Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ Snap Verdict
- Weight: 1.9kg
- Max Load: 7KG
- Max Height: 1500
- Leg sections: 4
- £199 / $229 (With BH-100 head)
Vanguard’s Alta Pro 2+ is a workhorse of a tripod, featuring an all-metal construction and a selection of nifty features that make it one of the most flexible and versatile tripods on the market.
- Solid build
- Accessories port
- 360 degree rotating center column
- No bag hook
- Rubber rather than foam grips
- Heavier than some rivals
What is the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+?
Vanguard has been producing photographic equipment for years, but it’s really only recently that the company is starting to make a real impact.
It’s one of the few manufacturers that really innovates, creating tripods and bags that on the surface may seem familiar but in function always pack in added detail and design that aims to better what’s already out there.
Take the VEO 265 and the Veo 37 bag. A compact tripod and shoulder bag that have been designed to fit together perfectly, with the 265 quite literally slotting directly into the base of the bag, all very clever and neat.
Vanguard is at present ploughing through its tripod range bring it bang up to date with a list of new releases of popular models, including its workhorse the Alta Pro.
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ Features and Specification
We’ve taken a look at the aluminium version of the tripod and it’s by no means a lightweight at 1.9 kg without a head. That weight goes into making one of the most robust quality feeling tripods presently on the market and is capable of supporting a maximum load of 7kg.
We loaded our test sample with the Vanguard BH-100 ball head, again refreshed in design, to complete our tripod kit.
When it comes to height you have a maximum of 1500 cm and this packs down to 50.5cm when needed. The legs themselves are four section and feature twist locks to secure them into place.
At the base of each of the three legs is a small rubber foot and with a little effort these can be twisted off to reveal a screw thread so accessory feet can be added when needed.
Looking at comfort two of the three legs have built in rubber grips to enable good purchase when carrying. At the top of each leg is an angle release that enables you to move the leg through four angles from 0 to 80 degrees.
Zero is purely the position used when packing up the tripod and 80 degrees enables the tripod to be laid almost completely flat to the ground.
On the tripod crown there is a small level, something that that is always handy. The crown also features the centre column rotation lock, something that is quite unique to Vanguard, and an accessories screw thread.
This thread enables you to add other supports and connections, and essential feature if you’re a videographer and need somewhere to attach an external audio recorder or monitor.
Just above the crown is the central column mechanism and this features a lever and a knob. The knob enables you to release and raise the central column to its maximum height, then if you release the lever you’re then able to tilt the centre 180 degrees so a lays horizontal.
As the centre column is flipped you also have a range of other angles that can be set from 90º to -90º at 15º intervals. The center column lever can be used to release and secure the angle of the centre column as needed.
At the top of the tripod is the usual ⅜-inch screw thread or if you flip it over you have the ¼-inch as well depending on the type of tribal head you wish to use.
As a general use tripod, the Alta Pro 2+ has plenty to offer, with decent height options for portrait photographers and landscape photographers, and the 360º horizontal rotating and 180º flipping centre column making it a seemingly perfect choice for copy editing and macro work.
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ Build and Handling
The Alta Pro 2+ is a solid piece of kit with every joint, fitting and lock being play and rattle free, there’s no looseness or feeling that something could, or would, ever break free.
On picking up the tripod for the first time that quality is instantly apparent and this is backed by a decent weight.
Tripod weight is often a topic for discussion with many people looking for the lightest option. Whilst there are obvious advantages for a lighter tripod, easier to carry being one, it rarely translates into a quality stable foundation for your camera.
The Alta Pro is by no means a lightweight, it is afterall aluminum, but at 1.9kg it weighs in at 10g less than the Manfrotto 190XPRO, but then you are losing 10cm on the maximum height.
Starting at the top of the tripod the base plate features a reversible bolt for heads with either a ⅜-inch or ¼-inch thread which is handy. This reversible bolt just unscrews and then can be flipped and screwed back in to offer the other thread size.
Below this are the first two knobs. The first enables you to release the centre column so that it can be increased or decreased in height. This center column needs to be fully extended before the MACC (Multi Angled centre column) can be flipped out and laid horizontal for additional shooting positions.
Once the centre column has been extended the next lever can be released and the column can then be rotated to achieve the horizontal position.
Both knobs offer a firm action both for releasing and locking the column and MACC.
On the tripod crown there is a further knob and this one enables you to rotate the entire centre structure of the tripod through 360 degrees. This is quite unique and proved a handy addition when shooting at ground level when just a small amount of adjustment was needed in order for it to be in the correct position.
The crown has two other interesting features, firstly a ⅜-inch thread that enables you to connect accessories and is a really handy feature especially for anyone shooting video and needing somewhere to connect an audio recorder or monitor.
The bubble level is an addition that is a little more common and is a good visual guide to ensure that you have the camera level. Below the bubble level there’s a small mount where a strap can be attached.
Each of the legs has a selection of four usable angles 20°, 40°, 60°,80, and the motion through each of these as you rotate the legs is very smooth. The leg release levers are positioned either side of each leg and contain a light spring loaded action that makes them easy to adjust and lock with one hand.
Two of the legs feature a rubber grip, and although this is handy, for the sake of weight, I’d probably have opted for just one.
Each leg section is held in place by twist locks, these are quite unlike the normal design requiring a simple quarter turn to release and lock. In test the more these were used the more sense they made and there was never any doubt about whether they were locked or not.
Finally at the tripods base is the foot. As standard the legs ship with simple rubber feet and these are fine for normal flat land conditions with the relatively grippy rubber ensuring the tripod stays where you want it.
With a little effort these feet can be removed and replaced with a selection of different options including spiked feet.
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ Performance
Testing the tripod I found that when taking a few field macro shots the vari angle central column proved effective enabling me to get the tripod down close to the ground and into position. What really excelled however was the ability to fine tune that position with the rotating centre column something that just isn’t possible with the majority of other tripods.
When shooting video I found that the accessories port was an essential and this is a feature that I regularly use on the Manfrotto 190XPRO.
The other standout feature were those twist locks. I have to say I’m a twist lock fan and these really are very good.
The mechanism behind these locks appears to be fail safe and enables a small movement that ultimately locks and unlocks the legs without fuss or caught fingers.
The Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ has a stack of features and for a tripod at this price is well spec’d, but there is one omission that I would like to have seen, but due to the design would have been difficult.
That feature is a hook on the base of the centre column, so additional weight could be added if needed. This however can’t be done as the place where a hook would usually go is instead taken up with the release button for when you flip the centre column.
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ Verdict
As workhorse tripods go there is little to fault with the overall design on the Alta Pro 2+. It provides a decent height, holds a decent weight and definitely looks the part with its stylish finish.
In use the Alta Pro 2+ proves easy to adjust when first setting up – the legs with those new style twist locks release and lock the legs quickly and the ability to quickly rotate and adjust the center column independently from the rest of the tripod makes it especially handy when shooting from low angles.
The weight was a little more than I would have wanted but then you can pay a slight premium for the Carbon version and some of the choices of materials such as the rubber for the grips rather than foam wouldn’t be my first choice.
I find that rubber isn’t always as grippy as foam when it gets wet or you get sweaty, but there’s no doubt that it’s far more hard wearing so more personal choice than critical point.
Features such as the accessories port and removable feet also show that this tripod has been build to last and adapt with the owner.
If you’re looking to buy one tripod that will be useful out in the field, in the studio and last you a lifetime then you really can’t go wrong with the Alta Pro 2+.
Should I buy the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+?
The Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ is a workhorse of a tripod and one that will last for years. It’s suitable for enthusiasts through to Pro Photographers, offering features that make it versatile and adaptable to the job in hand.
If you’re the type of person who loves to take images in different genres, be it landscape, portrait or otherwise the Alta Pro is ideal.