You’re in the market for an all-purpose tripod, which you think should be a relatively easy decision, as there are many well-respected and proven models in the marketplace. On the surface that is generally true, but recent advances in DSLR-camera capabilities have added an important factor you must take into consideration: video.
Even the lowest-priced, entry-level DSLRs are able to record 1080p Full-HD, which means you could find yourself becoming just as much a video creator as a stills-image creator. You’ve reached the first fork in the road; because if you don’t expect to be shooting much video (and who can actually predict this in advance?), then a lighter-weight, travel-type tripod is probably your best all-purpose tripod choice – at least initially.
A wiser choice (or certainly one you should seriously consider) is that the type of tripod that is required to shoot excellent video will also have all the bells and whistles you’ll probably ever need for still photography. You may pay more for it, but you will unlikely need to buy another tripod (except for specialty photography, i.e., products, food, etc.) until a true all-purpose one reaches the end of its usable life.
Yes, a tripod for still photography and videography will be heavier and longer, even in its smallest, folded configuration; but, surprisingly, it won’t be that much heavier or longer.
For example, all the Sirui T0X Series of Ultra-Compact Tripods, featured in a companion PhotographyTalk article about travel tripods, fold to a minimum of 12.2 inches (310mm) and weigh 2.2 lbs. (1.0kg), except for the T-025X, which weighs 1.7 lbs. (800g). The Sirui NX Series Tripods, which are excellent all-purpose choices, range in minimum, folded length from 15.7 inches (400mm) to 20.1 inches (510mm) and weight, from 2.4 lbs. (1.1kg) to 5.1 lbs. (2.3kg).
The extra weight and length are critical when you want to shoot video because your tripod must be more rigid and robust in its design. What gives an all-purpose tripod both of these qualities, but also reduces the weight is the use of carbon fiber. Of the 7 tripods in the Sirui NX Series, 4 of them are made with carbon fiber. Two of them (the N-1204X and N-1205X) are the lightest of the 7, at 2.4 lbs. (1.1kg) and the other two are in the middle of the range, the N-2204X at 3.3 lbs. (1.5kg) and the N-3204X at 4.2 lbs. (1.9kg).
Argraph, the maker of Sirui tripods, have given the NX Series the rigidity required for virtually all photography and videography shooting situations with leg tubes that only have a 3mm difference in diameter. Not only are the 7 NX Series tripods very rigid, but also provide a very usable maximum height with the legs and center column fully extended. The leg extension ranges from 52 inches (1.32m) for the N-1004KX and N-1204X to 57.9 inches (1.47m) for the N-3004X and N-3204X. Maximum center column extension achieves an overall height of 60.6 inches (1.54m) for the N-1205X to 69.7 inches (1.77m) for the N-3004X and N-3204X. Plus, the NX Series’ rigid, heavy-duty construction results in load capacities, ranging from 22 lbs. (10kg) of gear to 39.7 lbs. (18kg), which accommodates not only DSLRs, but also the most-advanced professional camcorders.
Any of the Sirui NX Series of Tripods are actually more than a single-use tripod. First, the center column can be removed and the legs will splay to such an acute angle that the minimum height of 5.3 inches (135mm) to 6.1 inches (155mm) creates an exceptional low-angle platform for landscapes, nature images and macrophotography. The center column also inverts, so you can position your camera even closer to the ground or a surface. The center column also easily splits into a longer and shorter length for even more versatility. Second, one of the legs detaches to become a monopod, and then the longer section of the center column can be attached to the monopod to achieve a greater length.
Sirui also has a number of ball heads that are designed to be fully compatible with each of the 7 NX Series of tripods. Each is precisely manufactured with aviation-quality aluminum alloy and features advanced locking mechanisms, a panning base with a 360˚ dial, double or triple bubble levels and quick release plates.
The Sirui NX Series of tripods includes a custom case that will accommodate any of the 7 tripods with its ball head, wrist strap, padded shoulder strap, extra reversible mounting screw, mounting platform and a set of tools. Plus, Sirui’s 6-year US warranty covers your NX tripod when purchased from a US authorized dealer.
For more information, visit http://argraph.com/Sirui-NX-Tripod-Model-Series.html#top2.