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Manfrotto 055XPROB and 496RC2 head review

Heavyweight photography credentials yet still light enough to carry with ease

Our Verdict

For

  • Tough, sturdy and dependable build quality
  • Quick and easy adjustment of all controls
  • Very stable, even at the maximum height of 187cm

Against

  • Pivoting centre column lacks 180-degree versatility
  • No carrying case supplied with tripod
  • Ball head lacks a separate pan-only control

One of the biggest names in tripod manufacture, Manfrotto offers a huge range of tripods, monopods and heads to suit almost any requirement and budget, from tiny tabletop supports to fully professional carbon fibre kit. This reasonably priced combination, available for sale separately, comprises the 055XPROB aluminium tripod and new-generation 496RC2 ball and socket head.

Manfrotto 055xprob and 496rc2 head

Despite weighing 2.9kg – slightly heavier than most competing tripods of its size and class – the maximum load capacity of the combined Manfrotto 055XPROB legs and 496RC2 head is 6kg. That's slightly less than the 8kg ratings of the Benro A-297EX and BH2-M head and the Giottos MTL9361B and MH1311652 ball head.

The Manfrotto's rating is split between 7kg for the 055XPROB legs and 6kg for the 496RC2 head but, in our tests, the kit felt every bit as strong as the Benro and Giottos products.

The legs are of the time-honoured three-section type, but the difference in diameter between each section is 5mm, compared with just 3mm in many competing tripods. The result is that the sections are particularly easy to extend and contract once you've released the high-quality and extremely effective clip-lock clamps. The section diameters themselves are a chunky 30mm at the top, 25mm for the middle section and 20mm for the bottom.

Multi-angle legs are now featured on the vast majority of current tripods, but whereas most feature three alternative angles, the Manfrotto has four. However, unlike the Jessops Major tripod, which also features four leg angles, the Manfrotto's legs can only be raised to a horizontal position, rather than being rotated almost vertically upwards.

By opening the tripod's legs to a greater angle from the centre column, you can reduce minimum shooting height with your DSLR from 71cm to 58cm. To go lower than this, you need to remove and invert the centre column, shooting with the camera upside down.

Maximum height with the legs and centre column fully extended is an impressive 187cm.

The Manfrotto 055XPROB features a pivoting centre column, which is absent on its slightly cheaper 055XB tripod. This particular feature is good but not great, as we'll come to later.

Manfrotto 055xprob and 496rc2 head

Other features include a bubble level on the tripod collar, but there isn't one in the ball head to help level your camera. The new-generation 496RC2 improves on its predecessor by including an adjustable friction damper, but there's no separate pan control.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTripod
Maximum Height1785 mm
Minimum Height100 mm
ColourBlack
Brand NameManfrotto
Form FactorFloor Standing
Load Capacity7 kg
Head Mount Thread Size3/8"
Product Series055
ManufacturerLino Manfrotto + Co., S.p.A.
Product Name055XPROB Pro Tripod (Black)
Manufacturer Part Number055XPROB
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.manfrotto.com
Marketing Information

The 055XPROB makes the famous Manfrotto-patented horizontal centre column feature even easier to use. By extending the column to its highest vertical position, it can be swung round to horizontal without removing the head or disassembling the column itself, so switching between framing and positioning setups is more convenient than ever. The ergonomics of the leg angle release mechanism and the quick action leg locks themselves have also been greatly improved.

MaterialAluminium
Limited Warranty2 Year
Weight (Approximate)2.40 kg