Quick review / comparison of Sirui T-025 and Sirui T-1205X

Started Jul 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
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mfj197
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Quick review / comparison of Sirui T-025 and Sirui T-1205X
Jul 12, 2012

I recently bought the Sirui T-025 carbon fibre travel tripod as I was looking for something lightweight but sturdy to support my Panasonic G3. I only use the camera with small primes so don't expect to tax a tripod too much on the weight front, but it does need to be sturdy. I sold my big old Manfrotto 455 as that really was overkill and I'd never take it anywhere (4.1kg with head!).

The T-025 is a 5 section tripod, max leg diameter 22mm and min diameter 10mm. The legs fold up around the centre column for compactness. The smallest leg diameter is a little bit feeble, but other than that it is extremely well constructed with forged aluminium parts (not cast) and 8 layers of carbon fibre used. The legs are solid and have an anti-rotation system so the twistgrips can all be undone together in one hand movement. The legs can be set individually at three angles.

It is mighty small and light too, weighing at just 600g (nearly 800g with the C-10 head). It is 300mm in length when folded (just under 12"), with a height of 1130mm with the centre column retracted and 1305mm when extended. It comes packaged with a carry sack and a pair of allen keys, plus two of the legs have foam sheaths for use in cold weather (not that this is really a problem with CF tripods!).

Speaking of the head, it is simply outstanding. It weights 180g and will support 4kg. A recent German test of ballheads ranked the C-10 fourth in the "under 100 Euros" category, just behind the Feisol CB-30C and two other Sirui heads, the G-10 and G-20 (which are considerably heavier). The test, in German, of the under 100 Euros category can be read here:
http://www.traumflieger.de/desktop/ballhead/ballheads2.php

However there is a flaw with this tripod, and it's a big one. The centre column is fixed and cannot retract between the legs, so the camera is always about a foot above the apex of the legs. This causes problems in even slightly windy conditions, and a few times I was either grateful of a horizontal railing to brace the tripod against or I just had to take a few shots to hope for a keeper. The centre column will indeed extend even further up, but only at your own peril. The fixed centre column also limits the minimum height of the tripod.

It was the centre column issue which caused me to search further amongst tripodkind. I was very impressed with the build quality of the Sirui so ended up with another, the T-1205X. This is also a 5 section tripod of more traditional centre column design, although still retaining the ability to fold the legs around the centre column. It is slightly longer when folded (340mm) and slightly heavier at 800g, but in the grand scheme of things this is still a very light, very compact tripod.

The leg diameters are larger, from 25 to 13mm, and the individual section lengths are slightly longer. Maximum height with centre column retracted is 1125mm, with column extended is 1305mm. It shares the very high build quality with its smaller sibling, but fixtures and fittings are proportionately larger. Indeed when it arrived it came in a much, much bigger box - but fortunately this is mostly due to the better quality bag it ships with!

The size increase is not much but the T-1205X is far, far more stable. Both tripods have hooks for hanging weights underneath but on the 025 this is more for show than anything else because of its centre column design flaw. The significant increase in stability, particularly in windy conditions, is for me definitely worth the additional monetary expense and slightly larger size and weight.

I was so impressed with the C-10 head that I kept it when I sold the T-025. It is currently not available on its own and the G-10 head that can be bought with the T-1205X weighs 300g rather than the 180 of the C-10. So I now have the slightly unusual combination of a T-1205X tripod with C-10 head, weighing in at under a kilo for the combination.

Michael

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