The Ultimate Sirui ET 1204 Review!

Welcome to our ultimate Sirui ET 1204 review that we have decided to publish due to seeing a constant stream of people reaching out about the tripod. Although we do hope that our article will help any of our regular readers who are considering adding the Sirui ET 1204 to their collection of camera accessories, our ultimate advice would be to consider the Manfrotto 190X (Click here to check for product prices and availability) instead.

Although the Sirui ET 1204 is a pretty solid tripod and if you are dead set on picking up a carbon fiber based tripod then the Sirui ET 1204 will inch ahead of the Manfrotto 190X but in every other aspect, we feel that the Manfrotto 190X leads the way. In addition to this, the Sirui ET 1204 does have a decent reputation within the community by the Manfrotto 190X has a much larger customer base while also having earned an excellent reputation too while also having a lower price tag.

Anyway, all that said and done we will still be reviewing the Sirui ET 1204 as we feel it is a solid little tripod system that can provide some excellent image stabilization. It also has solid performance and a great build quality too and as we mentioned, it is a carbon fiber tripod and some people prefer to use carbon fiber tripods over ones made from an Aluminum alloy.

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User Interface And Control System

Although the Sirui ET 1204 has a bunch of great features built in to it, Sirui has done a great job of keeping everything streamlined and easy to use. Although we doubt any first time tripod buyers will be shopping at this price range, if this is your first tripod it is very easy to use and get the most out of it right out the box. If you have previously used any modern tripod prior to picking up the ET 1204 then you will be familiar with all of the various locks and systems on it anyway.

The image above shows the leg angle adjustment locks for the tripod that are extremely easy to use even if your thumb is wet or cold. The allow you to quickly and easily adjust the angles of your tripod’s leg between 25, 46, 66, 88 degrees while securely locking them in place after use to keep your camera rig safe once mounted.

Depending on the photography or videography niche that you work in, this can end up being a great little feature to have on the tripod as it allows you to position the legs in a large number of ways to get the best image stabilization possible. The ratchet locking mechanism in the leg angle adjustment system is also solid when locked in place and we have been unable to find a single report or anyone saying theirs has failed or caused them problems.

The image above shows the flip-lock leg lock system that the Sirui ET 1204 uses and although we personally prefer the twist-lock leg lock system over the flip lock system due to its speed, the flip lock system does offer a slightly better lock. This can help give you confidence that your camera rig is safe when mounted on the ET 1204 and that it won’t end up randomly falling to the ground and breaking.

Although photographers and videographers looking to pick up a tripod at this price point in the market are fully aware of the value a simple counterweight hook can offer you, we still see people not using the counterweight hooks on their tripods even in some very windy conditions.

The image above shows the counterweight hook on the Sirui ET 1204 with a standard backpack hanging off it to add some additional weight to the tripod. If you are planning on using your tripod outside in potentially windy conditions then this is a great feature to have as it reduces the chance of the wind blowing your tripod over.

Although there are special sand bags on the market that you can pick up to fill with rocks or dirt to mount on tripod counter weight hooks, we would always recommend that our readers just use their backpacks as shown in the image above. Not only does it remove the need to purchase the sandbags but it is also quicker, easier, and cleaner than having to mess around filling them up.

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Performance And Functionality

The Sirui ET 1204 offers some great performance and we have listed the key features that the majority of people will want to know for the tripod below:-

  • Maximum load capacity – 18 pounds.
  • Tripod net weight – 1.5 pounds.
  • Maximum usable height – 55 inches.
  • Minimum usable height – 5 inches.
  • Closed length – 16.5 inches.

As you can see, the Sirui ET 1204 is pretty small and very lightweight when closed making it very easy to travel with if needed. Additionally, the minimum usable height works very well and is achieved by flipping the center column on the tripod as shown in the image below to get your camera as close to the ground as possible offering some great macro photography performance while still providing it with some excellent image stabilization.

That said though, and even though we feel that the 55 inches maximum usable height will meet the needs of the majority of our readers, not having the additional 5 inches the Manfrotto tripod offers just adds another area where the Sirui ET 1204 falls behind in our opinion.

Anyway, here are some example photographs captured by photographers who have chosen to use the Sirui ET 1204 as their tripod of choice for their image stabilization.

A great photograph of a muddy creek where the Sirui 1204 was used to provide image stabilization to the photographer. The tripod has done a great job of keeping the photographer’s camera rig stable to allow the ND filter on the lens to capture the silky smooth effect on the moving water too.


Uncle Wills Railcar at Sunset
Another photograph where the photographer used the Sirui 1204 for their image stabilization. We feel the photograph does an excellent job of capturing the abandoned railcars at sunset.

Strasburg Rail Sunset
Another photograph that has been captured using the Sirui 1204. This time it is of the Strasburg rail line at sunset and we just wanted to share it with our readers as we love the photograph and the colors it captures.

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Build Quality And Design

There is absolutely nothing we can fault when it comes to the build quality of the Sirui ET 1204 in all fairness to it. As the majority of the tripod is made from high-quality carbon fiber, it is extremely lightweight when compared to the competing Aluminum alloy tripods at this price point. In addition to this, the carbon fiber also ensures that the ET 1204 also has all of the robust properties of the Aluminum alloy tripods too without their additional weight.

If you are planning to use your Sirui ET 1204 as a travel tripod then this definatley works to your advantage. Not only does the lightweight allow you to take the tripod with you in your photography kit bag without having to worry about adding much additional weight but the robust nature ensures that any bumps it may take during transit will not damage it.

The foam handgrips on the tripod are also very comfortable and although you will probably not be holding the tripod by them for extended periods of time, there are some people who may so we just wanted to point this out. For example, more and more photography vloggers are using their tripod as a way to help increase the image stabilization while they vlog about their session while walking for extended periods of time.

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Our Verdict

That brings our review of the Sirui ET 1204 tripod to an end and although we do feel the tripod could make a decent addition to your collection of camera accessories due to its excellent build quality and solid performance, we feel there are better products on the market. As we mentioned at the start of the article, the Manfrotto 190X (Click here to check for product prices and availability) pretty much outperforms the Sirui ET 1204 in every way while also having a lower price tag. We would highly recommend that our readers at least check the 190X out.

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