Vanguard ALTA PRO 264AB
Quite tall, but folds down small
With its ball head attached, this tripod reaches a respectable height of 169mm, while folding to a modest 63mm, thanks to its four-section legs. It’s not overly heavy at 2.5 kilograms, yet matches the Manfrotto 190 kit for maximum load ratings, at seven and 10 kilograms for the legs and head respectively. That’s despite the bottom leg sections having a diameter of just 17mm (the smallest of any tripod on test).
Little extras that you don’t get with the Manfrotto kits include rubber foot pads with retractable spikes, and a carrying bag. More importantly, while the pivot mechanism requires the operation of two clamps rather than one, it enables rotation through 180 degrees in incremental steps, as featured in the Benro tripods. Release of an additional lock enables panning rotation and, overall, the system is quick and simple to operate. The head has an independent panning release, but no adjustable friction damper.
The camera attachment screw on the quick-release plate lacks a D-ring for pinching between your finger and thumb, but you can use the multi-tool that comes with the tripod.
There’s a slight drop in rigidity when extending the thin bottom leg sections, but it’s on a par with the Manfrotto 190. The clamping action of the pivot lock isn’t quite as firm as in the Benro tripods.
Features Build/handling Performance Value for money
Cleverly designed and very versatile; very good value for money.
Specs Maximum operating height: 169cm Folded height (with head): 63cm Weight with head: 2.5kg Max load (legs, head): 7kg, 10kg Leg section diameters: 26mm, 23mm, 20mm, 17mm Pivoting centre column: 180º stepped Ball head: Vanguard SBH-100 Head mount diameter: 57mm Locking leg angles: Three angles Feet: Retractable spikes