Manfrotto 190CX3 + MH054M0-Q2

I've decided to add a new tag to the list: Photography
Since I'll be blogging about it quite frequently. I've already converted my gallery from a one showcasing CG, to my photography portfolio.

Was a bit busy with throwing away putting aside my army stuff. I mentioned here that I was gonna buy a new tripod but then I got into a dilemma because of the different pricing plus awesome deal that Cathay Photo was giving. So I had to take a breather, and consider the different options and my requirements over the rest of that day, and the next. The other option was to take the Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 and a ball head which could be anything from the nice MH054M0-Q2, to the 496RC2, to the 498RC2.

The problem is the different costs. The promotion is for the 190CX3 for $333, and the option to buy the magnesium ballhead (MH054M0-Q2) for $185, or cough up $487 for the 190CXPRO3 and cough up somemore to buy the magnesium ballhead at $240, or get a not so decent 498RC2 at $204, or even cheaper 496RC2 at $128. All options cost more because the 190CXPRO3 already is so much more ex.

The dilemma comes from the fact that the 190CXPRO3 has a "Q90" centre column which means that it can be raised fully, turned by 90 degees, and then act as a horizontal beam. A very flexible option in my opinion. Is it worth paying so much more for it though? That took me quite a while to decide. This is also coupled with the appearance of more 2nd hand sales for the 190CX3 online in forum compared to the 190CXPRO3 that seem to indicate a general consumer preference. But why? Any problems with the 190CX3?

In the end, I went with that option you see in the title. After looking once again at the specifics of both tripods (and my wallet), the "Q90" centre column may not be that worthwhile, since it's only about 30cm long (about 1 foot) which means that you're not gonna get much reach anyway even with that option. The nice magnesium ballhead is also a real good plus point, as it can be used on other tripods in the future, like more sturdy ones for studio, or long telephoto shooting.

I must state my requirements for this tripod so that others can better understand my choice based on what I was looking for. Choosing photography equipment is always ONLY dependent on what YOU shoot, and not what everyone's going for. I was looking for a workhorse type of tripod, for everything I do. It's got to be light for travelling, and strong enough for future proofing. I estimated that I'll only be going, at max, for a 7D, with a 70-200 IS II as probably the heaviest lens I'll ever use. The 190CX3 fits this perfectly as it can carry up to 5kg. Put a ballhead, and it can carry 4.5kg, which is still enough for that 7D + 70-200, and I think you can even mount a flash on that. It's also very light, at just around 1.3kg. You should really feel the aluminium version. Just as sturdy, but oh so much heavier! At around half a meter when collapsed, it's pretty compact as well. And lastly, as all good tripods, it can flatten itself for ground-level shooting.

The magnesium ballhead is a top-class type from Manfrotto. I didn't have specific requirements for it, but because it was a good head on such a good offer, I just went for it. It has a friction knob and panning lock present, besides the usual ball movement lock. RC2 quick release Q2 allows compatibility with many other ballheads (many use RC2 plates). The range of movement is large as it uses a big ball, and it can tilt more than 90 degrees as well, for those tricky situations. A 90 degree limiter is also present and can be slipped into place to prevent it from tilting more than 90 if you ever so require it. Able to carry 10kg while upright and 5kg at 90 degrees, it can well support anything the tripod can, at any angle. Very easy and convenient to use as well.

$534 for the whole set (bought a bag for $16). And boy does it look nice. Now I can look even more professional (not that I haven't already been mistaken for a professional photographer!)

13:31 04 Dec 2011