Manfrotto BeFree £140/$180
Now available in glorious colour
This aluminium kit now comes in a range of colour options that include grey, red, blue and green. With a folded length of 41cm and a weight of 1.5kg, the Manfrotto is one of the smaller and lighter tripods on test, but because its legs only have four rather than five sections, it only reaches a maximum operating height of 144cm – the shortest of any tripod on test. The maximum load rating is also low, at 4kg.
Unlike most of its competitors, the Manfrotto uses clip rather than twist locks, of which there are nine in total. It’s also one of only two tripods on test not to have an Arca-Swiss compatible quick-release plate in its head, the other being the Velbon. The supplied Manfrotto head is also quite basic, with one adjustment knob and no panning lock/ release or variable friction damper. There are no spirit or bubble levels, no retractable spikes in the feet, and only two lockable leg angles to pick from.
An upside of the relatively basic design is that the Manfrotto is quick and easy to set up, and to fold down again after use. Even so, the clip-style clamps are a bit more time-consuming than the twist clamps found in most of the other competing travel tripods. Rigidity isn’t as good as in the heavier tripods on test, either, especially when the lowest, thinnest leg sections are extended.
Construction material: Aluminium Weight: 1.5kg Alternative material: Carbon fibre, 1.1kg, £250/$290 Max/folded height: 144cm, 41cm Max load (legs, head): 4kg, 4kg Head mount platform dia: 35mm Head attachment screw: 3/8 inch Ball head: Manfrotto BeFree Quick-release plate: Manfrotto 200LT-PL Head adjustments: Lock
Features Build/handling Performance Value for money
Keenly priced but lacking in advanced features and maximum operating height.