08
May

Vanguard Auctus Plus Tripod Review

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Review

Since I am on the topic of thanking companies, I would like to give a very big thank you and shout out to Vanguard Photo.  I have been using Vanguard tripods for the last year, and have had such a great experience with not only the products, but also the people at the company.  The reason I am thanking Vanguard is because they stepped up huge and equipped and supported Becker and I on our trip to the Philippines along with Glazer’s Camera.  We took a couple of Vanguard tripods with us, and not only is the Alta+ 255CT tripod incredible for traveling, but it is so small it can just about fit in your pocket.  Well, it’s not that small, but it does fit on a small backpack and can easily hide from TSA 3 out of 4 times.  I am also a big fan of the Vanguard Supreme 46F hard case which held one of my light kits on the trip.  After getting it back at checked luggage in Manila, I quickly noticed the case was slightly shredded on the bottom.  Turns out, the airline tied it to the back of the plane and dragged it along the tarmac at 400 mph.  Frustrating, but none the less, the gear was totally fine and the case is still like new, except for the bottom.  To no fault of the manufacturer.

So without further ado, here is my review of the Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT tripod.

The Auctus Plus 323CT is a solid, heavy duty carbon fiber tripod.  It weights in at 7.83 pounds without a head and camera, so it is heavy.  It’s not heavier than you would expect for a tripod of it’s size, but you wouldn’t want to climb a mountain with it.  It can extend up to 71 inches high, and has 3 leg sections.  I regularly use it for studio and most of my location work.  I have traveled several times with it packed in a stand bag which I always check.  Needless to say, it has taken quite a beating by TSA and the fine folks in the baggage department and it’s still going strong.  I love how easy it is to use this tripod, and it is really easy to make smooth, precise adjustments.  The legs adjust to 25, 50, and 80 degree angles, and the rubber feet grip terrain really well.  I haven’t needed to do this yet, but you can also take the rubber feet off, which reveals metal spikes if you need to really stick in somewhere.  I primarily use this tripod  with my Hasselblad H3D-II which is a really heavy camera, and it does not shake, wobble, or vibrate at all.  In the Philippines last month, I shot a series of time exposure portraits (without a cable trigger), each around 4 seconds, and it was so steady.  Even when the camera is tilted to shoot portraits, it’s solid.  As Gob Bluth would say, the Vanguard Actus Plus is solid as a rock.

Just this morning I had a shoot at sunrise, and I took my Auctus Plus 323CT tripod because I knew it would give me the stability I needed in low morning light.  The weight never really bothers me since I am not walking too far.  I also have an Alta Pro 283CT, which is awesome, but I always find myself grabbing the Auctus Plus.

In full disclosure, when I first started using the Auctus Plus, one of the leg connectors broke, but Vanguard quickly replaced the entire tripod for me no questions asked, and I couldn’t be happier.  It’s fair to expect just about any brand or product to have problems from time to time, and how a company handles those situations makes all the difference. I would recommend Vanguard tripods to anyone.  They are solid, reliable, designed really well, and surprisingly affordable which makes them that much more of a great deal.  If you are in Seattle, Glazer’s sells them, otherwise, you can order them from B&H Photo here.  Happy shooting.

The Vanguard Alta+ 255CT tripod with the Vanguard GH-100 pistol grip ball head.

Becker wearing the Vanguard Adaptor 48 camera bag, and using the Vanguard Alta+ 255CT tripod with the Vanguard GH-100 pistol grip ball head.

John using the Extreme Support Height Positioning Wheel on the Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT tripod with the Vanguard SBH-300 ball head.

19
Jan

Visual Supply VSCO Film Giveaway

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Contest

We just gave away a Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head, a Think Tank Urban Disguise 40 v2 camera bag, and now we will be wrapping up what I like to call “Second Christmas” by giving away two copies of Visual Supply VSCO Film.  For those of you who are not familiar with VSCO Film, it is an incredible film emulator that plugs into Lightroom and ACR to make your digital images look like film.  Another benefit of VSCO Film is that it doubles as an incredibly fast workflow for editing your digital images.  I wrote about my experience with the emulator a few months back, and you can read my review of VSCO Film here.

All you have to do to enter and win a copy for yourself is ReTweet our contest tweet with #keatley on Twitter, or like AND comment on the contest post on the Keatley Facebook fan page.  After that, you are entered to win!  One winner from Facebook and Twitter will be randomly selected tomorrow, January 20th at 4pm.  Be sure to check back tomorrow to see if you won.

Thanks to everyone for participating this week.  It’s been fun hearing from many of you, and even more fun giving some awesome gear away.

Be sure to check out more of the great products from Visual Supply, Think Tank, and Vanguard as well as follow them on Twitter for updates, and new offerings – @VisualSupplyco@thinkTANKphoto, and @VanguardPhotoUS.  Good luck everyone!

18
Jan

Think Tank Urban Disguise 40 Giveaway

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Contest

We just gave away a Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head, and now it’s time to give this bad boy to some lucky winner.  Behold, the Think Tank Urban Disguise 40 v2 camera bag.  It’s an awesome camera bag that converts to a messenger style bag with tons of pockets and compartments to store all of your gear.  I have been using Think Tank bags and organizers for about a year now, and I am a big fan of many of their products.  You can find out more about Think Tank and this bag on the Think Tank website, and be sure to follow Think Tank on Twitter (@thinkTANKphoto).  All you have to do to enter is ReTweet our contest tweet with #keatley on Twitter.  You will be automatically entered to win!  The winner will be randomly selected tomorrow, January 19th at 4pm.  Be sure to check back tomorrow to see if you won.  We also have 2 more great prizes we will be giving away on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow, so even more reason to check back.

17
Jan

Vanguard Pistol Grip Giveaway

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Contest

It’s that time again, we have lots of great photo stuff to give away, so get ready for a week packed with daily contest giveaways! We are going to kick things off with a Vanguard GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head, which allows for quick positioning of your camera when using a tripod. You can check out more about it here, and be sure to follow Vanguard’s awesome tweets (@VanguardPhotoUS).  All you have to do to enter is ReTweet our contest tweet with #keatley (which is probably why you are here reading this in the first place!). You will be automatically entered to win! The winner will be randomly selected tomorrow, January 18th at 4pm.  And be sure to stay tuned, we will be announcing new giveaways throughout this snowy Seattle week.