Vanguard Alta+ 203AP - £85/$100
Only slightly larger and heavier than mini 'travel tripods', the Vanguard Alta+ 203AP weighs in at just 1.4kg, complete with the supplied three-way head, and collapses down to 57cm. It certainly gets around the problem of leaving your tripod at home because it's too big and heavy, and not having it with you when you really need it.
Despite the lightweight build, there are some nice design touches. The downsized three-way head is firm and solid, and attached to its mounting platform with the addition of three grub screws for solidity.
Simple, push-button locks enable three alternative leg angles, there's a removable weight hook to enhance stability and the centre column can be easily inverted for ultra-low-level shooting.
The addition of a bubble level on the camera platform, just behind the quick-release plate, makes it easy to level the camera itself.
The lightweight build impacts on the maximum load rating, which is a mere 2kg. Even so, and despite the spindly legs, stability isn't too bad. It can't match the big boys in the group, but it's still adequate for a DSLR with a standard zoom lens or budget telephoto.
For thin legs, the ease of extending and contracting each section is also very good. If carrying weight is a big issue, the little Vanguard Alta+ 203AP eases the load.