Jump to content

Tripod advice appreciated: VidPro vs. Slik Pro

Which tripod should I buy?  

1 member has voted

  1. 1. Which tripod should I buy?

    • VidPro At-72
    • Slik Pro 700DX with pan head
    • Slik Pro 700DX with ball head

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone, and thank you very much for your help.

I'm looking to buy a tripod for my Nikon D80. My budget is $100-150 for now (hopefully, I'll upgrade to a better one in the future). I am 6'3" tall. I enjoy hiking, so good portability would be a plus.


I am undecided between these two tripods:

Slik Pro 700DX: $100 alone or $140 with 3-way Pan head, supports 15 lbs, maximum height 74", weighs 7 lbs, folded length 30', 3 leg sections with flip locks.

VidPro At-72 Venturemaxx 72": $105 with 33mm ball head and Arca-Swiss style quick release system, supports 20 lbs, maximum height 72", weighs 4 lbs, folded length 20', 4 leg sections with twist locks.

The VidPro At-72 seems to have better specs and a lower price, but is it good quality?

The Slik Pro 700DX has good reviews online: would you recommend buying this tripod for $100 and then adding a ball head, or going for the $140 version that includes a 3-Way Pan Head?

Thank you very much!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 1st criteria is what is the purpose of the tripod; studio, near car, travel, etc. The purpose starts to define the requirements.

Because IMHO, there is no such thing as an ALL PURPOSE tripod. A tripod that will hold my 4x5 view camera won't fit into my suitcase, and leave me with enough room for my clothes and other stuff.

This is why I have several tripods.


2nd criteria is what camera will I use on the tripod? The tripod requirements of a 35mm/DSLR camera is different than a MF camera which is different than a 4x5 view camera. I would not use my 4x5 monorail on my lightweight tripod that I use for my 35mm camera.

This is why I have several tripods.


3rd criteria is, how high is the tripod, WITHOUT the center column raised? It has to put the camera at eye level, or higher.

I use the center column only for fine tuning the camera height. The higher you raise the center column the less table the setup becomes. This is why I ignore the center column height.

I relax this requirement for a travel tripod, as compactness to fit into the suitcase is a major/primary consideration.


4th criteria is the weight. For a studio or near car tripod, I will use a heavy tripod. But if I have to carry it for any distance, I do NOT want a heavy tripod. I did that once, and I do NOT want to do it again. Weight is one thing when you are in your 20s, another thing when you are a senior citizen. If you intend taking the tripod hiking, is the 7 pounds vs. 4 pounds significant? After 25 miles it might be.


5th criteria is the head. What head do you like or not like. I personally prefer a 3-way head. Yes a ball head can be faster to use, but it also moves the camera in all axis as the same time, making precise positioning more difficult, for me. Other people LOVE the ball head. IOW, the head preference is personal.

However, to save weight, I have swapped out the 3-way pan head for the lighter ball head. Which is why interchangeable heads is important.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to the above post: with tripods it's really about "cheap, light, solid": choose two. If portability means low weight, then your budget is going to be limiting, and frankly too limiting. Portability in a sense of being small when not extended means more sections per leg, which usually leads to thinner lower sections, which may not help stability. And indeed another consideration is your height. Most tripods will not reach your height, unless you raise the center column which is generally a bad idea as said above. It depends how much of an issue this would be for you, but for myself I am glad my legs do extend to about 175cm without raising the center. But I wouldn't rate my legs as very portable (manfrotto 055db - aluminium 2,5kg). In short: cheap, light, solid: choose two.


For the head, aside from the preference, my personal experience with affordable ballheads has been lousy (sagging, vibrations, inable to keep heavier lenses under angles); ultimately good ballheads that can keep considerable load tight under angles do cost a very pretty penny. The problem is that even if you take a cheap(er) one as temporary solution, it's going to drive you away from using a tripod, or drive you nuts. It's not going to give the stability it should (making the whole tripod a useless exercise). So, based on my own experience, I would recommend going with a 3-way head if funds are limited, and then if you really prefer a ballhead, start putting money aside for a proper one.


Maybe I just saw bad examples for the ballheads, but I do know that switching to a good ballhead made me use my tripod again because it simply did what it is supposed to do. With the cheaper ballhead (which was still around $100), it always stayed at home.

Edited by Wouter Willemse
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Slik 7000 is a decent tripod and, with your budget, you are probably better off with a 3-way head than a ball head, because good ball heads are generally expensive. That said, I don't know anything about the Vid-pro, so it could be good as well. With your height, you will have to stoop a bit to use either one without raising the center column. It's all right to raise the column somewhat, particularly with your D80 which is a light DSLR, if your lenses are not heavy.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know anything about the Vid, but for many years I had a Slik 400DX which is the slightly smaller sibling to the 700. It was decently made and worked well, and the three way head, though not very large, was surprisingly smooth and stable. If you're doing landscapes and the like, a three way head is nice, as it makes leveling and composition pretty easy without overshooting and re-adjusting. A ball head will set up and track action faster, but can be less friendly for slow and careful shots. The Slik pro line delivers a lot of bang for the buck.


The only problem I had with my Slik was that the way the legs are put together, it's susceptible to problems if you are in the habit of opening the quick releases and letting the leg sections drop when setting it up. You can turn it upside down to retract with no problem, but the little screws holding the clamps are very shallow and can come loose when dropping them. After an initial mishap and slight tweaking, I never had a problem when opening it more slowly. It worked fine for years with a little care, and my main reason for not using it now is that I got a ridiculous bargain on a big Manfrotto with a ball head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Slik 700DX is a huge tripod and I mean HUGE.


Not huge. My Manfrotto 3251 is huge, but (if he could find one used) much too heavy to carry any sort of distance. The OP is six foot three, so that a larger tripod will be more comfortable for him to use. The 700DX is good, but still not tall enough for him to use with the center column all the way down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all very much! I really appreciate your help.


Gary: Your criteria make a lot of sense and I will keep them in mind. I agree that there is no such thing as an all purpose tripod.


Wouter: Thank you, I will consider how much legs extend without raising the center column. I had been considering only the maximum height until now.


Hector: Thank you for your advice, I think I’ll go for a 3-way head then.


Matthew: I will be doing landscapes, so a 3-way head seems to be the right choice. Thank you for confirming the good quality of the Slik Pro line.


Joseph: I agree the tripod is huge, but being six foot three I’m afraid I will need something around that size. A larger tripod would be ideal, but would probably be not as portable.



All: Based on your advice, I would say that the Slik Pro 700DX (and, in general, a tripod with a 3-way head) seems to be the better choice for my budget. I seem to understand that good ball heads are expensive, and that a cheap 3-way head might be a better choice than a cheap ball head.

I will also try to see if I can find a good used tripod online that matches those characteristics: may I just ask you which brands I can trust, in terms of quality?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all very much again - you have been really helpful.


After lots of research, I am considering spending a little more and buying one of the two tripods below, adding a good head.

As you had pointed out, the Slik Pro 700DX was probably too heavy for my needs, and unfortunately many other good tripods you had recommended were either not tall enough for me, or wouldn't fit in carry-on luggage. Both the two tripods below seem to satisfy my three main requirements - and I discovered there aren't many tripods out there that have all these three characteristics at this price point:

  • size under 21.5 in (to fit in carry-on luggage)
  • not as expensive as carbon fiber ones, but still light enough to be carried during walks
  • tall enough for a six foot three person (subtracting height of head and camera).

Giottos Silk Road YTL9214 Aluminum Tripod With Classic Lift Center Column:

  • Price: $199
  • Accessories: just Allen keys
  • Load Capacity: 22 lb
  • Max Height: 73.2"
  • Max Height without center column: 61"
  • Min Height: 7.1"
  • Folded Length: 21.3"
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Weight: 4.8 lb

Sirui W-2004 Waterproof Aluminum Alloy Tripod:

  • Price: $180
  • Accessories: Case, Shoulder and Monopod Straps, Steel Spikes
  • Load Capacity: 39.7 lb
  • Max Height: 70.9"
  • Max Height without center column: 57.9"
  • Min Height: 6.1"
  • Folded Length: 20.5"
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Weight: 4.6 lb

The Giottos is a bit heavier, not waterproof and includes less accessories - on the other hand, it's a bit taller without center column than the Sirui.


I would really appreciate your advice before buying one of the two, in terms of quality and aspects that I might not have considered. Thank you very much again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Squat a little, it is good quad exercise. No reason you can't go through the whole shopping for tripod agony like the rest of us. I own three tripods. One I like the most is the Induro carbon but it cost three bills. A good enought for a mother to love model is not so cheap. As is a good camera. Or, go look for a used model and learn and suffer like the rest of us chumps. Seriously, it is a learning experience as you titrate your desires vs real needs. I do wish you well, sir. We all can give advice. But we all have had the old learning curve. You do not need a stand up tripod, And you do not mention the head, which can cost almost as much. Consider a monopod as well. why not?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much, Gerry. I appreciate your advice, and I know I'll have to go through a learning curve.

I know a good head is expensive, and I am planning to buy it separately (possibly used).

As for the tripod, would you recommend Sirui over Giottos in terms of build quality? Are they both an equally good choice?

Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

This brand Sirui, though not well known, is making in roads into the tripod market; made in China, reasonably priced and well built. I got one not to long ago in their carbon fiber iteration which is also waterproof which is important to me. The more expensive tripods by Gitzo et. al. aren't waterproof and can have problems in a short time if exposed to sand and water. I bought mine from B&H even though I lived in Canada than.

Given the choice between excellent equipment and great skill, I'll go for the skill every time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...