There are several advantages to carbon fibre as a material for tripods. Obviously it is lighter than aluminium for the equivalent strength, but it it is also more rigid and damps vibrations more quickly and effectively. It is also a lot more comfortable to handle in very cold weather, something which has certainly been an important consideration over the past few weeks here in Britain. In sub-zero temperatures it’s possible for your skin quickly to freeze and stick to exposed metal objects, which can be quite painful to un-stick. Carbon fibre doesn’t transmit heat as well as aluminium, so this doesn’t happen.
Italian-made Manfrotto tripods are very popular with professional photographers, and are well known for their excellent build quality and durability. The 190CXPRO4 is extremely solidly made, with chunky magnesium castings at the headstock and pivots and tough metal clasps at the section joints. The clasps have strong ABS plastic levers that are shaped for easy use but secure fastening, and the tripod comes with a small spanner that can be used to tighten the clasps if they become loose over time.
The legs can be positioned at four different angles from vertical to horizontal by pressing a ratchet release at the pivot, allowing the tripod to be positioned at virtually any angle. The headstock also incorporates Manfrotto’s unique Q90 centre columns system, which is now fitted as standard across the 190 and 055 ranges. This allows the centre column to be quickly positioned either vertically or horizontally by loosening the column clamp and pressing a button inset into the bottom of the column. The column can then be lifted partially free of the headstock and easily re-inserted horizontally.