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.