I've been looking around for a new tripod for a while now. The fact is that I already had three: an old Manfrotto, a relatively newer Manfrotto and an Induro. The Induro was definitely the most rigid of the three and also has the twist locks I prefer, but with the Acratech ball head, it was heavy. It also can gunk up a bit with dirt on occasions and was just a little short.
So, having convinced myself that it was not GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), but a genuine need, I'd been scanning reviews and come across the Chinese Sirui brand. A few months back I needed (there's that word again) a ball head to replace a Manfrotto unit which didn't really handle the weight of my Nikon gear. I bought a Sirui, and I've been impressed with its design and quality. One more tick for Sirui.
I was also interested in carbon fibre, rather than aluminium. Those in the know said that apart from being a little lighter than metal, it was also more rigid and less prone to vibration. Further googling turned up several reviews speaking highly of Sirui and some singing the praises of the waterproof W-2204. It looked good but wasn't cheap, so the plan stayed on hold.
Sirui W-2204 in various modes.
Then, a few weeks back, Perth retailer Camera Electronic had a Sirui 30% off sale, and I decided to take the plunge.
I'm happy I did.
Firstly, it's taller than my other tripods – too tall for me on the flat (even with the centre column retracted), but that will work on downhill slopes. It feels lighter than it actually is, the legs slide in and out very smoothly, and it's very, very stable. Other plusses are that is folds down very small, it comes with a tool kit (four more allen keys!), replaceable feet or spikes and a proper bag. I haven't tried its waterproofness yet, but it seems to cope well with Perth's ever-present sand.
Oh, and due to cunning design, one of the legs screws off and can be used as a monopod!
The bottom line? I like the design and the quality of the Sirui. The Induro is now my back-up tripod and the Manfrottos will go on the market.
If you need a new tripod, check out the Sirui line.