Pros: Compact, lightweight yet sturdy tripod that folds small for transport but extends to a decent height for comfortable use. Capable of supporting a full-size spotting scope or DSLR camera equipment securely. Two-way pan-head is smooth and easy to adjust with just one hand. Designed with birders in mind for spotting scope use. Flip lock-legs convenient and effective making the tripod quick and easy to deploy in the field.
Cons: 26mm leg diameter, while adequate in most situations, can struggle to hold things steady in very windy conditions, although adding weight helps. Foam padding on one of the legs split on the review sample (soon cured by wrapping some camouflage tape around it). May have inadvertently snagged on something but would expect it to be a little more robust for regular field use.
Price: c. €189.99 (GB£169.99) RRP for the tripod and head kit — although you may find a better deal online.
Rating: Highly Recommended
View the Alta+ 264AO Tripod Kit on the Vanguard UK website.
Vanguard Alta+ 264AO Tripod Kit — Full Review
A sturdy tripod is a must when you’re using a spotting scope to view distant wildlife, and with its Alta+ 254AO tripod kit Vanguard had keen birders and wildlife enthusiasts firmly in mind from the start. This tripod has been designed for spotting scope use: the sturdy aluminium legs offer a solid base, while the single-lever pan-tilt head is ideal for locking in on and following your subject while leaving one hand free for focusing.
Sturdy, lightweight and versatile — everything you need from a tripod
Getting the right tripod for your spotting scope is all about finding that ideal compromise between weight, size and stability. Bigger, heavier tripods are intrinsically less prone to shake than smaller, lighter ones, but they’re generally more cumbersome and unwieldy to carry in the field.
As a birder and wildlife enthusiast, I’m always looking to find that elusive sweet spot between stability and portability. With the Alta+ 264AO Vanguard seems to be very close to that sweet spot.
At just 2.1kg this tripod is light, given its fully extended height of 1.78 metres, yet with four leg sections, it folds to a very portable 64.5 cm. That makes it easy to store, and easy to transport. It also looks the part: the black, anodised aluminium leg sections and black padded “grips” lend it a sleek, modern feel, and the finish is superb. Modern flip-style leg locks are quick and easy to release and engage, making it a breeze to deploy this tripod in the field. Legs can be locked at any point along their length and can be individually angled to 25°, 50° or 80° to create a stable, level platform for your scope on uneven, sloping ground.
With a maximum load capacity of 5KG, the tripod can easily handle a full-size spotting scope and provides a very stable, comfortable viewing platform. In very windy conditions there is a bit of shake, but that’s inevitable unless you go for a very heavy-duty tripod, which will be much more weighty and cumbersome to carry. If you do find things a bit shaky in windy conditions, hanging extra weight (a bag for example), under the centre column using the built-in hook can helps stabilise things.
Overall this is a very capable, portable and relatively lightweight combination that’s capable of providing a versatile, stable platform for your spotting scope. If your looking for a great all-around support system for your spotting scope the Vanguard Alta+ 264AO offers a highly compelling combination of stability, portability, versatility and value.
From the Vanguard website:
|WARRANTY||Applicable by national law|
|EXTENDED WARRANTY||10 years|
|LOAD CAPACITY (KG)||5.0|
|FOLDED LENGTH (MM)||645|
|EXTENDED HEIGHT (IN)||70.125|
|EXTENDED HEIGHT (MM)||1780|
|MINIMUM HEIGHT (MM)||1515|
|LEG LOCK||Flip Lock|
I’d like to thank Vanguard UK for submitting the Alta+ 264AO for review on Ireland’s Wildlife.
NB. Ireland’s Wildlife has no specific affiliation with any optics or gear manufacturer. All reviews on the site are completely independent and objective and carried out in accordance with our terms and conditions. If you’re an optics or gear manufacturer and would like to submit your product for review on the site please drop us a line using the contact form and we can take things from there.