Photographic equipment and reviews | Photography by Grant Glendinning - Part 2

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Photography by Grant Glendinning
Capturing Scotland’s landscape in stunning detail.

Prints available including framed, canvas, acrylic, and metal prints.



P h o t o s c o t l a n d . n e t

Scottish Landscape Photography
Scottish Landscape Prints
Black and White Photography
Nature Photography

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© 2011.
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Manfrotto 190XPRO3 Tripod

Having used the excellent Manfrotto 055PROB tripod for over 5 years for my landscape photography, I decided to look for something more manageable as the weight and height increase with my Manfrotto 300n panoramic head attached made it a little cumbersome for landscape outings that required walking a long distance. I wanted something that was as sturdy as the 055PROB but with reduced weight and height, I soon found my requirements in the Manfrotto 190XPRO3, (the new series). The height is 7 cm shorter and 0.4kg lighter than the 055PROB tripod, and when the legs are fully extended with my 300n and 410 attached, the camera is at my eye level now without me having to tip-toe or  adjust the legs as with the 055.

New features I like about the 190xpro3 are the easy to use quick lock system, which enable you to extend each leg fully with one hand without having to unlock each leg section individually, which is also very easy to use especially if wearing gloves in cold environments. The tripod also has a bubble level which can be rotated around the center column when required, making leveling much easier.  The 190XPRO3 has an Easy Link connector for attaching accessories such as LED lights, flash and reflector.  I have not had the need to use this easy link connector for the photography I do, and doubt I will, but I can see its potential use for macro photography and studio photography.

Overall the Manfrotto 190XPRO3 is a worthy replacement for my aging, but otherwise excellent and trusty 055prob tripod.


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Manfrotto 300N Panoramic Head

Manfrotto 300n panoramic rotaition unit
Manfrotto 410 geared head and 300n panoramic rotating unit.

The Manfrotto 300N Panoramic Rotation Unit (above left), and mounted below my Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head (above right).

Although the unit is not absolutely necessary to create distant panoramic images successfully, it certainly makes creating them much easier and more accurate than either hand holding your camera or using a non-panoramic tripod head to do the job.

The unit itself is of very high quality and looks and feels to be much more expensive than it currently sells for; it weighs around 1.3 lbs and has 10 click-stop screw holes that are used to determine the angle of rotation in degrees for each click-stop, which of course is all dependent on lens focal length used and the type of panoramic image you wish to create.

As you can see in the image, the click-stop selector screw is attached to a cable to prevent the loss of the screw. There is also a lever that lets you rotate the top of the 300N unit independently, which is useful for recomposing an image when you have the set screw locked in position.

The 300N unit is actually quite straightforward and simple to use and not in the least complex as it may first look; it can either be attached directly to a camera without the need of a tripod head or with a Manfrotto plate adaptor via the 3/8 screw.

I use the 300N unit paired with my Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head mounted to the 190XPRO3 tripod, which is a perfect combo for creating either horizontal or vertical panoramic landscape images.

Below are a few images using the 300n. (click for larger) First is a 10-stitched shot of the Forth railway bridge from South Queensferry, using my 5dmkiii and Canon 70-200mm f4.0 L lens in portrait orientation @131mm. This preview is 2000 x 664; the original photo is 19760 x 6565, making it a whopping 129.7 megapixels.

Panoramic image of the Forth Railway Bridge.

Another Forth Railway bridge photograph, this one is a 4 shot panoramo using my 70-200mm f4.0 L @ 98mm in landscape orientation. For this image I decided to just use 3 of the 4 frames, ommiting the first.

Panoramic image of the Forth Railway Bridge.

Please do not use images without permission. © 2011

Manfrotto 410 junior geared head

© 2011

The Manfrotto 410, an excellent tripod head I wish I had got much sooner.  Compared with my other tripod heads I have used for landscape work  (Manfrotto 322RC2 and a Vanguard GH-100) the Manfrotto 410 is easily the best tripod head I have used for landscape photography as you have precise control and fine adjustments for composition and levelling of the horizon, especially when using the electronic horizon level on the Canon 5dMKIII as a guide.

Both the Manfrotto 322 and Vanguard are good tripod heads and I never had much problems with them except for occasional slippage when the camera was in the vertical position, both these tripod heads have tension control but even at the tightest setting, slippage would sometimes creep in, but more so with the Vanguard GH-100 which seemed to get worse the more I used it. Not reliable enough when doing very long exposures in the vertical position, perhaps a lighter camera and lens other than the 5dMKII/III and 17-40mm f4.0 L combo would work better for vertical orientation on these heads.  The Manfrotto 410 junior geared head is an absolute joy to use, I never have to worry about any slippage while in the vertical position with my Canon 5dMKIII and 17-40mm L or indeed any of my heavier lenses including the Canon 70-200mm f4.0 L and Canon 400mm f5.6 L, and having precise control over elevation, panning and side tilt makes composing my images easy.

The Manfrotto junior geared head comes with the MN410PL Plate which I keep attached to my 5dMKIII; I also bought a spare plate to keep permanently attached to my Canon lens tripod mount ring when using my 70-200mm f4.0 L or 400m f5.6 L lenses. The plate is rather large and protrudes slightly from the base of the 5dMKIII body.

The only minor niggle so far, is the quick release knobs can seem a little stiff at times, but this may be due to some of the freezing cold weather the tripod and head endured in the Scottish highlands.