Light & stable tripod with a horizontal column?

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Prognathous
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Light & stable tripod with a horizontal column?
4 months ago

I currently own two tripods - a lightweight (0.9KG) but unstable Slik Sprint Pro which I take with me when traveling but hate the blurry results, and a heavy (3KG), stable and fully featured Giottos MT-9180 which I don't normally take anywhere because of its heft. I decided that instead of making these compromises, it would be a good investment to finally purchase a light yet still stable tripod instead. My main requirements include:

  • Light weight. Preferably 1.7 KG or less.
  • Short folded length. Preferably 55 cm or less. Short enough to fit in the luggage.
  • Column that supports horizontal orientation for macro and reproduction work.
  • Good height to allow at least occasional use of the viewfinder. Note that when using tripods I normally find live view with the screen tilted up to be very convenient, but there are cases where using the viewfinder is better. I'm 1.93m (6-4), so a tripod that reaches 1.70m would be good. It's obvious that most lightweight tripods would require the column to be extended to reach that height.
  • Retractable spikes
  • Bottom hook to hang a bag for more stability
  • Up to $350 for legs only, but would obviously prefer to pay as little as possible

I accept that no tripod matches all of these requirements, so I'm willing to make some compromises.

The candidates so far include:

  • Manfrotto 055CXPRO4. Has most of what I need, but costs $340 and bag/strap/spikes are all extra. Also, there's no bottom hook.
  • Manfrotto 190CXPRO4. Slightly cheaper and lighter version of the above. Same issues, but with the added minuses of lower height and less stability.
  • Benro A1980F. About as heavy as the 055CXPRO4, but not as tall. Costs half and includes all the goodies missing from the Manfrotto.
  • Oben CC-2310LA and Oben CC-2320LA. Priced similarly to the 190CXPRO4 but are taller (especially the latter) and are more stable. Include bag, strap and spikes, but not a hook. The catch? When folded they are even longer than my old Giottos.
  • Vanguard Alta Pro 263. Has it all and at a very good price ($130), but a bit heavy at 2 KG and like the Oben - too long. Still, at 2/3 of the weight of my Giottos it's a very tempting proposition.
  • Other nice tripods without a horizontal column. Benro A1580F (folds short, cheap and stable), Giottos MTL 9251B and Giottos YTL9253 (both are similar to my Slik but are supposed to be much more stable), and Oben CC-2300 (very light, nice features but short so not suitable for viewfinder use). I'm not convinced yet that I'm willing to give up on the horizontal column, so these are not my first choice.

I summarized the differences in this comparison table.

I'll be happy to hear opinions and recommendations.

Thanks in advance,

Prog.

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