Manfrotto has followed up its twist-lock 190 Go! with a lighter version. Andy Westlake puts it to the test
Manfrotto 190 Go! carbon-fibre tripod at a glance:
- 147cm max height
- 46cm folded length
- 1.35kg weight
- 7kg max load
- Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk
- Price: £309 (legs only)
Last year saw Manfrotto break a long-standing tradition and introduce a version of its popular 190-series tripod that used twist rather than lever locks on the leg sections. This made it the lightest model in the 190 range, and we liked it a lot. So it’s great to see Manfrotto following it up with an even lighter carbon-fibre version, which offers a 320g weight saving over the aluminium model, but otherwise near-identical dimensions and specifications.
This means you get an unusually adjustable tripod, with four-section legs that can each be individually set to four different angles using large, easy-to-press levers. The centre-column height is adjusted using a wing nut that’s equally easy to operate. But the 190 Go!’s real trump card is that the centre column can be rotated 90° to a horizontal position using a clever retractable mechanism activated by pushing a button at the end of the column. It can then be freely rotated to whatever position you need.
Manfrotto 190 Go! carbon-fibre tripod – key features
This is compatible with many heads, but those with 1⁄4in threads will need an adapter.
A 3/8in socket on the central spider can be used to attach accessories such as Magic Arms for holding lights.
This is used to attach Manfrotto’s carry strap. It can also be used to hang a camera bag for extra stability.
Manfrotto 190 Go! carbon-fibre tripod – our verdict
The aluminium 190 Go! was our favourite tripod design of last year, and this version is even better. It’s not just lighter, but it’s also stiffer; with a heavy camera or long lens on top, it’s noticeably better at dampening vibrations. However, it retains all the best features of the older model, with large, easy-to-use controls that make it quick to set up. Despite its light weight it’s impressively sturdy; strong enough to support a full-frame DSLR with a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, while being tall enough to lift the camera to eye level for a 6ft-tall photographer.
Obviously, this all comes at a hefty premium, and at £309 for the leg set without a head it’s twice the price of the aluminium version. But if you can stomach the cost it’s probably worth it, especially if you carry your tripod long distances or use a large camera.
SCORE: 5 out of 5
The aluminium and carbon-fibre versions of the 190 Go! will be sold as kits, with either the 496RC2 ball head or the latest 804 Mark II three-way head. The former is a solid option, but the 804 Mark II is a bit different – its sliding retractable handles allow it to fold down small and not snag on clothing, unlike conventional three-way heads. In concert with the carbon-fibre 190 Go! it makes for a genuinely portable set-up that’s great for landscape photographers who like the ease of adjustment of a three-way head, but without the bulk and weight.