Oct 13, 2012

Extending my photographic possibilities

After a long time arguing whether I would need a tripod or not, I finally decided that it would be a valuable extension of my photographic possibilities. Especially the family shooting we did on our farewell weekend to China, some 3 weeks ago, where I used a tripod the first time, supported this decision. It was really nice to have serial shots with exactly the same framing, even allowing to copy - paste the crop data from one developed photo to another, and getting perfectly matching results. Furthermore, I got interested in doing multiple exposure pictures, making a tripos absolutely necessary.

Thus said, I figured out where to best buy photo equipment in Beijing during the last days and visited Ray!´s photo on Soho Old Town yesterday. Easier said than done, as Ray!´s is not a shop in the storefront of Soho building, but located behind a small entrance, hallway and stairs up to the first floor. When leaving Line 1 at Dawanglu station, Exit D, turn left and follow the shops until you see this:

Watch out for Ray!´s sign
I did manage to walk by twice, not knowing that I did have to look for a small entrance rather than shop windows. After you follow a short hallway and go upstairs, you directly enter the store.

Entering Ray!´s
As expected, I faced only very basic English language skills, making me use a strange mix of Chinenglish and gestures to communicate with the shop guy. A week before, i already had an eye on a Sirui tripod on Wangfujing Road, but with a price of 2.400kuai and a quite heavy weight, it was aluminium though, I decided not to go with it. Today, again I faced a bunch of Siruis, as well as a few Manfrottos and some Gitzos. As I wanted the tripod still to be portable, say during a days city walk, and shoot with the Fujifilm X100 only, i looked at some smaller sized travel-tripods, finally ending up with a Sirui TX-1205 Carbon. I had a direct comparison in weight to the same model in aluminium, and  I could feel the weight-difference already in the store. I also tried the bigger 2204 from Sirui, but was not convinced due to weight and size in folded position. So that´s what my "extended" setup now looks like, ready for the upcoming weekend´s photo sessions:

X100 & Sirui Dream Team
Big plus: besides getting some kuais off the initial price, I also got a very good exchange rate on my credit card, which made the 5% fee that is charged for non-chinese cards obsolete.

Even bigger plus at home: I found that Sirui prices back home in Europe as well as in the US are way above what I paid for, already including the G10 ballhead ;-)

By the way, Ray´s already had the Fujifilm EX1 in the store, besides the X100 and X-Pro, as well as a good selection of Nikons and Canons, including a bunch of 5D Mark IIIs.

Greetings, Steve

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