Modified from a MK4 review since the only difference is the height restriction of the MK3 in comparison to the MK 4 everything else remains the same.
Having just bought a much better camera than I ever thought I'd have, since I haven't in past years shown a great deal of interest in becoming a photographer, I found myself looking for a tripod to help steady everything for those zoom shots I planned on taking. I was surprised to see that they were not as expensive as I had thought so I looked around and finally came down on the side of the Vanguard.
The Vanguard Mk3 has a maximum height of 1.49 meters, but I've not yet found any reason to have it that high. Being a tripod it has three legs, which are supported by a central column, which also house all the other areas. Each leg has a clip whereby it holds each telescopic section in place.
There are two clips on each leg, which means that they have three sections with the clips at the meeting point of the top and centre section and the bottom and centre section. This enables the legs to be positioned at any length from the minimum where all are telescopically compressed inside each other to the maximum where all are pulled from inside each other to their full extent. In doing this you have not yet reached the maximum height of the complete unit.
At the top section where al the legs meet you can see the central shaft of the tripod where the top section is attached. This is controlled by a small winding handle at the side, and a locking nut at 90 degrees to this. So by unlocking the locking nut and turn the winder the central shaft will either raise or fall, when the desired position is met the locking nut is once more applied.
At the pinnacle of the centre shaft lays the hinged section, which is designed to hold the camcorder or camera. This is also held in position by a locking nut and in controlled by the long arm, which protrudes from its side. On top of this is a removable block, which is held in place by a spring, loaded plastic clip, which is about one inch long. By pulling against this clip the block can be removed, the reverse is applicable for reinsertion of the block once the camera has been attached.
The block has a locating pin and a screw, which is the standard size for attachment to most cameras; once the camera is fitted it should be replaced on the tripod. Once the camera is refitted the locking nuts holding all sections maintain control of its position, adjustments should be made from the ground up, hence the legs are extended or reduced to the required position. All legs are individually adjustable so all need NOT be the same length allowing a firm positioning in most terrains.
From here the rotation of the central shaft is adjusted from its locking nut once all the clips on the legs have been secured. From here on in all adjustments are at camera/eye level and as all the locking nuts are easily at hand this is quite a simple process. The orientation of the camera is done primarily through the long arm, which also acts as a locking nut for the top section containing the block. An anticlockwise turn will release and a clockwise turn tightens until your camera is in the position to take the perfect shot.
This all sounds a bit fiddly but after a few attempts it all becomes quite straight forward and the setting up does not take very long. Once it is set up however adjustments are quick and easy, and the tripod keeps a firm and solid stance so you can get the all-important shot.
Overall the tripod isn't too heavy but it is as you can appreciate quite an awkward piece of kit to carry, so the supplying of a carry bag would have greatly enhanced its usefullness. It's made really well and feels as though it will last me a long time, it also looks quite smart with its black and silver tones making it look very professional. I like this price of kit and it does help tremendously in taking those distant zoom shots.
If you are serious about getting those zoom shots or feel that you are getting blurred pictures because you are unable to keep the camera still enough then an investment in a tripod is a must and I have no qualms in recommending this Vanguard on as being perfect for the job intended.