Head-to-(ball)head: we compare some of the best stability options from Vanguard and Manfrotto


The Vanguard name is a familiar one among photographers, known for its range of hardwearing tripods, precise heads, and stylish and secure bags and cases. But birdwatchers and outdoor enthusiasts are abuzz about their sporting optics, too.

Vanguard VEO 2 range of tripods
Efficient and ergonomically designed

The new VEO tripods from Vanguard are built to be lightweight and compact without compromising on the stability, sturdiness, and quality you would expect from Vanguard. The VEO tripods are made from high-quality durable materials, including a 3K carbon-fibre body (the same level of carbon fibre used in race cars, bicycles, and watches), SAE 304 stainless-steel flip locks to maximize the load supported, and spiked rubber feet to ensure firm hold of any terrain you may encounter. Innovatively designed to quickly fold down into compact spaces in fewer than five seconds, the VEO tripods are ideal for photographers on the go. With a folded length of only 37.5cm, the VEO range can be safely stored and transported in your carry-on luggage or backpack. Meanwhile, an anti-shock rubber ring on the central column helps to absorb vibrations, and leg angles are easily adjustable to 20 degrees, 45 degrees, or 80 degrees with an ergonomically designed button.

Vanguard VEO 2 204AB tripod with compact ball head
Material                 Aluminium
Loaded capacity   4kg
Max. height           135cm
Min. height            17.5cm

Vanguard VEO 2 235AB tripod with compact ball head
Material                 Aluminium
Loaded capacity   6kg
Max. height           145cm
Min. height           17.8cm

Vanguard VEO 2 265CB tripod with compact ball head
Material                  Carbon fibre
Loaded capacity   8kg
Max. height            150cm
Min. height            18.4cm

To find out more, visit crknz.co.nz or head to your local photo retailer.


Manfrotto’s ergonomic and Italian-designed stability solutions have been supporting photographers since the ’70s.

Manfrotto 190 XPRO3 tripod
A stylish answer to stability

Manfrotto’s redesigned 190 XPRO3 range of tripods build on the success and popularity of the previous 190 series with quality hardware and convenient features that make them even easier to use. Set up is faster than ever with Manfrotto’s Quick Power Lock System that allows you to completely extend the tripod legs with just one hand. When the three leg sections and centre column are fully extended, the tripod reaches a maximum height of 160cm. Enlarged tabs on the individual leg angle selectors allow for shooting as low as 9cm for macro work with the column in horizontal mode, which itself is accessible whenever you need it, with simple one-finger operation.

Manfrotto XPRO 055 tripod
Suitable stability

Professional photographers can unleash their creativity with the Manfrotto XPRO 055 as the ergonomic design ensures great ease of use. With the XPRO 055, camera stability is guaranteed, as is extra locking power to the leg locks, which, in turn, increases the stiffness of the tripod and enables it to support a higher payload. The XPRO 055 is available in carbon-fibre versions, which provide extra camera stability and maximum transportability, thanks to increased rigidity and reduced weight.
The XPRO 055 range has an RRP starting from $406.99, and further information can be found at manfrotto.com.

Manfrotto BeFree Color travel tripod
The short and long of it

Featuring a lightweight aluminium construction, the BeFree Color checks in at a featherweight 1.4kg, but maintains durability and rigidity despite its collapsible frame.
The four-section inverted-leg travel-style design allows the tripod to compact down to just 40.9cm in length, meaning that it can fit within a carry case for storage or transport, yet is capable of reaching heights comfortable for most shooters. It can be set to any position ranging between its minimum height of 34cm and maximum of 144cm. Included with the tripod is a single-action ball head that allows the entire kit to support up to almost 4kg — enough for many DSLRs, camcorders, and mirrorless and compact cameras. The head utilizes a Manfrotto 200LT-PL Quick-Release Plate, which features a quarter-inch (6.35mm) screw compatible with most cameras.
Plus, with rubber feet that provide a more secure grip on almost any terrain and a ballast hook for increased stability when you need it, the BeFree Color by Manfrotto (RRP $319.95) is the ultimate travel essential.

Material                 Aluminium
Loaded capacity   4kg
Max. height          144cm
Min. height           34cm
Folded length      41cm
Weight                  1.4kg


Manfrotto Befree Live tripod
Set-up in a snap

The most compact video kit, dedicated to the videographer on the go, the Befree Live is a lightweight tripod that is easy to carry for video recording with a DSLR, compact system cameras, and small camcorders. Befree Live combines the design and ergonomics of the Befree family with the Manfrotto fluid drag system for smooth footage. It’s a great solution for vloggers and mobile journalists looking for a smart and compact solution for shooting high-quality videos.

To find out more, visit your local photo retailer.