In this review we will analyze the new SmallRig PT10: an aluminum tripod that makes versatility its strong point
Every photographer, expert or novice, knows that a fundamental part of their equipment must be enriched with noteworthy accessories. One of these is definitely the tripod. Often overlooked, this object is instead essential for certain purposes. If you have read this review, you will surely be aware of the pros that a good tripod can offer. Suitable for those who love time-lapse, long exposures or for those who, more simply, take photographs in the studio, with tripods to choose from based on use, the market is really full.
SmallRig (especially known for accessories in the videomaking field) has recently released his PT10: a travel tripod, made of aluminum, that goes da 325mm, fino a 1445mm and which boasts a number of key goodies. If it can be considered one of the best tripods, however, you will find out only by reading the review!
Technical specifications declared by the company
- Product size: 325 x 95 x 85mm
- Box size: 350 x 100 x 100mm
- Net weight: 1210 ± 5g
- Package Weight: 1517 ± 5g
- Material: Aluminum alloy
- Load capacity: 8kg
- Maximum rod diameter: 22mm
- Leg sections: 5
- Leg lock type: Twist lock
- Upper connection: 1/4 ″ -20 screw
- Height when folded: 325mm
- Maximum working height: 1445mm
- Minimum working height: 340mm
- Ball diameter: 25mm
- Rotation: 360 °
- Quick release plate type: Arca-Swiss
Unboxing and first impressions | SmallRig PT10 Review
The SmallRig PT10 tripod comes in a fairly nondescript white box, with the company logo and product name. Inside we will find:
- The tripod contained in its carrying bag
- Two quick guides (one for the tripod and one for the head) in English and Chinese
- Two Allen screws
- 3 spare rubber feet
We’ll talk about the tripod itself later. Let us now focus on the various additions. There bag in which to store the product it’s a really nice extra. This features the “SmallRig Selection” logo and is easy to open and close. In addition, we will be able to shoulder it thanks to the long ropes. The company’s focus on providing quality paper products can be seen in the quick guides, where one is dedicated to the ball head.
I spare rubber feet they are, in our opinion, a great add-on (perhaps the best) since it will guarantee us not to have to buy replacements from the official website in case the pre-installed ones are damaged. Finally, the two Allen screws will be used to disassemble the various sections. In general, therefore, SmallRig PT10 is enriched by a fairly generous package!
Materials | SmallRig PT10 Review
SmallRig PT10 is made almost entirely of aluminum and boasts a weight (verified by us) of 1.25kg. This product is built in an excellent way and exudes solidity. Starting from the bottom, we have the rubber feet that cover the metallic end of the three telescopic legs. These are extendable in 4 sections that become slimmer as we go down. The parts that can be unscrewed to guarantee the opening have a grip in gomma. The legs are joined to the central rod by a section also in aluminum. The rod placed in the center is extendable or retractable in two sections.
The ball head it hooks thanks to an ed it is one of the sections that we have most appreciated. Starting from the rotating base up to Arca-Swiss plate, everything is made of metal, including the various mechanisms that will be used to screw or unscrew the sections to ensure movement. One of these also has a level useful to understand if the camera is straight in case we decide to shoot downwards or with the camera in a vertical position. Unfortunately, a level bubble is missing to tell if the camera is straight in the classic position. There quick release plate has two small rubber bands to prevent the camera from scratching and is compatible with virtually all bodies thanks to the 1/4 ″ -20 thread.
The main colors of this tripod are 3: gray, black and some details in red. The black parts are as varied as the satin finish aluminum of the feet and all the rubber parts. The gray sections are different to the touch because they are characterized by a matte texture. On the other hand, the threads that guarantee the tripod to stretch are red. This color combinationcombined with the aluminum color of the screws and some parts, makes the product truly elegant.
Our use | SmallRig PT10 Review
Speaking of our use, we placed on this tripod a micro 4/3 mirrorless with a low weight, i.e. less than 1kg with lens and grip installed: well below the maximum of 8kg supported. The opening system is really convenient and immediate. When closed, simply push the legs outwards up to 180 ° to ensure correct opening. These are can be positioned in three different angles. Starting from the maximum opening, to close or choose a different angle of the legs, it is necessary to press the stop present on each single section and bring the leg upwards. The safety is activated only when we try to “close” the rods.
However, there is a downside. When we are going to put away the tripod and, therefore, fit the legs to make it compact, the three locking mechanisms will interlock with the central rod block, scratching off the paint (see the photos below).
About the extension both of the lower and upper part, we loved the system SmallRig adopted. First of all, the rubber will guarantee us an excellent grip and, therefore, even in rainy weather, it will be easy to extend your legs. Keeping the tripod from the top with one hand, just unscrew the 4 sections with the other, ensuring extreme ease and speed of use. Be careful not to unscrew too much though! If unscrewed to the maximum, the legs can be extracted to make, perhaps, replacements. Inside there are plastic blocks that can be easily removed.
By applying a little force when the tripod is in full extension, we realized how the three legs are remarkably solid. The central shaft is less stableespecially if fully extracted. The ball head has all the necessary adjustments for outdoor and non-outdoor use. Once the camera is attached thanks to the screwable Arca-Swiss plate, we will be able to manage the viewing angle thanks to the ball head, which will allow us to make the camera look down, up, or position it vertically. . The strong point is definitely the mechanism that allows us to orient it at 360 °. This allows us to keep the camera in position for panning, but also (with a little handling) unpretentious b-rolls.
3 tips | Review SmallRig PT10
This is definitely a fairly light tripod and if combined with mirrorless bodies, as in our case, it could risk falling or wobbling for a variety of reasons. Here the hook placed at the end of the central rod which, through a spring, can be pushed downwards. Here we can hang heavy bags to ensure higher stability.
If we talked about versatility it is not solely due to the fact that the tripod is extendable from 325 up to 1445mm. If you unscrew the section where the metal hook is placed, we can turn the rod upside down thus managing to take photos or videos with the camera upside down and close to the ground: a very useful function for those who make macros.
Another peculiarity lies in being able to unscrew the leg and attach the ball head to it to make it a photographic monopod. There is only one unscrewable leg, that is the one covered by the sponge grip. This will allow us to have a firm grip to compose the monopod. In classic use, it has never happened to us that the leg gave out or presented criticalities due to the thread, given the solid construction.
Let’s sum it up
SmallRig PT10 has proved to be a truly exceptional tripod definitely aimed at users looking for a solution with a reduced footprint and weight, but with high quality. It is obvious that it is not a base on which to store intrusive equipment, but it goes very well with a light and tropicalized body in the various muddy outings. Its price is €118.82 on the official website, which could appear high, but for the quality of the materials used, the high-quality head and the foresight placed by SmallRig in (almost) every situation, we assure you that it is a more than justified cost.
We are well aware that in the various stores there are very similar tripods which, however, we have not had the opportunity to test. Based on the construction and materials used by SmallRig, we would like to recommend this product!
The right companion for the outdoors
Points in favor
- Compact and lightweight
- Ball head of the highest quality
- Solid and immediate opening mechanisms and extensions
- Possibility to rotate the central rod to make “upside down” shots
- Transport bag and spare feet included
- Once closed, the components will rub and remove the paint
- Lack of a level bubble on the tripod body