175 of 179 people found the following review helpful
solid yet lightweight german engineering,
This review is from: Manfrotto 190XPROB 3-Section Aluminum Pro Tripod (Camera)
the manfrotto 190xprob may be the best prosumer tripod legs on the market. that is to say, if you need more tripod than this, you're either a wildlife pro or a serious amateur with some long prime lenses.
the 190xprob replaced a cheap VidPro with a plastic head that was very creaky and required overt carefulness. the difference is really astounding, and when you factor in the durability -- i expect this to last for many years-- the added expense over the cheapies is well-justified.
at first glance the 190xprob has that mercedes/bmw look: smooth, clean, symmetrical, steely, with style for days. seriously, this is a good looking pair of legs.
the design is top-notch. manfrotto didnt cut any corners in terms of ergonomics or materials. the fliplock leg extenders clamp solidly yet open fluidly. the piece de resistance is the center column, which easily slides up and extends horizontally for macro or close up work at low angles. a press of a button and the legs hyperextend for extreme low angles, and easily snap back into place.
the whole thing looks and feels solid. but it only weighs four pounds -- light enough for a hike but probably not the best choice for a long vacation (although it will fit diagonally into a 22" carry-on if you're that determined).
manfrotto has seemingly thought of everything -- there's a bubble spirit level right where you need it, foam leg warmers on 2 of the sections, and even a hook for a sandbag or similar weight for use in windy conditions. you can get all sorts of accessories too, like spiked feet, an m-bag, etc.
i tested the horizontal column with a nikon d300 w/ grip and a sigma 50-150 -- probably about a good 5-6 pounds. the key to horizontal extention i soon learned was putting the extended arm directly over the front leg to ensure balance. i wouldnt recommend this for non-level ground, though. in horizontal mode, the arm can be swung around, shortened, or tightened instantly. it feels pretty solid vertically, although you wouldn't want to raise it up all the way with a heavy camera + lens combo.
the maximum height is 57 inches or so, and the thing folds to 22". when folded it makes for a compact package that's ergonomically easy to carry, even in one hand. it also fits into the webbing of the canon deluxe photo backpack that's available on this site too.
if you need a lighter, smaller tripod for travel or hiking, check out the velbon luxi which is 12" folded and weighs 1.6 lbs, or the gorillapod slr. if you need a slightly bigger tripod, the next step up, the 055xpro, goes to 72" and can hold 15 lbs., but weighs 5.3 lbs, and has otherwise the same features.
of course you still have to buy a head, and here you have a choice between ballheads, panheads, and action grips. manfrotto makes solid heads -- i have the 488RC4 ballhead and the 3232 swivelhead -- which you can use on other tripods or monopods as well.
the 190xprob gets: one star for design, one star for features, one star for ergonomics, one star for combination of weight and load capacity (11 lbs total w/out head), and one star for price -- it's not cheap but a value compared to more expensive tripods. that's five stars, folks.
bottom line: manfrotto has done it again with an innovative, stylish, and functional unit. at 4lbs., the 190xprob is right in the middle of the support "sweet spot" -- sturdy enough to shoulder a load with confidence, yet light enough and reasonably compact for field work. the price is about right for a quality aluminum 'pod -- the cheaper ones are less well-made and/or can't hold as much, and the carbon fiber ones cost 3-5x as much, and shave only a pound/pound and a half or so off of weight. that would make a difference on a multi-day excursion or a serious hike, but for "serious casual use" this manfrotto is great. it has a 'pro' look and pro features, and for the price it's hard to beat.
recommended for a d300 and up to a 70-200 or 80-400 lens. anything bigger and you're probably looking at carbon fiber territory.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 29, 2009 6:42:56 PM PDT
Lawrence C. Chan says:
manfrotto isnt german, they are italian
Posted on Jul 28, 2010 1:14:07 AM PDT
Is this tripod compatible with any SLR model? I have a Sony Alpha that I would like to use with this.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2010 4:34:33 PM PDT
Sure it's compatible, good choice for your Alpha. But you do need a head for it, and for still photography I highly suggest a ball head. The 496RC2 is a great match for this tripod. The 498RC2 is bigger and beefier but also forty bucks more. You'd want that if you have bigger heavier lenses like the white G series. Otherwise, the 190XPROB with the 496RC2 ball head is a great rig.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2010 10:36:07 PM PDT
Mary Capps says:
Posted on Sep 23, 2010 10:45:46 PM PDT
Mary Capps says:
Mr, Arnold, I found your review to be very helpful. I've been looking for a decent tripod without having to take out a second mortgage on my house and you seem to have helped me find what I'm looking for.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2013 9:19:39 PM PST
The rest of the story:
Herr Frotto from Swachendazenburken Germany was kidnapped by the Italians during WWII where he was held captive for years, forced to design tripods for the Italian made UZI machine guns. His machine gun tripod design lives on today as camera supports. They still talk about that man Frotto back in the beergartens of Swachendazenburken.
Oh, and you people thought UZI was made by the Israelis - wrong - I will tell you the story someday about Uletto Zambogini Ignacio, the famous Italian gun maker.. Very sad.
Sheezh learn your history people !
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