- The small pan head makes it very easy to pan diagonally
- Despite the aluminum legs, it is attractive that it is light and can be set quickly.
- Fast installation with Arca-Swiss compatible plate. Easy to use as a baby tripod with legs that spread in 3 stages
- Clear specs as a travel tripod
- Suggested retail price: 66,000 yen including tax
- Release date: May 19, 2023
Before reviewing this tripod, I wondered, “Is this kind of tripod really needed?”
Kenko Tokina will release the professional movie tripod “SLIK Cinema Master 274,” hereafter referred to as Cinema Master 274. It is the successor to DAIWA’s excellent video tripod VT-551II (current model).
It is used as a sub-tripod for broadcasting stations, and has specifications that meet the needs of professionals while keeping the price down.
Many photographers used the predecessor VT-551 as a professional travel video tripod. Nowadays, travel tripods made in China are made of carbon and weigh in the first half of 1kg, but in the past, travel tripods were made from DAIWA. It has supported many shooting sites as a full-fledged video tripod that fits in a suitcase. The author is also a regular user of the VT-551 (first generation). Even now, I often see the VT-551 being used on movie shoots.
And this time, many improvements have been added, and it will appear under the SLIK brand.
The small pan head makes it very easy to pan diagonally
First off, the video head can be evaluated as overwhelmingly easy to use and smooth, except for the Sachtler tripod that I have used so far, which costs several hundred thousand yen.
To be honest, when Kenko Tokina asked me to try it out, I honestly didn’t feel it was too expensive for a tripod in this class. Or rather, who would buy this? That was my only impression.
However, when I actually put the camera on it and used it, the video platform was so smooth and easy to use that I apologized to the person in charge of the manufacturer.
“There is no more old Sachtler turn,” I started to think.
The video pan head made of special resin. Previously incomprehensible level of smoothness is now a reality.
For reference, panning diagonally is an easy way to tell if a video tripod is good or bad. A good tripod can pan diagonally from the start. However, with a bad head, either the vertical or horizontal direction will start to move first. And if it’s worse, it pans in steps.
This Cinemamaster 274 provided a clean diagonal pan with ease. It is enough to misunderstand that my arm is raised.
According to the developer, the Cinema Master 274 has a completely different mechanism for panning and tilting, but by aligning the contact areas of the parts that create the stickiness of the movement with the viscosity of the oil, the movement in the two directions feels exactly the same. It is said that it is tuned to be It can be said that it is the result of pouring the technology of DAIWA and SLIK so far.
Unfortunately, all of the cheap carbon tripods priced between 10,000 yen and 30,000 yen that can be seen on the Internet these days are either very difficult to pan diagonally or cannot be panned at all. I think that a video head made overseas and capable of smooth diagonal panning costs about 50,000 yen.
In that sense, this Cinema Master 274 is a set with legs for 66,000 yen including tax, so the price balance is actually not bad.
In addition, this video pan head is extremely light thanks to the use of a newly developed resin base material. The ball leveler is as small as 60mm, but if it is a mirrorless interchangeable lens, it weighs only 2kg even with a large lens attached, so there is no problem with leveling. In fact, I had no problem putting a 1.2kg standard zoom and monitor on the FX30.
Despite the aluminum legs, it is attractive that it is light and can be set quickly.
A lot of SLIK technology was focused on the tripod’s legs.
Since it is positioned as a basic tripod for broadcasting stations, SLIK considered using metal leg pipes instead of carbon so as not to increase the price too much. On the other hand, they also wanted to reduce the weight to less than 2kg, so instead, they adopted SLIK’s proprietary light alloy “AMT alloy” as the tripod leg material.
By mixing aluminum, magnesium, and titanium in an exquisite balance, AMT alloy succeeded in reducing the thickness of the pipe to 0.8mm while maintaining high strength.
The current Daiwa VT-551 II, which is an ordinary aluminum tripod, has 3 stages, total height of 1380mm (without pan head) at 1960g, and 680mm (including pan head) when folded, whereas Cinema Master 274 has 4 stages. , 1980g with a total height of 1510mm (without pan head) and 610mm (including pan head) when folded.
When you actually use it, you will be surprised that it is a very tall tripod. The lens goes up to about 165cm without an elevator. The head part is about 11 cm, and the legs are 11 cm higher than the above-mentioned 150 cm, and 161 cm is the height of the quick shoe (Arca-Swiss compliant). When the camera is placed here, the camera comes to the height of the author’s face, who is 170 cm tall. It is high enough for normal shooting.
With the legs fully extended, the legs are still slightly bent when panning hard. However, because of the high performance of the pan head, even if the leg bends due to a quick pan, holding the pan stick to suppress the movement quickly eliminates the bending, and the camera does not shake back even if the hand is released. This shows that the structure and strength of the base of the tripod are solid.
Fast installation with Arca-Swiss compatible plate. Easy to use as a baby tripod with legs that spread in 3 stages
In addition, an Arca-Swiss compatible plate was adopted as a quick shoe. In addition to the attached plate, a general-purpose plate can be used. Of course, it also supports plate screws to prevent slipping.
Also, since this plate can be moved forward and backward, it is possible to balance it according to the weight of the lens, and if the attached short plate is not enough, a general-purpose Arca-Swiss compatible long plate can also be used. Although it has a fixed strength in the tilt direction, it also has a built-in counterspring, so if the camera falls back and forth due to forgetting to tighten the screw, it will considerably deter or reduce the shock.
On the other hand, the legs can be opened and closed with a 3-step lock. This mechanism is commonplace in tripods today, but I was wondering if the angle adjustment knob could be operated with one hand during actual operation, and how easy it would be to close the legs. With a regular tripod, you can open the legs to a wider angle than usual by pulling out the knob.
However, by pushing the opening/closing knob of the Cinema Master 274, the lock is released and the legs can be spread widely. In other words, in the case of a drawer type, it is necessary to grasp the knob with at least two fingers and pull it out. This is surprisingly troublesome, and you need to grab the leg with the other hand when pulling it out. Then, you have to pull the knob to open the legs while supporting the weight of the tripod.
However, Cinema Master 274 can be pushed in with one finger, such as a thumb. This is very convenient, as you can press the knob to extend the legs while the rest of the tripod legs are on the ground, meaning the weight remains on the remaining legs. When I actually use it, I feel like I can’t go back to a pull-out tripod.
Clear specs as a travel tripod
As mentioned above, when collapsed, it is very small and light as a professional video tripod, but there are many smaller tripods these days.
However, when it comes to what size is actually required for the location, I’m aiming to keep it within the carry-on restrictions on airplanes. There are slight differences depending on the airline, but in the case of low-cost carriers, the total allowable length is 52 cm. The length of the long side of the suitcase is regulated, but in my case, I was suspected that the tripod that was placed diagonally in the suitcase might exceed the regulated length. In other words, even if it fits in a suitcase, if the actual length exceeds the regulation, it may not be considered baggage.
Just for your reference, if you use a tripod with this pan head attached, it will be 61cm in the folded state, but if you remove the pan head, it will be 51cm. You can use low cost airlines. Thank you for this.
On the other hand, what about carrying around? Do you feel that the weight of about 2 kg is heavy or light? It’s surprisingly light for a professional video tripod that moves so smoothly. What if you’re thinking of hiking?
To be honest, I want a tripod within 1.5kg. However, the combination of this excellent head and easy-to-handle tripod is comparable to the higher class Sachtler Ace. Considering that the Ace weighs 4.1kg, the same smooth bread can be made with half the weight, so it can be said that it is epoch-making lightness.
|Minimum height above ground||325mm|
|Number of steps||4 steps|
Recording engineer and technical writer. He used to be a journalist for a weekly magazine, and now he makes a living as a movie recording and MA. He explains filming and recording techniques in an easy-to-understand manner. His recent work is “Recording Handbook” (Genkosha). Her pseudonym is Ryo Sakurakaze.