Man­frotto MT055CXPRO3 + 498RC2 ball head £415, $620

With up­graded load rat­ings and su­pe­rior rigid­ity, this is a highly de­sir­able Man­frotto pair­ing

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Un­like the alu­minium Man­frotto 190-se­ries model on test, which comes as a kit, the MT055CXPRO3 car­bon fi­bre legs and 498RC2 ball head are sold sep­a­rately. The max­i­mum load rat­ings of 9kg and 8kg re­spec­tively are a lit­tle down on some com­pet­ing out­fits in the group, but both parts feel par­tic­u­larly sturdy.

Like the 190-se­ries model, this new-gen­er­a­tion 055-se­ries tri­pod has been re­vamped, with the same up­dated clip locks, four-way multi-an­gle leg locks, 90-de­gree pivot mech­a­nism and an adap­tor socket for at­tach­ing ac­ces­sories. There’s also the same ro­tat­ing bub­ble lock on the tri­pod col­lar. How­ever, the car­bon 055’s leg sec­tions have a wider di­am­e­ter, and the max­i­mum op­er­at­ing height is loftier, at 183cm in­stead of 171cm (head at­tached). A con­tribut­ing fac­tor is that the 498RC2 head it­self is also taller.

Per­for­mance

Com­pared with the Man­frotto 190-se­ries model, the car­bon fi­bre 055 feels much more rigid, even at its higher max­i­mum ex­ten­sion. The leg sec­tions also ex­tend more smoothly. The ball head is par­tic­u­larly solid and has a pan-only re­lease. The only stick­ing point is that the price of the legs and head is nearly twice that of the 190-se­ries kit (more than dou­ble, in the US).

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