A professional photographer tells me that Manfrotto tripods sold abroad (I am in India) are different from those sold here even though the model numbers are the same. Is this possible? My friend says that he has a Manfrotto tripod bought abroad but the same model sold here is not as sturdy. I am confussed. What's your opinion?
So far as I know, the build quality of Manfrotto tripods, heads, and accessories are exactly the same all over the world. All Manfrotto products (are there exceptions, anyone?) are made in Italy. Whether or not this is true in India, I do not know. I would go to the local store and check them out.
The confusion comes from the model numbers. In America, Manfrotto products are imported by Bogen Photo Corp (http://www.bogenphoto.com) who, for whatever reason, use a different set of model numbers for the same products. For example, the popular 190-series tripods are known in America as the 3001-series.
Additionally, some models available internationally are not available in America and vice-versa. In Canada, there's the 190QCB which is the standard 190-series tripod with quick-locks (rapid-action lever locks) and a centre-column extension.
The Manfrotto (http://www.manfrotto.com) webpage has a table that conveniently includes both international and USA product codes. Have a look there.
Another possible explanation is that older models (with the same denomination and without improvements) could still be on the shelves or in the inventory in some countries in stores without much sales, but they are not inferior by any means, simply they may have different leg locks for example.
The older model theory is a good one. I have the 3221 (black) and the newer model 3221s are in black or green and have different leg locking devices. However, as JRP noted, it may be five years old, but it is still a great (but getting heavier each year) tripod.
Doug, my tripod is the original version chrome Bogen 3021 and it's 14 years old. I smiled at your comment because it's true for me too. My back ain't what it used to be, but these Bogens never seem to age.
Recently I procured one Manfrotto 190B with 141RC pan head in India. I looked at Manfrotto web site and found the photos of the tripods exactly the same as mine (same model). It appears that JRP's explanation might be the one.
I bought a 190B/141RC last week here in India, and it is identical to one that a friend sourced from USA. The price for a new one seems pretty reasonable here - around Rs.6000 (approx US$ 125) for the combination - from Photoquip who are authorised dealers of Gruppo Manfrotto & Gitzo products in India. Hope this helps Jayanand
I bought a 190 tripod here in Chennai and got a firend to bring me the 168 Heavy Duty ballhead and a 479-4 monopod from Kuwait. I know that Manfrotto and Bogen are the same quality the world over. I checked with a friend in Europe.