Top critical review
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Not the quality expected!
on 13 August 2014
Many of the negative reviews for this item are based around the use of this tripod for video recording and its ability (or lack of) decent fluid panning, sadly I have to say that this tripod is also a poor tripod for photography I am a professional and do own a selection of high end tripods, Manfrotto geared and ball heads alongside Benro & Manfrotto legs fear not this has far from spoiled me! I still appreciate the concept of good value for money this tripod however is not a good example!
I bought the tripod back in January so I've had plenty of experience in using it. I wanted a decent lightweight tripod for non professional use that could be a replacement for the seriously cheap but not very portable Hama tripod I accidentally left in Vietnam last year, believing it would be a nice compromise between video and photo applications when needed with what appeared to be a half decent ball head.
The biggest negative with this tripod from the perspective of stills photography just as with video is the ball head; if you have a DSLR with ANY weather sealing and a lens added on to that which is anything heavier than a light weight prime, prepare for some serious frustration! Precise framing is next to impossible, you simply cannot lock the head into position firstly the way the head locks in place via a friction wheel on the grip is ridiculous for stills use; when tightening the wheel the framing creeps up and when you think you've finally locked it in position; have a long exposure? An exposure bracket? Then be warned it creeps down with the weight of the camera!! I have used this tripod mostly with crop sensor cameras; a Nikon D7000 with a heavier lens for example; a fixed aperture zoom and the head simply couldn't handle them! I also tested out my 5D MKIII minus the battery grip just for overkill testing to see if I was pushed and had no other choice I could use it, of course I could not.
Besides the poorly designed head the legs are unbelievably flimsy the final extensions are very, very weak under the relatively low weight of a D7000 and a 35mm F1.8 the legs bow and flex, I expect better from manfrotto!
Now I can see the argument coming my way; for this price what did I expect!? Honestly a lot more! The Hama tripod I previously mentioned was slightly larger but cost less than half the price of this tripod, the legs had a lot less flex and the head locked in place!! That tripod looking back was extremely good value for money, granted the head when put in portrait wasn't fantastically strong and couldn't support a full frame body in that position at all but landscape; no problem. And the bottom line is: if needed a landscape frame could be cropped to a portrait composition, at least I could frame precisely and get the exact desired shot and marginally lose quality when cropping this simply isn't an option with the Manfrotto when I look at the reputation they have and the fact that their heads are my go to choice for pro level gear I'm extremely disappointed, hell the Hama had spirit levels, a bag and a hook for adding weights. I would not recommend this tripod for use with anything heavier than a mirror-less or compact camera but most of all it's simply not worth the money.
To replace this I'll be getting a MeFoto Backpacker as its been recommended repeatedly as one of the best travel tripods around.