I purchased a Slik 700DX tripod and I am very impressed with this tripod, so I thought I would write a small review to benefit those who are looking to purchase a tripod, or looking to upgrade their tripod.
This is my first Slik tripod, but I’ve owned a Slik 800 Ball head for many years and it has been the best head I’ve owned! This tripod is my 5th “Real” tripod that I’ve owned (I’ve had a few cheap and flimsy tripods too). The 700DX would have to be the best value and built of the lot! It’s built as well (If not better) then my old Manfrotto 055XB Pro that I owned, but the 700DX cost a fraction of what the 055XB Pro cost, the only thing missing on the 700DX is the flip out centre column featured on the 055 Pro (But I didn’t use it much, so won’t really miss that feature). I also owned a Benro tripod with the same feature, but never used it, so decided not to worry about getting a tripod with that feature this time around.
The legs on the 700DX are just as thick and study as the 055, and it’s just as tall. It’s a very large tripod, The camera is at face level without having to extend the centre column which is great, and I can extend the centre column to get the camera positioned well over my head for some really unusual perspectives. The only problem is, since this tripod is so tall you will also need to be a tall person, or you won’t be able to see through the camera’s viewfinder when the tripod is at full hight (without the centre column extended).
The legs feature foam leg warmers on each of the legs (The manfrotto only had one, and I use to accidentally jam my fingers between the metal legs when closing the legs). The 700DX uses a clip system to lock/unlock the legs, and there is a groove that runs along the legs which prevents the legs from rotating and makes extending/retracting the legs much smoother.
The legs are made from Slik’s A.T.M. Titanium alloy which makes the legs really strong (They claim to be 40% stronger then the equivalent metal construction) and it also makes the tripod lighter then one made of aluminium. I can say, it does feel lighter then my Manfrotto 055 Pro did, but it is still a very solid tripod!
The legs have locks at the top of each leg which you pull out which allows you to spread the legs into different positions to allow you to position the tripod in non standard positions, and you can spread the legs apart to get the tripod right down to the ground (Just like most of the popular professional tripod systems) which is great if you do allot of macro photography, or like to get a really low perspective. I prefer this pull out system over the Manfrotto system where you have to press down (If the legs aren’t in the right position, it would lock up) The Benro tripods also work the same way as the Slik system.
The tripod has really nice thick rubber feet, and they look better then the Manfrotto feet (Which use to keep falling off on my previous Manfrotto’s).
The centre column can be split into two sections (It unscrews at the centre) so you can get the tripod really low down to the ground when you spread the legs apart to the lowest position setting.The centre column can also be inverted to also allow you to get really low down perspectives.
I bought the tripod with a 3 way tilt/pan head (It was cheaper to buy it in this kit form then for me to just buy the legs alone!). The head is actually pretty decent, much better then the entry level Manfrotto 3 way heads. This head has a very solid build, with a all metal construction, and features two spirit levels. The head also features Slik’s circular quick release plate which I am a huge fan of! There is no messing around trying to fit the plate as it will fit in any position, and it also has a dual locking mechanism which prevents accidental release of the camera (you press down on a clip to release the plate). It’s a quality head, and would suit someone who is purchasing their first tripod/head combo.
Overall, I am very impressed with this tripod, it’s well designed and built and will definitely stand up to punishment of a pro photographer. It’s great value for money too, so if your looking for a quality tripod for a budget price, the 700DX is definitely worth a look. Highly recommended!
If your interested in this tripod, visit the Slik 700DX Tripod Website
UPDATE – Slik 800 Ball Head
I was finally able to track down another Slik 800 Ball Head from a local dealer after searching for one (These have always been hard to find, even the online dealers never seem to stock them, even though they are listed on some sites) I had one of these heads, but sold it to get a Benro head which I didn’t really like and sold a while ago. I had been just using the 3 way Slik head that came with the tripod since then, but wasn’t really satisfied with it (I’m not a big fan of tilt/pan heads).
I am now using the Slik 800 ball head on the 700DX tripod legs now, and it is a huge improvement! Much easier to work with, and you get all the convinces and advantage over using a ball head (they are much easier to adjust, as you only really need to unscrew one screw to make adjustments, or to tilt the camera into portrait position). The 800 head uses the same circle quick release plate as the tilt/pan head that came with the tripod, so now I have a spare quick release plate!
If you are looking to upgrade the 3 way tilt/pan head that comes with the tripod, I can recommend the 800 ball head, it’s the easiest and most sturdy head that I’ve used (I had my first one for 4 years) and it can take a decent load too (I’ve had a 40D with grip, 100-400 IS and flash all mounted on the head). The head can be purchased for around $120-$150 unfortunately it is a bit hard to find, but well worth trying to find one!
If your interested in the ball head, visit the Slik 800 Website