Vanguard ABEO Pro 283AT, £205
The most obvious, standout feature of the ABEO Pro is its huge feet. Look a little closer and they turn out to be easily detachable snow shoes (or sand shoes if you prefer the beach). They're not necessary for most surfaces and are easily detachable to reveal regular rubber feet beneath. You can also pull these pads off to reveal metal spikes. Vanguard calls them '3-in-1 All-Terrain Feet'.
The three-section aluminium legs and extending centre column rise from 66cm when folded, to a maximum height of 160cm. The legs are almost as heavy as those of the Slik 700DX Pro, at 2.5kg, but have a smaller maximum load rating of 8kg. Vanguard's 180-degree pivot system for the centre column has been slightly refined, with a simplified lever for locking and releasing the pan mechanism. Three-position, multi-angle legs have similarly simple push-button locks, and there's a bubble level on the shoulder.
The tripod is quite resistant to flexing on the whole and the centre column pivot system is quick and easy to use. It has splines to enable secure locking, but isn't quite as firm as in the Benro and Giottos systems. There's worse news when it comes to the leg section locks. On our review sample, the lower sections contracted when applying fairly low pressure, even with the clip locks fully closed. The only way we could stop this happening was to tighten the adjustment nuts very significantly, using the supplied spanner.