A while back, Kerry did a review of the Vanguard Alta Pro 284CT, which is a really nice, $300 carbon fiber tripod.Â As great of a tripod as that one is, I would like to show you a non-carbon-fiber version of a very similar tripod that is, in my opinion, just as nice (or nicer) in every way… for a lot less money.
I have both Carbon Fiber and Aluminum tripods in my arsenal.Â I use them pretty much interchangeably in my every day photography use.Â Some are lighter so I choose them for travel.Â Some are sturdier, so I use them for heavier applications.
But there are features of some tripods that really make them stand out from the pack.Â The Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT is one of those unique tripods.Â And its not that each of it’s individual feature are not available in other 3-legged competitors, but that all of these features are available in this single tripod for a great price.
The first, most unique feature to point out is it’s innovative Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC).Â This feature allows you to move the central column from angles of zero to 130-degrees in multiple vertical and horizontal positions, making things like macro photography and specialty wide-angle shots much easier to create.
In this photo, you can see how the center column can be flipped 180 degrees to suspend the camera completely upside down.Â I often shoot many table top items like food, and this feature gives me exactly what I need to get the camera into position.
The center column quickly releases with something that Vanguard calls the Instant Swivel Stop-n-Lock (ISSL) System.Â With one simple movement, you can easily and securely reposition the center column while maintaining it’s stability.
The central aluminum alloy column moves from 0 to 130 degrees and can be reversed in the mount, giving you more than full range of motion.Â Even with the center column fully extended, the tripod is amazingly stable with my 5D Mark II, battery grip and heavy Canon L glass.
Another feature, which is also common to many other tripods, is the legs that adjust to 25, 50 and 80-degree angles.Â Combined with the sturdiness of the patented premium magnesium die-cast canopy and head, you feel comfortable that this tripod can truly support your camera with stability in most any position.Â But combined with the flexibility of the center column and the angles it can obtain, this makes the tripod about as versatile as you could ever need.
This tripod ships with a triangular canopy that hangs between the legs and holds your camera or other gear.Â It also comes with a carrying bag to tote it around.Â There is a spring-loaded, retracting hook at the bottom of the center column for hanging weight or a bag.Â The feet have spikes built in that you can retract with the rubber feet, depending on the floor or ground you are on.Â And my personal favorite feature over the 284CT is the fact that it has flip locks on the leg extensions instead of the twist locks.
From the Vanguard website, here are the specifications:
Extended height(mm): 1650
Extended height(inch): 65
Folded height(mm): 630
Folded height(inch): 24.75
Maximum loading capacity(kg): 7
Maximum loading capacity(lbs): 15.4
Titled Loading Capacity(kg): 5
Titled Loading Capacity(lbs): 11
Number of Leg Sections: 3
Leg Diameter(mm): 26
With a street price under $150.00 and after looking around online, I can see that I am not the only one who loves this tripod. You can read some great reviews (and find about the best price out there) here:
You can visit the Vanguard Website at: http://www.vanguardworld.com