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VINE VOICEon 31 August 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For the careful hobbyist this tripod will be a great buy, it's expensive, but for the money it is very versatile, and enables you to get very low with it, so great for nature shots.

But it's really a big let down when spending over a hundred pounds to find that the leg releases are plastic, they don't look like they will last unless it has a careful owner.

On the plus sides the legs lock well, and all movements are nice a fluid.

It should be noted that this tripod is headless, so you need to budget for a decent head - The Giottos MH5011 Lightweight 3-Way Head with Quick Release is very good, and isn't too expensive

I like the foam covered legs that stop your hands going numb using the tripod in cold weather, nice touch!

Overall I'm very happy with this tripod, it's easy to use, very stable and apart from the plastic leg levers, it's a very versatile tripod that I think would be a very valuable asset to anyone who loves taking pictures!
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on 9 February 2016
I bought one of these tripods around 1 and half years ago; but even though it has seen very light use - recently the tripod head broke off.

The head became gradually looser throughout the few times I used it and eventually detached completely. Sadly it's now out of warranty so I am left with a broken tripod.

The Giottos Silk Road Series GYTL9353 is compact and light weight tripod with nice features, but sadly the build quality could be better. If you are looking for something sturdy that will last then you should look elsewhere - I wouldn't buy it again.

I contacted Giottos directly about this issue but didn't get a reply.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This a is a good tripod but hardly "revolutionary". Innovative, maybe. The new tube does make it a little more compact than others, but I suspect weight is more important, for most photographers.

Still, as I said, it seems to be a good tripod - versatile, with decent strength and light weight (for aluminium). As for the plastic leg releases, my 30-year-old tripod uses plastic and I've had no problem with its releases. In any case, the Giottos has a five-year guarantee. I'd be more worried about the foam on the legs - even if it doesn't get torn, it'll probably disintegrate and crumble away within 5-10 years, but at least the tripod will still function.

Don't buy a tripod from this range just for the fancy centre column, but if its design and specs meet your needs, the Y-tube is a worthwhile bonus, so don't hesitate to buy.
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on 21 July 2014
Most professional and sturdy tripod I have owned. Is definately value for money and is worth the investment rather than a cheaper alternative. If you want compact for outdoors use though this won't easily for into your kit bag.
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Overall I like the tripod, felt it was well constructed and relatively easy to use. Its not quite perfect to get 5 stars -see details below.

I've used the tripod a lot outdoors on uneven ground with both a camera and camcorder. If found the legs and the clips on them legs very good. I'd pull out one leg to almost full length and rest it on the ground at the required height, then loosen the clips on the other legs. The leg parts have sufficient weight to drop to the ground and then be tightened. This made it very easy to move the tripod around. A good improvement on my quality 30 year + Vibon tripod, which has legs that twist lock and can rather easily untwist lock causing tripod catastrophy!

Instructions

The tripod comes with a very brief A4 set of largely pictorial instructions in English, French and German. These show how to set the kit up in various positions and secure parts with allen keys which are provided.

Tripod head

First point to note the tripod does not come with a head! This is a bit like buying a £300 digital camera with video capabilities and finding the internal memory takes 10 stills or 5 sec video and that the memory cards to make full use of the camera are £150. Do you need a head- well if you were just to want to mount a camera in landscape mode and say take family portraits in a fixed position then may be not. If you're going to be out and about then a head is highly recommend to be able to pan around with out vertical wobble. (You can purchase tripods which include a fixed head, which is more common on budget models). Giottos make a range of heads to meet various needs so you can choose one with a handle(s) or a more compact model with twist knobs. Giottis web site gives good details of these. The heads are quite expensive £40 to £75 at the time of writing. A bag is not provided either pay another £20-30 for this.

I purchased Giottos GTMH1311-652 Ball and Socket Head with Friction Control to use with the tripod base. This works well for me using DSLR for macro photography and camcorder for videoing animals in action. The head also has a spirit level which is not included with the tripod itself. Caution here also as the tripod will only take 5kg weight. Heads are 300-900g then add the weight of your camera body and lens. If you want to add a long lens 300mm+ then this might not be the tripod for you.

Tripod legs/body

Yes the tripod comes with legs ! ☺ The tripod legs are in three parts allowing the height to be varied (max 171cm). There are three angle positions: high, medium and wide. The locking mechanism is at the top of the tripod, and is depressed when the legs are vertical and released to lock and extend to one of the three positions. The legs have rubberised feet, but metal studs can also be purchased.

In the high position the legs are about 90cm apart when fully extended. However if not fully extended the base felt a little too narrow, with kids running around I was worried it might get knocked over.

The medium position is mostly too wide- close to 90Deg and with the legs at full extension legs are ~185cm apart.

The low position could almost be described as spread eagle with the tripod being only 5-10cm off the ground. This could be useful for photographing ground level plants, but for other still life a bean bag could be a viable alternative.

The height of the tripod can also be increased or decreased using the central `rod' which is about 35cm long and unlike the leg angle can be fixed at any height you like. The central rod can be extended through the top of the tripod and fixed at 90Deg or 180Deg (Upside down) check the Amazon pictures there is one with the column fixed horizontally.

The central rod has semi circular cut outs so that the legs can fit snugly into the central core and take up less space. The manufacturers feel this is highly novel- it may be the first product like this but the diameter is no less than my old tripod, so a bit of a gimmick in my opinion. A shorter column a few cm high is also provided for use in the spread eagle leg position when you want the camera close to the ground. The long column has small hook on the bottom so that a weight can be added to lower the centre of gravity and make the tripod more stable at full extension. I has though this might be a useful hand bag hook, however unfortunately if must have come unthreaded outdoors some where and is lost so I have never tried it!. :(
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VINE VOICEon 17 October 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This tripod replaces a previous, cheaper one and the contrast in quality is immediate and striking.

It is made of hollow aluminium and feels sturdy without being overly heavy. Once you get the hang of it is is easy to set up to your liking and highly adjustable.

The legs can be individually set at three different angles to the vertical using a very solid metal adjuster. At their default (closest to the vertical) they allow a camera height from about four feet to about six. At their widest setting they provide maximum stability and place the camera about a foot from the ground.

The legs have three telescopic sections to adjust their length and are loosened and tightened with two very solid clips (whilst these are plastic rather than metal, they have a very high build quality and are much more solid that those on my previous tripod - two of which snapped clean off under normal use!).

It took me a little while to work out that, in order to get full adjustability of the camera holding platform you need to first extend the top section to its maximum height. Once this is done, loosening one screw allows the camera platform to rotate relative to the legs and a second to tilt the section. Maybe I am just a bit dim but until I realised this, I could not work out how to rotate the camera without needing to reposition the legs.

Switching the mounting screw between 3/8 and 1/4 inch is not quite as quick as the manufacturers would have you believe. Simple enough but not something you'd want to be doing during a photography session.

They make a big play of the fact that the top section has a y-shaped cross section which I am not totally sold on. It doesn't save weight but it does allow the legs to fold in more compactly for transport. I think I would have preferred to have stuck with a conventional circular cross-section and gained the ability to rotate the camera with the top section extended to any degree (once it is not fully extended the y shape means it locks in place relative to the legs).

All in all though, an excellent high-quality purchase.
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on 17 March 2015
Lightweight, compact, nice finish, smooth operation, I'm happy
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on 3 March 2014
Great and solid tripod for the price! It is a tiny bit flimsy though, but nothing to worry about. It is very versatile, because it lets you get very high and extremely low, which is great for macro photography.
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on 7 July 2014
Really robust and light. Great value pro tripod.
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on 19 December 2015
Very professional looking but heavy.
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