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If you read my review of the Vanguard GH-100 pistol grip ball head published a few months ago, you may remember that I was not planning on taking it off my tripod unless I upgraded my tripod to a Vanguard. Well, I am happy to announce that it is now safely attached to my new Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT carbon fiber tripod. Please note that the tripod is pictured below without a ball head attachment.
The first impression when taking the tripod out of its box is it looks and feels really sturdy.
What makes the Vanguard really stand out is its geared center column. The gear elevator crank is very smooth which makes the operation effortless and precise, no matter how heavy your equipment is. It is designed for stability and strength. The center column can be easily locked in place with the twist of a locking mechanism. The center column features two segments that can be detached to create a shorter column for low angle photography. The bottom of the column features a sturdy hook to add some weight or hang your camera bag. By simply removing the hook, you can detach the center column and insert it upside down for macro photography.
The legs lock with a twist lock grip designed to deter sand and dust. The legs can be adjusted at three pre-set angles (25, 50 and 60 degrees) with a push button. One other unique and very useful feature on the leg extensions is the scale system that enables you to adjust them quickly and with accuracy when you need the tripod perfectly leveled. You can also rely on the bubble level located on the center piece.
The rubber feet of the Auctus Plus can be removed to reveal spikes if you want to anchor your tripod securely to the ground. Have you ever experienced a loaded tripod sinking into soft ground? Vanguard thought about that too. The Auctus Plus comes with large foot supports (featuring little rubber spikes on the bottom) that easily attach to the rubber feet. The large spiked rubber feet can be adjusted to any angle to assure the best stability. So, that’s three different types of feet in one!
The Auctus Plus is not light at 8.04 lbs/3.65 kg, mostly due to the sturdy center column and gear system. I use my tripod for work every day as I shoot mostly food on location as well as interiors. I need something sturdy and reliable. I would not carry the Auctus Plus all day on a hike but it is definitely built for strength and durability. With a maximum loading weight of 39 lbs/ 18 kg (that’s a lot of gear). The Auctus Plus fully extends to a height of 70 7/8 inches/180 cm and a folding height of 28 inches/ 71 cm. It also comes in a sturdy bag with shoulder strap.
Auctus plus series comes in carbon fiber and aluminum models. As any other good quality tripod, they are pricey and retail from $380 to $480 depending on the model. This particular model is the Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT Carbon Fiber linked here on Amazon
As with anything else, you get what you pay for and, if you are serious about your photography, the tripod is not the piece of gear where you want to go cheap!
View the Vanguard product video by clicking here.