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PPE 2013: Hands-on with new Manfrotto 190 tripods

By dpreview staff on Oct 24, 2013 at 16:22 GMT
PPE 2013: Hands-on with new Manfrotto 190 tripods
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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.


Total comments: 18
Chris J Newman
By Chris J Newman (6 months ago)

I’m looking for a tripod that is light and compact to carry, but versatile, with features such as tilting and inverting the centre column for close-ups of small flowers, etc.

The Manfrottos look tempting. I would choose a 4-section carbon. The old 190 is shorter than I would like. I see the new 190 and 055 offer almost identical weight and height, but the 055 has larger diameter legs, which I would expect to be more rigid. Does the new 190 have any striking advantages to counter its skinny legs?

By TwoMetreBill (6 months ago)

For a Nikon D300S and Sigma 180 macro, I found this rig to be insufficiently sturdy and went with the Manfrotto 055XB. Heavy yes but I stop so often to take pictures that it is not really noticeable.

I use the Manfrotto 3275 Gear head (replaced by 410jr). Tripod and head weigh 126 oz (7 lbs 14 oz) or 3.6 kg.

While the light Manfrotto ball heads lack stiffness and security, I found the 498 to be both sturdy and secure. There is a safety catch on the release lever so that it takes 2 hands to remove the camera. Though, this is a heavy head, it compares favorably against heads costing twice as much.

Sometime in the next few months, I hope to have the opportunity to do some wildlife photography with a Sigma 50-500 on my D300S. I will bring both the gear and ball head for some parallel testing. My GUESS is that I'll be sticking with the gear head for landscape work and the ball head for wildlife. Yes a gimbal head would be nice but any under about $600 seem to not work that well.

By CameraLabTester (6 months ago)

The Vanguard Alta Pro 263 AB is a better design because the tilt shaft swivels around like a telescope at all angles of the sphere and not just 90 degrees.


1 upvote
By PowerG9atBlackForest (6 months ago)

Too many dots here and red rings there, eyecatchers everywhere.

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
By MarshallG (6 months ago)

First thing, I buy a solid black strap -- none of this yellow "Nikon D90" or red "Canon EOS 5D" strap for me!
Second thing, out comes the electrical tape. I cover the brand name and the model name on the body and lens cap.

Judge me by my gear, will you?

By Superka (6 months ago)

There is no spikes, so this tripods are not for landscape photography.

1 upvote
By TheDman (6 months ago)

I do all landscape photography, and my tripod doesn't have spikes.

By onlooker (6 months ago)

It would be nice for DPR to run a field comparison of best tripods and heads, preferably in challenging conditions.

By offertonhatter (6 months ago)

I like the idea of the accessory "port" but not enough to replace my existing 190XPRO tripod. The ability of moving the the centre pole to horizontal is already on my tripod, but the join looks stronger.
Nice update on an already good tripod Manfrotto.

By facedodge (6 months ago)

I have a 190 series tripod. The new leg locks seem like the most useful feature.

1 upvote
By DuxX (6 months ago)

I love much more twist lock system than this with clamps.

1 upvote
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (6 months ago)

Love the "tripod from Mars" look :-)

I had the 190 for a while and my only complaint was the weight. It was otherwise excellent. I hate the RC2 connector that comes on included ball heads, but I would never buy another Manfrotto ball head anyway so problem solved. Just buy the legs and add a nice ball head from Markins or equivalent.

1 upvote
Bill Bentley
By Bill Bentley (6 months ago)

I have the 190 and agree about the weight, although as we know heavier for tripod can be both good and bad (wind). I received an RC2 plate with my Manfrotto monopod and also agree that it's not the best means of locking down a DSLR.

After much research I decided on a Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head vs ballhead and it came with a RC4 plate system. Much, much better connection. I'm in love with the 410 for all my landscape and still life photography.

Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (6 months ago)

@Bill -- I totally agree about the geared head. I've wanted one of those for a long time because it makes fine adjustments a trivial thing. Ball heads are good for quick changes, but precision is not their strong point at all. However, I am now more interested in trying out a fluid head for video ... sadly, in this hobby / profession the number of excellent toys exceeds the available funds for almost everyone :-)

By guamy (6 months ago)

In this case three legs only is easier to set up standing than four.

By DanielFjall (6 months ago)

First image fooled you?

Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (6 months ago)

There's no such thing as a 4 legged tripod, it would be a tetrapod :)

By RichRMA (6 months ago)

The leg clamps appear to be metal, which is good since I've had a couple small Manfrotto products where the plastic leg clamps just crack at stress points.

Total comments: 18