Photography News 99 - Web

First test

PRICE: £299.99


This impressive support is a traditional tripod with carbon-fibre legs, twist-grip locks and a really handy maximum height Vanguard VEO3 263CB

IF YOU APPRECIATE the stability a tripod offers, the odds are you probably own more than one. You may have a heavyweight model for home shooting, a more compact unit for travel, and perhaps one for landscapes. If this is you, then you are not unusual – it’s why there are so many models available. Take Vanguard. Its range of support products sports a wide and innovative selection of tripods, designed for a broad array of needs, budgets and subjects. The VEO 3 263CB, priced £299.99, comes complete with a VEO BH-160S ball head. As a traditional full-size tripod, there’s no reverse-folding leg mechanism, nor MACC – Vanguard’s

innovative Multi-angle Centre Column. Yet, for your money, you get a solid pod, with a useful maximum height of 179.5cm. At this extension I have to use the camera monitor to compose. I rarely shoot at this height, but it can help keep verticals vertical in urban scenes, so you have to do less work in editing. I was recently working on a bridge over a busy road, and there was a grid fence. The tripod I had couldn’t get the camera above it, so I shot through it, which was far from ideal. In this case, the VEO 3 263CB could have given me all the height I needed. Stability at this extension is good, and while there is a bit of whip in the shoulder when twisted, I think the pod would be fine using a telezoom. I tried it with a Fujifilm GFX 50R and 100-200mm zoom for long exposures, using a remote release to take the shots. The tripod worked fine. At its most compact, the unit measures 74cm from its feet to the top of the camera plate. When opened out, the plate is 71cm off the ground. That’s a practical kneeling height when using a DSLR or the

camera’s EVF. You can utilise the next leg angle of 50°, which takes the camera platform down to 55cm without having to adjust the centre column, and this gives extra stability. For super-low viewpoints, unscrewing the ballast hook means you can remove the centre column, either replacing it so the head is below, or swapping it for the supplied low-angle adapter. Usefully, and not often seen nowadays, the centre column platform has three screws from FOOT LOOSE The rubber feet can be pulled off (they are a tight fit so need a little effort) and replaced with the supplied spikes. The twist leg locks work smoothly and the rubber grips provide good purchase

SPECS ›  Price £299.99

›  In the box 263CB, BH-160S ball head, quick-release plate, carrying bag, two hex keys, set of spiked feet, low-level column ›  Folded length 73.8cm ›  Max height (centre column extended) 179.5cm ›  Max height (centre column down) 146.5cm

underneath to stop the ball head from loosening while in use. The ball head itself is relatively basic and there is no tensioning screw, but you can control the head to some degree by carefully adjusting the twist lock. Seen in other Vanguard ball heads, the VEO BH-160S has a dual-axis mechanism. Once the ball head is correctly

positioned and tightened off, the camera plate can be loosened and rotated. Two bubble heads – on the top of the camera plate and tripod shoulder – help get the camera level. One leg can be removed and used as a monopod. With the head attached, the monopod measures 67cm – fully extended, this stretches to 149cm, ideal for me. WC

›  Min height 14cm ›  Ballast hook Yes ›  Monopod leg Yes

›  Leg material Carbon fibre (an alloy version is available) ›  Leg locks Easy-clean twist lock ›  Leg diameter 26mm ›  Leg sections Three ›  Leg angles Three – 20°, 50° and 80° ›  Max load 15kg ›  Reversible centre column Yes ›  Weight 1.9kg ›  Supplied head VEO BH-160S, dual-axis ball head ›  Arca-Swiss compatible Yes ›  Friction control No ›  Bubble level One on head ›  Contact

Verdict The Vanguard VEO 3 263CB is a great tripod, offering versatility and a high level of performance. Maintaining a tall camera position is simple, but if you want to get really low, reversing the centre column, or replacing it with the supplied low-angle adapter, can be done quickly. For £300, a traditional carbon tripod of this calibre is excellent value for money. PROS Useful max height, supplied with ball head, monopod option, ballast hook, slim profile, low-level options, head-locking screws CONS Quite long, so not ideal for attaching to smaller backpacks

PUSH IT IN Two leg angles – 50° and 80° – are possible, in addition to the default 20° setting. Access them with a push of a large button. At 80°, you need to swap out the centre column and replace it with the supplied low-angle adapter

Issue 99 | Photography News 43

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