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First Impressions: Vanguard Abeo Plus 323CB Tripod With BBH-200 Ballhead

Vanguard ballhead

I took a quick stop to see what our friends at Vanguard had this year and long and behind  they come out with a  new carbon fiber tripod with with ballhead. Vanguard makes some really cool backpacks, bags as well as monopods and tripods  I’ve never had the chance to see what their tripods look and feel like until now.

Let’s take a quick look.

Tech Specs

Taken from the B&H Photo Video listing

General
Load Capacity 26.4 lb (12 kg)
Maximum Height 75.19″ (191 cm)
Maximum Height w/o Column Extended 57.28″ (145.5 cm)
Folded Length 30.75″ (78 cm)
Weight 7.27 lb (3.29 kg)
Head
Head Type BBH-200 ballhead
Quick Release Yes, QS-60
Legs
Material Carbon fiber
Leg Stages/Sections 3
Leg Lock Type Flip-lock
Independent Leg Spread Yes
Spiked/Retractable Feet Yes, rubber feet convert to spikes
Center Brace No
Center Column
Center Column Type Rapid
Center Column Sections 1
Bubble Level Yes, 3

Ergonomics

Starting with the BBH-200 ballhead I liked how it felt very solidly designed. It;s made of magnesium so it’s light as well as sturdy. The knobs will allow you to make all of your adjustments. A nice touch is you can lift the knobs to reposition them so if you have a hard time turning them they won’t get stuck.

The plate is an arca-swiss type plate and slips easily into the unit. The lock knob on the unit feels very nice and has a quality feel with a little resistance when you turn it.

This head also gives you the ability to tilt and lock it into place if you are the kind of shooter who does landscapes as well. This ballhead to me is kind of more of a hybrid unit. The cool feature that I like is it has a unique way of self leveling itself. By sliding the big, bright orange button forward this will activate the Rapid Level System feature. It’s kind hard to explain, but say you had it setup in landscape mode and wanted to recompose the head back into the center, you simply wiggle the head while it’s in the middle in a firm matter until you feel a slight-tugging/locking feeling. This tells you have reached the center point. Now you lock it into place and slide the orange button back to the off position. Some other things I liked is you have two spirit levels on this head. Usually this is an option on a more expensive unit.

The leg release was rather easy to do, simply press the button on the leg and pull/push to extend the leg out. You can get 25, 50 and 80 degree angles on each leg.

The carbon fiber on this tripod was really light, rigid but also flexible. There was some give to the legs. Almost the same feeling with carbon fiber golf club shafts. If the release ever becomes loose after prolonged use, you can simply adjust them to tighten them back up. Since this is a 3-stage tripod your maximum height is 75.19 inches and your maximum load is a little over 24 lb.  The whole unit itself with ballhead ways 7.27 lb.

On the feet you have little shows that give you some extra stability, they can be easily taken off to expose spikes when working in the grass or ice. Also included are sets of shoes for sand and snow.

You have a sandbag or weight hook on the bottom of the column so on windy days you can give yourself some support.

The whole column can be flipped upside down and locked into place for those of you who do macro photography. Another feature I liked on this unit is it has a column lock on it. Basically 2 little buttons that keep the column from slipping off when in macro use. To disengage the column lock a simple press of the buttons in and slide it up or down depending on how you are shooting.

First Impressions

Overall, I really like where Vanguard is going with this tripod. Now granted I have not had any real chance to take it out into the real world. The fit and finish is nice, it’s not overdone in color or accents and it offers you some nice features. I’m hoping to get to do a full review on this unit soon.

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