Photographers tend to be very demanding when it comes to tripods. We want something that's easily portable and doesn't weigh us down, yet offers rock solid support when in use. A few fancy features are always nice to have as well.
The Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 ticks all the right boxes. Its lightweight 1.65kg carbon fibre construction is easy on the back, the stylish design is easy on the eye, it's really rigid and comes complete with four-position multi-angle legs and a pivoting centre column. However, it's also the most expensive set of legs in the group.
For £30 less, the magnesium alloy 3 Legged Thing X5a Tony Evo 2 is only a few grams heavier than the Manfrotto and has the advantage of easily converting into a fully fledged monopod. The quirky design enables a relatively small carrying size, the only real drawback being that it takes a bit longer to set the tripod up for use.
For a top budget option, you can't go wrong with the aluminium Benro BRA2970F, which offers an astoundingly complete set of features and excellent build quality for just £100.
1st: Manfrotto 055CXPRO3
What's good: Lightweight carbon fibre construction, wide-ranging features and excellent rigidity.
What's bad: Pivoting centre column can only be used in upright or horizontal modes.
Our verdict: An excellent performer that's well worth its expensive asking price.
2nd: 3 Legged Thing X5a Tony Evo 2
What's good: Innovative design, magnesium alloy build, works as a tripod or monopod.
What's bad: Takes longer to set up than most competing tripods.
Our verdict: A very sturdy and well made tripod that dares to be different.
3rd: Benro BRA2970F
What's good: Fully pivoting centre column and wide-ranging features, very good stability.
What's bad: At 2kg in weight, it's a little heavier than most carbon fibre tripods.
Our verdict: A superb tripod that's refreshingly inexpensive to buy, it's unbeatable value.
4th: Induro AT214 Alloy 8M
What's good: Compact carrying size, good rigidity despite thin bottom leg sections.
What's bad: No pivoting centre column, four-section legs take slightly longer to operate.
Our verdict: It's a very good value buy, and particularly travel-friendly.
5th: Manfrotto MT190XPRO3
What's good: New design features work well, especially the retracting pivot mechanism.
What's bad: Still only offers Manfrotto's usual vertical or horizontal centre column options.
Our verdict: A bit expensive so soon after launch but prices may come down after a while.