Vanguard Nivelo 204SL Tripod | Guest Reviewer | Shay Murphy

For this review, I hand you over to my partner in crime and all things technical, Shay Murphy.
Take it away bro,…..

The Nivelo range of tripods are aimed at the smaller sized camera market – bridge / 4/3’s / mirror-less etc. For this review I’ll be using my Fuji X100. The first thing that stands out is the size of the tripod, very neat. At first look/feel it seems too light, but I’ll explain all in the review.

The box!
Tripod & Case
Tripod in case

I’ve had compact tripods before, but the legs were locked in place with the usual clip, adding to the size of the tripod. The Nivelo uses the leg itself, swiveling it to lock the leg in place, this also makes it nice and fast to do. I’ve read some reviews that don’t like this system and that the legs are prone to collapse when you think they are locked in place. Well I’ve often forgot to snap the clips back on my Manfrotto and seen the leg collapse, so its up to the user to ensure things are locked in place before throwing a camera on top!

Another great part about the Nivelo is that the centre column ( Quick Fold Central Column) inverts without having to remove the camera, or even remove the column, you simply pull it up, release the safety catch, swivel it around, allowing you to get close to the ground or your subject. Fast and hassle free. I rather like this even though I probably wouldn’t have need for it, but for macro shooters this is probably the best feature of the tripod besides its size/weight.

Tripod – legs collapsed
Tripod – legs collapsed
Tripod – legs collapsed

A nice neat head, since this is aimed at smaller cameras, big heavy handles aren’t needed. Spins 360 on the horizontal, and unto 90 on the vertical. I’ve always had a removable shoe on my tripods, so it will take a bit of getting used to having to remove the camera from the tripod by unscrewing it rather than a release catch, but this style does help keep the size down. And of course you wont be searching for the head when you forget to replace it! In this area theres also a spirit level, handy if you cant get that horizon straight!

Front
Side
Back

I know some people would say, why would you need a tripod unless you’re using an SLR, well a lot of the mirror-less cameras are only a step behind SLRs, theres no reason why you can’t achieve the same results. I use the Fuji for a lot of video and long exposures, but it looks lost on top of my Manfrotto, but on top of the Nivelo it looks right at home!

Quick Fold Central Column
Spirit Level
90 degrees

I nearly always have the Fuji with me these days, so this would be the perfect tripod to have under the seat of the car (which it fits under very nicely!) for those spur of the moments pulling the car to catch that long exposure or to catch some video.

And as for travel I wouldn’t hesitate to take this me, any other tripod I’ve had has been too bulky/big/heavy to bother bringing. This will easily fit in a carry on bag.

Centre column reversed Centre column reversed

Fully extended the tripod mightn’t go as high as you’d like, but this is what you sacrifice for the collapsed size & weight, I can live with that!

Given its size and weight (very light) it doesn’t feel cheap like I’d expect – aliminimum for the legs and center column, tough plastic for the other parts, and the feet being slightly rubbery to give a bit of grip – all the parts feel solid and look well, and with the legs in the collapsed position, this makes a great table top tripod too!

It also comes with a nicely padded case that I nearly missed, as it is stored at the bottom of the packing! The User Manual is part of the packaging, should you need to use it, but the tripod is mad easy to use, a few seconds fiddling and you’ll have it down.

Specifications

Extended height: 1000mm

Folded height: 300mm

Weight: 0.6kg

Maximum load: 2kg

Panhead movements: 2

Price: $68 / €54 / £43

There are 5 tripods in the Nivelo range which can be found here: http://www.vanguardworld.co.uk/index.php/pv/products/photo-video/list-1-4-219.html

The black ones look particularly nice!

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