Real world meets lab
All tripods were tested under strict conditions to ensure an accurate comparison would be possible
We measured the maximum and minimum operating heights of each tripod (without inverting the centre column, where this was available) as well as its collapsed length for carrying. We also measured the combined weight of each set of tripod legs and head using electronic scales, and measured the diameter of all leg sections, from the widest (top) to the thinnest (bottom), 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 the tripods with a range of D-SLRs fitted with telephoto lenses. We looked for good resistance to flexing throughout the range of operating heights. To gauge steadiness in outdoor conditions, we switched off stabilisation and checked Live View images on the LCD in maximum magnification mode (100% view).