In both the outdoors field and the photography industry, you will find people who are so into the gear. These gear-loving outdoor enthusiasts own five different types of 2-person tents and can rattle off the dimensions and specs like I can Ed Sheeran lyrics. And the snap-happy tech junkies jump on the latest camera and lens releases like I do on new Clif Bar flavours.
For the most part, I am almost the exact opposite with my gear. I literally use my winter down sleeping bag that is rated to -17 degrees in summer because I don’t want to spend the money or storage space on a summer sleeping bag. I have one lightweight 2-person and one lightweight 1-person tent and the only situation I foresee having to buy another tent is one for winter camping. Necessity over pure gear lust. (One could argue it’s necessary to have a summer bag but I rarely camp in summer anyway and if it is warmer I open up my bag or just use the liner.)
When it comes to my photography kit, I am just as minimalistic. It’s why I loved my Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens - it was so versatile. It lived on my camera 99% of the time, helping me create beautiful imagery both outdoors in the mountains and indoors in the gym.
So trust me when I say that my Sirui tripod (the A-1205 Carbon Fibre tripod with ball head) ticks many boxes simultaneously for me!
THE SIRUI A-1205 TRAVEL TRIPOD IS SUPER LIGHT
My biggest concern is always weight. I would say I am small but strong…but I am still small and every kilogram counts especially when you’re on a multi-day adventure.
Before my travel tripod, I would sometimes leave my tripod at home on backpacking trips and I would regret it SO MUCH once the stars came out.
At 1.3kg, it’s no longer ever a question whether to take my Sirui A-1205 or not.
After weight, space is the issue. Some tripods don’t fold up and have knobs and dials poking out all over the place. Putting such a tripod inside my pack created weird air pockets and strapping it to the outside annoyed me.
The Sirui A-1205’s length, when closed, is only 37cm.
This does compromise the maximum height which is 1.4m. For landscape and outdoors photography, I wouldn’t think tripod height is too much of a dealbreaker, especially when the A-1205 is so light and compact. However, I can imagine that if you are photographing people, you would need a taller setup because you may want to shoot at eye-level and many (most) people are over 1.4m tall.
You may worry that a travel tripod won’t be strong enough to support your camera but the Sirui A-1205 can support up to 10kg. It has held my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 70-200mm lens just fine.
The next worry may be that it wouldn’t hold up in windy conditions. I have photographed in some gusty New Zealand weather in some pretty high places and have felt confident in my tripod’s ability to stay grounded. There is a tripod hook and you can attach your backpack, ensuring it isn’t swinging off the ground, for extra security.
I would say that I haven’t really shot in strong winds with the tripod at its full height though.
OTHER FEATURES I LIKE
I like the twist locks. I find them heaps speedier to work with than flip locks
The ball head is super smooth to operate
The cold weather grips on all the legs, not just one. As you may have gathered from following my work, I looove the mountains, especially in the cooler months. The grips are nice to have in these conditions.
I’ve had three tripods in my photography life, 2 x Sirui and 1 x Manfrotto. My Sirui A-1205 is my favourite to date. I don’t see myself needing to purchase a new tripod anytime soon*!
*unless I misplace it which is not out of the question. One morning, I left it by the lakeside in Queenstown FOR LIKE 4-5 HOURS. Thank you to the honest people of that place - it was exactly where I’d left it when I finally realised.