Vanguard Alta Pro 3VRL 303CV 18 review: A sturdy video tripod kit and more besides

The Vanguard Alta Pro 3VRL 303CV 18 is designed from the ground up for shooting video, but can easily adapt itself for stills as well if you add an extra head.

Vanguard Alta Pro 3VRL 303CV 18
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

I’m impressed by the full-height Vanguard Alta Pro 3VRL 303CV 18 carbon fiber video tripod kit’s range of fluid movement, thanks to a clever head and a rock-solid set of legs. I also like that its quick-release leveling base and additional flat platform makes it eminently suitable for stills as well, avoiding the need to take two tripod kits along for the ride.


  • +

    Excellent build quality

  • +

    Quick and easy setup

  • +

    Removable leveling base


  • -

    Quite tall when folded

  • -

    No counterbalance system

  • -

    No adjustable drag for panning

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Vanguard has been building a suitably ‘solid’ reputation for making quality tripods for about 40 years. For most of us in the ‘digital camera world’, myself included, when we think of a tripod, we think about a set of legs and a head that holds a camera firmly in place for shooting stills. 

A video tripod is a different kind of beast. Apart from when it’s locked off for static use, it’s all about freedom of movement, so you can pan and tilt with an intuitive, fluid feel and follow the action. I’ve recently been very impressed with the super-solid, feature-rich and innovative Vanguard VEO 3+ 303CBS for stills photography. It’s certainly one of the best tripods for photographers on the market today. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
MaterialCarbon Fiber
Folded height86.5cm
Maximum operating height181cm
Minimum operating height28.5cm
Load rating25kg legs (15kg head)
Sections per leg3
Maximum leg section diameter30mm
Locking leg angles3
FeetPads with retractable spikes
Case/bag includedPadded soft case
Manfrotto 504X 635 Fast Single Leg Carbon

The Manfrotto 504X 635 Fast Single Leg Carbon is a fully pro-grade video tripod kit with supremely quick set-up and all the bells and whistles you could wish for, but it’s much more expensive at nearly three times the price.

SmallRig FreeBlazer Heavy-Duty Carbon Fiber Tripod Kit AD-100 3989

The SmallRig FreeBlazer Heavy-Duty Carbon Fiber Tripod Kit AD-100 3989 looks pretty conventional but packs some useful features and is very quick to set up. It’s also a less expensive to buy than the Vanguard.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.