Vanguard has upped the game with the launch of their new VEO 2 Go tripods which consists of four models in two materials. Designed as compact every day supports the 265HCB is the flagship model.
Everything about this tripod feels refined from the twist locks through to the leg angle adjusters and head. Although only compact in design, the tripod offers a decent height that will suit all but the tallest of photographers.
Load wise the small head and slimline legs support a decent weight, more than enough to comfortably secure a Sony A73 with 12-24 mm f/2.8 and a lot more besides.
Today when there are so many compact and travel tripods out there it’s challenging to find an inroad and supply something to the market that stands out, but the 265HCB does it.
For Vanguard the Veo 2 Go does feel like they’re pulling in line with the rest of the present tripod design. But, they’re doing in the Vanguard way with design tweaks and refinement that place it above most of the competition.
If you’re looking for a lightweight and compact support for every day or your travels this summer, then you can’t go wrong with the Vanguard 265HCB.
Like bags tripods are one of those accessories that are never quite right. You’ll find one that has all the features you want but is just an inch or two too small, it’s the right height but lacks twist locks or something else completely, maybe it’s just too expensive for you even to consider.
Look in most photographers cupboards or car boots, and you’ll find at least one if not two tripods, and probably another two or three in the shed/garage.
I have three tripods that I always go to, a Manfrotto 055, 3LT Punks Billy, Benro M3 and it looks likely the VEO 2 Go 265HCB will join that selection.
The reasons are that it’s compact, lightweight feels incredibly robust and looks great. A grey finish stands out, and I like the texture of the knurled knobs around the head and the finish of the carbon legs.
In the box are a few extras including a low angle adapter, spikes and bag.
The price, at just shy of £220, is pricy when you look at the competition and puts this model directly inline with the Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Carbon.
At the start of this test I have high hopes for the Vanguard VEO 2 Go 265HCB but can it live up to my expectations especially with the BeFree Advanced being a direct competitor.
As with the rest of the VEO 2 Go range, there are two versions of the 265; either the carbon that I have on a test or Aluminium. There’s quite a price difference in the two with the Carbon version coming in at £219 and the Aluminium version costing £149.
The tripod is a five section design that packs down to 405mm and has a maximum height of 1640mm. This is the extended height with the two section centre column fully extended. With the centre column down the max height is 1245mm.
In the box are a few accessories including spiked feet which are always useful, and a low angle centre column adapter. With this adapter popped in you can reduce the height of the tripod down to just 220mm.
A feature that appears on many tripods these days is the adaptable monopod leg, and here the 265 has one that enables a closed height of 460mm and extended height of 1191mm.
In a break from past VEO tripods, the leg angle adjusters have been completely redesigned with spring-loaded levers. Although I know, others have never had an issue with the old button type I’ve never been a fan, and it’s great to see a more standard lever-type being used.
Physical weight is always a primary consideration especially if you’re travelling and here the weight is 1.27Kg.
On top of the legs is the small T-50 head. In combination with the legs, this has a maximum load of 6Kg more than enough for almost any Mirrorless or DSLR and lens combo.
The release plate is the QS-64 which is ARCA Swiss compatible.
Alongside the clamp release, the head has two other knobs, one to release the ball and the other to enable the 360º panoramic rotation.
Build and handling
For the moment the tripod is removed from the box the quality and finish stand out. The grey rather than the black colour scheme adopted by most other manufacturers looks stylish and gives a quality look.
The all-metal head is solid; you can’t see screw threads between the knobs and casing; it’s all been appropriately designed and finished.
The main ball head lock is of a lever knob design that enables easy purchase, and for those who have difficulty securing the often small and fiddly knobs of travel tripods, this design will appeal.
Once the legs are fully extended, you can then extend the height with the two section centre column. The action for the centre column is smooth and easy to adjust compared with the newly designed plastic collar of the BeFree Advance that can be a battle to release.
At the base of the column is a spring-loaded hook, it’s simple in design but large enough to hang your bag off with ease.
If you need to remove the centre column to drop the tripod to ground height, then this hook can be quickly unscrewed.
Going down to the rubber feet supplied and these can be removed with a bit of effort to reveal screw threads where the spikes can be fitted.
The final part of the tripod is the monopod leg. Once removed the head can then be unscrewed, after the Allen key bolt has been loosened, and then bolted onto the leg. It’s one of those features that’s there but best not used in this case.
Size, weight and usability of the compact VEO 2 Go 265HCB make this an easy choice as a go-to tripod for everyday use.
Attached to the side or back of a backpack and it adds little weight or bulk.
In the test, it was used on an almost daily bases as primary support when out walking and even came along on a couple of professional shoots as a reserve.
The compact design of the twist locks meant that they could all be released in one motion, making setting up extremely quick.
Once adjusted the locks held the leg sections in place securely and although the legs are relatively thin, they’re more than sturdy enough to fully support even the weightiest kit.
Attached a camera bag for weight and this tripod becomes rock solid.
The small head is incredibly tough, and the design of the release knobs make them tactile and easy to use in any conditions.
I’m usually not a fan of two section centre columns but here they work well, and there’s a purpose to their inclusion.
Out in the field the tripods easy to set up and use, providing the support as and when you need, and when you finish it can packing away neatly.
My only reservation in use was the monopod, on the first outing I didn’t take the Allen key so couldn’t remove the head. On the second trip, I gave it a go but found it too short to be of any real use.
One last feature that goes almost unnoticed is the small bubble level on the head. It is essential and is moulded seamlessly into the design.
When the camera is attached you need to be a little careful about the base plate position to avoid it becoming partially covered. However, I didn’t find this an issue in use, despite having made a new note as something to look out for during the test.
The VEO 2 Go is very close to perfection for this size of tripod. Its size and weight make it a convenient option, and moreover, it looks great.
In use it performed well, holding the camera and lens securely whatever camera and lens combination I selected.
Using the A73 with 12-24mm fitted the VEO 2 Go 265HCB supported the weight with ease, and even swapping to the 100-400mm f/4 the head held firm.
During the test, I had confidence enough in the quality of the support to hold considerably more than my standard still kit and weighted the head and legs with a fully loaded A73 video setup, and it supported without issue.
As the tripod stands the monopod leg is a feature for feature’s sake, it has no real point on a tripod of this size. It would also have been nice to see an accessories port, something that is fast becoming a standard feature on other tripods.
The Vanguard VEO 2 Go 265 HCB is a first-rate tripod, small, lightweight and extremely versatile in use. Build quality and finish are superb with the Vanguard grey making the tripod standout against the competition to make it a best in class option.