The tubes that make up the legs can be extended or reduced with the levers that serve to adjust them safely. They can fit perfectly in an area that presents irregularities, which is beneficial when you need to capture certain types of photographs. Features: XPROB tripod is easy to transport thanks to it has a folding capacity that reaches about This wonderful tripod has a special configuration, which is the horizontal type configuration for photographs that you want to take down, which is possible thanks to the plate that holds the camera safely. This plate supports a maximum weight of The latest tripods for DSLR is here.
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Newer version available! Instead it features a plate onto which you can mount a wide variety of optional heads to match your exact requirements. Together these four tripods dominate the sales charts as some of the best-selling models around, and for very good reason. Manfrotto is one of the most respected names in the business and these tripods represent a significant step-up from budget options.
Indeed after much research many photographers narrow their choices of a decent tripod down to these very four models, but then often struggle with their final decision.
Ultimately which one will be best for you? Note: Many thanks to Queenstown Cameras for the loan of an additional tripods during our tests.
A brief history of Manfrotto Today Manfrotto is one of the best-known and respected names in tripods, but how did it all begin, and why do some people know the products under the Bogen brand? Manfrotto found much of the studio equipment of the day cumbersome and neglected to include basic stands and clamps.
Spotting a gap in the market, Manfrotto produced a lighting stand, but only made a few units for friends. In , Manfrotto met Gilberto Battocchio, a mechanical engineer who helped him render his ideas and requirements into actual products, and in , the first commercial Manfrotto tripod was launched.
Over the next decade and a half the company grew significantly with manufacturing remaining in Italy. In , the entire Lino Manfrotto shareholding was bought by the British Vitec group with Lino and Gilberto remaining in the Management team. In , the Vitec group bought the French high-end tripod company, Gitzo, followed by the American photographic distribution company Bogen a year later. The Bogen Imaging distribution network steadily grew until early when the name was changed to Manfrotto Distribution throughout all the countries it operated in.
There are no fewer than 12 models in the current X family, divided equally between the and ranges. The and ranges are essentially identical other than their size and weight-handling.
The range is the bigger of the two, extending to taller heights and handling heavier camera systems, although this in turn also makes them bigger, heavier and more expensive. Taller people will also prefer the larger range, although some may be willing to compromise on total height in order to have the physically smaller, lighter and cheaper versions. Within each range you have the choice of carbon fiber or aluminium models, labelled CX or X respectively.
The carbon fiber models are also available with three or four leg sections, the latter folding-down to a shorter length for transportation, but at the cost of slightly heavier weight, greater flex and slower setting-up; look for the numbers 3 or 4 at the end of the model name to indicate the numbers of leg sections. Models without a number at the end have the standard three sections.
Models with this system have PRO in their names. At the other end of the scale are a pair of aluminium models which are unable to crouch as low as the others while also employing basic wing-nuts to lock their legs instead of the quicker push lever system; these cheaper models are designated with the letter D.
When shopping for and tripods, you may also find other variations or those sold under the Bogen brand, but these are generally older models. Simple when you know what it all stands for. The leg tubes and centre column are made of aluminium with a smooth finish. Aluminium is a traditional and familiar material used to construct tripods, so most photographers will know what to expect from the XPROB in terms of look, feel and weight.
The reason we mention this though is because the alternative CXPRO3 version built from carbon fiber looks and feels quite different. Upon closer inspection, the material and manufacturing process behind the carbon fiber tubes is evident by a series of thick diagonal lines which catch the light with organic-looking threads. The really important difference between carbon fiber and aluminium tripods though is their weight.
That makes the carbon fiber model almost one third lighter and you really feel the difference the moment you pick them up, let alone take them out on a job or a hike. The carbon fiber version is simply stiffer, and in our tests below, was also measurably superior when it came to damping vibrations.
A key advantage for carbon fiber. Anyone who shoots in cold conditions will know an aluminium tripod can become uncomfortable to carry and sticky to touch; indeed under extreme conditions you should avoid touching the metal surfaces at all with bare hands. Each tube is locked firmly in position by levers which can quickly be pushed in our out. At no point during our testing did we experience the tubes slipping when locked.
Like most aluminium tripods, the legs will extend under their own weight when unlocked, allowing you to be operational at full height within moments. Some will find this more convenient than carbon fiber tripods, which generally need to have their lighter legs extended and pushed back again by hand. Under extreme conditions, this may allow the aluminium XPROB to be fully extended or packed-away fractionally faster than the carbon fiber CXPRO3 version; those who operate in a hurry take note.
With the legs fully extended and set to their normal operating angle, the head plate is positioned cm from the ground. Extending the centre column takes the head plate to a maximum height of Fold the legs and column down, and the minimum length for transportation becomes The carbon fiber CXPRO3 version is almost identical in these regards, measuring 65cm when folded down, cm with the legs extended, and cm with the centre column raised. Both remain comfortably taller than the models though.
Height is one of the major differences between the and series. Certainly if you demand maximum stability but always find yourself having to extend the centre column to reach a comfortable operating height, then a larger tripod will bring a significant benefit. But conversely the taller height of the range makes them bigger to transport. Interestingly though, there may be a way to have your cake and eat it — at least with the pricier carbon fiber models anyway. Manfrotto offers alternative versions of the carbon fiber PRO and models with four leg sections instead of three.
But before you sign-up for a four-legged tripod, there are a number of compromises to be aware of. Most importantly the more sections, the less rigid and stable the entire tripod will be. Each joint will flex, and the necessity to squeeze a fourth tube into the third means this final section will be very narrow; indeed on the and models, the fourth leg tubes measure just 16 and The four-legged versions are also slightly heavier and a little more expensive than their three-legged counterparts.
In this leg configuration, the central column needs to be raised to its maximum height, or more sensibly switched to the horizontal orientation see below to clear the ground, although you can also replace it for an optional shorter column if desired. Alternatively you could go for the less extreme 65 or 45 degree leg angles, reverse the column and hang the camera below the legs. The tips of each leg are fitted with standard rubber feet, although optional spiked, suction or wide-diameter snow feet are available.
There are also mounting brackets for straps between the tops of the legs, but no carrying options supplied as standard. Bags are an optional extra. To switch the column orientation on the XPROB and other PRO models, first untighten the column wing-nut, before extending the column to its maximum height. Then press the spring-loaded button in the end of the column — this lets you push the column up further still until it pops through the top of the legs and into the oval section.
The column can then be lifted slightly further, allowing it to fall down 90 degrees into a horizontal position. It can then be pushed back through the oval section and locked as before using the wing-nut. To return it to the normal vertical orientation, simply loosen the wing-nut and slide the column to its maximum extension, before again pushing the button at the bottom to pop it through. You can then pull it out a little and raise it to its vertical angle, before finally pushing the column down to the desired height.
With the wing-nut loosened, the oval section may rattle a little disconcertingly, but once tightened it feels rock-solid and we never experienced any issues with slippage while testing. Unfortunately the button at the bottom of the column prevents the fitting of a hook to hang weights for extra stability. The entire centre column can also be removed and reversed for very low angles if desired, or swapped for an optional shorter version, allowing the legs to be fully widened without having the column extended.
These can be screwed on and off in a few seconds, and many photographers will own multiple heads for different applications. As mentioned at the start, one of the major differences between the and ranges are the weights each can handle. Given a typical head weighs between 0. Typical entry-level to mid-range DSLR bodies weigh between and g with battery. Typical semi-pro DSLR bodies with battery but no battery grip generally weigh around g, while top-end pro DSLRs with built-in grips rarely weigh much more than 1.
Each leaves a fair amount for a big lens. Basic kit lenses start at around g, while general-purpose or basic telephoto zooms are around g.
A fast mm f2. Even a mm f2. So technically speaking you could fit a mm f2. Beyond those who use larger format cameras or the biggest lenses, it really boils down to whether you want to operate close to or well within the limits of your equipment.
Certainly if you do have higher-end bodies and large lenses, the range will be much more suitable than the , but the latter will be more than sufficient for most body and lens combinations in general use. Even half the maximum load will accommodate some pretty high-end gear in a stable position. The bottom line is there may be a number of compelling reasons to choose the range over the , but few should honestly reject the latter for inadequate load handling alone.
The time taken to dampen these vibrations is critical to avoid shake on self-timer shots activated by hand rather than cable-release, not to mention for your own sanity as you make adjustments to a composition. This involved simply giving the grip-side of the tripod-mounted camera a sharp tap by hand and timing how long it took for the vibrations to dissipate and become imperceptible on-screen at high magnification.
This was repeated five times for each tripod configuration and the average time calculated to reduce variations in the taps. We also tested each tripod with their centre columns down and fully extended for comparison.
The choice of head obviously also plays a significant role in the stability of the system as a whole. We chose the Manfrotto HDV head pictured opposite for our vibration tests, which uses a fork to support the camera plate on both sides rather than just one side on a traditional three-way model. As for timing the vibrations, we wanted a high magnification system with live view for making the observations, and a movie mode to record them for presentation here.
First, a body of this size and weight represents the majority of DSLRs in common use. The resulting high magnification is a very demanding environment for any tripod, even when supporting a relatively light camera.
For the lens we once again opted for a popular focal length of mm, although due to availability the model used was the less common Canon EF mm DO. The Movie Crop function then effectively multiplied this by a further 7. So while the total load itself was a fairly modest 1. The target was an indoor flower arrangement at a distance of approximately 15m; with at an equivalent of mm, little more than one flower head was visible in the frame.
The location was inside the Queenstown Church we use for our standard low light camera tests; no-one else was in the building at the time and the tiled floor was absolutely steady. We timed the vibration dissipation on-location using the screen, but also recorded the results for presentation here.
Note the times quoted below and in the video are an average of five consecutive taps judged on-screen while performing the tests. The examples seen in the video may take more or less time to dissipate than the average time quoted, but still reveal the major differences between each model.
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