Smallrig AD-01 3751 is a light-weight and affordable tripod with a fluid head that is mainly aimed for videography use. Tripods are probably one of the most important equipment a photographer and videographer should have and we always recommend our readers to invest in a good tripod if they haven't so far before even considering to upgrade their cameras or lenses. Smallrig AD-01 is a video oriented tripod with its fluid head but can easily be used for stills when needed. Its lightweight and large max height makes it a good candidate for use in various scenarios.
SmallRig is a well-liked Chinese manufacturer of photography and videography accessories, especially known for their camera cages and rigs. Recently they have also expanded their portfolio to video lights and we have reviewed their new COB light, the SmallRig RC120B LED Light and was impressed by its high quality/price ratio.
Before the launch of their AD-01 Heavy-Duty Tripod with Fluid Head, SmallRig contacted us and asked if we are interested in reviewing this tripod,and we happily accepted this offer.
Disclaimer: SmallRig did not pay us to write this article and no money was exchanged. However, the company sent us the product (SmallRig AD-01 Heavy-Duty Tripod with Fluid Head ) for us to review. They didn't ask for any pre-conditions other than our honest opinion. This review is my unbiased opinion as SmallRig did not modify, influence, or give input about the article before its publication.
SmallRig AD-01 is an all-in-one solution (compared to buying tripod and fluid head seperately) for panning and tilting your camera smoothly and shoot more professional looking videos. With a maximum weight limit of 8kg / 17.6lbs, its will serve majority of the enthusiasts and even pros with DSLR or Mirrorless camera rigs adequately. At $159, it represents a good entry point with its well-thought design, functionality and build quality. Here are the main features of the AD-01:
- Aluminum Tripod with Fluid Head System
- 8kg / 17.6 lb Load Capacity, Weighs 4kg / 8.8 lb
- 84 to 186 cm / 33 to 73" Height Adjustment, 89cm / 35" Folded
- Manfrotto & DJI RS 2 Quick Release Modes
- 75mm Ball Head, Pan & Friction Knobs
- Bubble Level, Manfrotto QR Plate
- 1/4"-20 & 3/8"-16 Camera Screws
- 1/4"-20 & 3/8"-16 Accessory Threads
- Included Carry Bag with Shoulder Strap
What's in the Box?
- SmallRig AD-01 Heavy-Duty Tripod with Fluid Head
- Manfrotto Quick Release Plate
- 1/4''-20 Screw
- 3/8"-16 Screw
- Pan Handle
- Allen Wrench
- Carry Bag
The Ad-01 is mostly made of Aluminum alloy and plastic which makes it possible to keep the weight at only 4kg/8.8lbs. Parts of the fluid head and the quick release plate are metal and on general we feel like this product will serve you for a long time, especially when used indoors.
Size and Dimensions
AD-01 is quiet tall for a tripod when fully extended. It measures 186cm / 73" and I doubt many people will need to use it at this height but still good to have the option. On the other hand, you may need to be aware of its minimum height of 84cm / 33" which may become a bit limiting if you want to place your camera close to the ground. The three-pronged spreader between the legs helps the stabilisation but at the same time it limits the legs opening further to lower the head.
Thanks to the use of aluminum alloy and plastic materials, the weight is kept at 4kg/8.8lbs which is significantly light for a tripod and fluid head combination. The included carrying bag makes it even easier to haul around when needed.
SmallRig AD-01 is not the most stable tripod in the market but can't complain much considering its weight. As long as you are careful about balancing your rig properly and make sure the feet sits well on a flat surface, this will not create any serious issues.
One small but well-thought detail is the adjustable feet. The rubber feet are connected to the legs thorugh a ball head so the angle of each feet can be adjusted independently in order to place perfectly on to an uneven surface.
The two-way fluid head on the AD-01 helps you pan and/or tilt your camera smoothly. Both axis can be locked or unlocked. The head weighs 696g/1.53lbs and sits on a bowl base that is used for leveling the head perfectly using the bubble level. We found this feature very useful and effective. Even if the feet of the tripod doesn't sit level, you can level the head independently using the bowl base adjustment mechanism.
Unit comes with a pan handle which helps you to pan and tilt the head more smoothly. The handle is detachable for storage and carrying purposes. In vertical axis, the head can be tilted between +90 to -75 degrees and returns to its original position when no force is applied. Horizontally, the head can be turned 360°.
The fluid head is compatible with Manfrotto and DJI RS 2 quick release plates but not with the arca swiss ones. DJI RS 2 support comes handy if you have a compatible DJI gimbal stabilizer.
The plate has a built-in allen wrench that is secured magnetically and is used for attaching it to the tripod thread of a camera. A spare key is also included in the bag in case you lose one.
There is an easy side quick release feature for Manfrotto type plate which makes assembly and disassembly of the plate very easy and fast.
We have mentioned before that SmallRig is known for their camera rigs and cages and there are signs of this background when you look at the AD-01 tripod carefully. At the top of each leg and on the head itself, there are several 1/4-inch threads for attaching accessories such as articulating arms, field monitors, clamps, lights, etc.
Max Load Capacity: AD-01 is designed to be used with a max load of 8kg / 17.6 lbs which would be enough for most Mirrorless and DSLR setups.
What is a fluid head good for if it doesn't provide good dampening of the sudden movements and vibrations of the camera, and enable smooth video pans and tracking? Fortunately, the SmallRig doesn't disappoint in this area too. It is not the last word in smoothness and accuracy but it is perfectly OK for most uses and users, especially for the price point. It doesn't have the jumping of some of the less capable heads do when you first start to move and the motion is very smooth except when you try to move really slow. I have tried the AD-01 with my heaviest equipment, Sony A7 IV with Sony FE 200-600mm lens and a Ninja V recording monitor and the head performed just as well as it did with a compact camera.
At only $159, SmallRig AD-01 is a very capable entry-level tripod for a videography, especially if you are only going to be using with relatively light setups such as Mirrorless or DSLR camera based systems.
- Lightweight and durable design
- Low price point
- 186cm / 73" max. height
- Good quality Fluid ball-head
- Levelling bowl base
- Threads on the body and head for attaching accessories
- Adjustable feet angle
- Carrying case
- Not the most stable for heavy setups and outdoor use
- 84cm / 33" Min height may be a bit limiting for low shoots
Price and Availability
SmallRig AD-01 Heavy-Duty Tripod with Fluid Head is available for pre-ordering in US for $159 at Amazon and B&H Photo.
Dimensions: 160 x 165 x 890mm
Material: Aluminium alloy
Maximum load: 8kg
Leg sections: 3 Min height: 0.84m
Max height: 1.86m
Folded height: 0.89m
Bowl base diameter: 75mm
Tilt range: +90 to -75 degrees