Vanguard VEO 265AB Tripod Review
I recently picked up the brand new aluminium Vanguard VEO 265AB tripod as a replacement for Vanguard’s well regarded Alta Pro 263AT. And I must say, after two weeks, I’m thoroughly impressed.
This unit is small (39cm when folded), yet still extends to 1.5 metres high. The folding mechanism is quite innovative – depress a small metal button and the central column folds down so the ball head sits beside the tripod feet.
The included TBH-50 Arca compatible ball head has been a joy to use so far. The knobs are large (no problem when wearing gloves) and the unit operates smoothly. I do wish the degree markers on the head were a little more well defined though. When constucting panorama’s in the dark, it can be hard to understand exactly how many of the 5 degree marks you are incrementing by.
Back to the tripod, I’ve been very pleased to see that Vanguard has adopted the ability to tighten most of it’s components. Importantly, this extends to the upper legs, so you can now restrict the legs from inadvertantly collapsing into the central column and squashing your fingers. My previous Alta Pro suffered from loose legs so it’s good to see the Vanguard listening to its customers. However, I’m not so happy about the decision to remove the hook from the central column. I’d often hang my camera backpack from this hook to help mitigate movement in windy conditions. However, I suppose you can always attach a tripod hammock and plant some rocks there.
The other minor issue is that, with four leg locking mechanisms per leg, the tripod takes slightly longer to set up than tripods with just three levers. But if that’s a price to pay for the small size, I’ll take it. It is pleasing though to see levers maintained instead of twist locks – although this is just my personal preference.
At only a fortnight into my usage, it’s a bit early to perform a thorough review. I notice that the legs are quite thin, at 26mm, so I’m hoping the unit will keep my DSLR gear steady for the really long exposures. So far I’ve had no problems.
Weighing only 1.68 kg, the tripod has lessened the weight of my gear appreciably. And if that’s not light enough, you can always go for the smaller aluminum Vanguard VEO 235AB or the carbon version, the VEO 265CB. The weight on the wallet is reasonable too, at around $300 NZ.
If you’ve got any questions, post them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Meanwhile, the below panorama of 30 second exposures are typical of the type of images I’ve been creating with the help of this great little tripod.
2+ months into my ownership, I’m still happy with the tripod. A few more points I’ve noted since the above review:
- I wish there was foam on all the leg uppers, as there was with the Alta Pro. There’s only a rubber outer on one of the legs. When holding the unit and hiking over inclement terrain, you’ve only got one leg that provides a descent grip.
- The tripod has provided good use and still feels robust. Nothing has slackened off in any way. I had a mishap, tripping on black ice and landed heavily on the VEO upper, just below the ball head. Apart from divots in the alloy, no damage has been done.
- I’ve made some images which I’m quite happy with (more Milky Way panoramas!). In one of these images there was quite a breeze blowing, and the tripod stayed solid: