Trusted Review™ Scorecard
Have you ever been guilty of buying multiples of the same products just in case they stop making it or because you wear the product out with heavy use? I don’t have multiples of the Vanguard 204BK Tripod yet, but I’m going to as soon as I get back to the states. This product is the real deal and has made my north woods hunting and fishing trip a success.
I was given the opportunity by Vanguard to test their aluminum tripod this last spring, but for one reason or another I just never had the chance to really put it to the test. However, for the last three days I have been in the far north of Canada fishing in the morning and hunting wolf with my bow by day and night. I am capturing this adventure with my video camera, GoPro and my Nikon D60. So far I have pushed, pulled, dropped, tossed and tried every which way to make the product fail me. I even used it to extend my underwater camera.
This Vanguard Tripod is very well made and had an incredible design functionality. I’m putting my reputation on the line and offering up this Trusted Review.
Vanguard 204BK Tripod,
At first glance you can tell this product is well crafted. There is a clean gray paint to the product with a no shine finish. Usually, the parts that wear out on a tripod and have the most important parts is the top where it connects to your camera. Too many times I have seen manufacturers overcomplicate this area. It normally means that the product has more loose parts, hard edges and little to no padding. The Vanguard 204BK has 3 knobs to turn that are all hard black plastic with no shine finish. Vanguard KISSed (Keep It Simple Stupid) this product by having one knob for adjusting right to left camera twist, another knob for up and down and a third for tightening down your camera to the tripod.
Another thing you will notice about the quality of this product is that it’s lightweight and can fold down to a really easy-to-manage size. The product comes with a gray soft carry case which makes throwing it in a backpack super simple. Adjusting the legs on this product is also well thought through. All you have to do is just twist to unlock and twist to lock. I have tried like hell to prove this area faulty but I can’t seem to make her break. Finally, the one important factor that sold me on the quality of this product is the rubber feet. They work perfect for gravel, mud, moss, concrete and even wet surfaces. They are also oversized a bit to make it easy to grab and twist during leg tripod leg extension.
The Vanguard 204BK Tripod is outstanding and I can rely on it to perform year over year. As I sit here in Canada completing this section of the Trusted Review I can honestly attest that this product ROCKS in the Reliability field. I have done everything to make this product fail me other than actually trying to break or bend the legs. All in all, with some decent care I can see this product lasting years and years out on the trail with me.
You can find the Vanguard 204BK for about 80 dollars. This tripod is a great value at that price but for the weekend warrior or infrequent photographer I believe this price might be a bit high. It’s most definitely worth 100 dollars but in today’s economy and with so many other tripods on the market I would likely pass up this buy if priced over 60 dollars, but keep in mind that I don’t make a living taking photos nor do I peruse the best of the best gear for this hobby.
I really do believe that this product is worth 100 dollars and I will be buying another one to keep as an extra. I would also recommend to anyone that the price and value are well worth it. The only reason I rank this 3 out of 5 is because for the weekender like me the price on the shelf is a bit high to get me to be a first time buyer.
Would you refer this product to friend or loved one? Yes, I would refer it many times over. There isn’t a thing I would change about it nor would I forewarn someone about an issue. The product simply performs, period. The price level might be the only thing that might cause the person to hold off on buying it, but otherwise I would promote this product till the cows come home.