Manfrotto 055XPROB - £110/$170
Costing a little more than Manfrotto's newer MT294A3, the venerable and sophisticated Manfrotto 055XPROB has more to offer.
A weightier and more substantial proposition, this tripod feels a lot more rugged, has a greater maximum load capacity of 7kg and extends 10cm higher to 179cm.
Additional features lacking on the more basic 290-series Manfrotto include a pivoting centre column, a bubble level and adjustable leg angles with four, rather than just two, positions.
There's still no weight hook on the bottom of the centre column, but the one built into the shoulder serves equally well.
Like the cheaper Manfrotto, the Manfrotto 055XPROB's legs drop out on their own without any encouragement, once the clips are released, so there's no need for wrestling when you're extending or contracting the legs.
The push-button mechanism for selecting different leg angles is very quick and easy to use, as is the pivot system for the centre column.
The only drawback with the latter is that you can only use it in vertical or horizontal mode, so it lacks versatility compared with pivoting systems on other tripods, which enable 180-degree rotation in small increments.
Read the full Manfrotto 055XPROB review