With a distinctly retro look, the Slik Pro 500DX Complete bypasses the 'black is the new black' fashion of most current tripods and proudly displays a set of shiny metal legs, even if the top ones are covered with black comfort padding.

Sold as a complete kit, the head is also old-school in its looks, being of a traditional three-way design rather than succumbing to the new vogue for ball and socket heads.

New-fangled features such as a pivoting centre column are also absent, so what's so slick about the Slik?

The legs of the Slik Pro 500DX are made from an 'exclusive' Super Aluminium-Magnesium-Titanium' construction that, according to Slik, gives a 40 per cent increase in strength to weight ratio, compared with standard aluminium.

Even so, at 2.6kg, the DSLR tripod isn't any lighter than most other aluminium-based tripods of the same size, despite only offering a modest maximum height of 167cm.

As for strength, the maximum load rating of 4.5kg is rather less than most aluminium tripods in its class, which often have an 8-10kg rating to support your camera and lens sets. Folded down, the Slik has a fairly average height of 72cm, enabling a minimum shooting height of 68cm with the legs at their regular angle. There are actually three alternative leg angles available, with conventional catches to enable use of the various options.

The centre column has no pivot facility, but you can unscrew the lower section of the column, after a large number of turns. Combined with wide leg angles, this reduces the minimum shooting height from 68cm to just 32cm. If you want to go lower than this, the only option is to remove the centre column completely and to refit it upside-down.

Leg diameters are a fairly typical 26mm for the top section, 23mm for the middle section and 20mm at the bottom. Beneath that is a set of solid rubber without any retractable spikes. At the top, there are no bubble levels to help in levelling the tripod or the camera.

The conventional three-way head features three independent locks for pan, tilt and swivel. The pan clamp has a small thumbscrew, whereas the other two locks have longer operating arms. Again, this is typical for a three-way head, and you need to unscrew one locking arm and screw it into the other to enable the tripod to fit into the carry case provided.