The Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CB Carbon Fibre Tripod with the VEO BH-160 Arca Compatible Ball Head is Vanguard's most recent member of the hugely popular VEO range. But this new model takes Vanguard tripods in an exciting new direction with a more robust, easy to use and indeed stylish design. Could this be Vanguard’s best tripod to date?
Tripods are an essential accessory for many photographic subjects and situations and are one of the most important purchases you can make alongside your cameras and lenses. There are many factors to consider and features to look out for, and the VEO 3+ manages to address the majority of requirements photographers typically have, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure.
The VEO 3+ is a sturdy, yet lightweight tripod with a Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC) that allows for the centre column to be positioned horizontally at three different angles. This makes it possible to position your camera close to the ground with the legs spread out and centre column in a horizontal position, or over objects such as walls when the legs are extended.
One great new feature of the MACC is that the VEO 3+ comes with a free VEO+ MA1 Adaptor, which attaches to the centre column and provides an attachment point for accessories such as a video monitor, an LED light, a microphone, a tripod head or anything you need to attach to the tripod.
The VEO+ MA1 Adaptor slides onto the bottom of the centre column after the hook for attaching weight to the tripod to increase stability is removed. One is included but you can purchase additional adaptors separately if you need to attach more than one accessory at a time.
This is a full-size rather than travel tripod, and as such it provides a high degree of stability in a package that weighs just 2.1kg. Despite this low weight for a tripod of this type, the VEO 3+ extends to a maximum height of 172.5cm with the centre column extended, and 147cm with the column down. This is with a maximum load capacity of 15kg, so it’s more than capable of safely supporting the majority of camera and lens combinations. The folded length of the tripod is 76cm.
Few tripods come with so many free accessories, and on top of the VEO+ MA1 Adaptor and metal spike feet, the VEO 3+ also comes with a premium padded carry bag with an accessory pocket for carrying the spiked feet and adaptor. The bag is great for keeping the tripod safe while in transit in the boot of a car and makes it comfortable to carry if you prefer not to attach tripods to your camera bag.
The head that’s included with the kit is the VEO BH-160 Arca Compatible Ball Head, which features an oversized metal locking knob providing a huge amount of grip. There’s also a spirit level and a pan lock alongside a grading system on the base to assist when shooting panoramics, and a side slot for moving the camera into portrait format. All knobs are made of machined aluminium, in keeping with the tripod legs.
Build and handling
The overall design of the tripod is, in some ways, simplified compared to the Alta Pro 2 range of tripods; all controls, apart from the leg locks are made of CNC machined aluminium, providing both robust and more tactile knobs and dials that are incredibly easy and comfortable to use. So, not only does the tripod handle well, it looks fantastic too.
The 26mm diameter three section carbon fibre legs can be set at 23°, 50° and 80° angles to provide stability in a range of situations as well as control over height. These positions are locked in place with the metal notches at the top of the legs and released with the push of a metal button that makes changing leg position quick and easy.
The leg locks, for each section, can be taken apart and reassembled with ease for cleaning, and one of the legs can be unscrewed to be used as a monopod at heights of up to 182.5cm. The monopod leg and one other also feature a rubber coating that makes carrying the tripod more comfortable and improves grip. Other leg features include the ability to remove the rubber feet and screw-in the included metal spikes for additional grip when required.
The Vanguard VEO 3+ Carbon Fibre Tripod is easily the best tripod Vanguard has produced to date and sets a new direction for premium design and features that make the tripod a compelling option for enthusiast and professional photographers alike.
Build quality and handling are superb, and the minimum height of ground level to a maximum height of 172.5cm make the VEO 3+ an incredibly versatile option for a wide range of photographic subjects. The folded length of the tripod is 76cm, which is long but the advantage here is that the legs are made of fewer sections which ultimately improves stability because the lower sections don’t need to be so thin.
Tripod accessories are often available as separate purchases, but the VEO 3+ includes the VEO+ MA1 Adaptor for attaching accessories to the centre column, the spiked metal feet and the premium padded carry bag.
The Vanguard VEO 3+ Carbon Fibre Tripod with the VEO BH-160 Arca Compatible Ball Head offers everything you could ever need in a full-size tripod, and much more; with the features and included accessories you get absolutely everything you need in a single package, and it’s competitively priced.
See the full range of VEO 3+ here, with a choice of aluminium or carbon fibre, and different heads. Alternatively, please visit one of our Authorised Dealers, but we suggest you call first to ensure they have the model you want to try.
Vanguard Ambassador James Abbott is an editorial and advertising photographer producing eye-catching landscape and portrait images for editorial, commercial and private clients. Despite being based in Cambridge – one of the flattest parts of the country – you’ll regularly find him exploring the UK’s hills, mountains and expansive coastline shooting landscapes and teaching workshops.
He also regularly contributes to some of the UK’s best photography magazines and websites including Amateur Photographer, Digital Camera World, Digital SLR Photography, Tech Radar and WEX Photo & Video among many others.
He is also the author of The Digital Darkroom: The Definitive Guide to Photo Editing.