19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Great step up for amateurs,
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This review is from: Manfrotto 190XPROB Alu Tripod With 804Rc2 Head - Black (Accessory)
I have been doing photgraphy seriously for about 4 years now, still very much an amateur. I have really stepped up my game lately and I have putting a lot more time and effort ( and money! ) into my hobby in an attempt to get better pictures.
I had been using a rather cheap an nasty £30 aluminium tripod I purchased from Argos about 2 years ago. A lot of the connections had been loosening, dents all over it and it was showing what it really is, cheap and cheerful, a little gust of wind and instant blurring! So I was on the lookout for a new tripod. I wanted to spend a reasonable some of money, but as this is a hobby I couldn't go to the carbon-fibre, £300+ touch, a collegue recommended I look at Manfrotto, pricey but good value for money. I was looking at the 804RC2 head with the XPRO55 legs, I finally settled on this all-in-one bundle with the 190XPROB legs.
Wow! Having stepped up from something cheap and cheerful, this is a whole new ball game. The thing is absolutely rock-solid as you would expect. The legs allow the whole thing to rise to just over 6 feet, me being a shorty at 5' 10", this is perfect. Having used a fixed three-way leg with struts, it's quite odd to have a tripod where the legs are "free-floating", ie they all move to any angle independantly of each other. When closed the camera sits about 18"-24" above the ground, which can be lowered even more but pushing the legs out wider. Finally pulling the "spine" out you can get the camera down to about 5"-6" inches off the ground.
The most bizarre thing, which I never knew about before I bought it, is that the central spine lifts right out of the legs and then turns to 90 degrees horizontal. So you have the legs as per normal but the central "spine" at 90 degrees to the legs.
The thing is very well made, for what is essentially the lower end of their market. As usual it's the little things that make all the difference between a good product and a fantastic one. You get two legs with about 6" of foam "lagging", so you can carry it, a) without dropping it and b) in cold weather you don't end up with frostbite holding on to cold metal. There is foam around the bits they know you will simply "clang" together, like the head connector on the "spine", so if you loosen the holding bolt and it accidently drops, the foam cushions the head as it hits the legs, best to avoid it but at least save you a trip to the camera repair shop to have you favourite lens realigned!
The locking handles/bolts are so smooth, you know when they are locked tight enough without over tightening them. The handles are very chunky and plastic, so they shouldn't be too much trouble to operate in the freezing cold. You get two spirit levels, one on the top of the legs and one on the head, nice if you do swap heads later on.
For the "budget" price on good quality tripods, I think this is a genuine bargain and I am extremely pleased I went for a named brand. Highly recommended for amateurs like me, who only do photography part-time as a hobby, but want almost professional quality gear at a hobby price.