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BY JON LAWTON
If you ask a photographer what piece of equipment is most essential, you’re likely to hear a long list of favorite cameras or must have lenses. It’s easy to get caught up in high-tech electronics when talking about photo gear, but sometimes the most useful piece of hardware can be a little more mundane. A tripod, for example, might not be the most exciting piece of gear in your kit, but without one you are eliminating many great photo opportunities.
The Manfrotto 055XPROB kit is a tripod and head system aimed at photographers that need to support up to 8.8 pounds of camera gear. Given that the average DSLR weighs in at less than 2 pounds, the 055XPROB kit gives you the option to hold even the heaviest camera-lens combination. The tripod itself weighs in at 5.3 pounds and is made of aluminum. Each leg consists of three extending sections that feature quick-action locking levers that make it easy to set the tripod to the desired height. Another nice aspect of this tripod is that when the legs and center column are fully extended, the tripod head rests at 5.8 feet from the ground. This is a definite advantage for taller folks who will no longer have to hunch over to see through the viewfinder. This tripod also features a pivoting center column that can be locked in the horizontal position; and this, combined with spreading the legs to their widest setting, allows you to position the head a mere 10cm above the ground, making it great for ultra low-angle shooting.
The Manfrotto 804RC2 head is fitted on the top of the tripod legs. This three-way pan/tilt head nicely compliments the tripod. The head can support equipment up to 8.8 pounds and has three independent locking handles for precise control over your camera’s position. The head is made from a composite material that Manfrotto states is as strong as aluminum but roughly half the weight. The top of the head also features a spirit level and a quick-release plate system so you can easily mount or remove the camera from the head.
The 055XPROB legs and 804RC2 head are a great combination. The large range of height adjustments paired with superior build quality make it an ideal kit for a photographer looking for a rock solid support system that will last for many years of service. This kit sells for $239 and also ships with the Manfrotto MBAG80, a zippered ballistic nylon carrying case with shoulder strap. ♦
—If you have any questions about this Manfrotto 055XPROB kit or any other photo-related topic, please contact Jon Lawton at firstname.lastname@example.org.