Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review

We've been putting the VEO 3+ 263CPS tripod from Vanguard to the test which features a 3-way pan head and a multi-angle central column.

| Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports

Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review: P1010076 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200


Quick Verdict

The VEO 3+ 263CPS is a full-size tripod that's sturdy yet lightweight, it looks smart and we can't fault the build quality. Vanguard really does seem to have found the magic formula for creating tripods you can trust at reasonable prices.

+ Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Looks smart
  • Great build quality
  • Sturdy support
  • Multi-Angle Central Column 
  • Vanguard VEO PH-38S 3-way pan head included
  • Spiked Feet included

- Cons

  • It's quite long when folded


The Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS is a full-size, carbon fibre tripod that features an Arca-compatible 3-way pan head and Vanguard's Multi-Angle Central Column. The VEO 3+ 263CPS is just one of the tripods found in Vanguard's popular VEO 3+ range and as we've previously reviewed other members of its family, we're looking forward to seeing if the 263CPS model can score just as well. 


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Features

Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review: P1010073 | 1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 29.0 mm | ISO 200

The Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS is a VEO 3+ series tripod that Vanguard has put over 30 years of design knowledge into creating. This particular model is made from CNC-machined carbon fibre and features a 3-way pan head that's Arca compatible. It also features Vanguard's Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC) so you can shoot landscapes or macro work with the tripod or convert it to a multi-mount with the VEO+ MA1 Adaptor. There's no need to buy a separate monopod either as one of the tripod legs converts into one. Other features include rubber feet that can be replaced with spiked feet (provided), a removable hook that can be used to hang weight for additional stability and a padded tripod bag with a shoulder strap. 

Key Features

  • CNC-machined carbon fibre construction
  • Multi-Angle Central Column
  • VEO PH-38S 3-way Pan Head included 
  • Tripod leg converts to a monopod
  • Rubber and spiked feet
  • Removable hook for stability 
  • Extends to 173.5cm
  • Folds to 77.5cm
  • 10KG load capacity
  • Weighs 2.3KG
  • Price £379.99


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Handling & Performance


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review: P1010078 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200

The Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS is a sturdy and rather stylish tripod that screams 'quality' and is also incredibly versatile. As it's part of the VEO 3+ tripod series, it comes equipped with the Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC) which can be moved almost 360 degrees in any direction so you can use the tripod for macro work close to the ground and then quickly switch to landscape shooting. What makes the MACC even more useful is the fact that it can be used in combination with the supplied VEO+ MA1 Adaptor so you can add accessories such as microphones or lighting should you need them. 

Other useful features of the MACC, which you may have heard us talk about before in previous Vanguard tripod reviews but they're worth mentioning again, are a  retractable and removable hook at the base of the central column you can hang your camera bag to when additional stability is needed and there's a scale at the base of the central column as well as on the central column itself that allows you to repeat a series of shots over time more easily. 


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review: P1010079 | 1/80 sec | f/3.2 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200

As the Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS is a full-size tripod, it's rather big but these types of tripods do have their merits when compared with smaller, travel-size tripods. This one measures 77.5cm when folded and weighs 2.3KG which actually isn't too bad when carrying it. A padded shoulder bag is supplied that's well made but the overall size may feel quite big for some when walking. 

The beauty of a full-size tripod is its maximum height and the VEO 3+ 263CPS extends to 173.5cm and has a maximum payload of 10KG so will easily hold a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera with a long lens attached. Stability can sometimes be an issue when tripods are extended to full height but the VEO 3+ 263CPS stood strong at all heights it was set to and there's always the option of using the hook to pop your camera bag on the base of the tripod to weigh it down if needs be. 


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review: P1010075 | 1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 29.0 mm | ISO 250

The 26mm diameter carbon fibre legs feature 3-sections that feature twist locks that are easy to unlock/lock or remove altogether when you want to clean the tripod legs. The locks are rubberised so you can get a really good grip even when wearing gloves in colder temperatures. If you find yourself visiting somewhere tripods aren't allowed, you can remove one of the tripod legs and use it as a monopod which is pretty cool, too. All you have to do is remove the specific leg and the central column then screw the two together to create a monopod that extends to 183.5cm.

At the top of the tripod are the push button locks that allow you to set the leg angles from 23-80 degrees. We've seen these locks on previous Vanguard tripods and we were impressed by their ease of use then and this is still an accurate description now. At the opposite end of the tripod you find rubber feet but these can be replaced with spikes when required. 

The tripod canopy also includes a 3/8” thread for an additional support arm to be attached and the top of the tripod has a thread that can convert from 3/8" to 1/4" should you want to use a different tripod head. 


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review: P1010071 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 29.0 mm | ISO 200

Speaking of tripod heads, the Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS comes equipped with the VEO PH-38S 3-way pan head. Previously, we've reviewed Vanguard VEO 3+ tripods that have a ball head but not everyone likes to use ball heads so having this option will please a wider range of people and you can always swap it out for a ball head should you prefer them. 

The VEO PH-38S 3-way pan head is actually Vanguard's first-ever CNC machined pan-head which means the load capacity can be greater (10KG when other Vanguard pan heads top out at about 5-6KG) and the panning movement will be smoother. 

Usually, with pan heads, they're set up so you can have the camera facing forward for use with long lenses (as this tripod arrives) or they come with a side-on set-up for use with L-brackets. The beauty of this pan head from Vanguard is that it can do both as it can be turned 90 degrees. When you do switch it, the handles won't be in the 'traditional' position but you can work around this quite easily. Another positive is that it can be set up for left-handed photographers and handles can be removed completely when capturing video or simply for easier storage. 


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review: P1010070 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 29.0 mm | ISO 200

To change the head's position, you use the rotating top handle (a design patented by Vanguard) which, at first glance, might seem a bit gimmicky but as discussed, it has some great practical advantages.

To rotate the top handle you unlock the lever lock, rotate the top handle to the desired position in 90° increments, and then re-lock it. You can also tilt the head laterally from -91 degrees to 30 degrees and there's a separate pan lock for capturing 360-degree panoramas. Both handles are textured and are a good size so grip is no issue. 

In use, the VEO PH-38S 3-way pan head is very smooth and you can achieve very precise movements/adjustments. 

If you did want to use the pan head on another tripod you can as it's compatible with a 1/4" or 3/8" thread and there's also an Arca Swiss compatible quick-release system which means should you use the plate, you can easily replace it. 


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Review: P1010084 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200

Value For Money

The VEO 3+ 263CPS tripod from Vanguard retails for £379.99 and this includes the VEO PH-38S 3-way pan head which retails on its own for £139.99 which makes the VEO 3+ 263CPS great value for money. The price puts the tripod on par with other full-size tripods currently available which includes the full VEO 3+ range. There's also the VEO 3+ 263CB we reviewed a couple of years back that's priced at £299 and features a VEO BH-160 Arca Compatible Ball Head rather than the 3-way pan head should you prefer this type of head. 


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Verdict

Vanguard's reputation for creating incredibly well-made tripods will certainly continue with the VEO 3+ 263CPS. It's a full-size tripod that's sturdy yet lightweight, it looks smart and we can't fault the build quality. Vanguard's innovative Multi-Angle Central Column allows for all types of photography and it also doubles up as a Multi-Mount to attach additional kit. Plus, you get the VEO PH-38S 3-way pan head included which is an excellent piece of kit on its own so when combined with the VEO 3+ 263CPS, you have a winning combination. 

Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Looks smart
  • Great build quality
  • Sturdy support
  • Multi-Angle Central Column 
  • Vanguard VEO PH-38S 3-way pan head included
  • Spiked Feet included


Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CPS Tripod Cons

  • It's quite long when folded

Overall Verdict

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