Man­frotto MK190XPRO3-BH kit (with 496RC2 ball head) £245, $300

A re­cent re­vamp of an old favourite, this com­plete kit fea­tures alu­minium legs and a de­cent head

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Man­frotto’s ‘190’ se­ries of tripods has en­joyed much pop­u­lar­ity over the years. The lat­est editions have been made more compact and por­ta­ble; this alu­minium 190XPRO3, with its three-sec­tion legs and piv­ot­ing cen­tre col­umn, has a col­lapsed height that’s 7cm shorter than its pre­de­ces­sor, although its max­i­mum op­er­at­ing height is also a lit­tle re­duced. The main rea­son for this is that the new pivot mech­a­nism re­tracts fully into the tri­pod col­lar, rather than sit­ting proud.

New ‘Quick Power Lock’ clip fas­ten­ers are more com­fort­able in op­er­a­tion. Neat ex­tras in­clude a bub­ble level on the tri­pod col­lar, which can be ro­tated so it’s not ob­scured, and a threaded socket for at­tach­ing ac­ces­sories.

Per­for­mance

Ex­ten­sion of leg sec­tions is al­most too free, with the legs crash­ing to their long­est length under grav­ity, while rigid­ity at full ex­ten­sion isn’t quite as good as with some com­pet­ing tripods.

The legs fea­ture four lock­ing an­gles in­stead of the usual three, and the 496RC2 ball head works beau­ti­fully. It fea­tures an ad­justable fric­tion damper and has a 6kg load rat­ing, although there’s no pan-only re­lease. The pivot mech­a­nism for the cen­tre col­umn is easy to use but is limited to two po­si­tions – upright or hor­i­zon­tal.

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