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Customer Review

105 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised how good this is, 31 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Manfrotto BeFree Compact Lightweight Travel Tripod (Electronics)
I already own the Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 carbon fibre tripod which is excellent for my long exposure landscape photography and macro photography. However for a recent holiday to Portugal, I wanted a smaller tripod for ease of carrying with all my family luggage (I have 2 teenage daughters!) for some seascape photography. I researched many travel tripods and opted for the Manfrotto, the ultimate decision coming down to brand loyalty i.e. good experiences with Manfrotto so I decided to stick with them. I have shared my first experience here.

I have just returned from holiday and found that the tripod performed very well supporting my 5D mark III and EF 16-35L II lens with Lee filters very well even for exposures up to 10 minutes. I obtained shots I just could not have obtained without a tripod. The Befree is very compact and I could fit my camera rucksack and tripod into a regulation size cabin bag making air travel with it easy. When using it, the tripod attaches easily to the rucksack for walking / hiking. It is easy and quick to set up and fold and comes with a nice, high quality carry case. Shame Monfrotto don't supply such a case with their larger tripods. I had to buy mine separately for my O55.

The tripod is relatively light but not obviously as light as some carbon fibre travel tripods but being aluminium is considerably cheaper so there is a compromise here. The supplied head is small but holds the camera well with surprisingly little creep. Again, don't necessarily expect it be as good as a more expensive, larger head but for a travel head it really is perfectly OK even for 10 minute + exposures.

My RC2 head I use on my 055 fitted nicely into the Befree head. The tripod is supplied with an RC2 head which is a nice addition so I now have a spare. I know some people do not like the RC2 head but I have had no problems so far and have used one for over a year with the 055.

Overall, the tripod is well built as you can expect from Manfrotto.

There are a few things you need to be aware of:-

1) It has quite small feet so if using on sand, beware it can sink a bit especially if the sea runs over the legs and loosens the sand. This can happen with any tripod but the smaller the feet contact area, the more likely it is to happen. This ruined one long exposure shot. So always try to place the feet on rocks or a similar hard surface (common sense!). In this case there were no rocks nearby so had to use the sand. I found that pushing the tripod further into the sand solved the problem. Always wash the legs thoroughly and allow the tripod to dry fully extended overnight after exposure to sand and salt water. Note this 'sinking' is not a problem with the tripod specifically - just my experience of using it!

2) It is not as stable in wind as my 055CXPRO3 but this is to be expected. I found the stability in wind quite good without the centre column extended but with it extended, I would not be so confident it would hold the camera steady in windy conditions for long exposures. On one shot with the column extended, I noticed the camera moving in the wind (it was quite strong) so I stopped the shot, retracted the column and found the camera to be much more stable albeit I had to use a lower position for the shot which actually was not an issue in that case. Using some additional weight would probably help although I did not try this as I had no extra weight to use.

I think as long as you are aware that with any travel tripod there are some compromises, you will really like this product. As I said, if I did not buy this, I would not have taken a tripod on holiday and missed out on some great photo opportunities.

I will definitely be using it more even when not traveling for hiking etc. I would probably not use the tripod for macro shots at home as I would always opt for the greater stability of the 055 for that. But when traveling, I'm sure it would be fine for macro in still conditions but then again, if it is windy, your subject is likely to be moving too!

In terms of service, the tripod arrived earlier than expected so no issues there.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Feb 2016 04:37:37 GMT
Mr. R E says:
Superb review, thank you
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