Sirui W2204 waterproof tripod
Finding a good quality tripod for a reasonable price is a much more difficult task than it may seem. The market offers a wide range of products in all the different price-tiers and there are no-doubt way too many brands available. Unless you’ve personally tested several of the brands, it’s really hard to know which is actually a well-designed product at a fair price. When you go to the top-end of the market, everyone knows that Gitzo or RRS are among the best, but if you dip into the mid-tier brands it becomes very murky very quickly.
During the course of 2015 and 2016, I have been seeing and hearing more and more people going on about the tripod systems made by a new Chinese brand called SIRUI. While this brand has been around for close to a decade, the brand was unknown to me. The model I selected was of course the SIRUI W-2204 Carbon Fibre waterproof tripod mated to the K20X ballhead.
This tripod is an absolute pleasure to use and it has many useful features that I love. I have used the tripod in both wildlife and landscape photography scenarios and found it to be excellent in both. Saying that a tripod is waterproof can mean many things and it’s one of those titles that manufacturers could easily exploit for false advertising.
In the case of the Sirui W2204 it means that when the joints are locked/tightened, no water can enter the joints or legs. This is an extremely useful feature as any tripod’s biggest enemy is water entering the joints. If it is clean tap water then there’s no problem, but if it’s sea water or muddy lake/river water, you’re in trouble. The joints of a tripod are very precise mechanical devices and when submerged in water, the liquid finds it’s way into all those small interconnecting parts. When it eventually evaporates, it leaves behind any salt/sand/dirt that the water contained and over time this ruins the tripod by accumulating in the joints. This tripod prevents that from happening as the water can not enter the joints. If you’re a regular seascape shooter like I am, this is an invaluable feature to have.
That is however not the only thing that makes this such a great tripod. Lets take a look at what else it has to offer.
My initial impression of the gear when I received delivery was fantastic. The build quality seemed excellent and the way the product was packaged and presented was top notch. Not only is the build quality fantastic, the vast array of features the tripod and ballhead boast are pretty impressive.
The tripod is presented with a well padded carry-bag, which includes small compartments for all the accessories, tools and tripod plates. I like it when a manufacturer supplies their products with protective bags, as these are made to fit and you don’t then need to spend extra on gear protection.
The following items are included with this product:
Custom Padded Case
Split Centre Column
SIRUI follows a simplistic design philosophy using durable, high quality materials. The first great aspect is twist-joints; they are simple in design, easy to operate and easy to maintain. This tripod features leg-angle adjusters that allow the legs to be flipped up to 180 degrees for shooting from a low angle. Usually a tripod’s center-column ends up in the way in such situations, which is why the center column consists of a two pieces – Simply remove the long section and the tripod has a minimum height of just 15.5cm. Included with the tripod are two sets of feet – normal rubber ones for everyday terrain and a set of stainless steel spikes for ice. I also find these handy for seascapes to secure the tripod feet into crevices in the rocks. The retractable spikes featured on some other Sirui models would have been a nice touch but it is still nice that they are included.oviding excellent value for your money. At the bottom end of the center-column you’ll find a stainless steel hook, which can be used to hang something heavy from for added stability in the wind, (more on this later) or for hanging an accessory like a filter pouch from. One of this tripod’s coolest features is that one of the legs can be removed to use as a monopod. Simply loosen the screw joint at the top of the leg, attach the extra platform and wrist strap and you have waterproof carbon fiber monopod.
SIRUI W-2204 Tripod Features
Carbon Fibre design to ensure lightweight tripod with added strength, increased load capacity and vibration reduction characteristics.
Waterproof leg design helps protect the inside of the tripod from water damage.
Three leg angle settings for awkward setup positioning.
Legs can fold up to 180° for compact packing, and also for awkward setup while shooting.
Bubble level on the tripod to indicate horizontal alignment.
One of the legs detach into a waterproof monopod, which can be incorporated with the centre column for extra height.
Monopod wrist strap which can be attached to the monopod.
Ergonomic self-returning leg angle locking mechanisms.
Centre column can be shortened for shooting close to the ground.
Hook at the bottom of the centre column to allow for added weight to be added for increased stability or to hang filters/accessories from.
Interchangeable feet – slip resistant rubber feet and stainless steel spiked feet for ice.
Variable size tripod screws
Now that I have gone through all the features, let me talk about what I think of the tripod, and how I found working with it.
As I mentioned earlier I think this tripod has some fantastic features.I can use it to mount big lenses on when shooting wildlife, it allows me to shoot landscapes in running water without worrying about damaging the tripod, it allows for extreme low angle work close to the ground and it is lightweight enough to carry when hiking on a landscape shoot, but still strong enough to handle a heavy setup. The locking rings on the legs are easy to turn, and I had no problem turning them or adjusting the leg-angle. I personally have removed the longer centre column, and opt for the shorter one purely because I do shoot quite a lot very close to the ground for a nice low angle, and I prefer to keep my setups as simple as possible. The shorter centre column also decreased the weight on the tripod.
About the only issue that I have with the W-2204 is that in very strong wind it can feel a little top heavy with a large DSLR and I found that some vibration was introduced. This was only in VERY strong wind though and the problem was alleviated by adding wieght to the centre column via the hook provided and spreading the legs to add some stability. I suspect that the aluminium variant of this tripod may feel a little more secure in these extreme conditions thanks to it extra 500 grams of weight.
The conclusion I have from testing out this gear in all coditions – SIRUI build a very high quality product and I am pretty pleased with my purchase
Material: Carbon Fibre
Leg Sections: 4
Max Leg Diameter: 29mm
Min Leg Diameter: 18mm
Max Height Column down: 147cm
Max Height Column Ext: 180cm
Min Height: 15.5cm
Retracted Height: 56cm
Folded Height: 52cm
Monopod Max Height: 1.77m
Monopod Min Height: 47cm