Andy Westlake tests a fully featured tripod kit from Chinese maker Sirui

Sirui-Easy-Traveller-ET-2204-with-E-20-headSirui Easy Traveler ET-2204 with E-20 head at a glance:

  • Carbon fibre with four-section legs
  • Ball-and-socket head
  • Arca Swiss-type quick release
  • Reverse-folding design
  • Price: £300
  • Website: www.sirui.eu/en/home

Sirui’s Easy Traveler tripods are designed with portability in mind, featuring four section legs that fold up around the centre column for a shorter packed length. They come in two sizes and a choice of aluminium or carbon-fibre construction, with a ball-and-socket head included in the kit. Here we’re looking at the larger carbon fibre model, the ET-2204.

The four-section legs have large, positive lever locks, and the sliding centre column has a twist lock.

Each of the tripod’s controls is easy to operate when wearing gloves, which is essential for landscape photographers. The legs can be set at three angles, including near-flat, and a sprung-angle lock mechanism makes the tripod quick to set up. A short centre column is included for ground-level work, and tucks into its own pocket inside the carry bag. Using it, however, requires the head to be removed from the standard column.

The E-20 ball head has an independently locking panning base, marked at 5° intervals. It has no separate friction control, but that’s to be expected at this price.

Sirui Easy Traveler ET-2204 with E-20 head – key features

Weight hook

This allows a bag to be hung on the tripod for increased stability.

Leg warmers

Two legs have foam sleeves for carrying.

Spirit level

A bubble level on the camera platform aids straight horizons.

Spikes

The large rubberised feet conceal retractable ground spikes.

Sirui Easy Traveler ET-2204 with E-20 head – verdict

The Sirui ET-2204 is a solid, well-designed tripod. It can support a full-frame SLR and 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, and the head locks down with minimal sagging or drift. At around 1.5m including the head it isn’t as tall as I’d like as a six-footer, but it can still hold an SLR at a reasonable height for viewfinder shooting, at least on level ground. The 43cm folded length and 1.72kg weight make it easy to carry around. At £300 for a kit, including the legs and ball head, it’s excellent value for money.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5

You may also wish to consider:

gitzo-gk2542-traveler

Gitzo GK2542 Traveler

Gitzo GK2542 Traveler

Price: £700 (legs only)

Website: www.gitzo.co.uk

If you’re after the best and money’s no object, then Gitzo is your obvious port of call. This tripod is hugely expensive, but it should last a lifetime.

Manfrotto-MT190CXPro4

Manfrotto MT190CXPro4

Manfrotto MT190CXPro4

Price: £280 (legs only)

Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk

Manfrotto’s perennially popular 190 series has a versatile centre column that can be set horizontally, but it doesn’t fold so short.

velbon-ultra-rexi-L

Velbron Ultra Rexi L

Velbon Ultra Rexi L

Price: £99 (legs only)

Website: www.velbon.co.uk

This aluminium tripod folds remarkably short for its 1.5m maximum height thanks to its five-section legs. It’s a great budget option for enthusiasts.