The Vanguard VEO 3+ 303AT tripod is a solid piece of equipment designed to provide photographers with a stable platform for their photography needs. One of the key selling points of this tripod is its three-section aluminium legs, which are of a good length and reach a decent height of 139cm before the centre column is raised to the maximum of 165cm. This instantly provides a solid shooting platform that photographers will appreciate.
The leg locks are of the twist style and while providing plenty of grip are nice and slimline. While they are large and easy to grip, they can also easily be removed for cleaning. Leg construction is ultimately solid with a lean towards functional design for the rubber used rather than aesthetic. However, they are solid and fulfil their purpose without fault. The feet are rubber and removable and can be replaced with spikes, although had quite a battle with them to remove, at least there’s no chance of them falling off.
The leg angle adjusters on the Vanguard VEO 3+ 303AT are some of my personal favourites, easy to use in all weather conditions, with a large button on the side that needs to be pushed in before the leg can be angled. They are simple to use and sprung, which makes adjusting the leg angle easy and efficient.
The standout feature of this tripod is the multi-angle centre column MACC, which is a feat of design and works exceptionally well. The machining is exceptionally high quality and made to last. To use in normal use, the centre column knob is released, and raised. To do this there is a lever on the side that needs to be released and this features a secondary safety catch that you push and hold forward before the lever is released. Then the centre column can be angled as required and the lever pushed back into place to hold everything tight.
Interestingly, a different knob on the crown of the tripod enables the centre column to be rotated. So, if you’re doing macro work, it’s extremely easy to position the now horizontal column exactly where needed. On top of the column, a standard head can be fitted to the 3/8-inch thread, such as the VEO BH 250s.
Two other features worth a note are the accessories port and the strap hook. The accessories port resolves an issue with many 1.4-inch threaded accessories ports by putting a slit on either side of the threaded hole, so the attached friction arm won’t rotate freely. There is a huge improvement on many other tripods that feature a simple thread. The strap hook is also big and solid, ensuring you can hang a bag for additional weight or a strap for carrying.
The Vanguard VEO 3+ 303AT tripod is among the best thought-through standard tripods I’ve seen, if a little on the weighty side. It’s a complete workhorse with enough weight to make it a solid choice for long exposures and macro work, but a little too weighty to carry around all day if you’re out trekking. This is the tripod that you will take with you if you know you’re going to be taking long exposure shots and you’re heading out with that purpose and the kit to make it possible. It’s also one of the most flexible tripods on the market, with a host of features that make it adaptable to most styles and types of photography without needing to unbolt and unscrew parts. The only issue was the battle required to release the rubber feet if you needed the spikes.