DPReview TV: Travel Tripod Shootout (Manfrotto, Peak Design, Gitzo and Surui)

Published by Darron Toy on

so it's bring kids to work day today not really but I brought my kids along and according to a recent survey children in North America want nothing more than to be youtubers just like me so you guys wanna be youtubers right I so wanna be one but not camera one this camera's a boring great and Khai how about you you want to be an astronaut I want to work at Chili's welcome back deep your V TV viewers Chris Nichols here we've got a bit of a different video for you here this week we are doing a very unscientific comparison between four very capable travel tripods now what we're looking at today is four tripods which are relatively easy to carry they're compact they are great for travel but a tripod that's great for travel is also great for people who are maybe not able to physically carry heavy weight or want something that they can track or hike with up a mountain for example or maybe it's just because a lot of us are now using more compact camera systems and we just don't need large heavy tripods to stabilize those well hopefully you're gonna get a lot out of this video let's get to it so we chose the four tripods that we chose today because they give us a good cross-section of different price points they're all carbon fiber tripods though and basically getting us up to an eye level you know we're not talking about tabletop tripods or anything here so let's talk about the four tripods that we're gonna compare today now you know tripods all have ridiculous names so I'm gonna give them nicknames just to make it easier throughout the review the first one here is the peak design travel tripod now I had a really hard time coming up with a name for that so we're just gonna call him PD TT this is the get so 1545 T kit with ball head fantastic kit we're gonna call him Guillermo that's Guillermo they're here we've got the Manfrotto B free carbon fiber GT tripod the latest in their be free series have been very very popular I'm gonna call him manfred von be free and here last but not least we have this array and 1204 sk with k10 two ball head which is really annoying to say so instead of sarey i'm gonna call this sarah so now while we have all four tripods out here this actually gives you a really good viewpoint of the comparative minimum size that these tripods can stow in too and this is really important when you're throwing this on the side your backpack or putting in your luggage to go traveling with so you can very clearly see that PD TT is winning not only in the shortest stowed size but also the thinnest diameter package next we've got Guillermo very compact package then we've got Manfred and then we have Sarah over here being the largest of the four now another thing to keep in mind is that these three tripods only achieve this minimum stowage by reversing the legs upon themselves now this is really nice it's a thoughtful way to get it as small as possible but it does also mean that when you're actually using these tripods you're probably not gonna reverse them every single time you very well will have the head sticking out and that's gonna make it a little bit larger let's also make note that the peak design doesn't have to do that so you'll always get this as your minimum stowage size so as you can see we have quite obvious difference in the size when we actually have these in a more usable position even with the heads turned sideways to minimise that height as much as possible you're looking at 15 point 4 inches here with the PD TT and Sarah over here is pushing 24 inches in maximum height you can see Guillermo and Manfred are also quite tall so there's a substantial savings here and that is a big benefit for the PD TT however how is that going to translate into actual size in use so now we've got all four tripods with their legs fully extended but we have not extended the center columns this is actually the most stable position and this is probably we're gonna use these tripods most of the time this is getting the cameras roughly to eye level for most people but this is where it's very important to mention now that being the shortest is not necessarily the best as you can see though we've got the Manfrotto the get so and the surae at a very similar height level this is definitely losing some height and that is going to be a disadvantage for most people okay so now you can see we've got all four tripods with the columns extended and you can still see the peak design here has distinct disadvantage and height you know for me it's gonna be good for eye level shooting but if somebody Jordan tall tried to use this they're still gonna be hunching over significantly just to get a level height and there's actually a lot to be said for having a tripod that goes well above your eye level for example I'm really liking Sarah over here she's a perfect height because when I hold this up like this I can comfortably use the tripod without having to lean over and it lets me shoot up into trees and high angles think bird photography for example now I should mention that all four of these tripods you can also reverse the column so that it's going underneath the legs this puts the camera well below the center of gravity of the tripod it gives you a nice stable position it's also fantastic when you want to get really low to the ground for things like macro the wait is finally over so let's talk about weight all right time to weigh out our options here we've got Sarah the heaviest of the bunch here at three point nine five pounds with the ball head that we chose but that's okay I like a tripod with a little bit of weight on their bones and over here Manfred von be free not bad a stout three point four one pounds but there are much lighter options you might think that PD TT over here is gonna be the lightest tripod but it's actually not this is an upset this is two point eight one pounds however the get so right over here is a very spelt two point three four pounds we get the finished wold highest modulus we've in the carbon fiber and that does pay dividends when it comes to the lightest weight I'm a big advocate alight us weight tripod it means that you're more likely to actually take it with you and you can then add weight when you're out in the field by using the hooks on these tripods to hang your backpack or a bag of rocks or add some weight to just really give it that stability so Sarah does have a hook on the bottom of the center column there manfred you do have a little ring on the side of the tripod but you'd have to add something like a carabiner and then put on some weight and that is offset it's not right in the middle so I'm not a big fan of that now Guillermo also has the same offset ring but at great expense to yourself you can add a hook to the bottom I just wish that for the price of Guillermo you'd actually get that hook included now last but not least PD TT does have a very interesting little hook device on the bottom and again it's great there when you want to add more weight to that tripod okay so we're gonna do our own little high performance rodeo here with the tripod it's basically the idea that none of them are inverted they're just ready to shoot but the legs are all folded up the test is going to be how quickly can I undo all the leg locks get the legs fully extended raised the center column all the way and then call it done and see what her fast as time is so let's get to the testing [Applause] full extension on the tenor bow extension on the center 14:11 okay so there's a little bit of fun and we did multiple tests just to try to get the cleanest time on all the tripods and again we're talking about what one second difference across the whole variation I don't think this is really impact your lives in a huge way but it's fun but there are some things that we can mention a first off I personally really do like twist locks it's nicely you can grab them with one hand unlock them all at once extend the legs and then work back up tightening them sequentially that being said the peak designs lever locks are actually spaced right next to each other so you can do a very similar thing undo all of them with one hand that's a really nice design on the peak design getting the center column raised you do have a little doohickey on the side a small screw but it is small so although you can extend it and click it out it takes a little bit of time to find and extend that slowed me down a little bit otherwise we should also appreciate that you know Manfred Guillermo and Sarah are all for section tripods and then PD TT is actually going to be a five section tripod so that slows you down as well okay so for our next test you want to do something highly unscientific but I think still very useful and hopefully you guys will feel the same way we wanted to test how well these four tripods deal with vibrations I mean think about your footsteps nearby the tripod think about light winds think about waterfalls anything like that where you can have vibration it does affect your camera's movement so here's first off our test criteria we tested this with an Olympus om-d e-m1 X with a 600 millimeter full-frame equivalent lens made sure we shot at fifteenth of a second what we want to do is test these tripods both fully extended but with the center column down and fully extended but with the center column raised up to its maximum height now as for our vibration that we wanted to get into this experiment we needed to be consistent but we still needed to be powerful so you know we googled vibrating devices and things like that and you know just happen to find some interesting stores where you can actually find what we will call tripod stabilisation calibration devices it worked I think very well so let's get to the results so the Manfrotto and the sarey were actually our best performing tripods across the board they're also interesting to note the head and the most affordable out of the bunch but I would say that they were basically neck-and-neck equal whether the center columns were raised or not very slightly below those I'm gonna go to the peak design when the peak design center column was lowered we got very similar results even with vibration but when raised I can see there's just a slight bit more movement very surprisingly though was the get so which I actually have to put in last place even though it's the most expensive it had the most vibration I'd say it's very equal to the peak but when the center column was raised it was by far the worst and you do notice quite a bit of movement the heavier the tripod the better it handles vibrations like we tested with so with any of these tripods put some weight on those hooks get that weight into the tripod and I think you'll find that all four will deliver fantastic results okay so I just want to spend a little bit of time talking about some of the things I noticed about these different tripods so Guillermo first I really do like that gets those finally gone to an ARCA Swiss style head that was a big benefit over that proprietary plate they used to have I really like the ball head it was smooth and when you lock it down you don't get that creep afterwards where your your frame shifts a little bit but they don't give you any extras I think at this price you should get spiked feet you should get a hook on here you should get a proper bag Manfrotto has done some really good stuff here we've got metal where you need it but there is still the reliance on plastic parts and I think that kind of worries me plastic center column lock you know plastic ball head locks I don't like that especially in cold weather I have seen these things crack over the years I do like that they've redesigned the plate and the head it is still proprietary my photo in the way that it clips into their head however the plate is arca-swiss so you can use it on other arca-swiss accessories one big downside though because they're still insisting on using their own locking system you cannot put long arc of plates into this ball head and that's kind of a downside as well although I like the locking system here it does sometimes jam up against the battery grip on a camera so you got to reverse it and go the other direction that's kind of pain in the butt as well the center column lock it's quite stiff you can see here you really got to use a lot of force to move the center column now that's safe I like that but it is still you know a little bit difficult and slow to and if you do pull on it too hard you got a heavy camera remember that this little plastic plug at the end it's easy to pop out you're gonna lose it you could even have a camera fall all right peak design I think have done something really amazing with PD TT here I like the locking levers I like the switches the only thing that kind of worries me is maybe it's overly engineered but so far everything works well I do like that these lever locks are metal so you have that security because they are absolutely thin will they crack in the future I don't know but they seem pretty solid now lever locks normally they're slow for me to use but these are quite quick to open up and again the only issue I would ever have with lever locks is they can get gummed up you can get stuff in it you just take a look at our old Manfrotto and you can see what happens there so they're gonna be more maintenance than screw lock it does use arca-swiss you can unscrew these day taunts and then you could put long plates in there as well and again the only complaint I really have about that whole system you are dependent on an allen key not only to get those out but to attach your arca-swiss plate that i think is a really stupid idea because if that allen key gets lost you're screwed all of the other company's plates you've got coin locks you've got allen key locks and you've got finger locks all built into the plate and I think that's a way smarter design but otherwise this is very innovative so Sarah was very good to me today it's great value for the dollar because you get so many extras surae gives you option to turn one of these legs into a monopod you get a carry strap for that they also give you spiked feet or enough to buy those extra that should be standard on everybody's tripod the center column and this is also the only one that you can split down shorter if you don't need it and that'll cut a little bit of weight off and I do like the arca-swiss plate on here again it's a long dovetail plate you can certainly put long plates on it or telephoto lenses and have the dovetail cut on the foot and that'll fit right in there very nicely I do also like that we've got bubble levels on the side this array that get so and the peak design have a bubble level on top but once you've got your camera on there it's very hard to reference it so I like that we have this on the side the only thing I don't like about it is actually going back to the head and again there's different heads you can get this is the one that we happen to test here but even with the friction adjustment on there you got a really work this down to get this to lock and even if it's heaviest torque I can still move it I don't think this can be an issue when you have a camera on there but you really want to torque it if you want that stability all right so it's time for my final thoughts on all four tripods I'm gonna start with Sarah first and really the takeaway here is this fantastic value for the dollar great price point you get tons of extras and the tripod performs beautifully it's one of the best performing you only issue there is you have to be okay with the extra bulk and the weight you can make a lighter tripod heavier but you cannot make this tripod much lighter so just keep that in mind so then that brings us to a Manfred and actually this was quite interesting I didn't expect it to perform as well as it did but it's a good compromise of weight and features and the price point is the lowest of all four of the tripods however I still didn't like the plastic parts and they still need to work on that ball head I wish it was fully arca-swiss compatible however for the price point this might be a great option for you if your budget conscious now we have to talk about Guillermo and I just cannot in good conscience say that this tripod is anywhere close to good value for the dollar but get so is providing a tripod that has fantastic technology and the best build quality by far it's got nice finish everything feels smooth there's a lot to be said for that the other big takeaway it is still the lightest of the four tripods but it still gives you height comparable to the surae and the Manfrotto and so if weight savings is critical for the work you're doing this might be the make-or-break thing for you and again you can always make the tripod heavier if you need to and finally let's talk about the PD TT and really I can see why so many people online are raving about this tripod because they've done something very innovative we have a tripod which is very compact and very easy to carry and that is a huge advantage it's also very lightweight in the spectrum of these four tripods the only concerns I have you're not going to get the same height as the other tripods and for some of you out there that might actually be a critical problem and the testing that we did it performed very very well and it's a very interesting product for this year all right as always I hope you guys found that useful we only tested four tripods I know but these are ones that we felt you know covered a good cross section of the market I want to say special thanks to my boys for helping out that was great to have them with us through you guys having fun with the whole YouTube thing and don't forget leave comments below Instagram Twitter let us know what you think please subscribe as well and if you enjoy this kind of video let us know we'd love to test memory card torture tasks maybe Marnell pods heavier tripods you let us know what you want to see thanks so much we go


Drew Morgan · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

First, it's spelled Sirui, not Surui

Second, someone posted a link to TheCenterColumn.com on a tripod thread I saw recently and they test and score tripods on the actual stiffness of the design, height and weight. Unfortunately, they haven't tested the Sirui N1204sk or the Peak Design.

Third, after studying TheCenterColumn's rankings, the Leofoto LS-324C seemed to achieve a very respectable score while being pretty light weight and affordable. However, I haven't seen very many reviews of Leofoto's products.

Walter Tomashefsky · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Judging from the comments you supposedly mispronounced one word so the whole video was a waste and should be trashed😱.
Give me a break.
IMHO, it was a well-done and useful review video.

FN 2187 · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

So the vibrator has very little effect on Sarah…

Ray Hawk · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Good pointers…. useful when sorting thru the Amazon kmockoffs

Guy Jordan · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Other testing would be welcome. SD card testing for speed, durability, and compatibility. If you dare, resolution vs screen and print size; when is high res worthwhile?

P K · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

It’s Sirui not Surui. You are complaining about the weight of Sirui tripod but the one that you review is actually not their travel tripod. They have a much smaller and lighter one….But apart from that, this looks like another infomercial made specifically for Peak Design – you made quite an effort to make it look good amongst its competitors: the other companies offer smaller travel tripods, lighter ones, cheaper ones and the ones you selected aren’t necessarily their travel tripods. What is more, you conveniently don’t mention the biggest issue of Peak Design (as most Youtubers who I presume were paid by PD) – the head, that is permanently attached, DOESN’T PAN! Are you trying to lose your credibility with this one?

SuperSuperka · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

at 3:11 Peak design is not usable at this position, you have to rise center column a bit so that the ball head can move.

Jeff Simbro · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I agree with Robert, I would assume that most can't afford that much for a tripod. I purchased a carbon fiber Bonfoto for under $125 and it has the same or better features than some of what you featured in this video. It has all metal parts, no plastic knobs, has a great carry case, etc. I'm not sure if you have already, but it would be great to have a video comparing tripods under $150. They will probably be knockoff names, but not everyone cares what brand name is on the leg, they just want something sturdy. That being said, you guys did a great job with this video and it was very interesting to see the tests and results. Let's see a budget version soon! Thank you for the great content you provide!

Wes Perry · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I’ve found the Manfrotto Arca compatible plate doesn’t actually fit on some Arca bases. It’s too small to get clamped down solidly.

john wheatley · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I stopped watching at the silly naming..

Arsenije R · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

140cm eye lvl?
Fuck didn't know he was so short

bird271828 · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Chris, you explain things soooo well. This was a great episode.

Derek Zoigt · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

table top tripods next please

Brian Cullen · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

No LOVE for Velbon?

Alex Stoyanovich · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

For that money you can get a q666 type tripod, it’s chinese for 60$ works like a charm, arca swiss plate and one leg can be detached used as a monopod and you would still have 500$ left for other things. These tripods cost more than a Ronin S just because of the branding. The Peak Desing looks like the worst overpriced thing

ScrattleGG · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

"It is nice to have a tripod that can go to eye level"…. I'm 195cm 🙁

zatoici hanzo · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

“Tripod testing device”

Bob Alpha · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

that Sarah face 😀 😀 😀

John Inglis · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Metallica!! He has his priorities in order 🙂

Randy Yansaud · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

not sure why you picked that sirui model when the T-025X (or its replacement T-025SK) is more compact and much lighter.

jc phenix · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I've bought used one of this Chinese carbon fiber travel tripod (for a song). there's a gimbal head
on it (so, never reversed). wildlife. heavy lenses. OK so far (400 bucks stayed in my pocket, I offered me the gimbal instead)

Stephen Hibbs · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Great video, I looked for a long time for a good travel tripod, to replace my old Manfrotto, In the end i choose one by a company call 3 Legged Thing. the tripod is called Brian love the name, its one of there new punks range of carbon tripods. with the legs folded up its 16" and with the legs down and head up its 22" and legs out its and centre column down its 56" and centre column up its 73" excellent tripod and very sturdy

dpanch_89 · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I think 3 legged things will be contacting you soon….. You used their carabiner after all.

Erick Boileau · July 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I’d like to see them compared with reallyrightstuff tripod

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