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In-depth tripod assessment: ProMediaGear Professional-Stix TR344: Digital Images Evaluation

ProMediaGear’s TR344 ‘Professional-Stix’ tripod with their Katana Professional Gimbal supporting a full-frame digital camera and 500mm prime at lacrosse observe.

ProMediaGear Professional-Stix TR344 | $1030

ProMediaGear was based in 2009 by three brothers that mixed their engineering levels, a full-service machine store, and a ardour for pictures. Initially, they developed revolutionary flash brackets out of non-public want, producing them at their facility in suburban Chicago. As we speak they design and manufacture world-class gimbal heads and video sliders, together with ball heads, plates, monopods, and naturally, tripods. All of their merchandise are made within the USA, most in their very own store, and distributed worldwide. PMG isn’t afraid of just a little shade of their metals, so if you want, you possibly can order your tripod apex or gimbal anodized in a hanging crimson.

Specs and what’s included

  • Most top of 150 cm (59.1″)
  • Minimal top of 9.7 cm (3.8″)
  • Folds to 53 cm (20.8″) with 12 cm (4.7″) diameter
  • Weighs 1.85 kg (4.08 lbs) with flat platform
  • 27 kg (60 lbs) load restrict
  • Three leg angles (24° / 50° / 84°)
  • 4 leg sections (34mm high leg diameter/ 30 / 26.2 / 22.4mm)
  • 69mm platform on custom-fit insert
  • Massive weight hook underneath platform
  • Massive bubble stage connected to apex
  • Detachable 38mm mushroom ft on commonplace 3/8″ thread
  • Consists of mud bag, instruments, and 44mm spikes

ProMediaGear supply their Professional-Stix tripods in a ’34 collection,’ with 34mm high tubes, or their ’42 collection’ with big 42mm high tubes. All of their tripods can be found with 3 or 4 part legs, and in both ‘common’ or ‘lengthy’ fashions (which might go as much as 1.96 meters, or 77 inches). Inside the 34 collection, PMG presents tripod kits with built-in middle columns, in addition to an optionally available middle column for both collection of tripods.

On high of those decisions, PMG has not too long ago launched a Compact Apex mannequin, the TRS tripod, which supplies a a lot slimmer packed diameter and some grams much less aluminum on the high, whereas forgoing the interchangeable apex attachments like leveling half-balls or middle column. This apex can also be obtainable by itself, permitting current homeowners of modular TR34-series to swap their legs onto this space-saving apex, if desired.

The PMG TR344 being reviewed right here on the left, and the brand new TRS344 Compact Apex.
(Picture supplied by ProMediaGear)

In comparison with others

This tripod was examined and in contrast with its modular apex friends. Left to proper; ProMediaGear TR344, Actually Proper Stuff TVC-34, Sirui SR-3204, FLM CP34-L4 II, Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS.

The PMG TR344 was examined and in contrast alongside tripods in the identical class of ‘Collection 3′ (33-36mm high leg tube diameter) “Systematic’ (modular apex with detachable platform) sort, by way of dimension and utility, together with merchandise from Gitzo, Actually Proper Stuff, Sirui, Leofoto and FLM.

All of those tripods have been utilized in 4 seasons of sand, snow, mud, rain, and salt water; arrange within the bog-like Atlantic salt marshes and the wind-swept Appalachian mountains. They’ve been loaded with gimbal heads, ball heads, geared and pano-heads, and as much as 4kg (8.8lb) lenses connected to cameras starting from APS-C to medium-format, capturing something from long-exposure landscapes to excessive telephoto birds-in-flight. The one take a look at they didn’t undergo was being rough-handled on the airport, due to pandemic journey restrictions.

Top comparability

Under is a relative top comparability between the ProMediaGear TR344 and a 6 foot (1.83m) photographer.

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First impressions

The ProMediaGear Professional-Stix TR344 with the equally well-machined BH-1 ball head.

As anticipated from a boutique machine store, the aluminum apex, platform and leg locks are very finely milled and completed, with refined particulars like two 1/4″ accent ports (one underneath the massive bubble stage) and a bigger 3/8″ threaded port to carry numerous extras on high. Underneath the plastic-topped platform is a beneficiant weight hook and entry to the pinnacle retaining screw. One design element that’s instantly obvious is that the leg locks should not have a rubber cowl, however have a grip sample reduce into their aluminum exteriors. Except FLM, that is not often seen on tripods of this dimension.

In comparison with modular apex tripods from Gitzo and RRS, the TR344 is the lightest of the tripods on this dimension class, with probably the most compact diameter, and within the three-way tie for smallest folded size. All this, but it extends to a powerful 1.5 meters (59.3 inches) in top on 34mm leg tubes. Whereas every numeric distinction to comparable tripods of this kind could seem slight, the mix makes the TR344 stand out as probably the most space-efficient design.

The TR344’s leg angle stress screws are one other distinctive element. Unusually, PMG makes use of a single bolt and a stress retaining cap. This small element prevents the leg angles from loosening over time.

The modular portion of the apex is a proprietary insert, connected with six hex bolts on distinctive flanges. Because of this eradicating and changing it isn’t a fast operation, and utilizing another model’s video bowl or 70mm equipment isn’t attainable. ProMediaGear sells a 75mm bowl with flanges that match, so which means some leveling instruments are interchangeable, however this attachment for modular inserts is uncommon, and in my view just a little over-engineered.

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Use within the area

The complete ProMediaGear journey package deal for lengthy lenses; Katana Professional (previously Jr.) light-weight gimbal on high of the TR344 legs.

Not surprisingly, the comparatively gentle and compact TR344 is a straightforward mountaineering companion; equally at dwelling being strapped to a backpack or carried with a head on high. Deploying it on website is straightforward and fast, due to the sleek, however not free or wobbly, leg extension. When mated with one in every of ProMediaGear’s personal gimbal heads or ball heads, the full package deal not solely appears to be like good, however is cleanly purposeful and really transportable.

The ProMediaGear leg locks require solely 1 / 4 flip to lock or unlock, with a reassuring really feel in both state. Extending the leg tubes is pretty straightforward, however they don’t cascade out when unlocked. As an alternative, they slide with a delicate resistance from a exact match. This stability between a good and free match additionally means they’re straightforward to regulate individually on uneven surfaces when unlocking simply one of many legs and urgent down. Nevertheless, as a result of the lock collars are strong aluminum with solely a grip sample machined into them, they aren’t as straightforward to know as rubber-covered locks, and may be downright slippery with gloves on, requiring rather more effort within the chilly.

The included metal foot spikes are cleverly hidden contained in the ends of the legs, behind the extensive rubber ft. They screw into the rubber ft to supply a extra aggressive maintain on unstable floor, whereas the rubber foot above them prevents them from sinking too far or permitting grit to penetrate the leg itself. This implies the spikes are at all times at hand.

Utilizing solely handbook leg angle locks, not like the spring-loaded and ratcheting model discovered on nearly all comparable tripods on this class, appears at first like a cost-saving anomaly. In actual world use, although, the one sensible distinction when adjusting the legs is a click on to point that the angle has been set. The PMG locks themselves are massive, straightforward to push from behind or pull from the entrance, and have a really strong really feel. They might be easy, however they work.

General, ProMediaGear strikes a stability between dimension, weight and utility with the TR344, and in common use with massive lenses (and PMG’s glorious gimbal) in addition to heavy panoramic panorama gear, the legs by no means appeared harassed. The constructive lock of the leg collars and the constant stress on the leg angles meant that each alternative to arrange the Professional-Stix was each reassuring and acquainted. When contemplating the obtainable choices for taller and even thicker (42mm) legs, in addition to a compact apex, ProMediaGear simply deserves its place among the many high-end of pictures tripods.


Cleansing is straightforward, following the upkeep movies and directions discovered on the PMG web site. The leg tubes are very exactly mated, with the well-machined locks and receivers becoming collectively tightly. Using a one-piece shim makes disassembly straightforward, though the plastic itself will get somewhat skinny on the high and one in every of our leg shims broke right into a two-piece meeting whereas cleansing salt out of the locks.

Spare elements of every type can be found from the ProMediaGear web site.

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Take a look at outcomes

Vibrations could make even the sharpest lens end up mushy, blurred photographs, and may wreck lengthy exposures. Within the typical use circumstances for this class of tripod, lowering the results of vibration turns into extraordinarily essential, since longer focal lengths and better resolutions enlarge the results of any motion, and environmental vibrations like wind and water may have an growing impact on bigger legs and kit. Digital camera shutter-induced vibration may be mechanically minimized with mirror lockup, digital shutters, and a distant shutter launch, whereas including weight to the underside of the tripod (with the burden hook or a tripod stone bag) might help stabilize the entire setup. Nevertheless, not all sources of vibration may be eradicated, so we examined whether or not the tripod will dampen them or transmit and mirror them to the digital camera.

The tripod legs have been absolutely prolonged, and our vibration analyzer for heavy-duty tripods (an iPad on a 3.2 kg (7 lb) cantilevered weight) was mounted on to the flat platform’s 3/8″ threaded bolt with an extended lens plate. An industrial solenoid valve with a plastic hammer was used as a supply of vibration (a knock to the underside of 1 leg). The ensuing graph of all three accelerometers exhibits each the resistance of the tripod to the preliminary shock, in addition to the speed of decay for residual vibration throughout the tripod.

ProMediaGear TR344 vibration resistance take a look at outcomes – click on for bigger graph

*Observe that this graph is relative solely to this class of tripods. The burden and take a look at tools was adjusted to supply a conclusive end result for this dimension of tripod.

The ProMediaGear TR344 supplies good dampening of the preliminary shock, and a particular discount within the quantity of continuous movement, nonetheless it takes longer than some others on this group to fully get rid of vibration within the legs. That is nonetheless glorious efficiency for the lightest tripod on this class, and places the TR344 vibration efficiency proper in the course of comparable tripods underneath this demanding take a look at. Nothing to complain about right here.

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Utilizing the TR344 with heavy gear and lengthy lenses was straightforward and pleasing, due to the compact profile and lighter weight of the entire package deal, with none corresponding compromise in top or efficiency. ProMediaGear’s cautious engineering makes this attainable, and raises the TR344 close to to the highest of its class. As well as, there are considerate options just like the number of apex attachment factors, the hidden (however at all times there) foot spikes, and the massive bubble stage. Exploiting the systematic, modular apex was just a little tougher because of the proprietary attachment technique, however many apex inserts and choices can be found from PMG.

In most cases, using handbook leg angles and all-metal leg locks weren’t a difficulty, and the exact match of all the pieces made for a satisfying expertise within the area. General, the ProMediaGear TR344 ‘Professional-Stix’ tripod is a high-performing help system that does not distract with points or shortcomings throughout lengthy days of capturing.

What we like

  • Lightest and most compact of this class
  • Very nicely made and engineered
  • Considerate options (hidden spikes, huge stage, and so on.)
  • Swappable compact apex obtainable
  • Spare elements & repairs obtainable from USA

What we do not like

  • Proprietary apex attachment modules (bowl, and so on.)
  • Leg locks laborious to make use of in excessive chilly
  • Premium listing worth

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