I bought a Slik 340DX in 2006 and have always loved the design, materials, and features of the [smaller] tripod. Recently, I’ve needed a tripod that goes taller for studio shoots and has better stability in wind or for long exposures.
I actually had my eyes on a Manfrotto 055XBPRO before deciding on the Slik 700DX. Both have very similar specs, but the 700DX ends up costing about half once a head is factored in to the price. Slik really did their homework on the DX series; I’ve been impressed enough to purchase two versions so far.
First and foremost, the 700DX is huge. Without even raising the center column, the tripod stands 60″, so with my camera mounted, I can look through the viewfinder without hunching over. That is perfect, since raising the center shaft slightly decreases stability. The center column is divided into two tubes which can be unscrewed making it into one short column. This is a fantastic design feature since the tripod will sit lower with half of the column removed. I actually keep the extension tube detached since it simply adds more height than I ever use.
The Slik pro series uses AMT (aluminum, magnesium, titanium) alloy legs and center shaft which are very strong and lightweight compared to aluminum. There are foam pads on all three legs which make it comfortable to carry draped on your shoulder as well as keeping the tripod legs warm enough to handle when it’s cold outdoors. The release leg-locks are plastic, but seem durable. The legs themselves are very impressive for the price and I would not hesitate to invest in an additional head (ball or joystick/pistol grip) for them.
The included pan/tilt head is metal and quite heavy, but I don’t view that as a problem. It simply screws off if you want to use a different head. The pan/tilt adjustment arms could certainly be shortened in future releases. Due to their length, the 700DX does not quite fit in the included carry bag without removing one or both arms. The circular quick-release plate system is well-designed and easy to use even in low-light situations where you can’t see the mount.
Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with how substantial the 700DX is for the price. It offers rock-solid stability at heights from 15.8″ to 6.2′ for critical focus in nearly all indoor and outdoor situations.