To really take your photography to the next level, a stable base is a must. With all the options out there, it can be difficult to choose the right photo platform to fit your needs. In my quest for a new tripod, I sat down an listed the qualities that I wanted in one because I knew this was going to be a long term purchase and it has to last. Here was my criteria and the list I came up with:
Minimum of 65 inches tall
No center column
Interchangeable feet for different terrain
Load capacity of at least 25lb
Folded link under 25 inches
I did not put any limitations on the price realizing full well that to get was I was after, the price point would be on the higher end. So the search began and the brands that I considered were Gitzo and RRS as these were the front runners in trusted tripods with no center column. In comparing models from each manufacturer that met my criteria, it came down to reviews really on the customer service and support of the product. I put a lot of stock in what other who have use the products note in their real world experiences. Each manufacturer offered what I wanted, but feedback on how the product is supported after the sale that sold me on RRS TVC-24L.
Here is what the RRS TVC-24 L Versa series 2 can offer and below the list is height comparison of several of RRS Tripods so you can see how it stacks up and where your needs may fall:
Patented SureGrip Apex Lock System: Allows quick and absolutely secure change-out from a simple platform to a Versa Quick Column or Series 3 Leveling Base.
Big & Thin carbon fiber legs: With a large outer diameter and wall thickness of only 0.04″, our carbon fiber tubes far surpass the competition in strength-to-weight ratio.
Offset Leg Joints: Tripods must occasionally withstand tremendous bending and torsion loads. It is crucial that the leg angle stops and all other structural joints are well supported. Our patented offset leg joints fully support the leg angle stops allowing loads to be transferred straight through the strongest members of the tripod. This also means the tripod is more compact when collapsed.
Ratcheting Angle Stops: just pull out the stop, raise the leg, and the stop will automatically engage into place beginning at the highest setting. Pulling the legs back down will ratchet the stop into place at each angle. This keeps your fingers safe from pinching and assures the best support.
Rubber Ball Feet: Large diameter teardrop shape keeps leg sidewalls from touching the ground even at the lowest settings and makes positive contact with the ground at virtually any angle.
CNC Machining: Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) milling machines precisely sculpt parts out of solid metal affording excellent control in the design, fit and finish of every metal part found on an RRS tripod. Other tripod manufacturers employ mold casting to mass produce metal parts, resulting in lower strength/quality pieces.
Anodizing vs Powder Coating: Anodizing produces surface protection embedded into the metal, yielding superior wear and corrosion resistance versus a superficial coating.
High-visibility bulls-eye spirit level embedded in the apex for accurate leveling.
Twist Grip Leg Extension Locks: Textured semi-hard rubber allows for easy adjustments and strong grip. Anti-twist leg sections mean each twist lock can be operated independently.
In closing, this is best tripod that I have owned so far based on stability, quality of manufacturing, strength, ease of use and setup and maintenance. Quite frankly, if you are going to spend the big bucks to get a DSLR camera and quality optics, putting your precious gear on anything less than the best base of support is nuts.