Slik Lite CF- 422 ( with SBH- 180DS head)

Digital SLR Photography - - Gear -

LIGHT­WEIGHT TRAVEL TRIPODS tend to be short, but the Slik Lite CF- 422 is just the op­po­site. It's ac­tu­ally the tallest here, stand­ing 144cm or 178cm with the cen­tre- col­umn ex­tended, though that's with the ball- head, which comes in­cluded. It's high by any stan­dard, and will have your head bump­ing against the ceil­ing if you stretch it up in­doors, Yet it's very light, a mere 935g with­out head, and that in­cludes a built- in torch that fits in­side the cen­tre- col­umn – for map read­ing, ap­par­ently. It closes down to 48cm with the legs folded up and back on them­selves, into a very slen­der pack­age.

Aside from the size and weight, the other thing that im­me­di­ately im­presses is the high build qual­ity, with fine en­gi­neer­ing and smooth op­er­a­tion that's par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent in the mini ball- head. This lit­tle gem weighs just 190g and in­cludes an Arca- Swiss type quick- re­lease with a very slim QR plate, but out­per­forms many larger heads in smooth­ness and pre­ci­sion.

So far so good, but there's a down­side. The com­bi­na­tion of long, nar­row sec­tion legs with mul­ti­ple joints is not good for sta­bil­ity. It's un­avoid­able, and this is not a tri­pod for a heavy cam­era on a blus­tery hill­side. But if you avoid big lenses, use mir­ror lock- up and keep the height to a min­i­mum when con­di­tions are less than ideal, it'll be fine. Test re­sults were 44% for wind- buf­fet and 57% for mir­ror- shock, giv­ing an over­all per­for­mance of 51%. These are tough tests, which il­lus­trate the com­pro­mises that have to be made when ease of trans­porta­tion take pri­or­ity, even when the high­est stan­dard of ma­te­ri­als and man­u­fac­ture are ap­plied.

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