Giottos MTL9251B - £85/$128
A little on the small side compared with the bigger Giottos tripods, the Giottos MTL9251B stretches to a modest maximum height of 161cm with the centre column fully extended.
The leg sections are also thin, which at least makes the carrying weight quite light at just 1.5kg (100g less than the Benro C297EX). This also has an impact on load capacity, however, which is a distinctly average 5kg.
There's no pivot facility for the centre column, but at least it's easy to invert the column, which comes with a rotating ring on its base to avoid accidental removal. Overall build quality is high, as expected with Giottos, and the tripod comes with a tool pouch for making any necessary adjustments to the tension of locks and adjusters over time.
The Giottos MTL9251B is reasonably firm, and flexing is quite restrained given the thin leg sections. But, as is typically the case with thinner legs, they catch a bit when telescoping and lack smoothness when sliding in and out.
The simple push-pull mechanisms for selecting any of the three adjustable leg angles work well, and the rotary clamp for locking the centre column is equally simple and effective. A bubble level on the tripod collar aids levelling.
Even so, unless you need to travel light, the bigger Giottos MTL9361B offers much better value for money.