So which is the best budget tripod available?
Most of the tripods impressed us by giving sturdy, stable support without being monstrously heavy to carry around. The Jessops Major carbon fibre tripod was rather flimsier and more prone to flexing than others but, then again, it's much lighter than most.
The only other carbon fibre tripod in the group is the Hama Omega Carbon II, but this is surprisingly heavy and lacking in advanced features, such as a pivoting centre column.
The Manfrotto 055XPROB and 496RC2 ball head proved extremely stable, but the pivoting centre column facility was comparatively limited, meaning you can only use it in vertical or horizontal orientation.
We really liked the legs of the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH kit, but found the pistol grip less flexible than other head designs.