If you’ve ever used a tripod, then chances are that you’ve most likely looked at what Manfrotto has to offer. The Italian company was, for a while, held in high regard. Then they weren’t held in such high regard (especially with their bags) and very recently they’ve started to step their game up more. The Manfrotto Advanced Compact with Ballhead Tripod is one of the examples of how the company is trying to set standards again for those moments when you need a tripod. While the need for having one seems to be diminishing in the photo market, this tripod will surely serve you during those times when you truly need one–and fit a variety of applications while they’re at it.
The Manfrotto Advanced Compact with Ballhead tripod was tested with the Sony a7, Lauwa 105mm f2 lens, and the Canon 6D with Zeiss lenses.
Specs taken from the Manfrotto page listing
|Safety Payload||6.61 lbs|
|Minimum Height||18.31 in|
|Maximum Height||65.75 in|
|Maximum Height (with Center Column Down)||55.91 in|
|Closed Length||18.5 in|
|Head Type||Ball Head|
|Legs Tube Diameter||0.6- 0.73- 0.85- 0.98- 1.11 in|
|Base Type||1.02 in|
|Carrying Bag Included||CBAGADV-BK|
|Front Tilt||-90° / +90°|
|Independent Pan Lock||no|
|Independent Tilt Lock||no|
|Lateral Tilt||-90° / +90°|
|Leg Lock Type||Flip Lock|
|Maximum Working Temperature||140 F|
|Minimum Working Temperature||-22 F|
|Plate Type||quick release – with 1/4-20″ screw|
The Manfrotto Advanced Compact tripod with ballhead has a really cool design overall that doesn’t veer far from other tripods, but instead just feels really nice in the hands. It comes with all the standard pieces: expanding legs, locks, a center column that raises and lowers, etc.
On top of the tripod’s center column is the built in ballhead. It can be adjusted to be more loose (for panning) or for going up and down accordingly. Additionally, there is a mini Arca Swiss plate that mounts into the ballhead.
Securing your camera in place is really as simple as screwing the tripod screw into the camera’s bottom tripod socket. To do this, it comes with a screw that is easy to turn without the use of a key, coin, etc. When you’re ready, it locks into place with ease. Getting the camera back out though will require a bit more strength in real life use.
Each leg has these three latches that expand the tripod legs accordingly when you need them to. Like all the other moving parts, they get back into place with a hearty snap.
When you’re all done, you just fold it back down and store it in the provided case.
I took this tripod to the beach at one point and found that it took the abuse from the sand and a bit of saltwater from the East River with ease. On top of that, it took a bit of a saltwater beating from Coney Island too.
During a walk on the High Line with a photo buddy, the tripod fell out of a camera bag onto the ground. This five foot fall didn’t really phase the tripod at all.
Ease of Use
If you’re paying a few hundred for a tripod, you’ll expect it to be super reliable. From the month and a half that I really spent with it, I found the tripod to overall be pretty simple to use and I have little to no complaints.
Something that could have been a cool extra to make the tripod even smaller would be the ability to reverse the center column to fold in with the rest of the legs. However, this isn’t at all a dealbreaker situation.
Typically, I really need tripods when I do long exposures or when I use very long manual focus lenses. That’s pretty much what I did with the Advanced Compact. For both of those needs, it does a terrific job.
So who is this tripod for? I’d say it’s for any photographer that wants to get serious about landscapes and night photography more than anything else. But at the same price, you could get a heavier and sturdier tripod from Vanguard. If you’re not looking to add more weight on, then the Advanced Compact is a nice choice.
The Manfrotto Advanced Compact with Ballhead tripod receives four out of five stars.