Benro Versatile Transformer BRA2970F, £100
There's a lot to like about this smartly finished tripod that's made from aluminium leg sections with magnesium alloy castings, and comes complete with a stylish padded carrying bag.
Despite its downmarket selling price, there's no skimping in design or build quality. Trickery includes three-position multi-angle legs and a particularly good pivoting centre column system. The latter is very quick and easy to use, has a full 180 degrees of rotation, and features splines in the locking mechanism to keep the column really firmly clamped in place.
With a 10kg maximum load rating, the tripod is no lightweight and tips the scales at 2kg. It's longer than most when folded down, at 66cm, but extends to a useful 175cm maximum height with the centre column fully extended. A bubble level on the shoulder comes in handy, as does the supplied toolkit, if anything should need adjusting over time.
The clip locks for the three-section legs operate effectively, enabling very smooth leg extension and solid locking. Rigidity is impressive, even at the maximum operating height or when using the centre column as a horizontal boom. The platform to which a tripod head attaches features three grub screws, which further helps to ensure that everything is locked down tight. Overall, this Benro aluminium tripod is a very solid performer and excellent value at the price.