Slik have been an integral part of the tripod industry since 1952 when the Slik Elevator Tripod Co. was founded in Japan. Since then, their tripods have been copied to within an inch of their lives.
Slik are quite happy about that.
Slik Pro 500DX: Specification
- Minimum height: 35.0cm
- Maximum height: 162.5cm
- Weight: 2.48kg
- Load capacity: 4.5kg
- Colour: Black
- Material: Aluminium/Magnesium/Titanium
- Leg sections: Three
- Leg lock type: Speed release lock
- Centre column: 28.0cm
- Head: All-metal 3way pan head
- Attachment: 3/8in
Slik Pro 500DX: Features
Anyone can stick the word "pro" on their products to make them sound better but if you're going to attract professionals, it needs something that will be a benefit to them. Slik's Pro 500DX tripod has their exclusive AMT technology which is a mixture of Aluminium, Magnesium and Titanium to make a tripod lighter than a standard Aluminium tripod. Its strength to weight ratio is 40% greater than standard Aluminium and Slik say it will hold a Pro DSLR and 300mm f/2.8 lens with no problems.
Unpacking the tripod and I immediately noticed the grip with two handles and at first I assumed that it was a clever double locking system to make the head ultra steady. Instead the rear handle is for the tilt and is only screwed into the pan handle for shipping as it makes the unit slimmer, saving on space.
Dropping the legs out is an amusing task at first. It took three of us to finally get one of the legs to full extension but consistant use soon loosens the joints.
The main parts of the legs are covered in protective foam which helps against bashing it through your normal working life as well as providing a little comfort if you like to sling it over your back.
The centre column has a dual locking system with the usual large cog like nut called a locking collar and a smaller locking nut called a centre column stopper sat just under. You can also remove the centre column base stopper and invert the centre column for macro or copy work.
With this being a Pro model I was surprised at the lack of a quick release plate lock. Nearly all tripods have some way of locking the lever back for quick camera changes but this doesn't have it. My only thought as to why this might be is that you can't accidentally leave it locked back and watch your five thousand pounds worth of equipment fall to the floor.
There's also no spirit level which I'm also surprised at. It makes me wonder whether the Pro tag has been added so amateurs will think they're buying into something better than what it really is.
You can extend the legs out to the sides and lower it down by pushing the small clip in that's found at the joint where the leg joins the torso of the tripod. The legs may need to be wiggled slightly as they can click into a small recess and lock themselves in.
Slik Pro 500DX: Performance
After using some of the newer carbon fibre models, it was difficult to use this in comparison. That's not to say it's a heavy tripod, it's just heavier than some others.
The Titanium gives a stronger feel to it and when it's in work it certainly feels stronger. I attached an Olympus E-3 with battery grip and 50-200mm lens and it coped admirably apart from a slight shake on the quick release plate where the lock wasn't fitting snugly enough.
At this stage I also noticed that the quick release plate locking handle is made of plastic. Massive over use from a professional will wear this down quicker than a metal variety and I'm disappointed to not see one here.
Slik Pro 500DX: Verdict
It's well built and while being on the heavy side, it's lighter than a lot of models using similar materials. It's classed as a pro model and I don't see why some professionals wouldn't get the standard they desire from it. I think because of these points, Slik could possibly get away with pricing it slightly higher. Maybe no higher than £150, but £122 takes it into the lower classifications.
It can't compare with carbon fibre in terms of weight but the advantage it has is that if you knock a glancing blow on it, it's less likely to move because of it's increased weight.
My main concern is the quick release plate locking lever. It's the flimsiest part of the tripod but will see the most use.
Slik Pro 500DX: Plus points
Clever compacting design on handles
Inverting centre column
Excellent build materials
Slik Pro 500DX: Minus points
No spirit level
No quick release plate lock
Shoddy quick release lever materials
The Slik Pro 500DX costs around £122 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Slik Pro 500DX tripod
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