I recently created a lightweight mirrorless kit for myself and, as I have periodically looked at ultra light weight tripods before, it was time again. I had picked out the Sirui T-025X a long time ago, but never saw or ordered one. I’ve had a lot of great tripods and studio stands, but nothing very light. My lightest tripod yesterday was a Manfrotto 055MF4 and 496 ball head. Hardly lightweight.
Along came an email from Adorama with a $99 price for the Benro. Click bait and then some research. It’s a great tripod. I paid $119 for carbon, free ship.
It came and was nice out of the box. It’s very, very skinny. I liked it a lot, but wanted to compare with my previous pick of the Sirui. I ordered it also. It turns out there are subtle head variations and it was confusing. Adorama had one model in stock, another discontinued. The next day I was notified that it was backordered. Bummer—I’ve got a few trips next month. So I went to the Sirui website to find out which head was best/newest, and they only offered one. I figure that was it. I ordered from their website and received it in 2 days.
The Benro is already repackaged to go back, so I can’t offer any pictorial comparisons. You can find accurate pictures easily on the interweb. Similarly, you can find the exact specs on many websites. I wasn’t planning on writing any kind of review, but I thought someone might benefit from my short experience with both. (They’ve shut down too many brick and mortar camera stores, at least by me.)
$119 Adorama, free UPS Ground (hail Adorama)
2 lb 4 oz with plate (according my Braun Multipractic)
Significantly longer than the Sirui when collapsed. It’s a traditional fold.
Extends maybe 1-1.5” taller, and seems to have less wiggle if I press down and try to sway the head. An unscientific test: 70% optical confirmation, 30% subjective feel. At this level of these tripods, its all close.
Overall, the HEAD is more robust in feel than the Sirui. It’s bigger and the lock knob is much larger.
Sirui T-025X w/C-10S
$199 direct from Sirui, free overnight fed ex (at least for me).
1 lb 14 oz with plate (as weighed on my Braun Multipractic), lighter by enough to matter to some.
MUCH SHORTER. It’s just tiny. The smallest section of leg is very thin. I hope I don’t need to use it, but I have no doubt that it would be secure with proper weighting. The padded grips on 2 legs is very Manfrotto, and appreciated.
It’s visually odd to me that the shortest position consists of a long, single pipe. always up. I’m used to center posts that slide. It’s removable, so that obviously provides a much lower usable height. There’s possibly more action than the Benro if I press down and try to sway the head.
The head is much smaller, and the plate is tiny. It’s definitely a mirrorless-size (or Leica-size) plate.
This is important: The physical size of leg locks and head controls are much bigger on the Benro, but the feel and smoothness of the Sirui is much better. Think Canon L manual focus vs EFS glass doing manual focus— neither are Zeiss, but the feel of all of the knobs and twist locks are nicer on the Sirui.
The order of my priorities is stability (for its purpose), air travel weight, collapsed size, and if I could use it on my IV (which might be counter to the first priority, but caveated previously). A basic priority that I just expected was they are similar range and height, and they are. The Sirui might go lower, but we’re talking a few inches.
My perception is that the Benro would handle a full frame better. I don’t care what the load specs are— I care about the wind blowing.
For the rest, the Siri wins. I’m a tall guy and my clothes weigh a lot. When I travel, I use every ounce of luggage and carry-on weight that I can, on whatever rice-paddy commuter-propeller I’m flying. I often put a small Pelican inside my checked bag with extra gear. A short collapsed size means I could also put it in a small carry-on.
They are both outstanding tripods. I would have been happy with either, and there is nothing to complain about with either. For most people, I don’t think the $80 is worth the price of the Sirui, unless you just want the shortest possible collapsed size. The wight difference isn’t much, but if size AND weight are the utmost importance to you, and $80 isn’t irresponsible, go for the Sirui.