Velbon Sherpa 600R - £85/$140
Compared with the latest tripods, the venerable aluminium Velbon Sherpa 600R lacks features. There's no pivoting centre column and the operating mechanism for the three-position, multi-angle legs looks slow and antiquated, although it works well enough.
The complete kit is supplied with an old-school three-way head – with a twist. Pan and tilt mechanisms are both operated by a single locking handle, which can be a time-saver. It also avoids the need to unscrew one of two handles when packing the tripod into the supplied carry bag.
Like the Slik PRO 500 DX Complete, the Velbon's centre column can be split as well as inverted for low-level shooting. When combined with wide leg angles, you can shoot from as low as 26cm without inverting the column, keeping the camera the right way up. That compares favourably with 32cm for the Slik, but the inability to use the centre column as a horizontal boom for ultra-wide-angle or macro shooting is still a letdown in both of these tripods.
Despite being lighter in weight than most tripods in the group, at 2kg, the Velbon still offers stable support with a maximum load rating of 4kg, making it well worth the low-budget asking price.