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Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT Tripod Review

We review the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT tripod & grip head - how will it perform?


|  Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT in Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
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Features
Handling & Performance
Verdict
Specification



Quick Verdict

The Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT is a very versatile tripod that will allow you to capture almost any angle possible. The built in shutter button and ability to change the angle of the central column are major draws. If your work requires the tripod to be rock solid then it might not be the one for you, but weighing this up against the many other positive points about this tripod make it a great choice, especially for event photography where the right angle can be everything.

+ Pros

  • Easy flip lock ball head 
  • Quick to use & operate
  • 4 leg angles 
  • Built-in shutter release
  • Packed with features
  • Good price

- Cons

  • Legs have quite a bit of flex when fully extended
  • Quite heavy at 2.5kg
 

 


The Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT is the combination of Vanguard's Alta Pro 2+ 263GT carbon fibre tripod legs and multi-angle centre column with the Alta GH-300T pistol grip ball head. It won the award for best tripod at TIPA 2018. It has a 3 section lightweight build and can hold kit of up to 6kg. It's available for £399.99. Here, we find out how it performs. 

 

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT Features

Aimed at professionals, and those that want a versatile, multi-functional tripod, Vanguard say it's ideal for wedding, portrait, action and macro shot markets. 

Let's start with the legs - these are 3-section carbon fibre, with rubber covered 1/4 turn twist locks. There are markings and ridges on the grips to let you know when they are fully open/closed. Two of these have a rubber grip at the top as well. The feet are fairly chunky and made of smooth rubber, designed to give good grip no matter what the leg angle. These can also be swapped out for spikes on rough terrain. There are 4 leg angles to choose from, one more than usual compared to most tripods, and these are adjusted by pulling down the lock at the very top of the leg. Angles are marked on the joint so you can clearly see what degree you have them at. 


 

The tripod has a good max height, at 1.4 meters with the central column down and 1.72 meters with the central column fully raised. A knob on the side of the leg base allows you to twist the central column around a full 360 degrees. Speaking of the central column, this is a clever part of this tripod. Loosen the knob and pull it to max height, press the button on the bottom, screw it tight and then using the lever opposite the knob, the angle of the central column can be determined, allowing you to swing it a full 90 degrees. And this is before we've talked about the super versatile GH-300T pistol grip head. 

This is a very ergonomic pistol grip that features a ball head. The friction of the ball head is adjusted by a lever. The head can be locked and unlocked with the flick of your thumb while holding the grip, allowing you to position it and then quickly lock it again. Unlike most ball heads which usually operate with a spring system so that they remain locked until pushed, the GH-300T will remain unlocked until tightened for ease of manoeuvrability. On top of this is the Arca Swiss compatible quick release plate, ideal for quickly switching between cameras. A unique feature with this pistol grip is that the angle of the grip can be adjusted by pulling back a collar, independently of the camera mount, for maximum comfort and also versatility. 


 

There is also the opportunity to trigger the camera to shoot using the pistol grip, which has a button where your index finger rests. Pressing and holding this also allows for long exposure captures. Canon TC1 and Nikon TN1 cables are included but any camera with a remote release socket can be connected if you purchase the required cable with a 2.5mm DC jack. 

The Arca Swiss plate is also mounted on a rotating platform which once loosened can be used to create flawless panoramas. Bubble spirit levels are present at the top of the legs, vertically on the side of the release plate and laying horizontally at the front of the release plate so that you can be sure everything is lined up perfectly. 

The tripod comes with a sturdy carry bag featuring a roll top/clip closure and shoulder strap. An Allen key is also included to tighten anything that may become lose over time.


 

Key Features

  • Carbon Fibre legs
  • 3 leg sections 
  • Pistol grip ball head 
  • 1.72m max height
  • Centre column can tilt 90 degrees when fully extended
  • Ability to trigger the camera with a pistol grip when connected 
  • Friction control
  • 4 leg angles
  • Rubber feet can be exchanged for spikes 
  • Weighs 2.44kg 

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT Handling & Performance 

The Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263GHT is a very ergonomically thought out tripod. Leg movements are well damped and the angle markings at the top of each leg are a nice touch. Those who are left-handed haven't been left out, with the ability to push down the leg angle adjusting catch available from both sides of each leg. This makes it really easy to adjust, no matter which angle you're working at. The rubber twist grips feel a little gritty when twisted, but do feel firm and secure with only a small twist needed in comparison to some. 


 

This isn't a light tripod, despite its carbon fibre build it still weighs 2.5kg. This could make it difficult to carry over long distances. It's very much a professional, large tripod - owing to the sizable head, it doesn't compact down too well as a kit. 

The extra leg angle available adds good versatility to the angles that can be reached - in fact, combining this with the tilting centre column and the adjustable pistol grip head, there shouldn't be any angle that can't be reached with this tripod. The ball head can be unlocked to rotate freely with just a flick of the thumb - making it a lot easier to position accurately than those which remain locked unless a trigger is pressed. The fact that you can also adjust the friction on the ball head is a nice touch, lessening the fear of the camera lurching to an angle when mounted. 


 

We mounted a Panasonic Lumix G9 with 12-60mm lens on the tripod - this is quite a hefty mirrorless camera - and the tripod coped very well, with smooth adjustments achieved.

When extended to full height, the tripod seems to have a fair bit of give to the legs, which is unusual for a carbon fibre offering. Other than this, everything seems to be very well made and offers more versatility than ever before.

The number of levers and knobs on this tripod may seem daunting at first but once you get used to how everything operates, you'll find this makes it much more versatile. To adjust the angle of the centre column, you have to loosen the small knob opposite from the angle adjustment lever. Pull the column all the way up, press the yellow button underneath the column and lift until it's all the way up, secure again with the small knob, then you can pull the lever away from the tripod giving you the ability to tilt the column and adjust the angle. The adjustments are geared but again the angles are shown, allowing you to easily select the one required and re-tighten the lever. 


 

There are plenty of spirit level indicators on the sides of the plate and base of the legs to help ensure that everything is straight. The double rubber grips really help you to grab and move the tripod whilst keeping it stable, even in colder temperatures which is great, especially if being used for events. The built-in trigger button is also something that professional photographers can make use of, to reduce chances of camera shake whilst also allowing you to adjust the angle of the camera and still be able to snap an image easily. 

 

The accompanying tripod bag is trendy yet subtle, as is the tripod itself with a fetching grey and yellow highlights colour scheme. The bag is a nice addition which makes it easier to transport the tripod when you already have a lot of kit. 

 

Value For Money

The Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT kit is available for £399.99 from the Vanguard website. Considering the versatility and features available to you, this is a fair price to ask. 

Other tripods similar in design with carbon fibre and horizontal column include the Manfrotto 055 CXPRO3 Carbon Fibre tripod, available for £299 (without head). However, this model won't give you the versatility of the pistol grip ball head on the Vanguard model. If you want to add a grip head, this would cost a further £119, and doesn't offer the shutter release function. 

If you want something more compact, then you could look at the 3 Legged Thing LEO Equinox carbon firbre tripod, which is £299 with head. This tripod has a max capacity of 30kg but only features a relatively simple ball head (in comparison to the trigger grip). 

For more options, have a look at our Best Tripods roundup.

 

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT Verdict

Overall, if you're a professional photographer or just someone who likes a lot of versatility in their kit then this is certainly going to fit the bill at a good price point. The extra leg angle compared with most tripods and the ability to tilt the centre column mean that the tripod can be set up for all sorts of applications including Astro and macro photography. 

The maximum height is impressive, as is the flexibility of the head allowing you to get just about any angle easily. It's perhaps not quite as sturdy as other tripods, in terms of the flexibility in the carbon fibre legs but everything else points to a quality, well-equipped model. The pistol grip trigger is unique, and for those that want this feature, there is very little alternative available. It is this versatility and reasonable price point that allow us to recommend it.

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT Pros

  • Easy flip lock ball head 
  • Quick to use & operate
  • 4 leg angles 
  • Built-in shutter release trigger
  • Packed with features
  • Good price

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT Cons

  • Legs have quite a bit of flex when fully extended
  • Quite heavy at 2.5kg

Features5/5
Handling4.5/5
Performance4/5
Value4/5
Overall Verdict

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Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT Specifications

ManufacturerVanguard
Tripods
ConstructionCarbon fibre
Maximum Height173cm
Minimum Height23cm
Maximum Weight Capacity6kg
Number of Leg Sections3
HeadPistol grip ball head
Box Contents
Box ContentsTripod, pistol grip head, carry bag
Dimensions
Weight2500g
WidthNo Data
HeightNo Data

View Full Product Details

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Comments


lemmy 12 2.8k United Kingdom
15 Dec 2018 5:51PM
The first quality any tripod must have is rock steadiness. Its function is to hold a camera steady, after all. Nice colours and a built in shutter release but it flexes - really?

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pink Plus
16 6.1k 7 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2018 7:08AM
Design over function maybe?
I would never consider a tripod that 'flexes' in use, pointless.

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