This test and review was conducted and written by Matt Holland, a full-time creative from Berkshire, UK with a passion for all things outdoors. You can read more about his work here, or visit his website below:
For the past 2 months I have been using the new Vanguard Alta Pro2+ as my main tripod, both in the studio and out on the road. It's been brilliant to say the least. The tripod can adapt to all situations required - filming, products shoots, mic stand, light stand, table top support, top down views, camera slider, travel, working on the rucksack, working in the rain and cold (snow too).
Best of all it only weighs 1.7kg which compared to the Veo2 travel tripod is 300grams more which in the grand scheme of things isn't much but this is a £400 carbon fibre tripod, the legs alone cost £300 and the head is a further £90, currently there isn't many tripod head options compared to the previous Alta Pro model and something I would be interested in Vanguard releasing is a lighter ball head. The BH-100 ball head is great; strong and robust but you do notice the weight of it.
Don't be put off by the heavier ball head, this tripod is built for a different purpose and in the studio this tripod really comes in to its element. The Alta Pro2+ is more versatile than the smaller Veo2 with it being more stable when extended and the ability to twist, turn and look at every angle a creative could need.
Straight out of the box the Alta Pro2+ looks and feels pretty special with its new colour scheme in soft grey, yellow and carbon weave and let’s not forget the new Alta Pro bag it comes with which is handy for carrying the tripod around to avoid bumps and scratches to the body. One thing I have noticed is the centre column can scratch up easily but when you wipe the metal down the marks disappear so no harm done.
At first I found the Alta Pro2 very technical, now this might sound odd for a tripod but as tripods go this has every gear and dial to move the head, column or legs in any angle you want. It can be a little overwhelming for someone new to come to as all the dials sit in the same area and all look similar but only vary in size slightly and have icons on the side. So the ultimate question why not just look at the icons to help then Matt? You are right that would help but as a busy creative as myself with tight deadlines and times to stick to when filming every second I can shave off can help me massively. So I wouldn't look and just mess around trying to get the right dial to twist the ball head but end up tilting the camera. It didn't take long to get it right; this was the only case on the first time using the tripod. After which super quick and easy to understand and get it right.
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Moving on from dials and my poor navigation, the sliding and rotating centre column is brilliant! Now a lot of other tripod manufacturers do similar such as the Manfrotto xPro series but what makes the Vanguard stand out is the tilt you can introduce to the column as well not just a flat 90 degrees as it spins.
This ability to tilt, spin and extend gives the Alta Pro2+ the ability to open up more creative opportunities as a photographer and videographer:
Sliding the camera in and out of the subject or product.Trying to produce bird’s eye views looking down on products has never been easier! Oh you can also remove the centre column as well and reverse it so you can swing the camera between the legs. When I said this tripod can turn in any direction, I meant it.
Like the Veo2 tripod the Alta Pro2+ also saw an update to its leg locks, going from flip to twist and similar to the new Veo2 they have rubber grips but with an extra notch on the lock to help grip in wet and colder conditions which is helpful. From my current experience with the Alta Pro2+ in various weather conditions I have had no issues to legs locking up or rubber slipping. As with most twist locks you can open all the legs up in one go and can quickly collapse it back down.
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Having just tried and reviewed the new Veo2 and an owner of the Veo tripod I have been torn between the Veo and the Alta Pro collections. I enjoy using both for different reasons but the ultimate goal for me is to have one tripod to do everything.
The Veo2 is great for being lightweight and portable, its half the size of the Alta Pro but in this same respect the Alta Pro is a lot more stable when fully extended and can also support heavier gear. Although I have no issues with the Nikon D500 and telephoto on the Veo2 you can’t help but feel safer on the heavier Alta Pro.
The Alta Pro is heavier but not by much, the aluminium models will be considerably more but if you go carbon fibre you will see significant weight saving. Both are extremely easy to use out of the box but one can become slightly lost with the dials on the Alta Pro. It’s easy to overcome and the rewards far out span this minor problem. This is also more user problem than the product being a problem.
Whichever tripod you decide; either the Veo2 or Alta Pro2+ will keep you togs extremely happy and fulfilled, for me personally I have opted to continue using the Alta Pro2+ and purchased my own model. The ability to look in any direction, have a camera slider, light-ish weight and portable for both studio work and travel fitted my requirements to a tee! I look forward to using this tripod for a long time and it is sure to serve me well into 2018 and beyond. Here are a few images captured using the Alta Pro 2: