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Manfrotto 290 Dual / Xtra Tripods Review

We take a look at Manfrotto's latest enthusiast tripods to see how well they perform.


|  Manfrotto 290 dual in Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
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Features
Handling & Performance
Verdict
Specification


 

Manfrotto's 290 Dual and 290 Xtra tripods are designed for hobbyist photographers who are ready to get more creative with their photography. Manfrotto says they are ideal as a first 'proper' tripod; a step up from a budget tripod, with enhanced rigidity, build quality and features at a very reasonable price point. These tripods are designed to have the latest innovations in technology within an affordable, compact body. Will they live up to expectations? Here, we find out. 

Manfrotto 290 Dual / Xtra Features


 

These two tripods are really quite similar in terms of their build. Both have 3 section clip lock legs, a choice of 4 leg angle positions, rubber feet and a rubber hand grip on one leg for carrying. The two we are looking at here are the aluminium versions. They are both also available in carbon fibre. 

The difference comes in the centre column. The 290 Dual has a patented 90-degree centre column mechanism,  allowing you to position the camera facing the floor or sky with ease for macro or abstract shots. The 290 Xtra does not have this feature but instead has a reversible centre column, allowing you to mount the camera underneath the tripod for low-level work. 


 

The Dual has a little height advantage over the Xtra, with a maximum height of 165cm compared to the Xtra's 160.5cm. Both have a maximum load capacity of 5kg. 


 

The 290 Dual is also available as a kit, seen here, with the new MH804-3W 3 way head with RC2 release plate and retractable levers. The head has a built-in spirit level. It's also available to buy on its own for around £80.

Key Features

  • Aluminium construction
  • Rubber feet / hand grip
  • Extendable / reversible centre column (290 Dual has 90-degree centre column mechanism)
  • 3 leg sections
  • 4 leg angles 
  • 5kg max load

Manfrotto 290 Dual / Xtra Handling & Performance

Both tripods feel extremely well made and aren't particularly light, at around 2kg each without a head, but feel really sturdy when stood, even at full height. The clip locks on the legs are a little stiff to operate but this is really a good thing as you don't want these slipping with kit attached. The overall height the tripods can achieve is impressive, with even a 6-foot tall person having to stand on tiptoes to see the camera screen at max height.


 

The 290 Dual's 90-degree centre column mechanism is really easy to adjust. Simply turn the lever at the base of the legs to bring the centre column to its max height, and press the red button at the bottom of the column while pulling up to bring the column to 90 degrees. Tighten the knob again to secure it. The tripod struggles to stand in this mode unless the leg underneath the 90-degree column is splayed further than the rest to compensate. 


 

We mounted a Canon EOS 600D on the tripods with a standard lens and had no problems. The release plate on the 3-way ball head is simple to operate, and feels really secure when in place with a camera mounted. The retractable lever design on the head enables you to keep the bulkiness of the head to a minimum while travelling yet have the ease of use that longer levers bring when you need it. They are large and really grippy, making them great for those with larger hands or operating while wearing gloves in the winter. The rubber grip on the leg is also really textured and ideal for carrying and altering the position of the tripod with, particularly during colder months. 

The centre column on the Xtra tripod is simple to reverse by removing the rubber protector on the bottom, unscrewing the securing knob and pulling the column from the base. Then reverse it and push the stopper in the hole in to allow the column back into place.


 

Both tripods have a hook on the side and hardwearing rubber feet for use on most terrain. An innovative feature of both of them is the clip-on leg lock adjuster tool. If one of the leg locks come loose on the tripod you would usually struggle to find a tool that will fit to tighten them back up again. This tool stays securely on the leg in case you need it and is easy to operate should you need to use it. Plus, it also means that you can continue to tighten the locks rather than spending money on a new tripod every time the legs become loose. 

Leg tightener

Value For Money

The 290 Dual is available on its own for £129 from Wex Photographic. It's also available as a kit with the head we have here on test for £184 from Wex. The 290 Xtra is available on its own for £99 from Wex. It comes with a drawstring carry bag. It's also available to pre-order as a kit with fluid pan bar head for £154.

The entry price of £99 for the 290 Xtra is quite remarkable considering its spec, high-quality build and sturdiness. This range fills a void in the tripod market where there is demand for a quality first tripod with adequate features without breaking the bank. For £30 more you can have the 290 Dual with 90-degree head.

The range is also available in carbon fibre weighing 300g less, with prices starting around £194 if weight is a concern for you. An alternative that's slightly more expensive might be the Manfrotto BeFree, which is available for £174.95 and is more compact than the 290 range.

Manfrotto 290 Dual / Xtra Verdict

Overall, these tripods really are available at an amazing price for the quality and sturdiness you are getting. They might not have all the bells and whistles of a higher spec tripod, but they feature everything that an enthusiastic amateur who is looking for a step up from cheap, flimsy tripod would want. For those that are interested in macro photography then the 290 Dual will be indispensable for getting close to your subject, with a minimum height of 6.2 cm for the most intimate close-up shots. 

Manfrotto have found a gap in the market here, and quite a big one, which is the photographer on a budget that wants a good quality tripod that will last, and can also grow with the photographer, with the possibility of buying different heads for it as they progress. 

For someone looking to expand their kit as they delve further into the world of photography, without breaking the bank, these tripods are ideal. We are happy to highly recommend them.

Manfrotto 290 Dual / Xtra Pros

Really sturdy even at full height
Great quality 
Fantastic price
Includes leg clip tightener tool
Versatile

Manfrotto 290 Dual / Xtra Cons

Heavy to carry around all day 
 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

 

 

The 290 Xtra and Dual are versatile tripods that are well made and won't break the bank.

 

 

Manfrotto 290 dual Specifications

ManufacturerManfrotto
Tripods
ConstructionAluminium
Maximum Height165cm
Minimum Height6cm
Maximum Weight Capacity5kg
Number of Leg Sections3
HeadQuick release plate
Box Contents
Box Contentstripod, 3 way head
Dimensions
Weight1840g
WidthNo Data
HeightNo Data

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Manfrotto 290 xtra Specifications

ManufacturerManfrotto
Tripods
ConstructionAluminium
Maximum Height161cm
Minimum Height31cm
Maximum Weight Capacity5kg
Number of Leg Sections3
HeadNo Data
Box Contents
Box Contentstripod, drawstring carry bag
Dimensions
Weight1780g
WidthNo Data
HeightNo Data

View Full Product Details

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