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Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod review

The Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod is a popular and versatile support for outdoor and landscape photographers, but does it stand steady against its latest competitors?

Image shows the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod against a white background
(Image: © Amazon)

For

  • Fast operating M-lock mechanism
  • 90° column for horizontal positioning

Against

  • No hook for adding stability
  • Not all models have a carry bag
  • Doesn’t come with a strap

The Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod series was launched at the end of 2017, but it proves to be enduringly popular with hobbyists and advanced photographers who need a lightweight yet sturdy base for their camera. 

Although the range includes several models – you can choose from either a carbon fiber or magnesium construction, different heads, and number of leg sections – every 190 Go! tripod is defined by how quick it is to operate. This is thanks to an “M-lock” mechanism, a super speedy twist lock that allows you to unlock the leg and set the right height up in just a few seconds. Other key features include a versatile 90° central column that can swing out into a horizontal position, plus a Link attachment for adding extra accessories.

Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod: Essential info

Material: Carbon fiber (also available in aluminum)

Leg sections: 4

Weight: 1.86 kg

Max load: 6.5 kg

Folded height: 57cm

Ball head or pan/tilt head: XPro ball head

Here we’ll be looking at the Manfrotto 190 Go! MS Carbon Tripod kit 4-Section paired with an XPRO Ball head (MK190GOC4-BHX). This kit is the most expensive in the range, at $554.99/£419.95, but it offers premium stability, thanks to the material being that bit more rigid. The whole combo weighs 4.1 lbs and supports a maximum load of 14.3 lbs – more than enough for a heavy DSLR and a long telephoto lens.

That price might be too steep for amateurs, and in that case, the lightest and cheapest aluminum 190 Go! tripod is $219.99/£139 and weighs 3.66 lbs. Of course, specifications are only good on paper, so let’s look at the design and features of the Manfrotto 190! Go in the field.

Manfrotto 190 Go! Tripod review: Design

  • Carbon fiber construction 
  • Built-in 90° column mechanism 
  • M-lock leg mechanism 

Image shows the collapsed Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod

(Image credit: Amazon)

For outdoor photographers, choosing a suitable tripod is usually a fine balance between weight and stability, and there’s no such thing as the perfect option. While more supportive models are often heftier to carry around or attach to a backpack, travel tripods don’t always offer enough height for easy camera operation.

Fortunately, the carbon fiber tubing of the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod keeps things light. In terms of load, it can comfortably hold an advanced DSLR with a large zoom lens such as a 70-300mm f/4. Manfrotto says that the carbon fiber weave used in the legs increases the tripod’s stiffness while ensuring remarkable lightness – and it's hard to argue with this. Even when used at full height in strong winds, our Nikon D800 and telephoto lens felt safe.

The ingenious design of the Manfrotto 190 Go! allows the central vertical column to swing to a horizontal position using just the click of a button. This increases shooting flexibility as it makes it easy for you to reach lower angles, which could suit macro shooters or those just looking to capture a more creative perspective. 

Image shows photographer using the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod.

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

While competitor tripods such as the Benro Tortoise 34C (3.2 lbs) don’t have a central column at all in a bid to shift off extra weight, the versatile composition options afforded by the central column on the 190 Go! are probably worth the extra few hundred grams. And while some tripods struggle to support the payload of a camera in this orientation, a heavy-duty DSLR still felt supported when we tested it. The images were plenty sharp, too. It’s easy to set the central column back again; when in use vertically it extends the maximum height from 52.8 inches to 62.4 inches.

The 190 Go! range builds on Manfrotto’s 190XPro range, but it’s the leg mechanism that differentiates the two at a glance. Instead of using clips to unlock the leg sections like in the latter, you just have to turn the locks round with a single 90° rotation movement. As well as making for a speedy setup, these unobtrusive M-locks mean that the legs themselves are streamlined, with no protruding parts that might catch on a bag when you want to pack the tripod away. The rubber grips on the locks themselves are easy to get a hold of even in the dark, although it did take a few attempts to remember which way to turn them.

Manfrotto 190 Go! Tripod review: Functionality

Image shows closeup of the tripod legs.

The legs of the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod are unscrewed by a neat twist-lock mechanism, and this means that they are also streamlined for easy bag storage   (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

The 190 Go! sports a typically solid Manfrotto build and is a tripod that just works as you’d want it to. Whether you’re shooting an outdoor scene on rocky terrain or a still-life project at home, the range of shooting heights is welcome, as is the speed at which you can readjust the legs. The XPRO ball head on our model was very much at the pro-end, featuring a spirit level, plus 360° markings that will aid wide-angle shooting and panoramas. Cheaper, simpler tripod heads are available, provided they use a 3/8″ screw.

With four independent leg-angle positions, it’s easy to reach the right perspective for your shot, and the leg positions can be held at 25°,46°,66°, or 88°. However, what we missed on the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod is a hook for attaching weighted items to make the tripod more stable.

Image shows closeup of the tripod head.

An Easy Link attachment in the top casting of the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod can be used to hold a LED light reflector or other accessories – ideal for content creators  (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Taking the lead from Manfrotto’s pro lines, the 190 Go! has an Easy Link attachment found in the top casting. This is a screw-in adapter covered by a rubber cover when not in use, and it can be coupled with Easy Link Connectors (sold separately) to hold accessories such as an external monitor or LED light. This expands the tripod’s shooting possibilities and could be a boon for content creators.

Should you buy the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod?

Whatever genre you shoot, this tripod provides a satisfyingly stable base for mirrorless cameras or a traditional DSLR and long lens combination. The Manfrotto 190 Go! is ideal for landscape or outdoor photographers who need a tripod that balances stability with lightness. Although we tested a premium carbon fiber model, the range has a variety of price points to suit different budgets. If you’re a modern content creator or videographer who already has other accessories, you’ll also benefit from the Easy Link attachment.

Once you get used to the 190 Go! tripod’s twisting leg mechanism, it’s just as smooth (if not more) than traditional leg locks, however this is largely down to personal preference and practice. The tripod is made in Italy, so if brand heritage is important to you, take that into consideration too.

Image shows the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod in hand

(Image credit: Lauren Scott)

If this product isn’t for you

If you like the look of the 190 Go! but want a clip-leg locking system instead of a twist mechanism, the Manfrotto 190XPRO4 should tick your boxes. However, it does weigh slightly more.

The Peak Design Travel Tripod , which we've also reviewed, packs down to the diameter of a water bottle, making it a more compact alternative if space is an issue. Available in aluminum and carbon fiber, it has an almost cult-like following.

If you need greater weight support, the Benro Mach3 TMA38CL carbon fiber tripod offers a max load of 32.28 lbs. It also features a short center column for close-up macro shooting.

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