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
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.
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.