A Budget-Friendly, Lightweight Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod
Review by Fernando Santos
Tripods are supposed to be strong, sturdy, and heavy, and that’s okay when you use them in the studio; however, traveling with a large and heavy tripod is very inconvenient. Finding one that’s well built and sturdy, but also lightweight and small, seemed to be impossible.
I was pleasantly surprised with the SIRUI AM-284, a 2.69 lbs/1.2Kg carbon fiber tripod. The four-section legs provide a small collapsed size, but also a good size when fully extended. The legs are wider than usual at this price point: the top section has a 1.16″/29.4mm diameter and the narrower part is 0.7″/18.6mm. This model doesn’t have a central column. In my opinion, that’s a good thing, as it permits a lighter and more compact design—much appreciated on a travel tripod. The legs open/close with a twist-lock system that works well, and the overall construction is good.
Inside the box you’ll find a carrying bag and a set of spiked feet that you can use to replace the default rubber ones, if necessary. The one thing I didn’t like is the nonstandard thread size on the feet, which limits your choice in case you lose one, or want to replace the original ones.
The tripod collapses to just 17.5″/445mm long, with a diameter not wider than most lenses. Maximum height goes up to 47.2″/1,200mm. The legs lock at three different angles and, when wide open at the minimum height, your ballhead base will be just 2.5″/63.5mm from the ground. According to the specifications, the AM-284 can handle up to 33.1 lbs/15Kg, which is a lot more than I’m willing to carry when I am traveling!
Overall, the SIRUI AM-284 is a good-looking, solid-built tripod that should do its job not just for travel, but also for everyday use. ■