Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finding the perfect, compact tripod for the X-2, X-Pro, and X-T1

As the Fuji X-camera system continues to expand and improve, I find myself using it more frequently. I have been riding a bike in New York ever since I can remember, and always carried a camera with me when I go exploring the city, and a Fuji X camera system is the perfect size. I rarely need to carry a tripod on these trips, but lately have wanted to do some long exposures where a tripod is a necessity. Problem is that my normal Gitzo tripod isn't really compact enough to fit in my accessory bag. So I began a search for very small, light-weight tripod that would still be sturdy enough to hold an X-camera steady. That search led me to the Sirui T-025X.

The Sirui T-025X is a carbon fiber tripod that folds to just 11.8" (30cm), yet opens to a 54" height. It also has a number of other features I like, such as quick twist legs where you can open and lock all leg extensions with one hand motion -- the same as on my favorite Gitzo.

This is my typical bike kit: A fuji X-E2, the Fuji 18-55mm and 55-200mm zooms, one extra prime, and the Sirui T-025X. It all fits nicely into a Topeak DXP bicycle trunk bag.  
The tripod comes in two models, a carbon version, the Sirui T-025X, weighing only 1.5lbs and capable of supporting 13.2lbs for $239.95, and an aluminum version, the Sirui T-005X, weighing 2.2lb but only able to hold 8.8lb for $139.95.  I sprung for the more expensive carbon version to shave off the extra pound and a half and also gain more support stability. Both models come with the Sirui C-10 ball head and Arca-Swiss style clamp -- perfect if, like me, you put the new Fujifilm hand grip with its built-in Arca-Swiss style quick-release lip on your X-camera. However you don't really need the hand grip to attach the camera, since the Sirui ball head comes with its own small mounting plate perfectly sized for a Fuji X-camera.

The Sirui T-025X in fully open position next to my bike to show scale. It opens to a very practical 54" height for such a small, light-weight tripod. When folded, the tripod and my X-camera with several lenses fit in the Topeak trunkbag I have mounted on the back of my bike. When you live in an apartment in New York, where living space is at a premium, you can become obsessed with storing things. Even my bike, a full size Montague Navigator, folds in half for compact storage in a closet. 
The Sirui T-025X tripod folds downs to just 11.8", but can open to 54.5" when fully extended. Its support load of 13.2lbs for the carbon and 8.8 for the aluminum version is more than sufficient to hold an X-E2 with 55-200mm zoom weighing only 2.48lb.

When folded to its closed position, the Sirui T-025X tripod and ball head is scarcely larger than my X-E2 with the 55-200mm Fiji XF zoom on it.
The ball head can be mounted directly to the base when the center column is removed. With the legs set to their lowest setting the tripod is only 7.375" (18.7cm) off the ground.  The addition of the bottom clip is handy to hold a camera bag or other heavy item that can add more stability to the tripod in wind.

The tripod legs spread out allowing it to go low to the ground. The center column can be unscrewed and removed and the ball head mounted directly to the legs for a very low mount.

The tripod comes with its own carry bag that protects it from rubbing up against the camera equipment when packed next to it in my bag.  Two of the legs have soft hand grips. 


There isn't much not to like about this tripod. It is compact, sturdy, convenient, versatile, and a perfect complement for any Fuji X camera. It's 54" maximum height might be a bit less than I would like, but a small compromise for something that folds down to such a packable size. I use it in by bike pack, but it is also a perfect size for tucking into a backpack.

I don't get the feeling that the build quality is on a level with what you are going to find in a pro tripod like a Gitzo, but the Sirui T-025X is adequate enough for holding a light-weight camera and lens, and its really compact fold-up size clinches the deal.

Order carbon version for $239:  BH-Photo   Amazon 
Order aluminum version for $139:  BH-Photo  Amazon  


  1. Thanks, Tom, I appreciate you taking the time to post this review. At full extension, that tripod looks like it won't be so sturdy, given the height of the camera above the base. Not that we're expecting miracles from such a tiny support, but did you find it solid at full extension?

    What if one doesn't own an arcs-based handgrip. What do you need?

  2. Considering that a Fuji X camera is a very light weight package, I do find the tripod steady enough in most cases. I also find that adding some weight to the tripod by clipping something heavy onto the bottom clamp also helps steady it. That is something I do with most of my tripods. When the wind is blowing or I have a heavier lens on the camera I also lower the column to add even more steadiness.

    The ball head comes with its own small mounting plate, a perfect size for the Fuji X body. So you don't really need the hand grip to attach the camera.

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  4. Thanks for this, I have been trying to hunt down something for my Ondu pinhole camera, that was small and portable, but still a bit more substantial than a lot I have seen around.

  5. ...thaks for this Tom, it is ideal combination; I only wonder if Sirui T-2204X be more better support for lens like XF 55-200...?:)

  6. Well-founded thoughts. Thanks. Here’s where I’ve landed on the choices. I use a Fuji X E 2 and my largest lens is the 55-200 zoom. I take my kit backpacking and on longer sea kayak trips so I need my tripod to be small and light as well as stable. I’ve owned and used the T 005X. It’s really small but not quite stable enough for me. I’m now using the T 1105X. It a little longer when folded but I think more stable and I like that the center column can be lowered. I use a nylon bag to carry it as the case it ships with, while nice is bulky. For a ball head I use the Sirui K-10. The carbon fiber of this version of this tripod would have been nice, warmer quieter and lighter but, for me I, can’t see spending the extra $180 to save ½ a pound of weight. Hope this is helpful input.


  7. Thanks for this review. It was helpful and I'm thinking about buying one of the Sirui tripods thanks to you. But you are quite misleading about the weight difference between the carbon fiber and aluminum versions.

    First, you write that you "sprung for the more expensive carbon version to shave off the extra pound and a half", even though you cite their weights as 1.5 lbs and 2.2 lbs respectively.

    But the difference is even smaller than that. I weighed them both myself (including head, excluding quick-release plate and carabiner):

    Sirui T-025X carbon fiber: 29.9 oz (1.9 lbs)
    Sirui T-005KX aluminum: 35.0 oz (2.2 lbs)

    So the weight difference is actually only 0.3 lbs, or 5.1 ounces. That's the weight of an iPhone 4 or a deck of cards!

  8. Excellent review thank you. My only reservation is can the battery on the X-T1 be accessed without taking the plate off?


  9. Perfect review… There is good info, it is helpful for me.

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