Chalk this one up to the “how did I miss this one category.” In all my lightweight tripod reviews and blog posts, I somehow overlooked the Vanguard 225CT carbon fiber tripod.
With 5 screw lock leg sections, the Vanguard 225CT closes down to a mere 13.5″ and only weighs 1.79 lbs without head.
In my book, that makes this an excellent choice for a ultra lightweight backpacking or travel tripod. It’s small enough to fit on the side of just about any pack or camera bag, light enough not to slow you down, and relatively sturdy for being so light.
The Vanguard 225CT also has a reversible center column and a hook for hanging weight to help stability. If there’s a downside, it’s that the 225CT only extends to 41″, so it’s a little on the short side. However, if you’re shooting landscapes, this may not be much of an issue. The getting it closer to the ground thing is much more critical for most outdoor photography applications.
At $259, the Vanguard 225CT costs nearly one third as much as some Gitzo tripods, and for roughly the same price, it’s lighter than just about all of the Manfrotto models, plus it gets great reviews. I got to check it out for myself at PhotoPlus this year, and after fiddling with the legs and locks for a while, it seems like the thing is built pretty well. It’s certainly sturdy enough for just about any light to moderate weight DSLR and lens combo, but it’s probably not the one you want if you’re shooting a lot with a bigger, heavier lens or a batter grip body.
Lightweight, compact, affordable- Like I said, how did I miss this one? Fortunately, I ran across it at PhotoPlus this year and suddenly realize that I might have found my new favorite set of lightweight legs. Great. Now I’ll have to go back and change my “best lightweight tripod posts.”