As we all know, the tripod can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Too heavy and cumbersome and you will not use it; too light and unstable – your pictures will be ruined. For over ten years I have been extremely happy with my 055PROB, but the time has come to get something lighter but equally reliable. I have welcomed the arrival of the new 190 series, especially the carbon fibre 190CXPRO3 as it is lightweight, compact and offers important stability.
The tripod’s maximum height of 160 cm (135 cm with the centre column down) is more than I will ever need, taking into the account that I am of an average height and that the head plus the camera will add another 20 cm or so to the overall practical working height. At the other end of the scale, the tripod’s minimum height is 9 cm – ideal for the macro work that I do a lot.
The 3 section one is also very quick to set up. The legs can be set at four different angles: 25, 46, 66 and 88 degrees, which give me the required flexibility. The incredibly versatile Q90 degree section allows for the main column to be set in horizontal position. Changing position is very easy; first the column needs to be pulled up; pressing the red column button releases the column so that it can be pulled all the way up for it to be twisted into the horizontal position. The quick power locks on the tripod legs, thanks to their elongated levers and shapely curves operate incredibly smoothly; the tension of the locks is adjusted splendidly, allowing easy locking and unlocking, so precious when working in the cold environment.
When unlocked, the top section goes down with a pleasant swoosh, but the bottom section needs to be pulled out manually. At first I looked sceptically at the bottom section as the legs looked a bit slim. I shouldn’t have been alarmed though, as they are rock solid, thanks to the process called pull-winding used in production. The rubber feet are fitted as standard, with spiked and suction also available. One of the most important features of this tripod for me is its weight, at 1.6kg it is an ideal companion for my travels and it doesn’t weigh me down on longer walks in difficult terrain. It offers at the same time the most amazing sturdiness allowing me to shoot in the most challenging situations, like exposed cliffs on windy days. Apart from the travel and outdoor photography, I shoot a lot of nature and macro. A very handy Easy Link that can be attached to the tripod is like a third hand for me – it supports various accessories, like reflectors or diffusers, which are vital when photographing flowers. The other clever touch is a bubble level that can be rotated; it is especially useful when setting up the tripod in irregular positions when keeping the straight level is vital.
As a perfect companion to the tripod I have chosen 391RC2 Photo/Video Pan and Tilt Head. Its safety payload is 5 kg but it weighs only 0.57 kg. The versatile head is essential for me, as it independently controls each of the camera’s two axes of rotation: left/right and up/down. I prefer 3 way heads to ball heads that are often susceptible to slips under heavy weight; they are also ideal for my favourite photographic technique, the Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). This is an amazing way of taking photographs bursting with energy and verging on Impressionism, the technique that takes me on an inspirational journey through all the aspects of colour.
The combination of the tripod and the 3 way head allows me to achieve the best effects. The smooth head operation means I can employ steady movements in the horizontal or vertical directions using the exposure from 1/20 sec to some 4 seconds and in this way to create, not necessarily fully predictable, but nonetheless interesting interpretive images.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the new 190CXPRO3 and 391RC2 head; not only my landscape and nature photos will benefit from this perfect set but also my impressionistic images too. The tripod operates both reliably and smoothly; the 100% carbon fibre offers great resistance and quickly dampens vibrations. It is compact and lightweight but rigid at the same time. It is also functional, stylish and easy to set up. It is, without doubt, the best tripod for my daily use.
You can get more information and detailed specification of the tripod and head on Manfrotto site: