Van­guard VEO2 265CB ( with BH50 head)

Digital SLR Photography - - Gear -

VAN­GUARD’S REP­U­TA­TION FOR in­no­va­tive de­sign, good build qual­ity and fair prices are all in ev­i­dence here, with a light and very com­pact tri­pod, com­plete with ball- head. Two fea­tures are im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous. There are no less than five leg sec­tions, se­cured with grippy twist- col­lar locks, that ex­plain the very short 41cm closed length com­bined with a height of 122cm. But that in­cludes the head which is about 9cm, so it's just a bit too short to be com­fort­able for most users with­out ex­tend­ing the cen­tre- col­umn. The other thing catch­ing your eye is the un­usual cen­tre- col­umn de­sign, with a cut- out on one side of the top plat­form. It looks like some sort of ar­tic­u­lat­ing de­vice, and tech­ni­cally it is, but it's not for po­si­tion­ing the cam­era in dif­fi­cult po­si­tions as others do. It's ac­tu­ally part of the quick- fold­ing mech­a­nism, so in­stead of pulling the legs up and back­wards over the raised cen­tre- col­umn ( as with the Slik), you sim­ply swing the cen­tre- col­umn down through the cut- out, with­out touch­ing the legs.

It's a pretty cool fea­ture that saves a lot of wav­ing legs around some­what awk­wardly, but there's a se­ri­ous flaw. The cut- out sec­tion robs the top plat­form of its in­te­gral strength, and it's im­pos­si­ble to lock the cen­tre- col­umn tightly in po­si­tion. It wob­bles, es­pe­cially in the di­rec­tion in line with the cut- out, and com­bined with the five leg joints that also add un­wanted flex, re­sult­ing in dis­ap­point­ing sta­bil­ity test fig­ures. For wind­buf­fet, the Van­guard scored 50%, and 56% for mir­ror- shock, giv­ing an av­er­age rat­ing of 53%.

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