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Sirui Monopod Review


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One day last week I was reading a post about the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, when I read a comment by @Zak Forsman regarding the Sirui video monopod. It was perfect timing because I was in the middle of searching for a good monopod. I had narrowed my choices down to a model by a company name Cinetree and a Manfrotto model. I had heard of Sirui but never read any reviews on it. Zak gave it a glowing recommendation, so I headed over to eBay to check it out. Luckily, I found a "New Other" model for sale at a 30% discount...

Sold.

 

The monopod arrived 2 or 3 days later and I was immediately impressed with the build quality and how lightweight it was. The fluid pan function is butter smooth and the tilting, swivel base is just as smooth as the panning. The built in foldable feet are sturdy. But when I extended the legs, the top and bottom section was tight, I could barely extend them. I figured that this is why it was sold as new other... it was probably a return.

I, immediately, went over to Amazon and read some reviews and the tight leg seems to be a common flaw of this unit. Apparently, when the sections of the leg are extended with a lot of force, the female metal end digs into the male plastic guide cap and scrapes off shavings of plastic, the leg gets clogged and it becomes very tight to open and close. Some buyers received their monopod that way, others had the issue occur over time and others never had a problem at all.

I had two options, pack it up and return it, or take it apart and fix it. Since every other aspect of the monopod: the price, the fluid pan, the swivel, tilting base and oversized feet were exactly what I've been looking for, I chose the latter... take it apart and clean it. In less than 10 minutes, I had the monopod sections apart, cleaned, relubricated, with WD-40, and reassembled. It works just as new. Perfect.

I attached a video of some clips I took yesterday down the shore. After about a half dozen cups of coffee and a half a pack of cigarettes... I realized I need a little more practice with it... or less vices that cause uncontrollable arm spasms. But either way, I am extremely happy with it and it is worth every penny I paid for it. Does it replace a tripod with a good fluid head or a steadicam? No. But for run and gun shooting with a small footprint, it's exactly what I was looking for.

 

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Cool. I have the Benro monopod that is shown in your youtube video. I'm pretty happy about it.

The only flaw is that the backplate is quite tricky to fasten properly together with a Nikon D800. The tightening screw jams into the camera body and it doesn't get properly tightened. But it's still great for traveling around light while getting nice stable footage.

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Cool. I have the Benro monopod that is shown in your youtube video. I'm pretty happy about it.

The only flaw is that the backplate is quite tricky to fasten properly together with a Nikon D800. The tightening screw jams into the camera body and it doesn't get properly tightened. But it's still great for traveling around light while getting nice stable footage.

I was looking at the Benro as well, but I already have Manfrotto plates, so that's why I narrowed it down to those other two. When Zak, recommended this and linked to that comparison video, by CheesyCam, it was a no brainier for me. 

I think with some more practice, I can get some pretty stable, albeit slight movements with it. In the video I posted, it looks a little stuttered thanks to Vimeo, but in the original it's fairly smooth. 

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Cool. I have the Benro monopod that is shown in your youtube video. I'm pretty happy about it.

The only flaw is that the backplate is quite tricky to fasten properly together with a Nikon D800. The tightening screw jams into the camera body and it doesn't get properly tightened. But it's still great for traveling around light while getting nice stable footage.

You can adjust the tension (2:45 ).

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You can adjust the tension (2:45 ).

Hah! :) It certainly hasn't struck me to pull the lever out when tightening the camera!

That feature has totally passed me by, so thanks a lot for that tip!

Guess I should read the manual next time. Didn't expect to need that for a monopod :p

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So, the Sirui monopod doesn't come with a head. I picked up a used Manfrotto tilting head, but I'm thinking about getting a Manfrotto 700rc, does anybody have any experience with it? 

Or what video heads do you guys use with your monopods?

Wait, when you said the fluid pan was butter smooth, you were referring to this Manfrotto head? I have the 700RC, it's pretty good, probably a decent trade-off in terms of weight and quality. I never used a monopod, but why do you even need a head? Can't you just turn it on the foot (especially on hard/flat surfaces) to do a pan?

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Wait, when you said the fluid pan was butter smooth, you were referring to this Manfrotto head? I have the 700RC, it's pretty good, probably a decent trade-off in terms of weight and quality. I never used a monopod, but why do you even need a head? Can't you just turn it on the foot (especially on hard/flat surfaces) to do a pan?

Well, yes. I should have been clearer in my mini review and subsequent comment. There is both a fluid movement function on the upper shaft of the monopod, and one in the ball joint at the base. By loosening the locks, you can get some tension but it isn't as precise as a fluid drag head. As is, I found the monopod great for small movements, but not great for a proper pan. So, yes butter smooth without tension. In my example video, I do one pan towards the end of the video, that is smooth but fast due to the lack of tension. 

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i happened to have a Manfrotto 500 head that I bought to go with a slider. works well with the Sirui.

I have the 3126 head on my tripod, which I like, but it's way too heavy for this monopod, or for my purpose for a light set up I can take hiking out in the middle of nowhere. Is that 500 weighty?

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Wait, when you said the fluid pan was butter smooth, you were referring to this Manfrotto head? I have the 700RC, it's pretty good, probably a decent trade-off in terms of weight and quality. I never used a monopod, but why do you even need a head? Can't you just turn it on the foot (especially on hard/flat surfaces) to do a pan?

So, I was reading the specs and some reviews of the 700rc, the specs say it weighs just over a pound, which is perfect for me, but it states that it needs to carry a minimum of 3lbs? I assume since the tension of the fluid drag is fixed, it needs a minimum weight? Have you noticed any issues with less weight than that? And since the drag is fixed, would you describe the pans as slow and smooth... Or?

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So, I was reading the specs and some reviews of the 700rc, the specs say it weighs just over a pound, which is perfect for me, but it states that it needs to carry a minimum of 3lbs? I assume since the tension of the fluid drag is fixed, it needs a minimum weight? Have you noticed any issues with less weight than that? And since the drag is fixed, would you describe the pans as slow and smooth... Or?

Apologies, what I have is 128RC, not 700RC2, which I believe is what you wanted. In any case, there is no way you're going to get as smooth a pan on a monopod as you'd get with good tripod legs, so I would go with nothing or a head that's really light. Did you also look at the tripods that can also double as a monopod?

BTW, there are ultra light tripods out there if your concern is weight. I have the Sirui 025X carbon travel tripod, and it is surprisingly steady in spite of having ultra-thin legs and a 5-section design. It's 1.7 lb (with the head) and they claim it supports 13.2 lb, which I don't think any other tripod can match.

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Apologies, what I have is 128RC, not 700RC2, which I believe is what you wanted. In any case, there is no way you're going to get as smooth a pan on a monopod as you'd get with good tripod legs, so I would go with nothing or a head that's really light. Did you also look at the tripods that can also double as a monopod?

BTW, there are ultra light tripods out there if your concern is weight. I have the Sirui 025X carbon travel tripod, and it is surprisingly steady in spite of having ultra-thin legs and a 5-section design. It's 1.7 lb (with the head) and they claim it supports 13.2 lb, which I don't think any other tripod can match.

I'm actually looking for a light tripod set up. My Manfrotto is just a bit too heavy to trek around the woods, so I figured if I could get a head that was light enough, it could serve double duty. I'd rather it be a Manfrotto Bogen combo legs and head since I already use the quick release plates with my other tripod and I'll use the extra set of legs as a light stand in the studio. I did pick up a little 234rc2 tilting head that will probably work fine on the monopod. 

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I'm actually looking for a light tripod set up. My Manfrotto is just a bit too heavy to trek around the woods, so I figured if I could get a head that was light enough, it could serve double duty. I'd rather it be a Manfrotto Bogen combo legs and head since I already use the quick release plates with my other tripod and I'll use the extra set of legs as a light stand in the studio. I did pick up a little 234rc2 tilting head that will probably work fine on the monopod. 

I don't see why you need Bogen legs, I regularly use the Manfrotto 128RC with my Sirui 025X without problems. Anyway, I put together a small comparison some time back when I was shopping for a travel tripod, you might find that and the thread in general (several folks made some good suggestions too) useful.

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I don't see why you need Bogen legs, I regularly use the Manfrotto 128RC with my Sirui 025X without problems. Anyway, I put together a small comparison some time back when I was shopping for a travel tripod, you might find that and the thread in general (several folks made some good suggestions too) useful.

I don't need Bogen legs, I just like Bogen legs. Most equipment I buy is used and I know, even if rode hard, Bogen legs last. That Sirui looks like a great tripod, perfect for travel. I need something with a little heft, but still lightweight. I am shooting my first feature this winter, if I can get the script done, and I want to be able to trek a mile into the woods knowing that my stix will not have any issues. I know with Bogen legs, they'll work every time without any issues. I'm sure, other brands are fine, I just know what I like. 

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I don't need Bogen legs, I just like Bogen legs. Most equipment I buy is used and I know, even if rode hard, Bogen legs last. That Sirui looks like a great tripod, perfect for travel. I need something with a little heft, but still lightweight. I am shooting my first feature this winter, if I can get the script done, and I want to be able to trek a mile into the woods knowing that my stix will not have any issues. I know with Bogen legs, they'll work every time without any issues. I'm sure, other brands are fine, I just know what I like. 

Ah, OK. We all have our favorites. My experience with Bogen/Manfrotto hasn't been as good, unfortunately: my Manfrotto 755B (MDeVe) broke after relatively light usage with one of its leg locks suddenly cracking. Really bizarre. I can only hope it is rare.

Anyway, good luck in your search, and do post your findings back here.

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i've thought about picking up this lightweight tripod (also from Sirui) after seeing Mattias Burling's video showing it's versatility.

 

Yeah that Sirui does seem versatile. I have an Alzo Smoothy Pod that fits in the same kinda category for me - inexpensive enough to have around for those few times it will be extremely useful.

Btw, I watched NOT THERE. Good job. Well written and directed. You did a lot in 3 minutes. The idea of what was real or imagined... or even wished, was woven in well... Right down to the shirt the killer was wearing. Great stage punches too!!!

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