Manfrotto 290 Dual with BHQ2 XPRO Ball Head ReviewEditor - 9th November 2017
Review by Antony Meadley.
As a professional photographer, I find that it’s the little details which make all the difference in regular use. The fact that the legs slip open effortlessly, saving a second or two here and there soon adds up when you are taking photos on the move.
The legs have 4 leg angle positions to open to, up to 90 degrees. This allows you to position your camera anywhere from 4.5 inches (6cm) to almost 6 foot off the ground!
There are 3 leg sections, with robust and easy to use flip locks. Even at its maximum height of 165cm, the tripod is rock solid.
As with many of the current range of Manfrotto tripods, it has a rubber grip on one of the legs to make carrying it more pleasant, especially in cold weather.
Another very useful feature, which gives this model its name Dual, is the centre column which rotates 90 degrees to horizontal, to make it easy to shoot objects on the ground, such as documents or macro shots. This is easy to operate; loosen the centre column lock, extend it to its maximum and press the button on the bottom of the centre column. Tighten the lock again to secure it.
There is also a hook to attach weights to in order to prevent movement in windy conditions.
The tripod is available in 3 versions: legs only, with a 3-way head or with a ball head. I tested it with the BHQ2 XPRO Ball Head.
Able to hold an impressive 10kg (22.05 lbs) payload, the aluminium and magnesium ball head seems to be strong enough for most normal camera/lens combos. I tested it with a Canon 5DIII and a 70-200mm f2.8 lens without any trouble at all.
The XPRO lets you fine-tune your adjustments, thanks to separate knobs for both the ball and the 360° panning as well as a friction control knob to help with precise positioning. The panning seems rather stiff, but this might ease after repeated use.
The two bubble levels let you adjust your camera so the horizon is level. One very minor quibble is that it would be nice if the bubbles lit up for use in darker environments.
It comes with a 200 PL quick release plate.
Having used this tripod and head for several weeks now, both in and out of the studio, I am very impressed with its performance and build quality.
Overall this tripod is amazing value for money for a solid full height tripod. It’s slightly heavy to carry around all day, but if weight is a major concern, it is also available in carbon fibre weighting 300g less.
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