Sirui N-2204X Review | Medium Size Carbon Fiber Tripod

by alessandro_carpentiero

Sirui N-2204X Review | Medium Size Carbon Fiber Tripod

As a travel photographer, I’ve always been a fan of ultra-portable tripods: they are light, and can easily fit in a backpack.
Sometimes though, they are not enough.
We should remember as a rule of thumb that the bigger (and heavier) a tripod is, the more stable it is. Imagine being on a cliff with a strong wind blowing: would you prefer your ultra-portable tripod or a big one?
In fact, there’s a right tripod for every circumstance.
I have owned a variety of tripods, and this is the one I’ve stuck to for serious travel photography shootings: meet the Sirui N-2204X.

Dimensions & Weight

The Sirui N-2204X is a medium/big size tripod, built with portability in mind. In fact, when folded, its dimensions are quite reduced.
Let’s see some details:

  • Folded Height: 47 cm (18.5″)
  • Minimum Height: 14 cm (5.5″)
  • Maximum Height: 160 cm (63″)

As you can see, it has a great height range, making it suitable for a wide variety of shooting scenarios.

Minimum height

When fully extended, it becomes pretty tall, which is great especially when shooting in cities, behind fences, balconies, etc.
I am 178cm (5.8 “) tall, and as you can see it’s just a bit shorter than me in the picture below:

Bear in mind that the measures I’ve written above refer to the “tripod only” heights, so you have to add your head height in order to calculate the actual one you will be shooting from.
Even if it’s a quite big tripod, it weighs just 1,26 kg (2.77 lb), which is awesome if you plan on taking it around for the whole day.
I know that many folks don’t get a bigger tripod because they don’t know how to carry it conveniently. If smaller tripods (like the Sirui T-025X) can easily fit inside your backpack, the N-2204X needs to be carried differently; gladly there are several ways to do that.
When traveling, I ship it inside my checked luggage, as there’s no space for it in my photography trolley, while on location I usually attach the carrying case to the top of my trolley.
When using a backpack, it can be attached to its side, or you can simply carry it on your shoulder thanks to the case sling.

Build Quality

The build quality is fantastic.
Every detail is carefully thought through, making the product feel solid and premium. After all, it’s a tripod made for professionals & serious hobbyists.

All the legs and the column are made by an 8 layer 100% Carbon Fiber, which makes it lightweight, stable, and low-vibration.

Load Capacity

Load capacity is something to carefully consider when getting a tripod.
If your setup weighs 2 kg, you surely don’t want a tripod with a maximum load capacity of 2 kg. The more it handles, the better.
Even if this tripod weighs just 1,26 kg, it can withstand a total of 15 kg (33 lbs), which means that you can confidently use it even with ultra-telephoto lenses, which are known for being really heavy.
I normally shoot with a setup a bit under 2kg (by the way, you can see my whole kit here), and everything has always been super-stable, even when shooting 3-4 minute exposures in windy conditions.

Features

I always say that the difference is in the details. Here we have plenty.
The Sirui N-2204X offers so many features which will make your life easier.

Two Central Columns

Why just one if you can have two?
The central column is composed of two elements; when together they create the “main” column, while when disassembled the smaller piece serves as secondary (and shorter) column, needed when you want to shoot very low.

Sirui n-2204X columns components

Connection detail of the 2 columns

At first, I was pretty skeptical about this engineering solution, as I thought it would have reduced the overall stability of the tripod. Gladly I was wrong; I have used the tripod with the bigger central column fully extended so many times, and everything has always been perfect.
The only caveat is, you have to make sure to screw the two parts properly, otherwise (obviously) the big central column won’t be stable.

Monopod Mode

This is really a smart solution, which I’m sure will be much appreciated by sport & wildlife photographers.
If in the past you had to have two separate tools for the job, the Sirui N-2204X has an unscrewable leg, which becomes a monopod!

The mechanism is very solid, and it takes just a few seconds to have your monopod ready.

sirui n-n2204x monopod
I have personally never used it as I don’t need a monopod for my kind of photography, but it surely is a nice-to-have feature.

Rubber Feet With Twist-Out Steel Spikes


The rubber feet are super helpful when shooting on slippery surfaces, such as stones or pavements.
On the other hand, when shooting at a beach, garden or similar terrains, the twist-out steel spikes are life-saving;  they come out of about 1 cm and can be stuck inside the ground, highly increasing the stability of the tripod.

Stabilizing Hook

Another way for increasing the stability is by adding a weight to the bottom of the center column; this is especially useful when there’s a strong wind.
The hook has generous dimensions, and it comes out of a few centimeters when something is being attached to it.
You would normally attach your backpack (as you can see above), but nothing prevents you from being creative. I was once shooting from a viewpoint in Lisbon, and I had just finished doing some grocery shopping; I just took a couple of plastic bags filled with food, and ta-dah!

Quick Lock/Unlock 

The 4 sections can be extended with a quick lock/unlock mechanism; the twist locks are sealed and rubberized for a great grip. I’m a fan of this system, as with just half a turn the legs will start to descend.

Everything can be disassembled easily for maintenance, something really important to do especially when positioning the legs inside salty water.

3 Leg Angle Positions

Each leg can be set at 3 different angles (21°, 52°, or 81°), and has an angle locking mechanism to quickly position the tripod without having to worry for it to collapse.

Foam Rubber Leg Wraps

Two of the three legs are padded with a layer of foam rubber, which protects your hands against high and low temperature, also ensuring a secure grip during transport and in use.

Carrying Case

Last but not least, the Sirui N-2204X comes with a well-made carrying case. This is something worth noticing, as some manufacturers sell their carrying case as an additional (and overly priced) accessory.

If you want to carry the tripod but not the carrying case, Sirui got you covered: you can use the bag strap as a tripod strap.

What’s Missing?

As much as I love this product, there are a couple of missing features in my opinion.
Let’s remember though that this is a tripod mainly built for travelers, while the features I’ll mention below are more studio & lifestyle oriented.

  1. Center column cannot be inclined of 90°
    In case you often shoot flat lays, much typical in lifestyle and food photography, this is probably not the right tripod for you.
    I sometimes have to shoot pictures like this, and for that, I have to rely on another tripod.
    The Sirui N-2204X will allow you to mount the center column upside down, so you can still take pictures right from the top of your product/plate, but it’s not even half as convenient as having an inclinable column.
  2. Mounting Accessories
    Sirui doesn’t have a wide range of accessories, so the lack of a mounting system is to be expected.

Sirui K-20X Ball Head

The tripod doesn’t come with a head included, but the suggested one is the Sirui K-20X ball head.


It perfectly pairs with the Sirui N-2204X and it’s beautifully built.
It feels very solid and weighs 0,4 Kg (0.88 lb), with a massive maximum weight capacity of 25 kg (55lb).  Basically, it can withhold 10 kg more than the tripod.
The knobs work like a charm, providing a progressive friction to make fine adjustments.
The 3 spirits level are a great addition for making 100% sure to have the camera straight in all the axis, as the inbuilt level of the camera is not perfectly accurate.

The head can rotate 360°, and at the base, there is a degree indicator, very useful for when shooting panoramas.
Lastly, there is a safety lock which prevents the camera from slipping off the plate, which is arca-swiss compatible. The golden button keeps the plate safe while pushing the red one unlocks the mechanism.

Conclusions

The Sirui N-2204X ticks all the must-have features for a high-end tripod while adding quite a lot of “bonus” features that end up creating a fantastic product for travel photographers.
I have used it as a main tripod for assignments all around the world, and I am sure it will support my gear for the years to come.
You can get it starting at 319.99$ (429 € in Europe) at the following links: Amazon | B&H

 

 

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