The new VEO 3T+ 264CB, available from June 2021, is actually one of a family of four. It’s the largest the two sizes available – there’s a smaller VEO 3T+ 234CB with a slightly lower maximum height – and both are available in carbon fiber versions (reviewed here) or cheaper aluminium.
The idea of the VEO 3T+ is that it combines the folding design of a travel tripod, where the legs fold upwards to enclose both the center column and the head to reduce the overall length, with Vanguard’s clever free-angle center column which can be used as a ‘boom’ for table-top photography or low-angle shots, for example.
Material: Carbon Fibre
Folded Length: 48cm
Maximum Height Central Column Extended: 156cm
Maximum Height Central Column Down: 131cm
Maximum Load Capacity: 15kg
Leg Sections: 4
Feet Type: Rubber/Spiked
Tripod Head: VEO BH-160S
Included accessories: VEO MA-1 Multi-Mount Attachment, Spiked Feet (M6 thread), Hanging Hook, Tripod Bag, Quick Release Plate
The multi-angle center column and travel tripod design are not the only interesting features on the VEO 3T+. It comes with a VEO MA-1 multi-mount which you can slide on to the other end of the centre column when it’s rotated to attach another camera with or without another tripod head, or other camera or video accessories. There’s a further accessory mounting point on the side of the tripod ‘canopy’ which the legs are fixed to.
As usual with Vanguard tripods, one of the legs can be unscrewed and attached to the (detachable) center column to create a monopod for those times when a tripod would be just too cumbersome.
There are three independently adjustable leg angles, and the legs themselves have four sections. This makes the VEO 3T+ quicker to set up than a 5-section tripod, and theoretically more rigid too, but it does mean the folded length is on the long side for a travel tripod, at 48cm.
The load capacity is 15kg, which is well beyond the weight of any camera/lens combination used in everyday photography, and the VEO BH-160S ball head has an interesting feature – a second pan axis. This means that you can simply use the ball head to get the camera plate level – you don’t have to make lots of time-consuming adjustments to the leg lengths – and then use the top pan axis for perfectly horizontal panning shots or panoramas.
The legs have rubber feet as standard, but you can swap these for metal spikes, which are included, and it all packs into a nicely made padded tripod bag, also included.
Handling and performance
The VEO 3T+ is certainly a travel tripod in the way it folds for packing and transport, but it’s right at the upper limit for a travel tripod for weight and folded length, despite the weight-saving carbon fibre legs of the VEO 3T+ 264CB that we tested.
It does feel extremely well made, though. The leg locks grip firmly with a short rotational travel, so the legs are quick to extend and lock into position. The column height adjuster and column pivot mechanism feel reassuringly solid and smooth, and you can also rotate the column clamp on very smooth pan axis to change the direction of the column when it’s angled over.
The VEO BH-160S ball head also feels both smooth and sturdy, and both panning axes and the large locking ball clamp are smooth when released and grip tight with a short turn on the locking knob.
But this tripod does have a lot of knobs quite close together, and it can take some trial and error to remember which one you need for which particular movement.
This is not a particularly straightforward tripod to pack away, either, because in order to get the legs to fold neatly past the column clamps and the knobs on the head, you have to slacken most of them off to do some jiggling around.
The VEO 3T+ 264CB feels really nicely made and finished. It’s almost impossible to fault the materials used and the way it’s put together. But it is important to know what you’re getting into. This is not the kind of featherweight travel tripod you can slip into a backpack. This is a much more heavy-duty tripod that’s not far short of a full-size tripod in scale and versatility, but optimized – as far as possible – for portability.
With any tripod you have to balance working height, load-bearing and versatility against weight, folded size and portability, and that’s certainly the case here.