The Vanguard Alta+ 203AP feels surprisingly light, weighing just 1.36kg with the included 3-way head attached. It’s constructed with 3 aluminium leg sections that are locked in place with two easy-to-open flip-locks. At the bottom of each leg there’s a rubber foot that can be unscrewed to reveal metal spikes for security on rocky terrain and at the top, the legs can be splayed out all the way to a shallow 25° angle to aid with tackling uneven surfaces. At the bottom of the centre column there’s a hook for attaching a bag for added stability, though this can be removed so that the centre column can be reversed for shooting close to the ground.
Out of the box, the 203AP came with a handy carry-case for easy and comfortable transit. During testing, each of the leg sections extended and retracted smoothly, with the plastic leg locks providing a vice-like grip, keeping them anchored in position even under pressure. At its maximum height the legs did show some signs of ‘whip’, and with our test D-SLR attached, we noticed that the centre column showed signs of flex. That said, these were just small niggles with an otherwise well performing set of sticks.
Already attached to the Alta+ 203AP is a PH-12 3-way head. This rather attractive head has two rubberised handles and a built-in spirit level to help keep your camera level. The head itself is attached via a pro-spec 3/8in thread, though to remove it completely there are three grub screws underneath that need to be unscrewed using the Allen key provided.
- Street price: £79.99 (Secondhand price as of July 2016)
- Weight: 1.36kg
- Max load: 2kg
- Visit: www.vanguardworld.co.uk
This review was first published in the November 2012 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.