Three-way head precision, ball-head size
From a three-way head with less bulk than the norm to portable studio flash for lighting on the move, we look at all the latest hot new Nikon-fit gear
A ball tripod head may be compact, but a three-way design is better for compositional control. The trouble is, they tend to be unwieldy, so Manfrotto has made this compact version.
The X-Pro weighs just one kilogram, nearly 40 per cent less than Manfrotto’s standard three-way head. A compressed design and retractable handles keep things compact, resulting in fully folded dimensions of 13 x 13.5 x 13.5cm. That’s good by three-way head standards but on the bulky side compared to ball heads.
Dual friction knobs let you adjust the resistance of each tilt axis, making subtle framing tweaks a breeze. You also get a trio of bubble levels and a quick-release mounting plate. The X-Pro has the same 360-degree pan rotation and -30/+90-degree range of front and lateral tilt as the standard three-way head. It means you can shoot straight down in landscape and portrait formats, but you’ll need to rotate the mounting plate on your Nikon to shoot upward beyond 30 degrees.
If it’s a fairly hefty head, at least it’s also ruggedly built. Its high-quality aluminium construction can support up to eight kilograms of kit and will shrug off some rough and tumble. The chunky rubber handles improve ergonomics and are easy to use while wearing gloves, though the same can’t be said of the plastic friction knobs, which don’t offer much grip.
The X-Pro is never going to be ideal for travelling light, but it’s less bulky than a traditional three-way design. A reasonable price tag also makes this good value.