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Thread: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

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    Moderator nightwolf75's Avatar
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    Default Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    *disclaimer - this is not an official CS review. i am also a regular customer like dennis at TK foto. but, just like everyone else, i've to pay for it. and no.... i am under no obligation from TK foto to write only the nice things. so, whatever views presented are solely mine.*

    following up on Dennis' thread http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=588654

    i seldom use my manfrotto 190 tripod because it are so darn heavy. i don't shoot macros/products, and the only time i ever have to use a tripod is because i've to shoot panos. always wanted to get a lighter tripod. but the current manfrotto or gitzo (even the relatively 'cheaper' benro) carbon-fibre tripods cost almost the same price as a good lens.

    so, when dennis posted abt the sirui tripods, being the equipment junkie that i am, i had to go and take a look. i was recommended the N-1204 travel CF tripod that comes with the G-10 ballhead, and a short centre column. the entire package costs $450, which IIRC, is abt half the price of a similar-spec gitzo.

    the entire package


    as you can see from the pic, once you double-fold the tripod, the entire package is actually pretty compact. perfect for traveling. i must say, coming from an user of manfrotto 190 aluminium tripod, this N-1204 is light. i like the quick-twist release of the tripod legs. took me abt 30-sec to fully deploy the tripod legs. nice thing is that it takes rough a quarter-turn of my wrist to fully release the legs. the legs pop out smoothly, no hint of resistance.

    in comparison with my manfrotto 190.




    fully extended. the N-1204 is, at least, 30cm taller than my manfrotto.


    despite it being a travel tripod, the leg constructions are in no less inferior to my manfrotto. it felt sturdy to me. of course, this is a travel tripod. hence, i also won't recommend that you leave it alone outfield especially if you mount a heavy camera on it. if you do, then there's a center-column hook to hang your bag off it to stablise the entire setup.
    Last edited by nightwolf75; 19th October 2009 at 12:23 PM.
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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui T-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    that said, it doesn't mean that the N-1204 cannot take a heavy camera. according to the specs, it can take a max load of 10KG. so... i dump my D3+70-200 on the tripod + G-10 ball head.





    one thing i didn't particularly like was the G-10 ballhead. it is too skimpy for a heavy camera setup. of course, this is a travel tripod. for normal consumer DSLRs or prosumers (without grips), this ballhead should be able to take the weight without a problem. i found that, for both my D3 and bronica ETRs, the ballhead will sag a little, even after tightening up the knobs. also, the small tripod plate comes loose quite easily. the plate is secured via a wing-nut - it is only as tight as you can twist it. i would prefer an allen-key kind of nut to secure it to the camera. so those of you buying this and are using with a heavy camera setup, you want want to buy it without the G-10 ballhead and get a better ballhead. i think i'm going to use my existing benro KS-1 ballhead.



    nice touch of sirui to put a spirit level on the ballhead. you can always level off the ballhead before mounting your camera. perfect for landscape shooters.

    Last edited by nightwolf75; 19th October 2009 at 12:25 PM.
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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui T-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    so how is it like in the field? i love it! i brought it out to chinese garden to shoot some panos with my Bronica ETRs + 80/f2.8 lens (about 1.5kgs in total). and, it is a boon to not have to carry a heavy tripod around.





    by the way, the tripod is tilted because i rested 2 of the legs on the drain cover, which is higher than the pavement.

    the entire deployment took me about a minute - including securing the bronica to the ballhead. because of the quick-twist relase mechanism, i can quickly adjust the height of the tripod as needed. i have tested a few other carbon-fibre tripods with similar quick-twist knobs. probably the sirui comes closest in terms of speed and smoothness of deployment to the gitzos. of course, you do get what you paid for, IMO, especially since gitzos are the ferraris when it comes to carbon-fibre tripods...

    the G-10 ballhead, despite my fears of it sagging due to the weight of my bronica, performed admirably. the entire ballhead movement was smooth and i had no problems panning to get the entire pano-strip. of course, the only comparison i had is with my benro KS-1. i am not sure about other pricey brands like markins or arcatech. still, like i mentioned, i would not recommend the G-10 with a heavy camera

    one thing i didn't get to test was the short column because i don't have a macro lens with me. but this is how it looks like.



    another beautiful thing about this tripod is the ability to transform one of the legs into a monopod. the accessories are all provided in the same package. all you need to do is to twist off one of the legs, pop the supplied tripod screw into the leg and you are good to go. 2 for the price of 1... not hard not to like it.

    so, what's my overall view?

    Pros:
    • price - there's very little to grumble about compared to similar products on the market right not. real bang-for-bucks.
    • weight - again, for its price, it is light enough to be carried around the whole day without feeling it. it is also sturdy enough to handle most cameras except maybe the heaviest setup. then again, this is a travel tripod...
    • quick deployment - the leg deployments were smooth without a hint of resistance. the quick-twist knobs took only a slight turn for me before i fully extend the legs.
    • conversion to monopod (with provided accessories) - what more can i say... 2 for 1...


    Cons:
    • really crap ballhead - the G-10 ballhead doesn't really inspire my confidence. then again, this is a travel tripod. there are some nice touches. but the tripod plate could have been better designed by giving us a better way to secure it to the camera.
    • a nice carry strap would be great - the tripod doesn't come supplied with a carry strap. if you have to bring it around, you would have to get your own strap or use the supplied bag. not a major deal breaker, but certainly it would have been nice... since this is a travel tripod after all.
    • not really meant for a heavy setup - again, you do get what you paid for. this is a travel tripod. if you want to use a heavy camera on it like me, get a better ballhead or hang your bag off the centre column hook to stablise the tripod.


    all in all, very little not to like about this sirui N-1204 tripod. maybe i can finally retire my manfrotto 190 alum tripod and my manfrotto monopod....
    Last edited by nightwolf75; 19th October 2009 at 12:27 PM.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Thanks alot for the review, this really helps alot in my hunt for my 1st tripod.

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by clearriver View Post
    Thanks alot for the review, this really helps alot in my hunt for my 1st tripod.
    no problem.

    a little bit of updates. i actually went back to swap the G-10 for the bigger G-20 ballhead. those of you with a heavy setup should consider getting this instead of the stock G-10.



    the G-20 plate is slightly bigger than the G-10, but the construction is essentially the same. earlier i mentioned how i disliked the way the plate is secured to the camera/lens. as you can see, it uses a wing-nut. you can tighten using the allen key. but out in the field... who would take an allen key?



    anyway, i was loaned a markins P3U plate to try out. it actually works better than the standard sirui plates.



    there's still a bit of clearance between the plate and knobs. so you would not have any problems adjusting the field.



    even with the new G-20 head, my earlier conclusions still hold - if you are using a heavy setup, either straightaway get the g-20 or get a better ballhead to use with the N-1204, unless you really want to keep this travel-light. nice tripod overall and good value for money, IMO.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    How does this compares to the branded traveller?

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by ManWearPants View Post
    How does this compares to the branded traveller?
    which one?
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by nightwolf75 View Post
    which one?
    That one loh.

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    I think he's refering to the Gitzo.
    Nikon D90|N35mm f1.8G
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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui T-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Hi just a quick question, how does this compare to the other tripod brand benro. Because in terms of specs siru seems to state that it can hold alot more compared to benro. Thanks

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui T-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by kenni View Post
    Hi just a quick question, how does this compare to the other tripod brand benro. Because in terms of specs siru seems to state that it can hold alot more compared to benro. Thanks
    i dun own a benro, unless you count the ballhead.

    i only had a short side by side comparison at TK foto when i picked up the sirui. the equivalent benro tripod's legs seem a bit on the thin side and the deployment of the legs were not as smooth as the sirui. but in actual use... i think we will need actual benro CF tripod users' input. i've been using manfrottos most of the time. this sirui is the first non-manfrotto tripod i've ever used.

    the thicker legs of the sirui seem to contribut to the fact that it can take more weight. for me, the problem was the stock G-10 ballhead that came with the N-1204, not the tripod when it comes to weight-bearing. however, remember i am using a heavier camera. for usual consumer/prosumers, the G-10 ballhead should be fine. dennis is using his d700 on it, i believe.
    Last edited by nightwolf75; 16th November 2009 at 10:07 PM.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    bro ur pic very noisy la.

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    But after your purchase of the sirui do u think it can really hold up to 10kgs? I'm looking for a tripod myself as well. So abit hard to make the decision with all the specs sheets. What i dont like about the sirui is where the catch is, to relase the legs. Its only supported by a small spring. Worried if that will give way.

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by kenni View Post
    But after your purchase of the sirui do u think it can really hold up to 10kgs? I'm looking for a tripod myself as well. So abit hard to make the decision with all the specs sheets. What i dont like about the sirui is where the catch is, to relase the legs. Its only supported by a small spring. Worried if that will give way.
    spring?

    the legs are secured using those twist-knobs - very similiar to gitzo. manfrottos use quick-release catches. either way works fine for me. and so far, it held up my cam gears pretty well (D3 and my bronica ETRs medium format camera), after i swapped the ballhead to the benro's KS-1 cos i like the bigger plate on the benro. the g-20 and markins plate were loan to me to try.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Not the turning parts. Its the area where the three legs meet and has the sirui. Its the plate with the sirui logo. Just fip it around and u will see it. Was thinking of getting the alu version as i'm pretty clumsy with my stuff and tend to bang around alot. =D What do u think, 200grams difference.

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by kenni View Post
    Not the turning parts. Its the area where the three legs meet and has the sirui. Its the plate with the sirui logo. Just fip it around and u will see it. Was thinking of getting the alu version as i'm pretty clumsy with my stuff and tend to bang around alot. =D What do u think, 200grams difference.
    oic... well, personally i'm an infrequent tripod user cos i shoot more people than landscapes/macros. hence, for a occasional user who is unlikely to stress the equipment, i think it should be fine. but i'm a believer of "you get wat you paid for" dictum. for the sirui to be abt half the price of similar specs and more branded tripods, something has to give. if you are a heavy user, then mebbe its a good idea to invest in something that will take the abuse?

    dat said, IIRC, TK foto fellas said that the sirui tripods come with 6yrs warranty (?). dun ask me why 6yrs tho...
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Haha, yeah i thought about the 6 years too. Weird.

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by kenni View Post
    Haha, yeah i thought about the 6 years too. Weird.
    yeah. i thot it is usually 1yr warranty. oh well, if sirui wants to offer 6yrs, who's gonna complain?
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    I'm not sure if I want to put a D3 + 70-200mm on that with the centre column full extended.....

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    Default Re: Quick review of Sirui N-1204 carbon-fibre travel tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    I'm not sure if I want to put a D3 + 70-200mm on that with the centre column full extended.....
    heck no. i was just trying. and a number of people have been complaining to me that i shld have used the plate on the tripod foot for the 70-200 and not on the cam body. as u can see, i am not a fan of the crappy 70-200 tripod foot either.

    dat said, i still think the g-10 is not suitable for heavy setups. those getting those shld, IMO, just get it without the stock ballhead and upgrade to a better one. u do get wat u paid for.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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