rather heavy. Every kilo i could shave off my equipment would be a bonus.
So the obvious choice would be to look at the Gitzo's of this world. Excellent tripods but at a price! Of course there are many more good makes like Benro and Feisol. My eye caught a website which was advertising the Sirui range of tripods. I did quite a bit of research on the Sirui range of tripods and the general view was that these are good tripods.
One of the things i liked was the way the top plate was attached to the actual tripod legs. Very much Gitzo style; a large screw holds the top plate in place and it can only be removed by means of an Allen key. I always have this fear that the complete rig will fall off a tripod but with this construction i felt more at ease.
The Sirui R-4203 has a 3 leg section, the weight is 2.2 kg, has no center column, folds down to 66 cm, extends to 150 cm, low ground level is 9 cm. The legs are moist and dirt resistance and also includes anti-leg rotation, leg angle lock, bubble level and retractable spikes. The tripod comes with a sturdy bag, a toolkit and a manual.
The only problem is, is that there is no representation of the Sirui range of tripods in the United-Kingdom. So i ordered it through Foto-Tip in Poland. Within a week the tripod was delivered by UPS.
The tripod looks well finished. The one touch locking mechanism of the legs are very smooth. The maximum working height of 150 cm is ideal for me together with Sirui PH20 Gimbal head.
To spread the legs one has to push the "stoppers' downwards. This is a simple construction but works really well. The only issue i found was that the legs were a bit stiff to move them in another position. This might get better over time to come.
The tripod is well finished and it also allows for a 75 mm bowl attachment and leveling base. Handy for those photographers that would like to use a Fluid head instead of a Gimbal head.
The tripod legs are very stable and there is very little flex. It holds the Canon EOS1D MARK IV and Canon 600 mm with ease. The SIrui R-4203 can take a maximum load of 20 kg.
All i all i am very impressed with the quality of this tripod. With regards to durability it is still early days but i will definitely report back in a couple of months to let you all know how the tripod is keeping.
Next to the Sirui R-4203 i also bought the Sirui PH-20 Gimbal head. This Gimbal head is constructed out of cross patterned, multi-layer carbon fiber in the main arm and aircraft aluminum in the L-bracket. The main advantage of this construction is a reduction in weight and more stiffness when compared with more traditional Gimbal heads.
Carbon fiber also has a better tolerance for temperature changes and as i often work in colder climates, that was also a big plus for me.
Operating the Sirui PH-20 is very similar to other Gimbal heads. There is a tilt locking knob for the vertical movement and the usual panning base locking knob for the horizontal movement. I found the Gimbal head very smooth and easy to use. Of course it has the standard Arca Swiss Release clamp, so you can use the standard Arca Swiss release plates. The clamp locking knob is a bit stiff to open and close but again this might improve over time to come.
With the 600 mm mounted, the Sirui PH-20 works really well and it has a very smooth movement. It is also bit more compact then the previous Gimbal head i owned and of course, due to its Carbon fiber construction, it is about 1 kg lighter!
The Sirui PH-20 comes with 2 release plates ( a small one and a larger one) and also includes a small quick release platform that can be attached to the swing arm. ( side kick construction)
It also includes a carrying bag and a small manual.
All in all i am impressed by both the tripod and Gimbal head of Sirui. Both are well constructed and they are good alternatives next to Gitzo and other tripod makes. Sirui gives 6 year warranty on their tripods and heads. They do have representation in Europe (for example in the Netherlands) but currently not in the United Kingdom, but i am sure it will not be long before they will also :"branch out" to this part of the world.
The cost of the Sirui R-4203 tripod is approximately £375 and the Sirui PH-20 Gimbal head will cost you £350. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me anytime.
|Sirui R-4203 and Sirui PH-20 gimbal head|
|The top plate and stoppers|
|The Sirui PH-20 Gimbal head|
|Canon EOS1D MarkIV with Canon 600mm+Sirui R-4203 +Sirui PH-20|