Well it’s been said before but when it comes to tripods, you almost always get what you pay for, previously I had paid almost nothing! the tripod I have used until recently was a Hama Star 61, which was very cheap and rather unstable! it has worked OK for a lightweight point and shoot camera (if the central column was not raised) but it just didn’t cut it with a heavy bridge camera or DSLR mounted let alone one with a long telephoto lens! So I recently shopped around for a suitable replacement, so what was I looking for? well stability of course but there were a couple of other criteria that had to be met, I wanted a model that had a central column that could be easily inverted and also legs with maximum angle adjustment, the models I checked out that were within my budget (1500 > 2000 SEK, about £135 > £180 ) were from Velbon, Cullmann, Manfrotto and Slik, it was not so easy to check them out against each other because one shop would have one or two different models on offer from a couple of manufacturers but none had them all!  but after a lot of fiddling around with the different models on offer I chose a Manfrotto model MK294A3-A0RC2,  which is a kit tripod complete with a ball head, this ticked all the boxes, the legs can be splayed from the standard maximum angle by turning a locking lever at the top of each leg, the central column is easily inverted and stability is really good, there is a down side though, it is an all metal construction (aluminium) with minimal use of plastic so the construction is quite heavy 2.3kg, but for the use I put it to this is not a problem, otherwise I am pleased with the construction it has a nice “feel”, the camera mounting plate locks into place using a safety mechanism so you can’t release the camera from the tripod by mistake! the ball head is very smooth and they have even thought about including a tool which is clipped onto one of the legs for adjusting the leg lock tension, if this should start slipping after a lot of use. The final price was 1490 SEK  about £135, it can be bought cheaper on-line but I try (as long as the price difference isn’t ridiculous) to support the camera shops, (while they are still around!), as you can understand from the above I have no problem recommending this tripod.

Legs splayed, column inverted all set for macro work

Legs splayed, column inverted all set for macro work

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