During my review of the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod, I started to wonder more and more why photographers actually need tripods these days. Just think about it: newer cameras and lenses have image stabilization in them. Why would I really need a tripod today if I wasn’t shooting video? Landscape photographers have had the answer for years. Tripods like the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod are fantastic compositional tools in the same way that manual focus lenses force you to put more time into the image making process. They require you to think in a different way and really work to get what’s important to you. It may mean moving back and forth, adjustments, etc. Otherwise, you don’t need to make those movements unless you have a specific goal in mind. And a tripod like the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod can surely help with this due to its light weight and awesome build quality.
But one really big thing about it annoys me.
Pros and Cons
- Fantastic and perfect for travel
- Stays secure
- All the adjustments that a photographer could really need or want at the price point
- Two way release ensures that your camera doesn’t slip out of the ballhead.
- Doesn’t really have a whole lot of support for the Peak Design Capture Clip.
The Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod was tested with the Sony a7r III, 24-105mm f4 G OSS, and a variety of backpacks.
Tech specs taken from the Manfrotto website
|Safety Payload Weight||8.82 lbs|
|Min Height||13.39 in|
|Maximum Height||56.69 in|
|Maximum Height (with Center Column Down)||48.43 in|
|Closed Length||15.75 in|
|Head Type||Ball Head|
|Legs Tube Diameter||0.89- 0.75- 0.61- 0.47 in|
|Base Diameter||1.57 in|
|Top Attachment||1/4″ screw|
|Base Type||1.02 in|
|Carrying Bag Included||1035,52|
|Front Tilt||-90° / +40°|
|Independent Pan Lock||no|
|Independent Tilt Lock||no|
|Lateral Tilt||-90° / +40°|
|Leg Lock Type||Flip Lock|
|Maximum Working Temperature||140 F|
|Minimum Working Temperature||-22 F|
|Upper Disc Diameter||1.57 in|
The Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod folds up even more than what’s pictured in the image above. The tripod has a column that goes all the way up and then the legs come up around that. But if you’re going from place to place fairly quickly, this is how you’d want to have your tripod deployed.
This tripod comes with a ball head and a plate. The plate is nice and has this little signage that tells you what direction the lens goes. This plate is also pretty quick to screw into the bottom of your camera. To get the camera and plate out of the head, you need to press the black button and then twist the release. It ensures a lot of safety for your camera.
The head also includes these knobs. They control the panning function of the head and also the ball function. A tripod like this can’t control the tension of the ball though, so keep that in mind. For the $189.99 that it costs, you’re getting a whole lot of tripod.
In my tests, I found the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod to be very good. I really liked that it is made of carbon fiber and therefore is lightweight and doesn’t get cold to the touch when toting it around. What I’d probably like though is the ability to have a hook underneath the center column to anchor my camera bag to.
What’s more important is that it has survived being in airplanes, subways, and other places where it’s bound to take tumbles, and continued to perform flawlessly.
Ease of Use
During the month that I tested the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod, I found it very straight forward to use. The only thing that sort of gave me trouble was the process of figuring out the button system to raise the tripod legs above the center column. But a bit of fiddling with it made that simple for me. Otherwise, it’s a very standard tripod that will give most photographers who do the occassional video a whole lot of potential. Something else that I really enjoy is again, the design of the tripod plate. It has a split D ring that makes it very easy for your finger to get in there and turn the screw.
There’s a whole lot of praise to be given to the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod. It’s sturdy, well built, nice to the touch, lightweight for travel, and gives photographers a whole lot of what they need at a fair price. The photographers who will enjoy this tripod are landscape photographers and adventure shooters. So if you’re a photographer who goes about traveling a whole lot, then you’ll enjoy something like this. In addition to that, it’s lightweight enough to the point where it really won’t feel like you’re carrying something extra. Sure, you’ll need to fasten it to your camera bag; but that’s no problem at all.
The Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod receives five out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon for the pricing.