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There are so many decent tripods available, each with its own best this or best that. I’m just going to flat out recommended one of them – the Vanguard Alta Pro with the 263AB 100 Kit, which gives you the SBH-100 ball head in addition to the tripod itself.
You can argue with me that there are better tripods for this reason and for that purpose, but overall most people will be more than happy with the Vanguard Alta Pro. It will more than likely satisfy your tripod needs for a long time to come.
So if you’re in a hurry and just want to check the pricing and availability of this Vanguard tripod at Amazon, click the link just below.
If you want more details first, just keep reading. You can skip ahead to a certain section of this article by clicking a link in the box below.
What Are the Main Features of the Vanguard Alta Pro Tripod?
Before I even try to describe what this tripod can do, take a look at this video that shows you most of the possibilities. Note that the audio is not in English, but you’ll still get the idea.
As you could see if you watched the video above, the Vanguard Alta Pro tripod is really flexible. I don’t mean, of course, that the pieces bend when they shouldn’t, but that you can arrange the parts in just about any configuration imaginable.
One big use often mentioned is macro photography. When you want to get really close to your subject with a camera having a macro lens, you need to hold the unit really still. The best way to do that is with a tripod.
Often such a subject is low to the ground. The Vanguard can handle that situation with ease.
Of course, that’s not the only purpose for a good tripod like the Alta Pro. You may not be into macros and want to use it in a more standard fashion. This tripod has you covered there too.
It supports up to 15.4 pounds of equipment, so even many spotting scopes could be attached to the head.
As you may have seen above, the central column moves from 0 to 180 degrees, and you can adjust the 3-section legs to 25, 50, and 80 degree angles.
Everyone always wants (and usually needs) to know about the height. Will it be tall enough for me or will it be too tall?
Fully extended, the Alta Pro measures just over 68 inches – that’s 5 feet, 8 inches. It’s minimum height is 56 inches – that’s 4 feet, 8 inches.
When you open the flip locks and shrink everything down as far as possible, you get a folded length of just over 28 inches. Stick that in the carrying bag that’s included and you can easily transport this light weight (5.38 pounds) aluminum tripod wherever you need it.
What Are the Main Features of the SBH-100 Ball Head?
Vanguard says the SBH-100 ball head has a smooth “fluid-like” motion. Note that this does not say there is fluid within the unit, just that it’s like there is fluid inside.
The SBH-100 head is made of a magnesium alloy and has 2 bubble levels for those times when you need your camera to be perfectly straight.
It also has a fine-tuning function which would probably be most useful for macro photography, but you may find other uses for it too.
Finally, it has a “quick shoe” built in so you can work fast to attach a camera (or other device) when working with a subject that just isn’t likely to stick around very long.
You get a 2 year warranty on the whole assembly.
What’s the Verdict on the Vanguard Alta Pro?
I really pronounced the verdict at the top of the article. This is the tripod you should get. Don’t bother looking around, unless you have some really specific purpose in mind.
This assembly is the one of the best tripod and ball head combinations currently available. I suppose something better might come out in the future, but you don’t want to wait for something that may never materialize, do you?
Here is what one owner has to say about his Vanguard tripod.
“80% of my photography is indoor macrophotography. So far for that, this has been an excellent tripod.”
Many other users have similar thoughts about taking macros and using it for other purposes as well.