Man­frotto Be­free GT Car­bon

Michael Topham tests a pre­mium travel tri­pod

Amateur Photographer - - Testbench Accessories -


Man­frotto has re­cently re­freshed its travel-friendly range of Be­free tripods with three ad­vanced mod­els – the Be­free Ad­vanced Car­bon, Be­free Live Car­bon and the Be­free GT. The lat­ter is the larger ver­sion of the Be­free Ad­vanced Car­bon and, un­like the Be­free Live that’s best suited to video use with its large video plate and fluid pan head, we’re look­ing at a set of sticks aimed at se­ri­ous en­thu­si­asts and work­ing pros who de­mand that their tri­pod is both por­ta­ble and light­weight. Mea­sur­ing 43cm long when folded, the Be­free GT Car­bon ex­tends to a max­i­mum height of 162cm and sup­ports a max­i­mum load of up to 10kg. The sil­ver leg an­gle se­lec­tors al­low you to set each leg to three in­de­pen­dent leg an­gle po­si­tions or in­vert the legs fully around the cen­tre col­umn to keep it as com­pact as pos­si­ble. Like Man­frotto’s pro­fes­sional 190 and 055 tripods you get what’s called an Easy Link to at­tach an ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor or other ac­ces­sory equip­ment, plus there’s the op­tion to re­verse the cen­tre col­umn if you feel the need to lock your cam­era off and shoot mil­lime­tres from the ground. The tri­pod comes sup­plied with Man­frotto’s 496 alu­minium cen­tre ball head, which merges prac­ti­cal­ity with high per­for­mance and fea­tures three con­trols that make it suited to al­most any en­vi­ron­ment. A main er­gonomic knob man­ages the sphere lock, an in­te­grated fric­tion con­trol knob ad­justs the ball ten­sion so that your cam­era and lens re­mains well bal­anced, while an in­de­pen­dent panoramic knob lets you move the cam­era hor­i­zon­tally. What you don’t get on ei­ther the tri­pod or the head is a bub­ble level. This isn’t the end of the world if your cam­era has an elec­tronic level func­tion, but with older cam­eras you may want to at­tach a hot­shoe spirit level. The beauty of the ball head is that it ac­cepts both Man­frotto RC2 and Arca-Swiss style plates, and the tri­pod’s twist locks are rub­berised, mak­ing it easy to get a good grip, even when your hands are wet. Against the stop­watch it took 27 sec­onds to erect the tri­pod to its full work­ing height, and even with great force ap­plied to the top of the tri­pod, the car­bon legs showed no in­di­ca­tion of flex­ing un­der pres­sure.

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