Technology is a fact of life. Many say that technology is killing the photography industry in the sense that the better cameras are making it easier for ANYONE to go out and make awesome photos. While technology IS in fact getting better, I firmly believe that the technology is much more allowing of good photographers to make images that have never been make-able before, instead of anybody going out and being able to take some good photos. With a Majority of the public, you are just getting cleaner, clearer crappy photos really. My Nikon D4s is capable of reaching 409,600ISO. The only time I have EVER been to that level was to make sure the camera did it, and you were all along for the ride when I did. The point is that with a lot of cameras you can just walk around out in the dark and not worry about little old things like Tripods. Luckily Manfrotto recognizes that photographers who are worth their salt still not only use tripods, but rely on them regularly. Just because the Nikon D4s can reach 400K+ ISO, doesn’t mean the goal isn’t to keep the camera at the lowest ISO possible. Their Manfrotto 190GO tripod with XPRO Geared 3 Way head and Adapto body are a true culmination of the increase in technology when applied to tripods. Below here are all the reasons why.
(Manfrotto 190 Go 4 section aluminum Tripod. Photo Courtesy Roberts Camera’s Website)
This is normally where I state that I am not paid to write this review. Not by Manfrotto, or by Roberts Camera who arranged it. That’s normal. In this case it’s still the case. I am not paid to write this, so it’ll get the good, AND the bad. With that said as usual. Lets get started.
(Nikon D800, 100ISO, Nikon 24-70F2.8N@62mm, 25 seconds @F20. White balance set to 10k Kelvin, Sig Trailside lit by Inova Bolt Flashlight to camera right, pulsed through a White paper snoot. Camera on the new Manfrotto 190GO tripod with XPRO 3 Way geared head with Adapto Body using the 90 degree angle bar to get the camera looking straight at the ground. Standard 5lb sand bags on each leg)
So the image above is a light painting. Light painting can be done a few different ways, but I prefer Dave Black‘s style of light painting in that I use my flashlight in order to illuminate an object in the way that I want it to be seen. Sure you can aim the light at the camera and draw things, and that is definitely an art form to itself, but I prefer this. Something I like about my personal Manfrotto Tripod (Something I’ve used enough the model number has worn off… if it ever had one) is that it allows me to remove the center section and mount the camera at a 90 degree angle with the legs. Manfrotto has taken this technology NEXT LEVEL with the 190GO, and in my opinion this is one of the coolest tripod innovations I’ve ever seen. With my tripod, I need to remove the center section completely, and then slide it into the tripod from the side. Usually it’s easiest to disconnect the camera in doing this. With the 190GO it’s literally a motion of lifting the camera up until it clicks, and then leaning it to the side in an almost free range of motion until it clicks down again. You can adjust the length away fro the legs accordingly at that point. It’s super slick, and makes shooting straight down onto the floor incredibly quick and painless. The XPro head also was incredible because it was very easy to make 1 handed adjustments either in part or as a whole to the frame. Either twisting the knobs to make very minor adjustments, or even being able to use on hand with the lever system to make larger adjustments. Any Manfrotto I’ve used previously as required two hands to make major adjustments so this is a MAJOR improvement in my opinion. In terms of quick and painless though this is not even the biggest bit for the 190 go and XPRO 3 way geared Head with Adapto Body. The tripod is made of Aluminum and is supposed to be light weight enough to go anyplace. While the initial test in my basement with the Trailside here was fun, that’s not the Anyplace I felt like the 190 Go deserved.
So I took the term anyplace a bit seriously. The thing only weighs 3.7 pounds and it’s supposedly 4cm smaller than it’s bigger brother with clasps for the legs as opposed to twists so it’s great for getting around, so lets put it someplace a little different yea? That’s the name of the game is making different pictures right? I put the car in the back of a 1992 Corvette. I happen to know where to find one that I am allowed to have a bit of “creative liberty” with so I exercised that here. The 190GO fit wonderfully into the back and with some sand bags (inside of the contractors bags to keep the interior of the car clean) the thing was incredibly sturdy. The XPRO Geared 3 Way head with Adapto Body was firm and didn’t move at all during the project, which is fantastic. It also helped line up the shot by being able to nudge the camera ever so slightly in any direction with the micro adjustment knobs.
(Nikon D800, 200ISO, Nikon 14-24F2.8N@14mm, Aperture Priority, 8 seconds @F13. Interior lights of car left on to help illuminate interior. Speedlights not used due to the fact that the Corvette has a Transparent top, meaning noplace to bounce that wasn’t black or RED. New Manfrotto 190GO tripod with XPRO 3 Way geared head with Adapto Body, 5lb sand bags inside of contractors bags to help protect the interior of the car. Camera Triggered with iPhone 5s Via CamRanger in 10 shot bursts from the Drivers Seat, also allowing real time preview to make adjustments).
As you can see Shannon was even in on this one. A Corvette ride should be shared by all and luckily the option to take her was there. It’s an older car not without problems, but it was enjoyable either way and it showed that the Manfrotto 190GO truly can go just about anywhere. (There’s not exactly a whole lot of trunk space in one of these things). I used the CamRanger to trigger the camera from the drivers seat, and I had it set to a 10 frame burst so I could hit it once and just let it go. Why didn’t I just do a Timelapse? Honestly because I didn’t want to have to look through eleventy billion frames, but only wanted to set the camera sequence to go when there were lights coming up. All in all I feel like it was a pretty solid run and I may have to find another car to try it again. Before we get into that though lets talk more about the 190 Go’s ability to actually GO. This was putting it into a small place so now lets actually carry it someplace.
(Nikon D4s, 250ISO, Nikon 14-24F2.8N@19mm. 1/6th@F11. New Manfrotto 190GO Tripod with XPRO 3 Way Geared head with Adapto Body)
A few of the selling points on the Manfrotto 190 GO were the fact that it weights little to nothing (3.7lbs as I said), as well as it’s a pro tripod that’s got Manfrottos Twisty legs on it. The twisty legs are great because they essentially allow you to operate and control the legs with one hand, as opposed to the latch system where usually you have to pop the latch and then move the legs (if the legs don’t just slide out like mine usually do) and then re-latch the legs. With the twist locks you can do it all with one hand. Grab the lock, twist to unlock, slide the leg out and twist again to re-lock. All in one motion. As I mentioned in my last blog, I trekked up to the top of the Indianapolis MotorSpeedway Grand Stands for the shot you see above. It’s not the same shot that I had in my last blog, but I’m at a toss up as to which I like better so I figured why not have them both. The 190GO made climbing the 7 flights of stairs to get to the roof much more manageable. At that point every ounce counts, and I was carrying a Nikon D4s, D800, Graduated Neutral Density filters, a Nikon 14-24, 24-70, and a 500F5 Mirror lens. The 190GO was a dream for this. Once I got up there I was one of only two Photographers that I had a tripod (out of the two dozen or so that were shooting the Sunrise in some way, from some part of the grand stands). I was the ONLY one however that had Graduated Neutral Density Filters. While they weren’t used in every frame (like the one above actually), they were very useful it seems for the files delivered to the client.
(The D800 on the Roof of the Grand Stands using the 190GO, XPRO head and some ND filters)
In the end I have to say that I am blown away by the Manfrotto 190GO with XPRO Geared 3 Way Head with Adapto Body. In fact I’m likely to get one of each sometime this month from my pals at Roberts Camera because I liked it so much. It’s incredibly light weight and the geared head has restored my faith in using them in every day situations. A lot of photographers prefer ball heads because they can adjust quickly, but the XPRO 3 Way geared head has added micro adjustment ability with speed to every on location situation. This tripod and head combo hands down crush the older Manfrotto Studio series that I normally carry around with me and that is priceless. If you’re looking for a Tripod you actually want to carry around with you that’ll hold all your gear without trouble? A professional grade tripod that weighs only 3.7lbs? The Manfrotto 190GO with XPRO 3 way geared head and Adapto Body are for you.
Look to Robert’s camera’s website, call them, or walk into their store to look at them. I think you’ll be blown away by Manfrotto’s latest offering too.