[nextpage title=”Introduction” ]
Product Snap Verdict
Sitting somewhere between monopod and tripod is the the Sirui P-224S. Essentially a monopod with feet. It supplies a firmer base than a mono and is more convenient than a tripod.
As Ali’s our go to video guy he’s been checking it out, and from what he’s told it’s a product he’d comfortably add to his kit bag.
It’s a universal support that offers outstanding stability. It offers some flexibility of movement when the ball head is released making it ideal for both video and stills.
Monopods are great for stills, but when it comes to video although they offer support there can still a tendency to sway. The P-224S’s small feet cuts the sway and supplies exactly the type of support and stability that’s needed.
Here Ali checks out the in’s and out’s of the Sirui P-224S monopod with feet.
For the Sirui P-224S
- Light weight
- Minimal footprint
- Ideal support for video
Against the Sirui P-224S
- Heavier than a monopod
- Bolts around feet can come loose
- Not a standalone support
Introduction to the Sirui P-224S Monopod Review
Video’s teaters on the edge of something big in the photographic world and has done for well over a decade. Although that big breakthrough still hasn’t fully happened most dSLR’s and CSC’s feature a swathe of high quality video features.
As we wait for the big home movie explosion many accessories are adapting to become more movie friendly.
The humble monopod is one such accessory that has already seen several different adaptations and this makeover sees the base adorned with three fold down feet for added stability.
Not only that but a small ball head positioned between the feet and legs enables smooth fluid movement when needed. Ideal for videographers or photographers who want something a little more substantial than a monopod, but don’t want to take the leap to a tripod.
[nextpage title=”Features” ]
Starting at the top we have a standard ¼-inch thread so you can attach any video, ball or three-way head. This thread can be flipped to offer a ⅜-inch thread so you can bolt it directly to the base of your camera.
Sirui produce a good range of heads, and along with the review sample was packaged the Sirui VA-5 video head which bolted directly into place.
The rest of the construction of the monopod is much like any other. Four section tubes from 28mm down to 19mm at the base. These tubes are all carbon providing durability and strength with minimum weight.
Each section is held in place by some pretty sturdy twist locks.
Monopods are often the choice if you need to travel light, or just don’t want to lug around a tripod, so there is a worry that by adding the feet that’s going to counter the usual weight benefit.
Starting with size when fully packed down is 690mm in height and when fully extended measures 1600mm, a pretty decent height for monopod.
Without a head the weight is substantially more than a straight monopod with a similar height. The P-224S weighs in a 1.2kg compared to the Sirui P-324 which has a slightly smaller max height of 1690 and weight of just 0.6kg.
Where this monopod really differs is at the base. Unlike most others it doesn’t just feature a simple rubber foot, instead you have a small ball head that is attached to three fold down feet.
These feet are held in place by a simple lock mechanism on the side which when pushed releases the feet, once folded into position the spring loaded locks ensures they stay where they’re supposed to be until you choose to release them.
Once assembled and extended to full height this monopod can take maximum load of 8 kg.
[nextpage title=”Build & Handling” ]
Build quality and handling
Initial impressions of this Sirui monopod are good when it comes to build quality of build.
The construction is well finished and the anodized parts look great alongside the carbon texture of the tubes.
The finishing touches give the tubes a real good high-quality feel, and the overall effect from top to bottom is a quite stunning. From the carbon through to the anodising and industrial style of design of the feet.
Probably the most attractive piece of engineering when it comes to this monopod is the three feet of the bottom. The fold down mechanism that secured them in place is spring-loaded and releases and lock them in place beautifully.
The release lock offers just a touch of resistance as you push down, and once those legs release and relock in the new position they feel solid and secure.
My only issue here was that each of the feet required me to tighten the allen key bolts around the pivot after a few uses, since tightening they’ve held firm, but something to keep an eye on.
The small ball head that fixes to the feet on the base of the monopod is again well engineered and has several features that enable greater flexibility over the use of the monopod compared with a tripod.
The first action is to release the center column from its fixed vertical position by twisting the central lock. This takes a few turns and lifts from the insert that holds the head in place.
Once released you can then release the friction style lock on the side to enable movement of the ball head. This enables a tilt of 20º in any direction which is very handy.
To lock the monopod back in the vertical position, twist the lock back down and then secure the friction lock back in position.
As well as the tilt at the top of the monopod there’s another lock that can be released to enable a complete 360º rotation, further adding to the depth of motion.
Adjusting the height of the monopod is all down with twist locks and again these all have a nice release and lock action.
At the top of the monopod we have the plates that attaches to a tripod head, as you expect this has two options either have 3/8 of an inch for fitting directly to a camera or a ¼ inch for a tripod head.
One last feature that really stands out is the modular design of the P-224S by which you can unlock and unscrew the entire monopod column and put the base plate directly onto the ball head and feet ready for some low angled shots.
[nextpage title=”Performance” ]
Normally with a monopod there’s not a great deal to say, essentially you have some tubes, leg locks and a base plate. The critique really comes down to how well its made, weight, height and cost, but with the Sirui there’s a whole lot more.
Firstly one of the greatest advantages of a monopod is that it’s lightweight and of course has an ultra small footprint when compared with a tripod.
Adding the three feet does increase this footprint but not so that you would worry and doubles the weight which is a little more of an issue.
I also ran into another problem and that is that I’m testing the 3 Legged Things Punks Billy. Now that tips the scales at 1.38kg, and the Sirui P-224S is 1.2kg, add a VA-5 at 0.6kg and you have a monopod that weighs in at 1.8kg, that’s more than the tripod.
In use of course you can’t really compare a monopod with a tripod, but it’s just one of those things that challenges the thought process. Why go mono if it weighs more than a tripod?
The fact is that in used the two are very different, a monopod takes seconds to erect, add to that the support offered by those three flip down feet on the P-224S and the flexibility offered by that ball head and it all starts to make sense.
When it comes to stability the added support offered by those three feet instantly makes this a much more usable product for video, enabling you to hold steady footage easily.
The added ability to unlock the ball head enables a degree of fluidity that helps with smooth panning. The twist lock that releases the column rotation further adds to the flexibility and control that you can get.
When you’re shooting stills then the advantages are far less, but then I would say that this is a product that is really designed for video. Saying that even used for stills it certainly adds an additional element of flexibility which I like, and again I’d say I prefer it as a stills support over a lighter monopod.
Stability is only part of the story when it comes to monopods the other major factor is they’re lightweight, slimline and easy to carry.
Here I was a little bit concerned about those three legs, they do fit snuggly around that centre column, but it’s still far bulkier than a standard monopod.
In use sure enough it wasn’t as easy to strap the P-224S to the side / back of a backpack and it looks like a weapon when you do.
The weight was a bit of an issue for me, if I choose to take a monopod then it’s usually a weight decision, and this doesn’t save weight.
However that payoff for stability I have to say was again worth.
The P-224S performed well at all stops, and when I think of all those situations where this type of monopod would have been preferable over either a monopod or tripod those circumstances are too many to count.
[nextpage title=”Verdict” ]
When the P-224S arrived I was instantly drawn to the design and ergonomics. There’s something a little industrial about the way it looks with those flip down feet, joined by the anodizing and carbon that all add to the desirability.
All through the test however the weight was an issue, 1.8kg’s isn’t a great deal but when you’re lugging it around all day then that weight does add up.
The quick solution to the weight problem was to leave the bulk of the Canon 5D at home and settle for the Sony Alpha 7R, not a bad swap to be honest. Weight saved in one fell swoop and everyone’s happy.
In use the benefits of the design kept on coming, quick to set-up and pack-up, easy to carry and essentially easy to use.
Over a tripod the small footprint of those feet compared with legs meant that there was less of an issue in crowded areas.
When locked into the vertical position it gives you the extra stability you need, and with the correct type of head is an ideal support for stills, and one I much prefer over a traditional monopod when it comes to pure function.
Used for shooting video and everything is in tune. The ease of use, adjustment to height, ball head and rotation lock all enabled easy and smooth movement. A huge improvement in quality and stability over a standard monopod.
If you’re looking for a decent support that’s quick to setup and use for both video and stills then you really can’t go wrong with the P-224S.
Who’s should buy the Sirui P-224S
This is a product that feels like it has been designed for an intended market and if that market is dSLR or CSC videographers then it matches that brief perfectly.
Videographers need a lightweight support that can be set-up quickly, easily moved and supplies both support and the option for fluid motion, all of which this monopod supplies.
If you’re still photographer and you like the idea of a monopod with feet then you’d be right in your thought process. It really is a great idea, ok it’s a little, er lot more heavy that a monopod but it really does give you true support.