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Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Tripod Review

Our test of the Vanguard Nivelo 245BK aluminium tripod with swiveling macro centre column.

|  Vanguard Nivelo 245BK in Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
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Nivelo 245bx Folded

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.

Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Features and handling

The Vanguard Nivelo 245BK takes the compact tripod design, found in the 204SL, a stage further. It's a format that's ideal for use with those SLR style mirrorless camera and the more sophisticated point & shoot style compacts such as the Olympus Pen.

Nivelo 245bx Vertical
While the specification is larger and heavier than the 204SL it's still compact and lightweight. The 245BK measures 37cm when folded, but thanks to its extra leg section and two section center column it can extend to 161cm. Legs are extended by gripping the foot and twisting clockwise. This releases the locks and you then slide to extend the whole five sections, going from collapsed to fully extended in a matter of seconds.

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.

Nivelo 245bx Horizontal Nivelo 245bx Vertical Nivelo 245bx Low Angle

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.

Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Performance

The Nivelo 245BK may be light, but it's also quite sturdy. It won't stand up in gale force wind or cope with a rapid flowing water, but for general support it's fine, don't expect to hold an SLR with a long lens - it will be too flimsy, but for compact users or Olympus/Panasonic/Sony style hybrids it's ideal. The black finish is stylish and as it isn't too heavy so you won't mind carrying it around, especially now the carry case has a strap fitted.

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 245bx Quick Release Plate Nivelo 245bx Quick Release Nivelo 245bx Lock
Nivelo 245BK in use no column
Nivelo 245BK used
without centre column
Nivelo 245BK in use column
Nivelo 245BK used with
centre column extended
Nivelo 245bx-low Angle In Use
Nivelo 245BK low angle shooting

Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Verdict

The look is luxurious and the weight and size make it a tripod you won't feel like you need to leave at home. It's ideal for compact system camera users and extends to eye level, for a 5ft 10in person, so you're not going to get backache using it. We love the way it's speedy to set up and the compact quick release plate, also the versatile reversing center column. The only thing letting it down is the price. It's twice the price of the 204SL which we thought was over priced and only marginally better specified.

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

FEATURES Vanguard Nivelo 204SL rating
HANDLING Vanguard Nivelo 204SL rating
PERFORMANCE Vanguard Nivelo 204SL rating
VALUE FOR MONEY Vanguard Nivelo 204SL rating
OVERALL Vanguard Nivelo 204SL rating

Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Specifications

Maximum Height161cm
Minimum Height0cm
Maximum Weight Capacity3kg
Number of Leg Sections5
HeadPan and tilt
Box Contents
Box ContentsTripod, case
WidthNo Data

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