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[REVIEW] Davis & Stanford Magnum XG Tripod, with FX13 Head

The Davis & Stanford Magnum XG with the FX13 head is an absolute beast of a tripod. It’s sturdy secure and some very handy features on it that you may not expect on a tripod. This is definitely more than three legs and screw. I was lucky enough to take this tripod out in the field and use it shooting on my recent South West trip, where high winds and close proximity to rough waters truly tested my faith in the Davis & Stanford Magnum XG.

I’m going to say this straight out, this tripod / head combo is not for the light traveller. It’s heavy, not uncomfortably heavy but unless your serious about what you are shooting you might not want to cart this around with you. On the other hand it is extremely stable. So much so that while shooting a timelapse sequence on the edge of a small cliff during extremely strong winds I had not problem leaving the tripod/camera shooting away.

Davis & Sanford, one of America’s oldest, most respected tripod manufacturers, has been a major force in the advancement of modern tripod design for nearly 80 years.

The company grew out of the renowned Davis & Sanford Photo Studio on Fifth Avenue in New York. Founded in 1892 it catered to members of New York’s high society, including such notables as Andrew Carnegie. In 1930, Davis & Sanford was re-established as a tripod manufacturer specializing in super-rigid, lightweight metal tripods that set a standard for the industry. That spirit of functional excellence, technical innovation, and outstanding value continues today, with the latest line of Davis & Sanford tripods.

The Magnum XG is part of the Davis & Stanford Professional Multi-Purpose line of tripods which means it’s built to handle whatever you can through at it. the standard Magnum XG comes with the FX12 head my unit however was the Magnum XG13 which comes with the more heave duty FX13 fluid 3-way pan and tile head. Technically my unit falls under the Heavy Duty Video classification.

Features & Specifications

There are a few features with this tripod, some of which I had to read the instructions to work out how to use them. Yeah I know, I read a tripod manual.

  • FX 13 fluid 3-way pan and tilt head
  • Extra sturdy body and legs for indoor or outdoor use with grounder feature for digital DSLR, still, video or scope uses.
  • On-off head counterbalance control
  • Four-position independent leg adjustments
  • Quick-lift two -section centre post for rapid adjustment and low range shooting
  • Bottom centre post hook allows for hanging equipment or adding weight to increase stability.
  • Adjustable three-section snap leg locks
  • Rubber feed add extra stability
  • Tripod maximum load 15lbs / 6.8kg
  • Maximum height 72″ / 182.9cm
  • Head maximum load 8lbs / 3.6kg
  • Minimum height 8″ / 20.32cm
  • Folded length 27″ / 68.6cm
  • Weight 6.7lbs / 3.04kg

Coming along with it you also get a high quality tripod bag. It’s a nice touch.

Davis and Stanford

While walking along the beach one very early morning I thought I would make a quick video about my thoughts and so you can actually see the tripod.

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One of the coolest features it has is the counterbalance control. I’m not one to use a tripod on a studio however last week I was shooting with Tamron 70-200 2.8 and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to bring the tripod along. I was shooting beauty/makeup so there was a lot of time between each shot. I turned the counterbalance on but left everything else unlocked so I could easily move the around without having to use the arm. The counterbalance did really well keeping everything stable, providing that little bit of resistance so I wasn’t haven’t to carry the camera and making the entire process extremely pleasurable. Yes I am converted and will be taking a tripod into the studio for future shoots.

Did I mention the tripod / head combo has a total of 3 bubble levels. So I found setting up for my timelapse sequences extremely easy. Better yet when I got back and downloaded the sequence I didn’t have to straighten anything.

Magnum XG on the Rocks Gizmo getting in my shot FX13 Head Sunrise Foot Prints Sunrise Magnum XG in the Studio

I know in Australia we are not that great at embracing other brands, this is one of the reasons I like to showcase different products on RAW. We have our favourites and make it very difficult for other companies to break in and share what they have. Davis & Stanford tripods are a world-class product that I believe should be looked at for any tripod purchaser. If the Magnum XG is not for you then check out their other options, they do have carbon fibre tripods! In fact I doubt you would not be able find a Davis & Stanford tripod that would suite your needs. Click here to check out the range.

My Final thoughts

Again if you’re looking for a light travel tripod the Magnum XG probably isn’t for you. I would highly recommend one of their Carbon Fibre tripods for that. However if you are wanting a tripod that is sturdy, one that won’t blow over and offers some cool features like counterbalance and plenty of bubble levels then the Magnum XG is for you. If shot about half a dozen timelapse sequences using the Magnum XG and haven’t had any problems with movement, which speeds up the entire processing process.

Probably the best thing about this tripod is that I have not experienced any camera slip. That’s where you are shooting a long exposure often in portrait orientation and due to the weight of the lens your camera slowly slips down resulting in a blurred photo. With the Magnum XG and FX13 head I haven’t experienced anything of the sort so far. Great news for those not wanting to lug around a L-Bracket.

I would take it away on holiday, especially if I was planning on shooting some timelapse or long exposures. At the moment it is on my list for the RAW Euro Tour which I’m embarking on later this year. More details on that sometime this week.

Anyway check out the Davis & Stanford range or tripods. If you have any questions you know where to find me.

Author Tristan

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