With the 263AB having grown a massive user base over the last few years we have seen a steadily increasing number of people reaching out ever month asking for advice on the tripod. Due to this, we have decided to publish our ultimate Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB review to try and answer as many questions as possible about the tripod in one single article.
Not only do we hope that this will help any of our regular readers or anyone who finds the article on Facebook or from Google but it also gives us something to link to in the future when people reach out about it.
Anyway, as we mentioned, over the last few years, the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB has gone front strength to strength carving its place out in a crowded market place doing what many other tripods have failed to do. We feel that this is mainly due to the 263AB coming in at just over the $100 price point while actually providing the performance and features of tripods at higher price points in the market.
This let the 263AB dominate the completing tripods at its price point in the market by simply outclassing them. Over the years, this has lead to the tripod growing itself an excellent reputation with the photography and videography communities and its growth shows no signs of slowing down. Right now the 263AB seems to be going through a phase of almost exponential growth and we feel this is why we have seen so many people reaching out about the tripod.
User Interface And Control System
Another thing that the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB has going for it over some of the other competing tripods within its price range is that it has a ton of features that are all very easy to use helping to push it further ahead of the competition. Although we would not class the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB as an entry-level tripod due to its higher price tag, we have seen a few people on social media comment how the 263AB was the first tripod they purchased and that they found it very easy to get to grips with.
So, let’s start with the leg angle selector clips shown in the image below. Although thy may look a little different to the standard press and release clips on most other tripods in this price bracket, the actual ratchet mechanism works in the exact same way. You simply depress the clip on either side of the leg to open the ratchet and then adjust the leg accordingly, once in the position you require, release the clips and the leg angle selector activates and locks in place.
The image below shows the leg in the 25 degrees, 50 degrees, and 80 degrees position allowing you to use the 263AB in some situations where other competing tripods at this price point in the market may struggle with use to having a lower maximum leg angle.
For example, say you are trying to capture a photograph or some video footage of a local stream. Chances are, you are going to have to adjust all of the legs to be locked in at different angles to each other and then counter the offset via adjusting the center column to keep your camera rig level. The 80 degrees angle lets you set to tripod in some unique positions that many other lower priced tripods are unable to match at the time of writing.
As believers that a picture paints a thousand words, the photograph of the tripod inaction above with its legs adjusted to different angles and lengths with the central column offset may provide a better example of what we are trying to explain.
The image above shows the flip lock leg lock system that the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB and although we personally prefer the twist lock leg lock system, these flip locks are solid and get the job done. They lock each leg segment in place without issue ensuring that the leg will not give provided you do not exceed the 15.4 pounds maximum load capacity of the tripod.
Additionally, the motion of the flip lock when using it is smooth and feels solid where as some other tripods, even ones at higher price points that use flip locks can feel clunky to use making you question if your camera rig is actually safe once mounted.
The final part of the user interface on the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB that we want to cover is the shoes at the bottom of each of the legs shown in the image above. This offers you additional grip and stability when using the tripod on wet or slippy surfaces helping to keep your camera rig safe and the metal spikes can be retracted by turning the feet to leave the regular rubber feet for indoor use to prevent scratching on floors.
Performance And Functionality
The excellent image stabilization and performance that the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB provides is the main reason that we feel is has been so dominant over the competing tripods in its price point. We have made the bullet point list below to show some of the key features of the tripod that we feel anyone considering the 263AB to their camera accessories will want to know:-
- 15.4-pound load capacity.
- 5.38 pound net tripod weight.
- 68.12 inch maximum usable height.
- 6.25 inch macro photography height when the ceneral column is inverted.
- 28.12 inch folded length.
- Fully invertible central column from 0 to 180 degrees.
- Swivel stock and lock system to keep the central column secure when not in the upright position.
- Fully adjustable leg angle locks from 25 degrees, 50 degrees, and 80 degrees.
- Smooth and fluid ball head rotations through a full 360-degree pan.
- Magnesium anti-sock rings to help with image stabilization.
As you can see, the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB has all the key features that you would expect at this price point and more. Additionally, if you are involved in any type of macro photography, the adjustable central column is an excellent feature on the tripod that you can really put to use to improve your image quality.
The image above shows how you are able to adjust the central column on the tripod to get your camera rig in position to get some macro photographs of flowers while still getting the image stabilization that the tripod can provide you. All in all, we feel that Vanguard really has done an excellent job when it comes to performance for the 263AB and it is easy to see why it has the reputation that it has earned amongst the community.
On top of this, the QS-39 plate is also easy to source too. This makes it easy to pick up a spare if you lose of damage your main one or pick up additional plates if you use multiple cameras and want to be able to hot-swap between the camera that you are using on the tripod quickly.
Build Quality And Design
Another strong feature of the 263AB is its great build quality. As you can probably guess from the low price tag, it is not made from carbon fiber but a high-quality aluminum alloy to help keep the price tag of the tripod as low as possible. That said, the aluminum alloy use for most of the tripod is solid, robust, and lightweight too. This results in a lightweight tripod that you can easily take with you for your sessions outside of a photography studio while also having the confidence in its build quality that it can take some punishment too.
Third Party Reports
That brings our review of the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB tripod to a close and we would definatley recommend that our readers looking to add a new tripod to their collection of camera accessories seriously consider getting the 263AB. Its performance and build quality are excellent and its price tag is actually a little lower than we would expect for a product of this level. It is easy to see why it has managed to earn its excellent reputation within the community and we feel it is only going to become more and more popular as time goes on and more people pick it up.