Written on: 20/05/2010
Velbon Sherpa 600r Tripod
(re: previous reviewer - does he work for Manfrotto?) I put a spirit level on my tripod (built into my Giotos MH5011 Head) and every time, at all three leg spreads, it is virtually perfectly level. Indoors! Outdoors though, I work with the building trade, and FYI no pavement or path or road is level, they MUST be built with a slight gradient (0.5 - 1.0 degrees) to run rainwater away - by law!
I would change the head to one which has separate tilt, pan and rotational controls - the Manfrotto MG460 or Giottos MH5011 are worth a close look. Alternatives are medium ball heads again with separate controls, the Giottos Series 2 are brilliant!
The tripod is very stable, and having just two leg extensions, even when fully erected, it remains rock solid. Each leg can be set to one of three different angles, there's a sliding swich at the top of the legs, near the pivots. Make sure you have set them all 'down' for normal tripod use.
Being able to set each leg independently to the other two makes for a brilliant and very versatile camera platform, as well as allowing very low level photography when the legs are spread to maximum width. 80% of the lower centre column unscrews away when you want to use the tripod at ground level. To be honest, I removed mine and left it off completely, as the height when set to normal angle, with legs fully extended is plenty high enough and you should avoid using any tripod's centre colum, as it leads to instability and extra vibration etc.
When using it with the legs completely spread (low) avoid extending the leg length, or at least, use only the middle leg (not the lowest, thinnest one) as the leverage at lower angles can introduce instability, and the low level was never designed for extended legs (on this or any tripod!).
Finally, the centre column, truncated or full length, can be reversed (inserted from below instead of from above) to facilitate even closer to ground image making. Be very careful with the centre column lock when this (or any tripod) is used in this way. Unscrewing the lock while not holding the camera could allow it to drop out, and onto the floor - only a few inches, but even so!
Generally, the best tripod anyone could want, It performs perfectly as a normal tripod, but with the addition of your own head, and the variable leg angles, it makes it suitable for just about anything.
If you remove the supplied head, the weight is approx 1.5Kg which, for a tripod of this class, is very light! I added my own Giottos MH5011 and it comes in at 1.9KG and a fraction.
100% fully recommended for advanced hobby and light to medium professional use.