Form, Function, and Value: We Review the Manfrotto 190go! Tripod

Form, Function, and Value: We Review the Manfrotto 190go! Tripod

This tripod has been around for quite a few years and its unique mix of features has won awards for design. Let’s check out what this relatively affordable tripod has to offer.

Choosing a tripod is an investment that has to be carefully considered. A tripod is both a creative and a protective tool for your cameras, and finding the perfect one will affect the quality and efficiency of your work for a very long time. As you progress as a photographer, one of the crucial things that you should develop is a certain level of mastery and awareness of your workflow, and part of that is the logistics, which are just as important as the moment you press the shutter.

Stability and durability should be the bare minimum for any tripod. A tripod that can’t secure your precious camera gear shouldn’t even be considered. At the same time, a tripod that will only last a few weeks or months will always be a waste for a serious photographer. Once those crucial attributes are assured, then factors such as portability, versatility, and other extra features come in. All these features create the entire package that may or may not fit who you are as a photographer. Your tripod of choice, especially the one that you would invest hard-earned money in, should fit you like a glove.

The Manfrotto 190go!

This tripod is a combination of features found on multiple lines of Manfrotto tripods that serve varying purposes. This standard size tripod brings together the portability of various travel tripods, as well as the sturdiness and build of more heavy-duty support gear. This way, it offers a very efficient middle-ground between the contrasting attributes of popular tripod variants. The Manfrotto 190go! was actually released around six years ago; however, the features put together on this tripod definitely makes is something worth looking at even over half a decade after.

Build, Design, Metrics, and Capacity

The Manfrotto 190go! comes in at just 17 inches when folded without the head. In its shortest neutral position, it is 22 inches tall on average with various head options. With the three legs abducted to nearly 180 degrees and the horizontal center column extended, this versatile tripod can achieve a minimum ground clearance of just 3.5 inches, which can be quite a helpful tool for very low-angle shots.

With the four-section legs fully extended, the height of the tripod is at 50 inches and reaches 59.8 inches with the center column extended to the maximum working limit. The aluminum variant weighs a mere 1.66 kilograms, while the lighter carbon fiber version weighs 1.35 kilograms. Both variants can comfortably carry up to 15 kilograms of camera gear, which virtually encompasses the combined weight of most full frame DSLR or mirrorless cameras with standard 70-200mm telephoto zoom lenses.

The center column pulls up and can be unlocked entirely with a button at the bottom that releases it into the joint that allows the column to go from vertical to horizontal. When unlocked using the single knob that controls the center column, this central assembly can rotate 360 degrees to adjust to the necessary angle. On the opposite side of the knob is a removable rubber cover that reveals a 3/8” screw thread called the “Link Port” that serves as an additional port for attachments such as straps, handles, friction arms, or even other tripods. This port virtually expands the carrying capacity of the tripod as it can accommodate for portable accessories such as lights, modifiers, or audio gear.

The legs features twist-lock mechanisms more typically found on smaller travel tripods. While some photographers say that this kind of leg locking mechanism can take a bit more time to set up, the relatively thinner form (compared to twist locks) definitely add to the portability of the tripod.

Variants and Kits

The tripod itself comes in two variants. The aluminum version without a head costs $210 while the carbon fiber version costs $453 without the head. The two variants, aside from the obvious difference in material, are separated by a mere 310-gram difference. This very close gap in weight between the two variants virtually makes the more affordable aluminum version more cost-effective.

The Manfrotto 190go! is sold in stores either without a head, with a more compact 494 head similar to those seen on Befree travel tripods, a 496RC compact ballhead, a BHQ2 head for heavier payload, or the Xpro 3-way pan-and-tilt head. Nonetheless, it is compatible with almost all removable ball head with the standard 3/8” screw thread.

While the various options for ballhead packages definitely make it more flexible and appealing to users depending on their preferences, the variants available as kits with the legs do not include the more universal X-Pro BHQ6 which features an Arca Swiss type quick release clamp for compatibility with most camera plates, cages, and L-brackets. For my personal use, I replaced the quick release clamp with one that fits Arca Swiss type plates.

Application

The Manfrotto 190go! comes in the perfect size for a staple all-around tripod. It comes with quite the significant payload capacity while in a relatively compact and lightweight form. This makes it a good option as a general studio tripod for portraits, products, food, and even vehicles. In addition, this would fit quite well in the workflow of commercial product or food photographers who might want the camera pointed securely over the products on a table for a flat-lay setup. With the proper configuration of the legs and the horizontal column, the 190go! can hold the camera more securely to maintain the overhead perspective.

As a landscape photographer, the application of this tripod in what I shoot is definitely what got me interested in purchasing this tripod for myself. The relatively slimmer folded form makes it easy enough to carry during a long trek but does not get in the way with the carrying capacity. The payload can carry a full-frame camera with almost any lens commonly used for landscapes from ultra-wide to telephoto range. The horizontal column makes it possible to get low enough the crucial foreground elements for low-angle shots, and can also help position the camera beyond obstacles such as ledges and railings when shooting from elevated vantage points.

Conclusion

Though the Manfrotto 190go! has been in the market for over half a decade, it still offers a unique mix of efficient weight and height along with reliable stability. The additional features such as variable angle legs, the horizontal center column, and the link port make it a strong, versatile option to almost any kind of photography workflow.

What I Liked

  • Four-section legs with twist locks
  • Horizontal column
  • Efficient to carry while stable and capable

What Can Be Improved

  • No Arca Swiss quick release option
  • Availability of variants
  • Thinly padded drawstring bag

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13 Comments
David Illig's picture

How does one balance the tripod to prevent tipping forward when the column is fully extended horizontally? Is there a counterweight hook?

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

No hook, sadly. Whenever I have to extend the column significantly away from the center, i make sure its aligned with one of the legs.

Roger Cozine's picture

The center column design is especially interesting. I wonder how well it supports cameras with larger telephoto lens when the center column is fully extended. I don't see any anchor points for adding extra weight. Though many people love them, I also prefer a non-twist lock legs. Even the smallest amount of debris or sand causes the legs to get stuck. Lastly, will this arca swiss head accept thick arca swiss plates like those built into Smallrig camera cages? Not all Manfrotto arca swiss heads are universal and accept thicker plates.

David Illig's picture

I have one coming from Amazon on Tuesday the 26th. I'll try to let you know about balance based on macrophotography. I'll reply to this post again and you should see an alert.

Roger Cozine's picture

Thank you so very much! Definitely let me know about your experience with it. I'm interested in this tripod as well!

David Illig's picture

OK, I didn't actually push the button and take a photo (no bugs handy). This is a lightweight tripod, not heavy-duty, but adequate for a macro lens on a normal mirrorless (R5 & RF100 macro lens in my case). It most certainly does have a built in hook to hold a weight bag. The hook is plastic, but it appears sturdy enough. And it most certainly requires a weight bag to balance the camera if the arm is horizontal and fully extended. In the photo I have a 5 lb. shot bag hanging and the camera seems well balanced. There is also a ⅜" in. threaded accessory hole at the top of the tripod. One could put a bolt in there and hang a second weight. Not as versatile as my discontinued Gitzo Explorer with eccentric column https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/548397-REG/Gitzo_GT2541EX_GT2541E.... My bottom line review: If you want a light-weight, light-duty tripod that can extend the camera horizontally away from the center, this could be for you. If you're not going to use the horizontal feature, this is not for you. Pardon the quickie iPhone photo with my kitchen mess in the background.

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

No horizontal column tripod has ever been made for use (horizontally) with heavy setups. However others have come with counterweight hooks and sadly this one doesn't. I mentioned in the video that the arca swiss clamp that you see on the photos is a replacement I got online because this tripod doesn't have any arca swiss options

David Illig's picture

Received mine today from Amazon. It has a counterweight hook. Please see quick review and photo above.

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

How stupid of me. I never realized that that is a counterweight hook. My bad

EDWIN GENAUX's picture

Back in 2013 when many photo stores were going out of business one store gave me a great deal on a 190L aluminum and was my first tripod and I used it up till the BeFree's. Yes heavy but I at 6'2" and full of muscle had no problem carrying around. The extending center post was handy for a capture of a Chandelier above with a flower centerpiece below with the arm extended over it ('15) and in a view upward while in Antelope Canyon on a night tour getting stars above ('17). Also my main tripod for night panos with the center post replaced with a short and leveling half ball post with head that has a parallax slider. And beach Milky Way captures with gallon ziplock bags with tennis balls on each leg for surf, soft sand and puddles but each leg oiled. All before the BeFree tripods that were lighter that I have one of each now. What I will say about the heavier tripod is there is no real need to hang your bag under when there are winds sometime strong and unpredictable before going out. With the legs together it makes for a great monopod for places that do not allow a tripod like a zoo. For the question about tipping over extending over a leg. Also for a long walk or bike ride a rifle sling for a more portable carry for yes even collapsed with pano head on is 34"s. But like golfing you have several to choose from against a wall or in your car like the BeFree's have a bag to put in.

W Mitty's picture

Nice review, Nicco. I did notice one little mistake that may be important to some readers. You wrote, "The two variants, aside from the obvious difference in material, are separated by a mere 31-gram difference. This very close gap in weight between the two variants virtually makes the more affordable aluminum version more cost-effective."

The difference in weight is actually 310 grams (0.7 pounds). This difference in weight may be significant enough to be a differentiator for someone who is thinking of purchasing the tripod.

Nicco Valenzuela's picture

You're right! Sorry for the typo. I’ll edit. Thank you!

Chris Gallego's picture

I have The Benro GoClassic 3 tripod GC358T which is the same concept with the option of one leg being converted in monopod combining the central column with one leg (I know I know...my English is awesome hehe, I'm sorry guys). I could not get it in Spain because (if my mind is not wrong) because Manfrotto made a demand to Benro because the China one copied this model I have but with the system this one you are showing in this article with the legs system. So until don't remember what year, Benro could not sell this model where the manfrotto had its buyers. I hope that have some sense the whole thing I've written.

I bought it through ebay. And I comes with hook.