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01-07-2012, 06:10 AM   #1
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Vanguard 253CT Carbon Fiber Tripod

I got a Vanguard Alta Pro 253CT Carbon Fiber Tripod with SBH-50 Ball Head for Christmas that cost $200 in a Amazon Lightning deal.
I didn't find many reviews and was curious if anyone is familiar with this setup?
I'm thinking it's a bit to light for my needs and will probably return it but maybe it's a good unit to hang on to for use with my K7 and a Tamron 90 for macro work?
It's CF & has the adjustable column that can be put in a horizontal position which is a feature I like.
Originally I was thinking that a Giotto's tripod and ball head would be best for me but even in an aluminum version it would cost much more than this Vanguard.
The other thought I had was to keep the tripod and sell the SBH-50 ball head (which seems more appropriate for a monopod) and replace it with the Vanguard SBH-250.
Anyone have any experience with this Vanguard setup?

01-08-2012, 01:57 AM   #2
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I think those legs are more than good enough for your needs and then some. If I was was starting out and this was available at 200.00, I'd be buying this. My only concern would be that the legs just aren't heavy enough to counterbalance a macro set up that's hanging off the tilted and extended centre column, but placing a heavy bag in the hammock between the legs should take care of that concern. And I agree with your conclusion that the ball head needs replacing. How tall is the tripod with the centre column retracted in the conventional position? This information doesn't seem to be available at Vanguard website either.
01-08-2012, 11:41 AM   #3
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The tripod is 53", measured to the top of the column base without the ball mount installed. It's 65" with the column fully extended. I'm 5.11" so the fit seems OK for me.
01-13-2012, 09:09 PM   #4
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So there might not be much interest in my saga, but as it turns out, I decided to keep the SBH-50 that came with the Vanguard Alta Pro 253CT. However, instead of using it with the 253CT, I went ahead and purchased a really nice Giottos MH-1000 with a 652 mount for $99. The MH-1000 is rated 22 lbs and matches & looks a lot better with the 253CT tripod (which is rated for 15.4 lbs).
I'll use a K7 with this setup and I think I'll be OK occasionally using even my 400mm Sigma (although the 10-24, 90mm & 18-135 Tammy's will be lenses I'll be using more often).

Getting back to the SBH-50, I'm really glad I canceled my ebay sale. I'd of been lucky to have gotten $40 after all the auction, pay pal & shipping fees. So I mounted this head to my $40 Dolica Proline AX620B100. That makes this setup really nice and works well for use by my wife with her Kx & shorter FL prime lenses.

At this point I'm left with the head that came with Dolica Proline B100 head so I wound up mounting it on an inexpensive Norazza monopod that I might have spend $10 on and is really impressive for the sort of price. The pod is small, lightweight & reasonably sturdy all things considered.

So here I am quite pleased to have all of my tripod/monopod needs fairly satisfied, for what I believe adds up to only $350. The entire setup strikes me as really sturdy and well balanced. The equipment package seems to be very affordable & of decent quality and perfect for a non-pro such as myself.

Can't wait to get out there and put it all to use!


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