All the famous birdwatchers throughout history used good tripods for spotting scopes to enhance their birding experience. It’s one piece of essential gear that can be a total gamechanger for the birder who spends hours hiding out in the brush just to get a glimpse of a rare species. The Alta Pro by Vanguard is made out of lightweight aluminum, which is both naturally rust-resistant and incredibly durable. Its highly adjustable legs allow you to quickly raise or lower the tripod based on the environment, terrain type, and the height of the user.
Our Verdict: This model comes loaded with some great features including a couple of bubble levels, and adjustable central column, four-section aluminum legs, and feet that are equipped with thick rubber and retractable spikes which improve the tripod’s versatility on a wide variety of terrain types. The lightweight design will make it easier to haul for the birder who loves hiking and sighting through the backcountry.
When set up, it offers a very stable base for your tripod, however, loosening and tightening the quick release plate requires as screwdriver or coin to do, in order to make adjustments. This seems like a design flaw, which can make using the tripod frustrating at times if you don’t have the right tools. Overall, this tripod is perfect for birding, filming, and photography, and offers that type of stable base you need for the perfect viewing experience.
Overview and Features
Vanguard is a manufacturer that has a reputation for producing feature-heavy tripods. Its latest model offers some nice extras, not to mention a compact design that makes this model highly portable and beginner-friendly.
This model is lightweight, versatile, and weighs in at only five and a half pounds. It’s easy to use fast-folding design allows you to quickly set up or break down your gear in a matter of minutes. It’s highly adjustable, beginner-friendly, and a nice upgrade for the birder on a budget. Set up and use is fast and simple, making it a great buy if you’re looking for a model that you can use for your best budget spotting scope, binoculars, camcorder, and more.
The central column is highly adjustable. It’s hexagon-shaped and can move from zero degrees up to one hundred and eighty degrees. The stop-n-lock instant swivel system will reposition the central column securely, in one fluid movement.
Most people mistakenly believe that just because the tripod is made out of aluminum, then it must not be very durable. However, despite the fact that aluminum is so light, it’s actually incredibly durable. It’s also naturally corrosion and rust-resistant, so you can use the tripod in inclement weather, without the fear of damage or rust, later down the line.
This model is equipped with twenty-six-millimeter four-section aluminum legs that can adjust to twenty-five, fifty, and eighty-degree angles. This versatility allows you to use extremely low angles.
The head can smoothly rotate a full three-hundred and sixty degrees and comes complete with a quick-release plate. You can use the primary locking knob and loosen it to adjust the angle. The secondary locking knob, which is located opposite the primary locking knob, is what controls the tripod’s ability to rotate a full three hundred and sixty degrees.
The built-in bubble levels are perfect for the photographer trying to achieve that perfect shot.
Legs and Feet
The legs come equipped with quick flip leg locks that will securely lock the legs in place. Each of the legs features an independent spread, thanks to the four-section design. The legs are equipped with foam covers that provide a comfortable, secure grip when you’re transporting the tripod. Each of the feet is equipped with rubber feet and retractable spikes for improved traction and stability on a variety of terrain types.
This model weighs in at just five and a half pounds and has a max load capacity of just under fifteen and a half pounds.
The highly adjustable design allows you to position the tripod at a max height of sixty-four inches when the center column is fully raised. This allows you to use it for a wide variety of applications including birding, photography and filming.
The included user’s manual will walk you through the assembly process, set up, and give you pointers on how to get the most out of this tripod. The thick manual covers most questions beginners have in terms of adjustability and general use.
This model is compatible with spotting scopes, DSLR cameras, camcorders, and other devices that work with a ¼ “ twenty mount. The quick-release plate can be detached or attached from the clamp found on the ball and socket joint on top of the head. To remove or attach, all you have to do is loosen or tighten the clamp’s locking knob. This plate comes with a non-slip, rubberized platform.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Highly adjustable
- Weighs 5.5 pounds
- High load capacity
- Feet have retractable spikes for improved traction
- You must use a screwdriver or coin to tighten or loosen the quick release plate
- The Price
Vanguard Versus Neewer Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod
While the model by Vanguard has earned a reputation for versatility, the competing model by Neewer offers a much different take on tripod design. In fact, it’s a two in one model that allows you to use one of the legs as a monopod. The legs are also equipped with quick-release leg locking feature that increases stability. The carbon fiber tube design helps to keep the weight down, which comes in at just four pounds.
While this one-pound difference may not sound like much, if you usually prefer to hike out to your destination, then you know after twenty minutes or so, even a lightweight tripod can start to feel heavy. Aside from its lightweight carbon fiber design it also offers a fast set up and breakdown time, which is a must for most users. Considering the low price, many birders will quickly hit that buy now button just to get their hands on an affordable carbon fiber tripod. However, if you’re looking for a model that’s more durable, then I’d stick with the Alta Pro.
Conclusion and Rating
As you can see, this model is loaded with some great features that are packed into this model’s lightweight design. This model by Vanguard is versatile, highly adjustable and has a high load capacity of fifteen and a half pounds, with a lightweight design that makes this model easy to haul, transport, and store. It comes with some great extra features, a durable design, and comes with its own carrying case, which will protect it from damage during transport.
Overall, it’s a great buy if you’re looking for a model that’s beginner-friendly and features a fast-folding design that will allow you to quickly set up and start birding. I gave this tripod a rating of four and a half out of five stars.