Van­guard ALTA PRO 264AB

Quite tall, but folds down small

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

£170, $180

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.

Per­for­mance

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.

Ver­dict

Features Build/han­dling Per­for­mance Value for money

Over­all

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

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