Real world meets lab
We measured and weighed every tripod, then took them on an outing to see how they fared
We measured the maximum and minimum operating heights of each tripod (without inverting the centre column, where available) as well as its folded length for carrying. We also measured the combined weight of each tripod and head, using calibrated electronic scales, and measured the diameter of the thinnest (bottom) leg section using digital electronic callipers. We went on to check the ease of use and smoothness of all adjustments available in each set of tripod legs and heads. To check overall stability, we used them with a D7000 body and AF-S DX 18-200mm VR lens. We looked for good resistance to flexing throughout the whole range of operating heights. To gauge steadiness in breezy outdoor conditions, we switched off Vibration Reduction and checked Live View images on the LCD in maximum magnification mode, with a 200mm zoom setting.