The Slik Pro 500DX Complete feels pretty rugged in most respects, but lacks some of the finer points featured in most competing tripods. For example, there are no adjustments on the clip locks so you can't re-tension them if they become loose over time.
Similarly, there are no grub screws in the platform at the top of the centre column for securing the tripod head, so you have to rely on brute force when screwing it on.
Construction of the three-way head feels a lot more solid than that of the Jessops Major Carbon Fibre tripod. The quick-release plate connects firmly to both the head and the camera, although it lacks a safety catch to guard against accidentally releasing the plate.
There's a reassuring level of stability on the Slik Pro 500DX that's maintained even at the maximum operating height, with the centre column fully extended. Leg sections extend and contract smoothly and the clip locks work well.
The multi-angle leg facility is easy to operate and the tripod overall is very simple to use, partly because of its lack of advanced features. It's a bit of a pain having to unscrew one of the head's locking arms and screw it into the other, every time you want to pack the tripod away into its carry case, but that's par for the course with three-way heads.
All in all, performance is solid rather than inspiring.
For photographers who like to 'keep things simple' the Slik Pro 500DX Complete has a reassuring lack of fancy features. For example, there's no complicated pivoting centre column to get to grips with.
The Slik is generally simple but effective, offering good stability complete with a three-way head that works well for making precise adjustments in composition.
At nearly the same price as some of the latest, greatest tripods, the Slik has a rather limited feature set and its load rating and maximum operating height are both a bit disappointing.
For the money, the Slik Pro 500DX Complete feels a little too basic, and while it's fairly robust, tripods like the Benro A-297EX and Giottos MTL9361B have a lot more to offer, with only a small increase in price.