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