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In-depth tripod overview: Sirui SR-3204: Digital Images Evaluation

The Sirui SR-3204 out within the chilly, with the Sirui PH-30 Carbon Fiber Gimbal on high, loaded with a 150-450mm zoom on a full-frame Pentax.

Sirui SR-3204 | $550

Again in a 2014 roundup of ball heads, Sirui was talked about as a ‘relative newcomer,’ however in the present day they’re a longtime and well-respected model, not just for tripods but additionally for such uncommon gadgets as humidity-control cupboards and anamorphic lenses. The complete Sirui help catalog features a very wide selection of tripods and monopods, in addition to a wide range of these extremely regarded tripod heads, together with video and full gimbal heads.

Specs and what’s included

  • Most top of 150 cm (59.1″)
  • Minimal top of 14.3 cm (5.6″)
  • Folds to 54.5 cm (21.5″) with 13 cm (5.1″) diameter
  • Weighs 2.1 kg (4.62 lbs)
  • 25kg (55.1 lbs) load restrict
  • Three leg angles (25° / 51° / 79° )
  • 4 leg sections (33mm high leg diameter / 29.5 / 26/ 22.2mm)
  • 78mm platform screwed onto massive deal with
  • Built-in 75mm video bowl
  • Retractable weight hook inside platform deal with
  • Tiny bubble degree included on apex
  • Detachable 38mm mushroom ft with non-standard M14 thread
  • Consists of padded bag, strap, instruments, directions and 36mm spikes

Within the galaxy of Sirui tripods, the SR collection known as the ‘Transportable PRO’ line. This collection all share the identical magnesium apex with an built-in 75mm bowl, and sport 33mm high leg tubes, though the SR-3004 substitutes 4-section aluminum legs, whereas the SR-3203 has three-section carbon fiber legs and a noticeably longer packed dimension in an effort to obtain the identical total top as the opposite SR fashions.

There’s an R-X collection with bigger leg diameters and non-obligatory middle columns, however they are not out there in North America and are arduous to seek out elsewhere. On this class of modular apex tripods, the SR collection represents Sirui’s candy spot between measurement, weight and stability for very demanding customers.

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 SIrui SR-3204 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) kind, by way of measurement and utility, together with merchandise from Gitzo, Actually Proper Stuff, ProMediaGear, Leofoto and FLM.

All of those tripods have been utilized in 4 seasons of sand, snow, mud, rain, and saltwater; 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 check 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 Sirui SR-3204 and a 6 foot (1.83m) photographer.

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First impressions

The SR-3204 magnesium apex and huge, hole deal with with retractable weight hook inside.

Sirui makes use of well-finished solid magnesium for the apex, built-in video bowl, and leg joints of the SR-3204, however these mix to make a bigger and considerably heavier high for the carbon fiber legs to hook up with. This selection is a fabric balancing act, as solid magnesium alloys can scale back the transmission of vibrations greater than machined aluminum, however must be made thicker for a similar power. Gitzo has lengthy relied on these similar supplies, with a unique end and smaller sizes, so the sturdiness is not in query.

The properly built-in 75mm video bowl within the apex of the SR-3204 looks like a good suggestion, solely half-realized. The plastic-topped aluminum platform of the SR-series tripods is held in place by an extended screw connected to a deal with extending under this built-in bowl. Sadly, Sirui’s personal RX-75B Leveling Ball Set for his or her video tripods has a deal with and screw incompatible with this tripod’s built-in bowl.

Word the diminutive bubble degree, which is the one different provided leveling support.

Whereas the SR collection are among the many largest photographic tripods made by Sirui, they’ve most of the similar options because the smaller, extra moveable tripods within the line. Three foam leg covers, a coated 1/4” accent mounting level, and stable twist-locks all translate nicely to the bigger measurement of the SR-3204. The spring motion, press-in angle locks, nevertheless, require transferring the thick legs down a bit first to unlock the angles. This may work nicely on smaller tripods with middle columns, however they turn out to be cumbersome on a big, systematic tripod just like the SR-3204. Different massive tripods of this measurement and modularity have angle locks that can be pushed from behind to unlock them, which is functionally sooner with a hand gripped across the massive leg tubes, and no middle column to get in the way in which behind the angle locks.

The bizarre M14 threads on the detachable ft are a little bit of a let-down, as solely the provided (and really thick and brief) chrome steel spikes will be inserted. There aren’t any different choices out there, not like all the opposite tripods on this class which use the frequent 3/8″ thread. A small concern, nevertheless it does restrict the adaptability of the tripod.

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Use within the subject

The Sirui gimbal suits properly on high of the SR-3204 flat platform. After all, a Sirui RX-75B leveling system may actually full the package deal. Alas, it is not suitable.

Packed up, the SR-3204 is noticeably heavier than equally sized tripods with modular apexes, however when stability for kilograms of digital camera and lens is required, this isn’t the largest concern. The froth sleeves on every of the legs, nevertheless, are inclined to seize at digital camera baggage and acquire particles, and, actually, just one is required to supply a firmer grip on the carbon fiber legs when moist. Maybe these grips are a carry-over from the aluminum model, the place insulating a hand from all that steel is advisable.

The big magnesium apex has a comically small built-in bubble degree, which was pressed into service (with a squint) in an effort to degree a gimbal or panoramic head. This required loosening one of many high leg locks and urgent right down to shorten every leg in flip, till degree. Whereas a bit tedious in comparison with a well-fit leveling system, this methodology of getting on the extent was nonetheless a simple operation, due to the graceful operation of each the leg locks and the match of the tubes which they join.

The acquainted Sirui leg locks require solely a quarter-turn to unlock every part, and with their rubber jackets, can simply be grabbed , even with gloves on. The carbon fiber tubes then slide out fairly simply with out a lot wobble, revealing index marks on the underside tubes in 5cm increments, in case exact leg lengths are required (or to gauge the water degree).

When going to very low extremes, the utmost leg angle of 79 levels grew to become obvious when in comparison with the opposite tripods on this class. This angle retains the apex a lot additional off the bottom than on any comparable tripods, most certainly to make room for the big platform deal with. When a head is added on high, the top end result just isn’t nice for low-angle pictures, regardless of the shortage of a middle column.

Total, the SR-3204 was a reliable, if generally ungainly, help for the heavy gear it was pressed into service with. Whereas it may be used within the subject in all types of climate, due to the leg covers and rubber-wrapped leg locks, it nonetheless appeared extra at residence within the studio. Indoors, at a extra relaxed tempo, any want for leveling or adjustment did not require a third-party accent, and with some further time (and studying glasses) the bubble degree could possibly be helpful.


The method for cleansing the SR-3204 just isn’t described wherever within the included packaging, or on their US or Chinese language web sites. Nonetheless, the directions for any twist lock tripod will do. The disassembly of every part is simple, and the one-piece, clear shims are substantial and firmly connected. Nonetheless, the leg locks lack gaskets or seals, and water and filth does have a tendency to gather within the backside sections.

On the plus facet, Sirui has a worldwide distribution presence, so service and components are normally straightforward to amass.

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Take a look at outcomes

Vibrations could make even the sharpest lens end up mushy, blurred photographs, and might spoil lengthy exposures. Within the typical use instances for this class of tripod, lowering the consequences of vibration turns into extraordinarily vital, since longer focal lengths and better resolutions amplify the consequences of any motion, and environmental vibrations like wind and water could have an rising impact on bigger legs and equipment.

Digicam vibration will 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) may also help stabilize the entire setup. Nonetheless, not all sources of vibration will 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 totally 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.

Sirui SR-3204 vibration resistance check outcomes – click on for bigger graph

*Word that this graph is relative solely to this class of tripods. The load and check gear was adjusted to supply a conclusive end result for this measurement of tripod.

Sirui’s SR-3204 was severely examined by the cantilevered weight and sensitivity of the vibration check. The preliminary shock was considerably restricted by the burden of the tripod and check gear, however continued vibrations didn’t instantly abate, after which continued for a number of seconds afterward. This efficiency ranks on the backside of this very demanding kind of huge tripods however is much better than smaller tripods when confronted with the identical check.

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The SR-3204 will not be one of the best of the tripods on this class, however it’s the largest out there from Sirui in most markets, and essentially the most reasonably priced selection (at virtually half the associated fee) in comparison with comparable modular apex tripods of this measurement. What it presents is all that the smaller Sirui tripods are identified for; stable building, wonderful legs and locks, and a great place to mount one in every of their very own heads.

The result’s a tripod that has been scaled as much as the ‘Transportable PRO’ degree, however doesn’t fairly hit the ‘professional’ mark

Extras just like the built-in video bowl and interchangeable ft are hampered by their incompatibility, although solely the ft are actually restricted. The mixed result’s a tripod that has been scaled as much as the ‘Transportable PRO’ degree, however doesn’t fairly hit the ‘professional’ mark when in comparison with equally massive tripods. On high of all of this, if one thing longer or bigger is desired, there’s nothing else from Sirui out there in all markets.

What we like

  • Very reasonably priced worth for this measurement tripod
  • Aluminum leg choice for even lower cost
  • Built-in video bowl is one much less merchandise to purchase
  • Worldwide gross sales & help community
  • Spare components & repairs straightforward to acquire

What we do not

  • Prime-heavy with out the vibration profit
  • Giant platform deal with restricts low angles
  • Lack of bigger or longer choices
  • Fiddly leg angle locks

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