The half shells / shims – which are part of the inner sliding mechanism seem to have easily gotten out of their place and as a result the whole sliding mechanism didn’t move smoothly anymore or even would block completely. Back then I sent in the tripod for repairs and received it back with fresh half shells / shims and on one leg Sirui even replaced the top-most sliding element because the notches where the half shells / shims sit on were already fringed which makes the fit between the leg element and the half shells / shims quite loose. In the picture above you see the difference between the replaced leg segment (bottom) and the old ones, where the notches are clearly fringed. I’m glad that Sirui didn’t charge for the repairs.
What happened now: As it was to expect after some time also the other two top-most leg segments on the other two legs showed the same problem. After writing the German Sirui service what happened I sent in my tripod again and just received it back a couple of days ago. I was quite surprised what Sirui had come up with now: Apparently they figured out that their half shell / shim part was not fit for the job and replaced it with a different construction, see in the next image: You can clearly see that the the leg segments have been exchanged by new ones where the notches are fresh and sharp. Also the shape of their sliding shim / shell changed noticeably. I guess this construction makes way more sense because it fits and sits well on the end of the leg segments without any play in either direction. I’m actually curious whether Sirui already uses this kind of sliding mechanism for their more up-to-date tripods. Can anybody confirm?
Finally my Sirui M-3204X (nowadays N-3204X) tripod has shown some wear and it was about time to get it repaired. Nothing actually broke, only the half shells – which are part of the sliding mechanism – in the upper segment were worn out and sliding out the segment was really hard or not possible at all. Sometimes the sement even came off, like shown in the picture on the right.
Actually I wanted to get it repaired already earlier but never was sure whether I would get it back in time for planned photography trips. After I returned from the Faroe Islands a bit more than a week ago I knew that I can spare the tripod for a while because no other photography trips were planned.
What can I say, I sent the tripod in for service and received it back within 4 days only! Fully repaired and covered by the warranty (which is 6 years) coming with a nice letter stating what has been exchanged and repaired. Wow, when I received it back I couldn’t believe that it took not even a week. I’m impressed Sirui! This makes me confident to keep recommending Sirui tripods to other people. The price / value ratio is amazing!
After all the tripod blues I finally bought a proper replacement of my old one. It was clear that only a carbon-fiber tripod can suit all my needs (very high, lightweight and small in pack size) as I wanted to finally go for a compromise between a sturdy tripod suitable for long-exposures and also a lightweight travel tripod with a small pack size to be able to carry it while being fixed to a backback. I checked out Manfrotto, Gitzo, Giotto, Feisol and Siuri and figured out that the latter one offers an interesting selection of tripods with a rather good price-value rate. So I finally it turned out that their M-3204X tripod suits my needs very well, moreover they also offer great ballheads which received only good reviews. As tripod head I chose the Sirui K-20x ballhead.
In total this makes a minimal pack size of 51cm, a weight of 2.1kg and a maximum height from ground to my camera viewfinder of 1.96m. With the possibility of turning the legs around 180° it’s possible to shoot photos as close to the ground as you wish.
It also includes retractable stainless steel spikes, which are not mandatory for example with Manfrotto.
Just look at the picture, it does the tripod justice, it’s just perfect for my height of 1.95m.
I’m happy now, let’s see how well the tripod does in the field 😉