Last Updated on 05/13/2022 by Mark Beckenbach
One of the biggest hassles of real estate photography is maneuvering your tripod in small spaces. Moderately sized and historic homes tend to feature tiny rooms. The best vantage point is usually found by squeezing your tripod through the doorway and hoping for the best. The Vanguard Veo 3+ 263CB offers extra reach by its intuitive center column without the stress. It also provides precise adjustments that require minimal correction. Its hollow carbon construction is a healthy compromise of stability and portability. Does the added versatility justify its cost? We think so. Keep reading to find out why.
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The Big Picture
Vanguard has created a happy medium with the Veo 3+ 263CB tripod. It’s not the lightest or the sturdiest on the market, but it holds its own ground. The tripod’s size is comfortable to pack on a hike and sturdy enough for long exposures in the gustiest of winds with added weight. Adjustments are simple and secure, although they’re not fast enough to win a race. Professionals can dial in accurate precision, while enthusiasts can utilize its levels for simple adjustments.
The center column adds versatility for many camera angles. Real estate, commercial, still life, portrait, and food photographers will appreciate this tripod.
We are giving the Vanguard Veo 3+ 263CB four out of five stars. Want one? You can pick it up on Amazon.
- Multi-angle central column for extra reach is great for real estate
- It can double as a monopod.
- The ball head rotates very smoothly.
- It comes with an adapter to add a second camera to the adjustable center column.
- Simple and smooth adjustments
- It ships with foot spikes for rougher terrain.
- Build quality is excellent
- The removable center hook feels like an afterthought.
- The carrying case should have a shoulder pad.
- It’s not the fastest to adjust.
I tested the Vanguard Veo 3+ 263CB tripod with a Canon 5D Mark III and 50mm lens, a Canon 5D Mark IV and a 16-35 mm lens, and my Billingham Eventer Mk II.
The Vanguard Veo 3+ 263CB is a lightweight carbon fiber tripod. It’s not exactly compact, with a folding height just shy of 30 inches and a weight under five pounds. It ships with a padded carrying case that is adequate when traveling short distances. I would recommend securing the tripod to your hiking bag of choice if you plan on trekking for a distance. There is no shoulder pad, and that becomes a nuisance rather quickly. Carrying it like a suitcase is less of a hassle.
The Veo BH-160s dual-axis ball head sits atop the Veo 3+ 263CB. It is made of aluminum, which adds to the tripod’s overall weight. The first thing you will notice is a dual locking quick-release plate alongside a level. The next set of twist knobs is for the ball head and rotation.
Twist the next knob and flip the lever to extend the center column. There is a removable hook to add weight or hold your gear. Fully extend the column and flip it out for extra reach in tight spaces. Vanguard includes a Veo+ MA1 adapter to attach an additional camera or accessory. I preferred to utilize this when shooting in tiny rooms.
The hollow carbon legs of the Veo 3+ 263CB are lightweight and sturdy. Twist them to extend, lock them into place, or remove them altogether when they need cleaning. One of the legs has a locking icon. It can be removed and then attached to the center column to function as a monopod. The monopod will accommodate longer lenses on a DSLR and can be angled down for macro shots.
Each tripod leg features a knob that allows you to adjust it at a different angle. Two of the legs are adorned with a rubber finish which is extra durable in the great outdoors. They also make grabbing the tripod in freezing temperatures less shocking to your skin. Vanguard ships a set of metal spikes that can replace the rubber feet in rougher terrain. And each leg can be fully dismantled for cleaning when needed.
The Vanguard Veo 3+ 263CB strikes a harmonious balance between portability and stability. I took it on a real estate listing photo shoot and shot some close-up detail photos of the high-end finishes. The tripod excelled with the center column at an angle, fully extended, and even upside down. It performs very well in a controlled or calm environment.
I also took the tripod out when a gusty rainstorm passed through downtown. The center column was horizontal, with my camera on the outermost edge. There was minimal camera shake in a small fraction of my long exposures during the strongest gusts.
I recommend adding counterweight when shooting outdoors on uneven ground or inclement weather, especially with slower shutter speeds.
The counterweight hook attaches to the center column. It is a minimal hook that can handle moderate weight with ease. However, the quality of the counterweight hook feels like an afterthought compared to the rest of the tripod. I would prefer a built-in D-ring where I could attach a carabiner, or at least something that doesn’t protrude. That way you wouldn’t have to fuss with it when adjusting the center column. 3 Legged Thing opted for something similar, and it works well with a carabiner.
The carrying case the tripod ships with is padded. While it offers a bit of protection, it is no match for the abuse of UPS. The first Veo 3+ 263CB I received sustained a massive blow during shipping and damaged the tripod head. But Vanguard was great and sent a replacement immediately.
Ease of Use
There are a lot of knobs and levers on Vanguard’s Veo 3+ 263CB. Each is crafted from metal and makes for simple, secure adjustments. Its seven adjustment features and scales allow for accurate precision that professionals will appreciate. It took me a few hours to get acquainted and truly appreciate its versatility.
Three of the knobs are used for panning. The knob closest to the quick-release plate offers 380 degrees of rotation. This is great for panoramic images. Moving down the tripod, the second adjusts the ball head joint. The final knob is meant for rotating the center column. This is wonderful for getting it perfect in camera and not relying on editing programs later.
Twist the knob and pull the lever closest to the center column to position it horizontally. Then extend it for a bit more reach in extra small spaces. I found this incredibly useful for photographing real estate. Instead of forcing my tripod through the doorway, I could extend the arm into the room. The extra reach also means slightly more canvas when correcting the lens distortion. This is especially helpful when shooting with less expensive, wide-angle lenses missing a few millimeters.
Enthusiast photographers can rely on the levels and utilize the various angles of the center column. Users can easily make minor, relatively straight adjustments without scientific precision. Images will require minimal correction and are easily rectified in post-production. It’s very doable for photographers of all levels.
Each of the legs is adjusted by twisting. After making a height adjustment, it takes about 2-3 twists to lock them into place. Each leg has a knob to change the angle for the most demanding spaces. And you can remove the legs and take them apart when they need to be cleaned.
A removable counterweight clip secures to the center column. But, the quality of this clip doesn’t match that of the tripod. I found it annoying having to unscrew the clip when breaking it down or repositioning the center column. Time will tell if it’s durable and long-lasting. For now, the clip holds a moderately packed camera bag with ease.
Who Should Buy the Vanguard Veo 3+ 263CB?
Vanguard has created a premium tripod with features that professional photographers will appreciate. It’s also reflected in the price. Enthusiast photographers looking for a quality tripod will not be disappointed. They will also appreciate its strategic level placement. The use of hollow carbon throughout the Veo 3+ 263CB slightly reduces the weight at the expense of stability. It is small enough to carry on an excursion at just under five pounds.
You will probably opt to utilize the counterweight hook frequently. I wish the hook were a permanent fixture with a more robust feeling carabiner. That would put my mind at ease when shooting with the likes of Leica. The Veo 3+ 263CB offers accurate precision that architecture and real estate photographers appreciate. Each adjustment knob and lever is easy to use and feels secure.
The functionality of the center column adds a lot of versatility. It provides extra reach when you need it most. Landscape, still life, commercial, and food photographers will also enjoy this tripod.
Tech specs are from the manufacturer’s website.
- Bag Included?: Yes
- Bubble Level(s): 2
- Color: Black
- Extended Height: 67.9″
- Folded Height: 29.9″
- Extended Height w/ Center Column Down: 57.9″
- Included Head Model: VEO BH-160
- Item Weight: 4.69 lbs
- Low-Angle Adapter Included?: No
- Leg Diameter: 1.02″
- Leg Lock Type: Twist
- Leg Sections: 3
- Low-Angle Height: 4.92″
- Material: Carbon Fiber
- Max Load Weight Capacity: 33 lbs
- Monopod Height: 71.9″
- Quick Shoe: QS-60 V2
- Reversible Center Column?: No
- Spiked Feet Included?: Yes