The 055 is one of the most popular tripods and has been overhauled with a 100% carbon fibre centre column.
Manfrotto 055CX Pro3: Specifications
- Closed length: 65cm
- Minimum height: 11.5cm
- Maximum height: 175cm
- Maximum height: (with centre column down) 140cm
- Weight: 1.65kg
- Load capacity: 8kg
- Colour: Black
- Patent: Patented
- Material: carbon fibre tubing & magnesium castings
- Leg cross section: Round
- Column cross section: Three-faceted
- Leg sections: Three
- Leg angles: 23°,47°,66°,89°
- Centre column: Rapid
- Section centre column: Rapid
- Column tube diameter: 28mm
- Attachment (top): 3/8in screw
The legs and centre column are all made of the three layer carbon fibre material.
The legs have clips to push in allowing the legs to spread wider and get the tripod closer to the ground.
Areas such as the top plate for fixing the head to are made of magnesium.
Manfrotto 055CX Pro3: Features
As an extension of the range of Carbon Fibre models being released, the 055CX Pro3 doesn't just have carbon fibre legs but also the centre column. This is the difference between the pro range and the regular CX which has a aluminium centre column.
The three layers of fibre are laid on top of each other in a cross pattern for added strength. This material decreases the weight substantially from the original Pro3 from 2.4kg to 1.65kg while increasing the load weight by a kilo to 8kg.
Pro models such as this also benefit from the Q90 centre column which can be swivelled around to a horizontal position by pressing a button in the bottom of the tube when it's at its full extension. This is very useful for low angle shooting as the three wider legs positions allow it to get ultra low because the column isn't there to get in the way. It's also useful for users with a wheelchair as it brings the camera lower and out to an angle that is possible to sit under.
Of course the downside to this is the absence of the hook that can be used for extra ballast in stronger weather conditions.
Manfrotto 055CX Pro3: Performance
While using the tripod, I couldn't stop thinking that it wasn't as good as the aluminium version. I finally concluded that the reason I was thinking this was because of the weight. It's so light that any preconceptions you have with tripods need to be erased or you might think it a lesser make.
I used the 486 RC2 head with the tripod and clicking the link will take you to the review of that head. which I did at the same time as the 190CX Pro4. In a nutshell, it's a good head but as with all ball heads, it has its limitations.
It's a lot lighter than the previous version, the 055x ProB, to the point where you'd be mistaken for thinking it's another tripod entirely instead of an improved version of the existing model.
Of course, this lessened weight is great for travel photographers who need the size of the 055CX but not the weight that comes with a magnesium construction. Saying that, a light tripod could also mean a less sturdy one. There's an added possibility of it moving in strong winds and the continued lack of spiked feet adds to the problem.
Manfrotto 055CX Pro3: Verdict
ePHOTOzine use the 055x ProB as the studio standard so I've had a lot of use from it to compare. In use, it's the same tripod with the leg levers being just as difficult to use. The legs of the older model have loosened over time and the legs will now drop on their own. Hopefully, the coarser texture of the carbon fibre will add friction and stop it happening on the newer model.
I can't see any problem why you wouldn't be happy with this tripod if you need something light. There are smaller versions available such as the 190CX Pro3 which you can read the review of by clicking the link.
My only issues with the tripod are the ones I set out in the review. If they aren't a problem for you then this is a great tripod.
Manfrotto 055CX Pro3: Plus points
Carbon fibre construction
Increased load tolerance
Q90 horizontal centre column
Manfrotto 055CX Pro3: Minus points
Lighter weight could reduce sturdiness
No spiked feet
The Manfrotto 05CX Pro3 costs around £235 and is available from warehouse Express here:
Manfrotto 055CX Pro3.