If you’re looking for a new travel tripod, the market got really big and unclear: there are just too many out there to chose from! Companies like Gitzo, Dolica or MeFoto offer great, lightweight tripods that are aimed at travelers. I found my favorite tripod five months ago: it’s the Manfrotto’s BeFree that has served me very well during my round-the-world trip to Sri Lanka and beyond!. As I had plenty of tripods in the past and tested this one extensively, I want to pass on my positive experience in my Manfrotto BeFree Review!
Manfrotto BeFree Review: a short Introduction
Okay, what did I buy here: as you might know reading this Manfrotto BeFree Review, it is a travel tripod specifically designed to be taken on the road. Therefore its size and weight is both very low: it only weighs 5.3lb (2.4kg) and folds together to a compact size of 15.8 inches (40cm for you European folks out there). But – at the same time it’s a very sturdy piece of equipment. It supports my DSLR with even the biggest lenses and offers a safe stand without any vibration. With its key specs it is aimed at today’s photographers on the road, who need a reliable travel tripod that fits into most camera bags and overhead bins.
Key Features of the Manfrotto BeFree
To start out my Manfrotto BeFree Review, here are the key specs of it:
- Maximum Height: 56.7 in // 144 cm
- Minimum Height: 48.4 in // 123 cm
- Closed Length: 15.8 in // 40 cm
- Weight: 5.3 lb //2.4 kg
- Maximum Load: 8.8 lb // 4 kg
- Material: Aluminum
- Replaceable Ball Head
- Made in Italy
- Price Tag: around 199 USD
All these features make a great package and the price tag is great for such a tool that is produced in the EU.
My Experience on the Road: the BeFree as a Travel Tripod
Okay, let’s get from theory to practice in this Manfrotto BeFree review, shall we?
Last May I went on the road for two epic trips: one to Bali (with stops in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Singapore) and one island-hopping to the Caribbean (St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, Saba and so on). As I didn’t want to take my regular (huge) tripod on the road, I ordered the Manfrotto BeFree as I tested it when a colleague brought it in and it looked like a good deal to me on Amazon. It arrived the next day and I was ready to head off to Asia with it!
Once you open the box, you will find a really well-manufactured and thought-through photography tool. The aluminum makes it feel really good and there are no flaws to be seen, even after close inspection during unboxing. When unfolding it for the first time to its full-length, the leg locks made a very sturdy impression. You can even adjust their tension by using a little hexagon key! I then grabbed my Canon 6D Travel Camera and mounted it on the integrated aluminum ball head. It is very simple to operate and locks every camera in extremely tight – no cheap plastic to be found here. If you want to use another ball head it’s no problem as well – these are easily exchangeable which is a big plus in my personal Manfrotto BeFree Review.
So, off I went to the airport and put it in its own bag, which is neatly padded and included at Amazon. It fit perfectly into my travel backpack and once I got to Bali, I took it on lenghty hikes through the jungle. I never felt a regret taking a tripod even on very long day tours as you won’t really notice its weight in your backpack. On every surface I tried (and I tried many of them: sandy beaches, wet grass, dunes, steep rocks) it worked like a charm and no photo came out blurred by vibrations. As I often try HDR photos, even those came out perfectly. Another feature I really liked and want to point out in this Manfrotto BeFree Review: the angle selectors allow you to switch between two different angles very quickly!
Manfrotto BeFree Review: Summary & Recommendation
As a conclusion of my Manfrotto BeFree Review I have to say that I am very satisfied with my choice. It never let me down during my (sometimes extreme) travels of the last months and I am looking forward to my next tours. I am a professional photographer and need to rely on my equipment – and the Manfrotto BeFree fits right in there!
The Pros & Cons of the ManFrotto BeFree in short:
Lightweight, very compact size
Great value for the price
Angle selector and exchangeable ball heads
Additional weight is needed for some situations