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We reviewed the £59 Nivelo 204SL around this time last year and now we have the bigger brother 245BK with its stylish glossy black finish and heftier price tag of £120. This tripod has an extra leg section and a two section center column to give it a higher working height, along with a few other refinements, including a quick-release camera plate.
You can extend or retract one section of any leg for use on uneven surfaces. The legs also have locks for 25 and 50 degree angles.
The head has a compact quick-release plate with a standard tripod mount and there's a tilt lock so it can be swiveled 90 degrees to take portrait format shots. A second lock offers panning for those who want to shoot panoramics. Unlike many compact tripods, the center column has an anti spin feature to prevent the camera position moving when the height lock isn't locked. It also has an anti-shock rubber ring, but in practice this doesn't do a great deal.
The head has a bubble spirit level built in, so you can be sure the camera is level.
One of the main selling points of this range is the reversible column which swivels through 180 degrees so you can shoot from a low level.
The tripod comes with a soft nylon style storage bag with a draw string closure, and following critical feedback in our last review, we're pleased to see a carry strap is now fitted.
The 245BK has a basic pan tilt head without arms to keep it compact. You can shoot in horizontal or vertical format, and the centre column can be flipped through 180 degrees to allow low angle shooting.
The reverse column feature is quick to put into action. You can do it with the camera attached unlike many and getting right down to the ground level gives you an opportunity to shoot sharp photos that others would miss.
The two section center column does help gain height but it does vibrate and cannot be used without a remote release or the self timer set at 10 seconds. Even with the timer at two seconds we saw blur caused by camera vibration. So it's no good for action photos when fully extended, but is fine for still lifes, landscapes, flowers and other static subjects.
The legs lock easily, but with all twist lock types you have to be sure to lock solidly or the legs can slip.
The quick release plate being square can be inserted in any direction making it easier to attach than the type where it only goes in one way. It has a tightening ring so a coin isn't required. It grips tightly to the camera plate so you won't get movement.
Nivelo 245BK used
without centre column
Nivelo 245BK used with
centre column extended
Nivelo 245BK low angle shooting
Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Pros
Quick to extend
Quick release plate
Carry case supplied
Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Cons
Spirit level small and hard to centralise the bubble
Ball and socket would be a more useful head
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Specifications
|Maximum Weight Capacity||3kg|
|Number of Leg Sections||5|
|Head||Pan and tilt|
|Box Contents||Tripod, case|