She’s Got Legs…
The 190XPROB extends to a maximum height of 57.5 inches (146 cm) and shrinks to a height of 3.3 inches (8.5 cm), so again, pretty low. I’m about five-foot-nine, and at full extension, I just have to go on my toes to reach the eyepiece.
The two tripod sections per leg allow you to get everything in between the two extremes through the use of a set of sturdy leg locks. Just in case the locks loosen up, Manfrotto includes a tool that clips to a leg when not in use, that allows you to tighten them back up.
The bottom of the legs are tipped with rubber feet, allowing them to sit tight on most surfaces. The rubber seems to be of the slightly stickier variety which aids in its adhesion to more slippery surfaces. For those interested, I pulled the rubber tip off to see if there was some way to screw in spikes, but didn’t see any threading, just a big gaping hole. Sorry.
At the very top of the legs, you’ll find two foam grips. These are perfect for those chilly days where there is a chance that bare palms may contact the aluminum legs. Personally, I prefer gloves, but for those times where you forget them, you can still get the shot without freezing your palms to the tripod.
Steady As She Goes…
In order to check out the stability of the 190XPROB, we attached a Nikon D200 with a battery grip and a rather hefty Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 lens to the top of it. We kicked it, leaned on it and put it in all sorts of contorted, off center, positions to see if it would drop the camera. Thankfully, no one had to cry over spilt glass while the 190XPROB was attached and we were confident with its ability to hold up our gear. We also threw dirt on it to see if the mechanisms could handle some harsher conditions in the great outdoors. I actually think it looks better covered in dirt, and even dirty, the 190XPROB performed its duty and all the moving parts seemed to work just fine.
Granted, the 190XPROB isn’t as sturdy feeling as some ultra heavy tripods, or even the Manfrotto’s bigger brother, the 055X, but based on its reasonable 3.9 lb carry around all day weight, it was more than sturdy enough for most things you could throw at it. It’s one tripod that I wouldn’t mind carting around all day long.
So what do I think of the Manfrotto 190XPROB? I have to say that this product really sets the bar high for any other tripods that I will meet. I’ve really enjoyed using this tripod over the last few weeks and I’m struggling to stay impartial because I just really like what this product brings to the photography experience. Compared to some of the tripods that I’ve been toting around in the past (really cheap, bulky, plasticky things), the 190XPROB really adds a lot quality in construction and design. I know it’s only a tripod, so is it wrong that I think it looks sexy too?
The split horizontal center column was one feature that I really had to experience to gauge its usefulness. However, I was sold the first few times that I used it. Manfrotto has made this configuration so easy to setup that it really leads to spontaneous creativity. The horizontal column really takes the strain off your back too because you don’t need bend down all the time to get those macro shots. Just let the tripod do it while you worry about your composition.
Overall, the 190XPROB is a sturdy set of legs at a reasonable weight. I can carry it around all day. But more than that, the 190XPROB does it in style and adds useful features that help you bring out the best in your photography. If you are one of those guys with the “Big White Lenses” look towards the 055X, which is beefier, but heavier, while keeping the same features that make this tripod great. However, for the rest of us, you simply can’t go wrong with the Manfrotto 190XPROB.
- Only 3.9 lbs and still super sturdy
- Foam grips for those cold days where you loose your gloves
- Horizontal split column feature is extremely useful and easy to setup
- Positive locking mechanisms provide slip free performance
- High quality with solid metal construction.
- It’s not cheap, but neither is a Ducati Street Bike (or a Gucci Hand Bag)
Overall Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
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