Manfrotto MKBFRA4-BH BeFree Compact Aluminum Travel Tripod Black
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- Light and compact design
- Supports up to 8.8lbs
- Designed to fit into carry-on luggage and backpacks
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Top Customer Reviews
Because of the light weight, it's easier to knock over if you bump into it, so you might want to consider attaching a sandbag if that's a concern for you.
UPDATE 10 Nov 2013: Just wanted to add that I used this tripod recently during a landscape workshop in Yosemite National Park. I learned that you DO NOT want to use it with the center post fully extended if your shutter speed is below 1/90. At full extension, even the slap of the shutter from a dSLR can introduce a slight vibration that is noticeable as minor motion blur in the image; the slower the shutter speed, the more noticeable. For snapshots or images destined solely for the Internet at screen resolution, this may not be an issue for you. For anything that is going to be used at large sizes, it's definitely an issue. This only occurred with the center post at full extension. At half extension, I didn't see this problem. I stand by my earlier statements and am not deducting any stars. This sort of thing is only to be expected in a lightweight tripod.
Cons: Not a deal breaker, but having to flip the legs up and over to fit them into the included bag is time consuming and twisting the head into the correct position tends to cause some scratches on the leg assemblies. This can be avoided but requires some effort.
1. Light - brought it with me, even when I wasn't sure if I'd use it.
2. Slim enough to be a monopod - photographer risers are packed tight and to be able to use it as a monopod at a show and then shoot the New York skyline at night was appreciated.
3. Carrying case attaches easily to backpack - and this fit snugly in my Profoto B1 traveling case.
1. There were moments when I wished it would be just slightly taller; I can't much fault the tripod as it's designed to be light and portable and I believe the engineers maximized it's capabilities without compromising primary tripod elements (solid and strong).
1. Non-intuitive set-up - it takes a minute to learn how to operate this tripod and even trickier to describe quite how. The legs unfold 180 degrees (from up to down) from the fully collapsed initial 'monopod' position:
- to switch to standard tripod mode, turn each silver dials to it's middle position
- to switch to wide tripod mode, turn each silver dial to it's furthest position (the legs will be splayed further out)
The main mast can be further extended by loosening the tightening screw at the leg intersection and lifting it up. Once you've gone through this a couple of times it becomes second nature and I appreciate the engineering elegance to it all (though it may be initially confusing).
2. Not strong enough to support countersink - this could support my Canon 5D mk II with 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens just fine but put much more weight than that on it and the legs will begin sliding in on themselves; on the plus, this is good news as it would be far worse if they bent.
As a caveat on the height: I've used this a couple of times on commercial projects and found that it's maximum height is pretty much ideal for shooting industry standard models using the 70-200mm focal length.
It is of very good built quality. It has become my primary grab and go tripod.
I give it only four stars for two reasons - first, the strap of the bag that comes in is too short, so you can't carry it diagonally on the back but only on the side of the shoulder. This could be a problem when you hike, because it is not as secure.
The second thing is that for long exposure and with a slight wind you really have to put some weight or hold it down to reduce vibrations. I used it on a number of occasions for long exposure and found myself holding the tripod down most of the time to make sure there weren't any vibrations.
Overall I am pretty happy with the tripod and would recommend it.
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