The delayed arrival was no fault of the vendor BTW – they sent it pretty much straight away – Fedex and Australian customs had it languishing for two weeks here in Sydney before they bothered to try and contact me for the information they wanted (confirmation of the price I paid) before waiting a few more days before releasing it from customs. Fedex should definitely exclude the term “Express” from their moniker
I had been looking to replace my venerable Manfrotto 190 Pro B (the very old model) + 488RC4 ball head (which would be consigned to my daughter) which I had bought about 15 years ago and had given me extremely good service. The seascapes of the past year however hadn’t been very kind to it and it was now getting very corroded in places.
My 190 Pro B has in theory (from google searching old records) specs of 2kg (max load capacity of 5kg), 3 leg sections and a folded length of 56cm and a max height (centre column down) of 119cm and with the column up of 145cm. With the 488RC4 ballhead it is 2.8Kg and 67.5cm folded. Basically I try to use it with the column down most of the time but I often find it too low so ideally I wanted something which is perhaps 15-20cm taller with the column down. I did want my new tripod to be lighter and my main wish is for a much smoother better ballhead (I am quite keen on a Really Right Stuff BH40 and an RSS L plate for my D7000).
I leant towards 4 section tripods so I could keep the folded length down to around the same or less than the Manfrotto.
After much soul searching I eventually opted for a reasonable compromise – the Sirui N2204 + K20x Tripod Set. The specifications of which are for the tripod: carbon fibre, 4 legs, 1.2kg in weight, maximum load capacity of 15kg, 46cm folded (when reversed) or 53cm when not, it can go as low as 17cm (for low level ground work – when using the supplied short column) and as high as 139cm (without the centre column raised) and 165cm with the centre column raised (basically the camera would be above my head). It is an 8X carbon fiber 4 section tripod that features a detachable monopod leg in which you can simply unscrew from the rest of the tripod, and assemble with the provided accessories kit into a functional, regular-sized monopod (I already have a Benro carbon fibre monopod so this wasn’t so much of a concern for me). It also comes with an extra short center column that is easily interchangeable with the principal center column, and allows for low-height shooting. There are three adjustment angles available for the legs and each consists of an automatic lock mechanism and it also has a bag hook on the bottom to add extra stability. Lastly it all comes in a nice carry bag and with carrying straps.
The K20x Ballhead weighs 400g, has a load capacity of 25kg, is 98mm high and has an arca swiss style quick release plate, is friction adjustable and has panning capability.
The idea behind this would be to introduce me to an arca swiss style QR plate and to a ball head with friction capability (and get an RSS L Plate soon after) with the view to eventually upgrade to the RSS BH40 and I could move the K20x to my Manfrotto 190 and use the supplied plate with the D90 (for my daughter). It would however presumably let me move my D7000 with L plate between both heads/tripods.
I was seriously considering the bees knees of tripod brands – the Gitzo Mountaineer GT2541 4leg/1.36kg/12kg 55.5cm (folded) 17cm (lowest) 130cm (max height no centre column) & 153cm (column extended) but it would have been considerably more expensive (just for the legs) and I really couldn’t justify the cost and I’d rather sink the money in a good ballhead I could keep forever.
I havn’t yet had the chance to use the tripod and I’ll post more once I have… however…
The ballhead seems very smooth (much better than my Manfrotto 488RC4 ball head) plus it has the ability to set the friction which is nice – so I don’t have to have it go from tight to flopping around like the Manfrotto. The control thing for setting the friction is tiny however so I’d hope there’s no real need for changing that much out in the field?
… now for that RSS L plate for my D7000 and perhaps a BH40… hmmm…