Slik PRO CF823 Carbon fiber tripod review by

Looking for a lightweight stable tripod at a nice price?
Look no further here is the Slik Pro CF 823 !

Slik PRO CF823 Carbon fibre tripod Review

Why do I say that already in the beginning of this review?

Well just because that I feel
that this is the tripod that I
should have bought from the
very beginning!

With this I mean in the era
before digital cameras and
vibration reduction lenses,
today the use for a tripod isn't
as great as it was in the days of analog film based cameras.

However in some situations
you will still find a good stable
tripod like the Slik CF823 to
be useful and maybe even
necessary to help you get what
you want from that citation in
photography that require the
camera to be at exactly the same position for a long time!

Cameras like the latest DSLR's have great low light/high ISO
performance but cranking up the ISO value is still compromising
the technical image quality (Not the artistic however) and produce
an image with either more noise and/or less detail.

I intend to use this tripod with my DIY 6x17 camera and occasionally with my DSLR in situations when hand held isn't a good solution.

Those situations occur when you are forced or just want to use slow
shutter speeds/small apertures for greater , this apply mostly to long tele lenses.

Another situation is if you want to make several captures of an object
at exactly the same position like multiple different exposures for HDR
images and several images with different focus for infinite depth of field images.

The Slik Pro CF 823 Carbon fibre legged tripod isn't the
cheapest tripod on earth but it might be the best you can
get for the money (I bought it and I'm a cheap skate!) Before I decided to buy this particular tripod I first made a
market research on the WWW Then I went to a big camera store in Hells Kitchen NYC "BH Photo Video" and made a hands on comparison with the competing brands.

I didn't leave that store until I had a CF823 in my hand and it felt like I made a great buy.
6 months later I feel the same and the built quality of this
tripod make me feel that this might be my last tripod purchase!

What head to use with this great tripod?

Well SLIK make some nice heads to but I already own two high quality
ball heads from Cullman so I intend to use them. (My review of the Cullman heads here) .
When weight is no issue I will use the large Cullmann Magnesit 35nm WB   (40200) at 996gram it isn't light but it sure hold your gear!
When I have to carry my gear like on a hike I will probably chose the smaller Cullmann Magnesit 25nm (40180) at half that weight and
still be having a rigid platform with just a bit of compromise for my
camera/lens setup.


Since I bought my Ball heads a wile
ago Cullman have now developed
some new even nicer gear that I have
not been able to review but I bet it is
great bang for the money! You can
find them here: Cullman Tripod Ball Heads they now even come with an
Arca swiss compatible Quick-Release Platform!

The Slik Pro CF 823 also have a sister the Slik Pro CF 824 which is a
four section/leg Tripod, this makes it even smaller when collapsed but
there will also be more twist locks to handle and it will also gain in weight and become slightly less stable, those three factors made me
chose the SLIK CF823 in favour of the CF824.
SLIK PRO CF823 plus Nikon D7000 with a Sigma 150-500mm Optical stabalized Tele Zoom lens

To the left: My Nikon D7000 with the killer (For the money again) Sigma 150-500mm OS also reviewed here at

The larger Cullman head
holds the D7000/150-500mm
Combo in a firm grip while
the SLIK CF823 prevent the
whole thing to wobble.

Even at the highest setting
the CF823 feels incredibly
rigid and free from flex.

Also the carbon fiber itself
have the characteristics that
prevents vibrations to be transferred it's more damp then metals like aluminum
that also frequently are used
for tripods.

Close up of twist loocks and leg ends of SLIK CF823
I prefer the twist locks over
flip style latches which tend to
be difficult to use with gloves
and to brake during
transportation (Aircraft cargo loading staff usually don't care for your gear!) This is also a reason why I start looking at the SLIK CF823.
Stwist lock design of the Slik Pro CF series tripods
The leg twist lock unscrewed reveals all the parts. The red arrow
points at a vital part of the A.R.S (Anti rotation system) that prevents
the legs to rotate when you lock/unlock the legs with the twist grip
friction locks (more about that below).

Locking wedges Slik Twistlocks
Twist tripod leg locks design
Two plastic wedge rings cooperate and expand when they are forced
against each other. This effectively interlocks the legs in a way that
feels very secure even at a high load without slip.

SLIK CF823 replaceable tripod feets
The leg ends of the SLIK CF 823 Tripod have aluminum endings that are threaded.

This means that you can
mount any kind of feets with
a suitable threaded pin on
this tripod, even ski pole
baskets for snow use or
spikes for use on ice!
More about this later and
maybe in the DIY section.

Down side is that you might
loose a rubber feet if it
unscrew itself without your
Anti rotation design tripod legs The leg sections of the SLIK CF823 is of anti rotation design.
This means that you don't need to hold the lower leg section to keep it
from rotating while you loosen or tighten the legs which could be an
issue on early twist lock designs.

A.R.S Anti rotation design on the SLIK Pro 823CF This is how the A.R.S system looks.
Image shows the lower two leg sections removed
from the top leg section. Red arrow points at one
of two ridges that are vital to the A.R.S design.

Those ridges can be found in all of the leg-
sections and are molded directly in to the
construction of the carbon tube legs.

The ridges plus some half pipe plastic (PTFE?)
bearing/A.R.S parts forms the anti rotation
A.R.S explained

I have tried to make a small drawing to show you
more in detail how it works.
I guess you can imagine a 2nd tube section that
is slipped over the half tubes, also with ridges
that runs in the gap between the half tubes.

2. is a locking tab/recess that holds the bearing
half's in place and at the same time prevent them
to rotate.

Slik CF series tripods leg anti rotation system
Image above clearly shows the A.R.S components that together with
the groves in the legs forms the anti rotation system.

It all looks very simple and low tech but since it works exceptionally
well, that's only a good thing and a good designed in the "Keep it simple" principle that always have showed to be the most reliable :0)

SLIK Carbon fibre tripods a the best price from Amazon here!

SLIK CF823 Center column

Lowest possition of the SLIK CF823

The center column of the
CF823 is made of aluminum and is of split
(2 pice) threaded design.

This design make it
possible to keep the height down when hiking
it also make it possible to
use the tripod at its lowest
setting which is about 230mm from ground to
the mounting plate of the center column!

It is of course possible to
place the center column
upside down to get even
closer to the ground if
Leg junction Slik CF823 The tripod legs is held
together in a rigid alloy moulding with a decent finish.

The leg angle adjustments
have a cheap feeling but
is made of the same type
of alloy and seams to work
as they should.

Parts are held together with
standard bolts and screws
which is a good thing since
no special tools are needed
to service this tripod.

By the way, all the twist-
locks feels great to handle and the legs slides in and
out smoooth :0)
The center column is equipped with a hook that makes it possible to
hang a bag with some kind of ballast at to increase the mass and
lower of the center of gravity of the tripod/camera assembly to make
the whole thing to be standing even more still and vibration free.

The usual pros and cons section!

+ Light and rigid
+ Doesn't carry a Gitzo price tag (I payed 279usd)!
+ Hook for extra ballast.
+ Twist locks that work (I love them, some don't).
+ At 1370mm without extended center column I rarely find need to extend it at all, that's a good thing for stability!
+ The Slik CF823 was delivered in a nice padded bag with a shoulder strap.

SLIK Pro 823CF Carry bag The Bag my tripod came in!

- It is not a Gitzo and doesn't have the Gitzo finish.
- If you don't like twist locks look elsewhere!
-You may loose a rubber leg end if you don't pay attention (however there is an easy treatment for this HERE.)


DESCRIPTION (Borrowed from SLIK website)

Designed with the professional photographer in mind. Ultra heavy construction for use with D-SLR and 35mm still camera with long telephoto/zoom lens, large format camera and medium format camera.

3-section leg with 28mm diameter for the first section leg. Gearless, detachable and invertible center column for extremely low angle positioning without changing an optional center column.

The PRO 823 CF has three leg sections that when fully extended reach a height of 66.3 inches but when completely retracted the tripod is only 23.6 inches in length. It's light-weight of just 3.55 lbs but capability of handling 18 lbs of properly balanced equipment make the tripod an excellent choice for the location photographer with heavy equipment.

All of the new SLIK PRO carbon fiber tripods feature a new A. R. S. (Anti-rotational System) with improved rubber grips make this tripod much easier to operate. So the PRO 824 CF would be usable with the highest number of tripod head from SLIK and others the tripod has a reversible 3/8 – 1/4-20 mount post.

Features of the SLIK PRO CF Carbon Fiber Series

Multi-layered Carbon Fiber
Carbon Fiber material is actually comprised of layers of woven carbon strands that are then baked together in a high-pressure furnace. When finishes this material is as much as 40% lighter than aluminium and very rigid, making it for applications from space vehicles to tripod legs. Slik sources it’s carbon fiber tubing in Europe from a manufacturer that specializes in carbon fiber.

A.R.S (Ant-Rotational System)
All the New SLIK PRO carbon fiber tripods feature a new A.R.S (Ant-Rotational System) designed into the legs and log locks. The A.R.S. systems prevent the leg tubes from rotating inside each other making it much easier to lock and release all the twist-release locks securely. The size of the rubber grips have also been increase in diameter to make them easier to operate.

Leg-Lock Type
Twist lock system with double nut ring (crown-cap) type (PAT.).

Multi-Angle Leg Locks
Each leg has an independent lock that sets in one 3 angles to vary the height and stance of the tripod. The three setting are for maximum height, waist level or low angle photography close to the ground. It also makes it easier to set up the tripod on uneven ground, steps or rocks.

Built-in Short Columns
The center columns unscrew into two piece to create a much shorter column for use in low angle photography the center column is made of high grade aluminum.

Diameter of center column is 28mm and the end has a female 3/8 camera thread.
Slik split aluminum center column

Included is also a cast aluminum top disk with 3/8" camera thread and a 1/4" -3/8" adapter screw, the disk itself is 48mm in diameter. The disk also has a setscrew to prevent the disk to rotate with your head of choice during installation and removal.
Slik CF823 camera mount suporting disk

Disk with adapter below.
Slik CF823 top disk with 1/4" - 3/8" adapter screw

Below: Cullmann Magnesit 35nm WB (40200) interfacing with the top disk, tote that the disk doesn't manage to bridge the last gap on the ball body structure.

This can be easily solved you simply just buy an aftermarket platform or fabricate your own D.I.Y disk of a greater diameter.

It is also possible to just simply skip the disk, the last option would probably be the best since this way you get a minimum of interfaces with potential un-flat surfaces make sure that you selected ball has a base that is flat and make good contact with the center column top.

However my experience during my ownership of this setup is that my conserns was unnessesary and the rigidity between the tripod/disk/ball head is great.

And for the worried kind there still is lots of easy D.I.Y solutions ;-)

SPECIFICATIONS (Borrowed from SLIK website)
Folded Length: 600mm
Maximum Operating Height: 1,685mm (1370mm without center column extended
"My remark" )
Minimum Operating Height: 237mm
Maximum Center Column Ext.: 320mm
Weight: 1,615g
Leg Lock Type: T.L.
Number of Leg Sections: 3 With Rubber Tip
Shape of Leg Pipe/Tube:
Diameter of the first upper leg: 28mm
Type of Center Column Elevation: Center column type
Special Features: Multi-position leg

Tweaks and modifications to further improve the already great-
SLIK CF823 Carbon Tripod

My fundamental attitude is that nothing is that good it can't be
improved in some way!

I also try to learn from other peoples mistakes rather than doing
them myself (even if that also happens from time to time of course)

And sometimes in a very easy way. By doing a simple web search I found that someone had experienced that the screw in rubber feets
can unscrew them self, he lost a foot this way.

The solution to this issue is to give the threads a bit of friction.
This can be done in several ways like using some soft glue or
silicone sealant or the way I did it by inserting a piece of plastic
string like a fishing line or in my case the isolation of a thin
electric wire.

Leg en threds of the Slik CF823 modfied Small tweak of the already great SLIK CF823 carbon tripod
This is how I did it a one minnute tweak that can save you some
frustration in the future.

The competition an overview

If money was no object I would probably have gone for the great
looking high quality Really Right Stuff Carbon Fiber Tripods but at
almost 3x the price of the Slik CF series I just cant justify myself to
buy one of those :-]

Some of the Gizo tripods could also be an option just if it wouldn't have been for t pricetag that are similar to the RRS tripods!

Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber 3 is carrying a similar pricetag
of the Slik CF 823 but outrules itself by the use of flip locks that I
personally don't like.  

Comments on the Slik CF823 here!

Gallery | D.I.Y | Reviews | Shop | Blog | Contact