Sirui N-3204X + K-30X ball head £475, $605

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Works re­ally well as a car­bon fi­bre tri­pod, and con­verts into a mono­pod for one-legged use Sold as sep­a­rate legs and head, the Sirui ‘NX’, or Univer­sal X, se­ries shares much of the de­sign phi­los­o­phy of the Easy Trav­eller kit also on test. It’s com­pact, thanks to legs that swing up­wards and en­com­pass the head when folded. The folded height is greater, at 51cm com­pared with 43cm, but the max­i­mum op­er­at­ing height is more im­pres­sive, at 187cm. The max­i­mum load rat­ing is beefed up, at 18kg and 30kg for the car­bon fi­bre legs and ball head re­spec­tively, while the car­ry­ing weight only rises from 2kg to 2.4kg. Leg sec­tion locks are changed from clip to twist.

One of the legs can be un­screwed to form the ba­sis of a sep­a­rate mono­pod. The cen­tre col­umn com­prises two pieces and, when split, the longer sec­tion can be used with the head to form the mono­pod, while the shorter one can be used for ul­tra-low-level shoot­ing (at just 13cm high) with­out the need to in­vert the cam­era.

Per­for­mance

Rigid­ity is slightly bet­ter than with the smaller Sirui tri­pod on test, and nearly as im­pres­sive as in the Man­frotto 055 car­bon fi­bre model. The K-30X ball head is beau­ti­fully en­gi­neered. The head’s main lock­ing screw dou­bles as an ad­justable fric­tion damper and the pan-only re­lease is a use­ful ad­di­tion.

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