Customer Reviews

81
4.7 out of 5 stars
Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 4-Section Pro Carbon Fiber Tripod without Head
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100Change
Price:$339.95 - $494.65
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95 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2009
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100
I chose this tripod because of its light weight and very small size when collapsed. I travel a lot and was looking for the best combination of lightness, compactness, and versatility in a tripod that would still fit in carry-on luggage. I have not yet flown with it but I will update this review when I do.

I don't often get the happy experience of a product exceeding my expectations, but this tripod does. To the extent that something as simple as a tripod can be loaded with thoughtful little details, this one is. The center section has an unobtrusive hook for hanging things off the tripod (like a weight to give more stability, or your camera bag) and an equally unobtrusive loop for tying things to the tripod or vice versa. Almost everything is adjustable--tension on the leg sections can be adjusted with an included key that snaps onto one of the legs for storage. The center post switches from vertical to horizontal in literally a second or two. It seems to be the product of a long learning curve informed by real-life experience. Working with other tripods I have frequently thought, "Boy, it would sure be nice if this tripod did X." The 190CXPRO4 does X, and Y and Z to boot.

A word on stability. This tripod is about as sturdy as it is possible for something in its class to be. It makes all the cheap photo tripods I've ever used look laughable. That said, it is still an under-four-pound skinny-legged thing with no spreader or chains, so don't expect the same level of solidity you'd get from a surveyor tripod. On the other hand, good luck finding something this sturdy that folds down to 20 inches and weighs less than four pounds, or something this versatile at any size. Just be aware that there IS a tradeoff involved.

With a big ball head and five pound spotting scope perched on top, damping times from vibrations are in the 2-3 second range, which is not just acceptable but darn near miraculous considering the scope+head outweigh the tripod by a factor of 3 to 2. When I'm trying to observe the fiendishly skittish hummingbird in the tree next door, it's very nice to be able to just pick up the whole rig with one hand, walk across the yard, plunk it down and be back to observing in less time than it takes to write.

Recommended not just for photographers but also birders and amateur astronomers looking for exceeding lightness, strength, and versatility in a grab-n-go setup.
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85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2008
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100
The real choice is between the three section model (pro 3) which is lighter and less money but longer when collapsed. I went for the compactness of this four section tripod and it has proven a good choice. Compared to other carbon tripods this one wins on functionality and quality for the money. The ability to shift the center column to horizontal, upside down and all ways in between is tremendously easy. So too are the locking catches that allow you to spread the legs to different angles with a push of the catch. My only complaint is the lack of spike feet. Instead the legs are terminated by cheap rubber caps that will wear out quickly when used on irregular hard surfaces outdoors. I was unable to find alternate feet that are available for 16mm diameter legs of other Manfrottos (the bottom legs are 11mm on the pro4). Hey Bogen you got to fix this for that much money.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2008
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100
Bogen-Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 4-Section Pro Carbon Fiber Tripod without Head

After months of researching tripods the choice came down to the Manfrotto 190CXPRO4. The flexability of the Manfrotto system coupled with the ability to customize to a configuration that suits any shooting situation is perhaps the best feature of the product. The equipment is engineered using the best materials under the closest tolerances. I shoot both a DSLR (Nikon D300) and Medium Format (Hasselblad) film camera. This Tripod and the choices of heads allow you to lighten your load and customize your platform to fit your gear. Price will keep buyers to serious photographers or professionals.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2009
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100
These sticks are small enough when folded (just under 20") to fit inside a rolling luggage cart (overhead storage on the plane) but sturdy enough to hold everything but the heavier teles. Carbon fiber is a must if you plan to lug around your tripod - this set is very light (3lbs.) but has a rigid feel. It pays to spend an extra hundred and get good material.

Of course there are better legs out there. These sticks are made for eager amateurs and professional hopefuls - aluminum is just too heavy to carry all day, even though they're generally only another 1 or 2 pounds heavier. That little bit makes all the difference.

This set has some nice features, especially the center column, which can be used for very low shots. Kick the legs all the way out, mount your camera and you've got quite an interesting perspective, very close to the ground.

I also like the flip levers - not a fan of the twist locks. These levers are well-built and look like they'll take years of abuse.

The only thing preventing a 5-star review are the feet. I don't think they're "cheap" as others have called them, but they're pretty basic rubber bottoms, nothing more. Bogen/Man sells "all-weather" shoes for the Pro4 but no spikes, at least none I've found yet.

That said, I was on the sand in Myrtle Beach for a week and this tripod had no problems negotiating that or the mud in the marshes. I bought this on a Wednesday and by Thursday night it had been exposed to salt water, mud, sand, early-morning dew, fog and then strong sun for 8 or 9 hours - not to mention tons of bugs.

For the price I doubt you'll find any other 100% carbon sticks with a center column that rapid-shifts for portraits.

[....]
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100Verified Purchase
This is my first expensive tripod and is a great tripod. Very well constructed and very easy to use. It is also light and doesn't tire me down when I carry it on my trip.

One lesson I learned is this tripod doesn't like sand. When I went to the beach, I stuck it in the sand without extending any parts trying to get a low angle shot of the pebbles and the ocean, but only to find out that sand got into the joints and left scratches on the legs. Definitely my own fault. I was lucky enough to have come across a camera shop in the town I traveled to and the shop owner used an air compressor to blow most of the sand out. After that, I always extend the last (thinnest) leg sections before sticking it to sand or mud or anything, keeping the joints away from the harmful elements.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2012
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100Verified Purchase
The tripod I replaced with this tripod cost less than $50, and weighed about the same. It had a quick release mount, and worked well for panning during shooting of video's. This tripod was insanely more expensive, doesn't come with a head at all, and if you want a good video panning head you'll need to buy that separately from a good ball head.

The point is that once you go down the Manfrotto or Bogen path the increase in cost is simply not justifiable from a rational standpoint, but I am going to tell you from an irrational standpoint it is every bit worth the money. Irrattional in that you really need to care about photography and all of the finer details. Photography must be a serious hobby at this point because if its not the extra money is not worth it, and just because you own a digital SLR does not make you a serious hobbyist either.

Am I glad I purchased? Yes, and here's why:
1. Build quality, there is next to no wiggle of the camera when it's mounted on tripod.
2. Articulating center column. Allows the center column to shoot 90 degrees from legs. Allows you to place the camera at angles that cannot be achieved with a standard tripod. Excellent for macro photography and other weird oppurtunties you may get yourself into.
3. The versaility of the Manfrotto plate system is excellent. I have a plate on my camera body and one on my telephoto lens and the versaility is amazing. No matter what situation I am in I can quickly attach to a tripod or a monopod in just a few seconds, never having to take something off or put something one like I always had to with my old tripod. Also, the plates are small and don't get in the way so you don't mind leaving them on your equipment all the time.
4. The heads that are available are amazing and are all top rate. The head I use for still photogrphy is really exactly what you'd expect from a professional tripod.
5. Tripod is compact. Slightly smaller than my old tripod but extends higher and is very firm.

Downsides:
1. Not really any lighter than my old tripod even though its carbon fiber. Why? It does extend higher, but more so the heads are heavy if you don't buy a magnesium head. I couldn't talk myself into that. My head alone cost $30 more than my old entire tripod, there is only so far one can talk himself into going for a hobby.
2. Need to buy a separate head for video if you do that a lot. I shoot video, but I'm OK with using my still photography head for shooting video. Panning is not great but it works.
3. Cost, dang the cost of this tripod and head vs. my old one is like 10X!

So is it worth it is the question? Only if you get use out of the features the pro quality tripod brings you. Is it more stable? Sure, but not 10X. Personally, I love the added features I've never had before in a tripod, and I think its worth it because I spend alot of time shooting just for fun. Certainly not an item however that I couldn't live without.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2012
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100
I should have bought this tripod first. Instead, I went with the 190XPROB (the three-section aluminum model in this line). That's a fine tripod, too, but it is nearly a pound heavier--which is noticeable while travelling or hiking--and it does not collapse as short as this four-section model.

This carbon four-section model feels equally stable and is supposed to do a better job than aluminum of dampening vibration. I can tell you it did a fine job holding my D800 for a ninety minute exposure (for circumpolar star trails) while in a fast running stream. Seems pretty good to me.

If you're trying to economize or not going to travel with your tripod, then the 190XPROB is fine. Otherwise, get this one.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2009
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100
I also have a Manfrotto 3021 tripod which is fine but a little long & heavy for hiking with.
I have 2 Lowepro camera backpacks - both with attached tripod carrier and the 190CXPRO4 folds up small, is much lighter
and makes my hikes much easier.
It also is more flexible & quicker to adjust for getting down low for macro shots or pulling the center column
out to position/angle for other shots. I had a recent shoot that I was standing off to the side on top of a waterfall
and was able to adjust the tripod so that it was overhanging & positioned directly over the waterfall.
I did add a bit of weight to the tripod but it was good & sturdy and made for an easy shoot. I would have liked the Gitzo
but at over twice the price, I dont see twice the quality and am very happy with the price & performance of this tripod.
I carry it with me everywhere and so far I have not encountered any problems. It opens/closes and adjusts quick & easy.
Works with my Canon 100-400mm L lens and with my Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic Ball Head, makes for a sturdy combination.
[...]

Update: Well after 3.5 years of continual use, one of the legs popped out as I was extending them to set up a shoot. It still functions but not as sturdy as it was. I will contact Manfrotto and ask what they suggest I do to get this fixed. Changing my rating down to 4 stars.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2008
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100
This is a good tripod. The reason I bought this tripod was because I needed a smaller tripod than 055PROB I have. I could not fit the 055PROB into my luggage bag due to it's size and the weight gonna be quite overbearing for me in the long run if I am on a trip that needs a lot of walking. So here I was, contemplating on the 190XPRO3 or on this one. The weight of the CARBON FIBER and the compact height of the FOUR SECTIONS got me to the 190CXPRO4.

So when I got it in my home, I was trying out the tripod. I was a bit disappointed with the rubber footing they use. Considering I paid quite a good amount of money for it, they could have included a better rubber footing.

I have yet to try it out on a field trip, but the bottom section of the leg looks thin and flimsy, I am wondering if it might snap or not. But since I chose a 4 sections tripod over 3 sections, I supposed this is to be expected and I trust Manfrotto won't sell me a lousy product.

I am looking forward to try out this tripod. I am going to Shanghai soon, and hope that this tripod might helps me with a return of more good pictures.

Overall, I like the height and the weight of this tripod. I won't say I love it because it does have its flaw, but it still one of the better tripod I have seen around.

I am currently pairing it with 486RC2 head because it's more compact than the 322RC2 head (which is paired with my 055PROB), and it fits nicely in my Manfrotto tripod bag.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2009
Style Name: Without Kata GearPack 100Verified Purchase
After upgrading from a SuperZoom Point and Shoot to a Canon 50D DSLR, I found my cheap tripod didn't handle the extra weight. After researching several brands, I settled on Manfrotto. Then I just had to decide on a model. I was going to try and save a few bucks and get the aluminum model, but decided on spending the extra money to get the lighter and smaller Carbon Fiber model. I paired this with the Manfrotto 486RC2 ballhead.

Once I set this tripod up and set it on the floor, I became aware of how sturdy a tripod could be. It appears to be extremely stable. My longest zooms become rock steady after only a couple of seconds after releasing the camera. The bottom sections of the legs are extremely small, but they do not appear to flex at all.

With the center column extended all the way up, the tripod still seems plenty steady. I don't go that far up, since I'm only 5'5" and don't need the extra height. Raise it up another inch, and the column can be rotated to be parallel with the ground. I can see how this would be useful if you want to take photos straight down. I can also see it being useful when you want camera to be a few inches away from the tripod, like when shooting out of a window.

Overall I extremely pleased with this purchase and would highly recommend this to my friends and family.
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