Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Manfrotto Tripod Legs: 190 or 055 Series?


At Eagle Optics, when we help someone choose the best tripod for their use, we take these customer variables into account:

1. Height of tripod users
2. Budget
3. Scope body style (Straight or angled spotting scope)

In the Manfrotto line, for example, people often wonder whether to choose from the 055 series or the less expensive 190 series.

First, it's good to remember that the higher a tripod's center column is raised, the less stability your scope will have. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to skimp on tripod height.

I like to think of the 190 as the tough little sister of the 055. It is lighter weight, not as tall, and its legs are more slender than the 055, but that doesn't mean the 190 is inferior. We wholeheartedly recommend it in certain situations. Because it isn't as substantial as the 055, the 190 may not be as useful in windy conditions.

Some key points to help differentiate the tripod legsets are:

Both the 190 XB ($140) and 055 XB ($175) have lever leg locks that flip up and down for height adjustments; leg wraps cushion shoulders when carrying and protect hands from cold.

The 190 XDB ($105) and 055 XDB ($150) are almost a half-pound lighter than their XB counterparts; screw leg locks twist for height adjustments.

For some of us, having the lightest legset is paramount. If your budget can manage it, choose from Manfrotto's carbon fiber legsets, which are approximately 1 pound lighter than the aluminum models, but often twice the price. Carbon fiber is strong, lightweight, and has vibration-dampening properties that are superior to aluminum. In freezing weather, carbon fiber is not nearly as cold to the touch as aluminum.

For a better understanding of tripod basics, check out our short video, Finding the Right Tripod.   As always, we invite you to discuss tripods with one of us on the sales team at Eagle Optics! We're happy to help.

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff

1 comment:

  1. Just another "5-star" here. Well designed and made, like the "Manfrotto 322RC2 Horizontal Grip Action Ball Head with RC2 Rapid Connect Plate" I ordered with it. I'm convinced after a couple hours with this support/positioning system that I will be a better photographer through this investment in making the non-viewfinder end of my hobby transparent as possible.


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