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PPE 2013: Hands-on with new Manfrotto 190 tripods

Oct 24, 2013 at 16:22 GMT

PPE 2013: Hands-on with new Manfrotto 190 tripods

We're at the Photo Plus Expo in New York, and this morning we got an opportunity to look at Manfrotto's new 190-series tripods. The 190 series has been among Manfrotto's most popular products for a long time, and the recently announced updates take up less space when folded, and add some interesting and well-thought-out improvements to the design. The tripods come in either carbon fiber or aluminum, with a choice of three- or four-section legs. 

In this image, you can see the tripod positioned low to the ground, with the head in its horizontal position, and an LED light screwed into the accessory port on the 'shoulder' of the tripod.

New Quick Power Lock section release clamps

One of the new ergonomic improvements that Manfrotto has made in its updated 190-series is redesigned Quick Power Lock leg clamps, which can be grasped with one hand and released all in one movement. The previous design limited you to releasing one leg at a time, and the clamps could be awkward (especially with cold fingers). 

This is the 4-section, Carbon version of the Manfrotto 190.

Redsigned articulating column design

The central column of the Manfrotto 190-series can be pulled up and 'out' of its mount, and rotated by 180-degrees. This provides more versatility when it comes to camera positioning, and allows you to set your camera securely, much lower to the ground. 

Redesigned articulating column design

Here's the stem at 180-degrees. The mounting plate for a ball or pan/tilt head is on the right in this picture. To put the stem back in its vertical position, you pull it out (to the right, in this case) until the red end is flush with the red metal collar, and simply pivot it back up, where it can slide down into its more traditional position.

Built-in accessory 'port'

Manfrotto's redesigned 190-series tripods feature an 'Easy Link' accessory screw-in port where the legs meet, which allows you to add various studio accessories. This could prove especially useful to photographers out in the field, allowing them to quickly attach portable lights, reflectors, etc., without needing additional supports (or assistance). 

New leg release clips

According to Manfrotto, the redesigned leg release clips are stronger, and easier to use than the previous designs used on older 190-series tripods. In normal use you won't need to reach for them them much, but when pulled down (as shown) the legs are unlocked and can be swung outwards allowing the tripod to sit almost flat on the ground (with the central column in its horizontal position, of course). 

Built-in rotating bubble level 

The new Manfrotto 190-series features a built-in rotating bubble level in a collar around the redesigned flat mounting plate. The redesigned, flatter plate takes up less space, contributing to the reduced size of the new tripods when they're folded up.