The 190go! series of tripods from Manfrotto are travel versions of the larger MT190 series. The MT190 and MT055 tripods are too large for convenient placement in carry on baggage, and so the 190go! tripods are just enough shorter and more compact to fit. They share many of the same features and components, yet the quality is clearly a small tier below their larger MT190 counterparts. There are both carbon and aluminum versions of the 190go! that are identical except for the leg and center column material. This will be a sister review to the review of the aluminum version, and I will highlight the differences in performance.
First lets take a look at the specifications. This is an abbreviated list. The full measured specs can be found here.
|Weight||2.98 lbs (1.351 kgs)|
|Maximum Height||48.3 in (122.7 cm)|
|Minimum Height||9.5 in (24.1 cm)|
|Max Height with Center Column||57.9 in (147.1 cm)|
|Folded Length||18.3 in (46.5 cm)|
|Folded Volume||193.0 cu. in. (3.2 liters)|
|Leg Material||Carbon Fiber|
|Primary Leg Angle||24.5 deg|
There is nothing that jumps out in the specifications. It is on the heavy side for a carbon fiber travel tripod, but not for one priced at $280.
The big feature on the 190go! is the horizontal center column. Manfrotto has long been a pioneer integrating a horizontal center column into the tripod. This is easily the best implementation yet. To set it up, one simply unlocks the center column as normal, presses a button on the bottom of the center column, and raises it all the way through the apex, which pulls up the red clamp. The center column is rotated horizontally and then tightened down with the same center column lock knob. The whole process takes about ten seconds, and is really slick and intuitive.
The 190go! also has a 3/8″ accessory port built into the apex which Manfrotto has named “Easylink”. These are becoming more common on tripods and allow the user to screw in a wide array of different accessories such as lighting or video monitors. While it is standard on most high end tripods, the 190go! is the only travel tripod I have seen at this price point that includes one.
Beyond those two highlights, the feature set on the 190go! is pretty standard. The legs can be set at four different angles and there is a bubble level on the head mounting platform.
The 190go! tripods feature twist locks, unlike the modern flip locks found on Manfrotto’s MT190 and MT055 line. These twist locks save some space compared to the flip ones, and were probably chosen for that reason. The twist locks are a little smaller than found on most tripods though, which gives me some concerns about the stiffness they can achieve.
The 190go! tripods feature Manfrotto’s unique method of leg angle selection. Instead of the traditional pull out tab, one pulls down on a tab on the outside of the top of each leg section. This disengages a ratchet mechanism on the bottom side of the apex piece, and allows the leg angle to be adjusted. This is a slick system, and allows for slightly faster leg angle adjustments than the traditional design.
A complaint of mine about the construction of the 190go! is common to the entire line of Manfrottos. The top sections of each leg, that attaches to the apex, is so bulky that the legs do not make contact with the center column when the tripod is folded up. There is a gap that the legs flex into when the tripod is picked up and given a gentle squeeze. This really does not impact performance in any meaningful way, but does not endow the feeling of solidness when handling the tripod. It also makes the whole package bulkier than it really needs to be. This gap is partly due to the design constraints required by the fast setup horizontal center column, and cannot be eliminated in the traditional way by placing a rubber bumper around the base of the center column. My suggestion for Manfrotto is to trim down the size of the top section of each leg, and then place the rubber bumper on the inside of each leg. This will allow the tripod to fold up in a more solid fashion.
The build quality of the Manfrotto tripods is typically excellent for the price, and the 190go! is no exception. The metal parts of the 190go! are cast aluminum and feel solid. The same bulkiness that causes problems when the tripod is folded up lends to a feeling of durability about the apex. The metal parts don’t have the same high level of fit and finish typically seen on CNC machined tripods, but those tripods are typically many times the price. The center column lock knob is plastic, but this never caused a problem. There is nothing wrong with the 190go! build quality, as long as you aren’t expecting it to be at the same level as a top of the line tripod.
The full test data can be found here. The table below summarizes the results.
|Stiffness About Vertical Axis||353 +/- 2 Nm/rad|
|Damping About Vertical Axis||0.118 +/- 0.012 Js/rad|
|Stiffness About Radial Axis||1227 +/- 5 Nm/rad|
|Damping About Radial Axis||0.202 +/- 0.02 Js/rad|
These stiffness numbers are not particularly strong, but are in line with other travel tripods at this price point. The performance is only a little bit better than the aluminum version of the 190go!, which means that a low grade carbon fiber here. This is not unqiue at this price point, where we saw the aluminum Mefoto Globetrotter outperform the carbon fiber version. The primary benefit of the carbon fiber version for the 190go! therefore is the weight reduction.
The 190go! tripod is a member of an innovative new line of tripods from Manfrotto. They clearly put effort into creating a tripod that is faster and easier to use, and have succeeded. The test results however put the 190go! in a somewhat awkward place. The MT190, which features a higher grade carbon fiber, performs much better. The 190go! has similar weight and stiffness to other budget travel tripods, and so does not stand out there. It does, however, offer interesting features not available on other travel tripods of any price.
- Excellent build quality for the price
- Fast and versatile horizontal center column
- Fast leg angle selectors
- 3/8″ Accessory Port
- Heavy for the height and stiffness
- Air gap between the legs and center column when folded up
The 190go! tripod is for you if you need a travel tripod with excellent build quality and/or features such as the fast setup horizontal center column and apex accessory port. If you don’t plan to take your tripod as a carry-on, the full size MT190 is a better bet. The carbon fiber version of the 190go! is a little bit stiffer and significantly lighter, but also almost twice the price of the aluminum. Both versions provide good value, but the aluminum one especially so. The 190go! is a strong option for a travel tripod on a budget.