I'm not a superstitious person, but I do believe in bad luck. However, not in the classical sense. Some of the most haunting examples of bad luck in my career have been missed shots . Most of them were in low light and almost all of them happened because I couldn't stabilize my camera. Needless to say , they were opportunities you don't come across very often in one lifetime.
After a series of these and many frustrations, I decided to find a solution, a product that I could carry anywhere with me and that would be strong enough to hold my D800 or Sony a7R. Carrying conventional tripods all the time is clearly not a solution. I thought about monopods for a while but I ruled them out because they have to be held all the time. So I turned to tabletop tripods. Small, light and easy to carry.
At this time , I can state with reasonable confidence that I've become somewhat of a tabletop tripod expert. Looking back, I admire the patience I had, but I also regret all the money I spent hoping the next one would be better. What's wrong with most tabletop tripods?
I'll keep it short and get to the point. Most of them are indeed light and easy to carry. In fact, they're a breath of fresh air after a few days of lying to yourself that you can carry a regular tripod all day. But after a while I realized I couldn't trust most of them to keep even my iPhone steady. I shoot pro bodies and switching to a smaller camera is not an option for my work.
So I gave up on this category of tripods. That is until recently. The folks at Sirui have announced something new, something that from an outside perspective has got my imagination wondering and my hopes high again. It's called the Sirui 3T-35 and it is a tabletop tripod. The name is utterly unexpressive but I don't care about that.
The tripod itself on the other hand looks like a solution to a problem that has kept many photographers, including myself, frustrated.
It measures only 24 cm when closed and it weighs just 0.9lb. Yes, it's portable and it has a belt hook that can keep it in range at all times.
The cool part is yet to come. It's made of forged aircraft grade aluminum alloy. That makes it capable of holding an impressive load of up to 8.8lb(4kg). Many full size tripods aren't capable of holding that weight. Fully extended it measures 13.5 inches (34.4 cm).
The legs are foldable and besides making it compact, they offer a solid grip, making it ideal for raising the camera above crowds.
It has a ball head with an Arca- compatible Quick Release plate that works very well for both stills and video. When you remove the center column , you can attach the ball head directly to the legs thus enabling low angle shooting at maximum stability.
We live in a multimedia age, one where photographers shoot video and vice versa. Stability is essential and portability is a must. The Sirui 3T-35 is on its way to becoming a benchmark product in its market class.