Photography News Issue 53

Photography News | Issue 53 | photographynews.co.uk

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First tests

Sirui R-3213X £529.99 The R-3213X sounds like a cross between Ted Rogers and the

Specs

Price £529.99

Terminator that goes mad and destroys Yorkshire Television. But it isn’t. It’s a tripod aimed at serious enthusiasts and professionals. Part of Sirui’s large Reporter range – hence the R and X – the ‘3’ means it’s mid-sized for the series, so there are larger versions if you need. The ‘2’ tells you it has carbon fibre legs (‘0’ is aluminium), and the final ‘3’ means it has three leg sections. The middle ‘1’ is amystery. What isn’t a mystery is what the R-3213X is designed for: very high load capacities and outstanding stability. You get a sense of the quality from first touch. The tubes are smooth 10x carbon fibre and the top leg section is 33mm in width, falling to 26mm at the bottom (the latter being the size of many legs’ top sections). It hits a decent 141cm without its centre column raised, and 179cm with it. Both seemed very workable to me; I’m six foot four (190cm), and when adding the centre column I could shoot around eye level, which is a nice option tohave. I used it to compose over the top ofwalls,andeventhoughobviouslyyou lose some steadiness with the centre column raised, results still looked pin- sharp to me. The folded length is 61cm, so it’s not too travel friendly, but this isn’t a travel model. Leg angle locks near the collar allow a 21°, 52°, or 82° spread and operatewell. The metal locks need a good pull to free them, and snap back with reassuring strength. The only criticism I’d have is their contact points are a little thin compared to some, and could provide more grip, especially in gloves. At full spread and centre column removedyou can shoot at about 11cm from ground level, which is plenty close. Openingthelegsections,theactionis very smooth and certainly comparable to my Gitzo Systematic Series 3, if anything a bit smoother, though the model I testedwas newandhadn’t been battered by the elements like the Gitzo. There is quite a noticeable breathing as you push and pull the sections, so maybe some space for grit to enter the mechanismthere, but the locks are easy to remove and clean.

In the box R-3213X three-section carbon-fibre tripod, spiked feet, flat plate, half- bowl plate, carry case, shoulder strap and tools. Leg sections 3 Material Carbon fibre Max height 141cm Min height 11.5cm Max load 22kg Closed length 61cm Weight 1.8kg Contact www.sirui.co.uk

The twist locks make it fast to set up, too. They freewithabout aquarter turn, and they’re close enough to operate all together. From folded to full height, I clocked about 10 seconds. The lowest leg sections also have height markers, and though I’ve never felt the need, they could be helpful if precise height is required. The rubber of the locks is very well grooved, too, giving plenty of purchase. The R-3213X’s stated load capacity is over 20kg, so even with a heavy head, camera and lens you’re unlikely to reach it. The 10x carbon legs showed no creep, flex or vibration even when I was pushing my considerable post- Christmas weight through them, or trying to twist them from the collar. It’s a very stable platform indeed. Foam warmers are included on each leg, which is more generous than most. The feet are also a win: standard rubbers give a good grip and unscrew to be replaced by (included) spikes. The R-3213X has a fairly wide metal collar, with a bubble-level and three locking screws; the latter meaning it’s adaptable. The centrepiece of the Above Tall shooters will love the R-3213X, and while using a tripod with its centre column fully up is not ideal, this model gives impressive stability.

column can be removed and replaced with an included flat supporting plate (making the tripod column-free) or with a 75mm half-collar adapter (also included). The latter allows use of a video-friendly levelling half-ball. A nice touch is that the stabilising hook you unscrew to release the centre column includes the Allen key used to free the plates. Clever stuff. After a weekend’s shooting, the plate had worked loose and was rattly, but it was quick to tighten itwith the includedkey. At 1.8kg, the legs are easy to shift; they feel deceptively light. I took Terminator Ted on several long hikes, and was pleasantly surprised by the weight (or lack thereof). This was made easier by the included high-quality padded bag and strap (which can be fixed to the tripod alone if required). Unlike many, the bag is also roomy enough not to require Tetris-style placement of the legs and accessories – I evenmanaged an extra head. KS

The 10x carbon legs showed no creep, flex or vibration even

when I was pushing my

Above Folded length is 61cm so not ideal for travel, but what you get is great stability combined with impressive working height when needed. The centre column, fully raised, gives a camera platform that is 179cm off the ground.

considerable post- Christmas weight through them

Verdict

This set of legs has a great mix of strength, versatility and nice touches, like the Allen key in the stabilising hook of the centre column. By swapping the mounting plates it’s at home with stills or movies, and to work without a centre column. A good quality padded bag and strap are also included, all for under £530. It’s almost a bargain.

Pros Strength, weight, features, solid build Cons More than some will want to spend, and doesn’t include a head

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