Photography News 69

Photography News | Issue 69 | photographynews.co.uk

61

First tests

Vanguard VEO 2 235CB £179.99

Specs

The Vanguard VEO 235CB is a really good travel tripod with great portability helped by clever design and carbon fibre to keep the weight down, although of course that means its price is relatively high at £179.99. However, I think the tripod could easily pay for itself in terms of the pictures it could get you when you don’t have or can’t be bothered to have your full-sized tripod with you. With the potential it offers the VEO 235CB is a very good buy. Pros Very compact, carbon fibre legs, versatile, comes with spikes and a low angle adapter Cons It is a travel pod so it has height/load limitations 150mm, again with no shake at slow shutter speeds. To be fair, on the days I used the tripod there wasn’t too much of a wind, just a gentle breeze, and nor did I do anything ambitious with it in terms of super long exposures – the longest I used was 4secs. WC Images The tripod folds down compactly and has been designed with the VEO GO34M bag in mind Verdict

Price £179.99

In the box Tripod, tripod bag, QS-64 quick release plate, spiked feet and low angle adapter Legs material Carbon fibre Load capacity 4kg (with T-50 ball head) Folded length 32.5cm (folded inverted) Leg sections Five, twist grip locks, rubber feet Leg angles 21°, 50° and 80° Max height (centre column down) 113cm Max height (centre column extended) 143cm Minimumheight 38cm – legs at 50° splayed position Bubble level One in the head Weight 1060g Head T-50 ball head, Arca compatible Plate fitting Arca, comes with QS-64 plate Contact vanguardworld.co.uk

The best tripod is the one you have with you but here’s the thing: tripods are not the most convenient things to tote around on the off-chance of a great picture so more often than not they are left at home or in the car boot. But here’s a Vanguard tripod that has the credentials to be your constant companion. The VEO 2 235CB is a five-section carbon fibre tripod that extends to a very usable 142cm with the two-section centre column fully extended and 113cm with the column down, folds down to just 32.5cm and weighs just over 1kg. It is designed with carrying in Vanguard’s VEO 2 bags in mind (I used it with the G034M tested below) but it would happily fit inside a backpack or other suitably sized shoulder bag. The tripod’s compact stature is due to its short leg sections, the top

ones measure roughly 14cm and the bottom 24cm. Legs are locked in place with twist grips which are easy to use and lock securely with minimal effort. Their only downside being the two lower ones are quite small in diameter so getting a firm grip is tricky – especially if the grips or your hands are wet. That said, even finger tightening is sufficient to ensure there is no leg slippage. The legs have three splayed lock positions, 21°, 50° and 80°. At 80° the centre column gets as low as 48cm, or 38cm splayed at 50° but a low angle adapter comes with the tripod and this gives a shooting platform just 20cm off the ground.

way an even lower camera position can be achieved. The supplied ballhead, in keeping with the tripod’s low profile, is quite small but locks firmly enough to hold a full-frame DSLR with a fast aperture zoom providing the combination is well balanced. You will run into camera shake issues or ballhead slippage if the combination is front- or back-heavy. I tried a Nikon D850 with 24- 70mm f/2.8 with no shake problems using exposure delay mode and in still conditions. I also tried a Nikon Z 6 with a 24-70mm f/4 and an Olympus E-M5 Mark II with a 14-

Should you prefer, the centre column can be quickly reversed by unscrewing the ballast hook, withdrawing the centre column and replacing the other way up. In this Vanguard VEOG034M £69.99

Specs

Images The bag has space for a full DSLR kit and a Vanguard VEO 2 GO travel tripod like the VEO 2 235CB tested above

Price £69.99

Colour

Black Laptop pouch 9.7in tablet Dimensions (internal) 34x10.5x23cm Dimensions (external) 35.5x13x25mm Weight 700g Contact vanguardworld.co.uk

I don’t specialise in any particular form of photography, hence I have a selection of bags and end up unpacking and repacking depending on what I’m off to shoot. So I have a medium backpack for scenic shoots, a bigger but hand-baggage sized backpack for travelling and a decent-sized sling bag for my full-frame DSLR-about- town. One bag type missing from my collection is a small shoulder bag for a decent-sized mirrorless outfit, with sufficient internal storage space for a travel tripod when I want to travel really light, but without wanting to compromise on picture opportunities. The Vanguard VEO G034M could be just the thing. It is a smart, slim shoulder bag with great credentials for urban shooting. It is nondescript (in a nice way!) and its zipped top flap folds out away from the body so access to kit is excellent without giving prying hands the same convenience. Running along

the full length of the bag is a lower compartment large enough for a Vanguard VEO 2 GO travel tripod (such as the one tested above) which means carrying a tripod discretely is no problem. If I go tripod-less the bottom supporting flap of this lower compartment can be removed – or I just use the space for a drinks bottle. In terms of kit, I packed a Fujifilm X-E3 with 18-55mm f/2.8-4 zoom plus extra lenses, the 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 55-200mm f/4-5.6. The front pocket is secured by two cliplocks and the interior has two sections; one was home for four spare batteries, cleaning cloth, powerbank and lead, the other for my 9.7in iPad. At the rear, body side of the bag is another zipped pocket and inside is a rain cover. This is also large enough for the tablet. The fitted shoulder strap is long enough for across the body use or normal off the shoulder use. The VEO GO235CB tested on this page fits snugly into the bottom

compartment. If anything it is a tad too snug and needs bit of a tug to get it out and a shove to get it back in. I’m very used to traditional shoulder bags with top flaps that lift up to allow access to kit. The VEO G034M zip-sealed top flap is hinged the other way so it folds out and means you can get at the contents really easily; and there’s even a zip running along the centre of the flap so that you can get at the contents easily even without undoing the flap. This helps with security too. As part of my test, I used this bag – loaded with the above Fujifilm X Series outfit – during our reader meetup in London and as a consequence ended up using it for around 12 hours, with the odd rest stop of course. I enjoyed using the bag. It just did its job without getting in the way. The only thing I would like to change is a slightly larger tripod compartment so that the pod would come out with less effort. This is a small thing but a fewmillimetres

Verdict

The Vanguard VEO G034M costs £69.99 so it is a reasonably priced camera bag and very good value for money. It is a fine bag on its own but combine it with the Vanguard VEO 2 235CB tripod and you have a combination that simply works very nicely together. Pros Compact, doesn’t shout ‘expensive kit in here’, fast to use, spacious enough for a decent mirrorless outfit. Cons Side pouch for water bottle would be good, tripod compartment is rather tight for the VEO 2 235CB tripod

One bag type missing frommy collection is a small shoulder bag for a decent-sized mirrorless outfit

would make all the difference. A small pouch for a water bottle at the non-tripod-flap end would be nice too. WC

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