I’m always on the lookout for low cost ultra compact tripods. When making videos solo I often need to bring some type of tripod with me so I can film myself with a second camera. There are the usual cases as well with long exposure photography or something like bracketed exposures that need a tripod. So if I’m doing a video about those subject then I’d need two tripods. I picked up this Manfrotto Compact Light Tripod from Amazon using their “warehouse deals” for a big discount over the retail price. Let’s take a look at it!
- Load Capacity: 3.3 lb / 1.5 kg
- Weight: 2.0 lb / 921.0 g
- Max Height: 51.6″ / 131 cm
- Max Height No Center Column: 40.6″ / 103 cm
- Min Height: 15.4″ / 39.1 cm
- Folded Length: 15.7″ / 39.8 cm
- Materials: Aluminum Alloy
I’ve had a similar Manfrotto tripod with a grip head for many years that has held up pretty well. That old tripod isn’t sold anymore, but there is a replacement model. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the grip head on it, but the tripod has held up well over the years.
When I saw this “compact light” tripod at a low price, I wanted to check it out. Even just a few extra inches compacted up or a bit less weight does help. Sometimes I have to bring two tripods, so size and weight do matter. Price is always a consideration as well.
There are a few compromises with the smaller size such as one fewer pair of extension legs, which in turn makes the footprint of the tripod not as wide for less stability and less total height. I wish Manfrotto made one with the long legs and a ball head. (the heads don’t come off)
The clamps on the leg section are a plastic material, but hold up well. I’ve had the older tripod for many years and they still work. They are actually the fastest type of connector I’ve used thus-far. You can unclasp all of them at the same time to speed things up.
The head of the tripod is not removable. It’s a ball head with no quick release. I actually prefer the simple screw-on setup of this tripod to the older one that has a grip plus a quick release plate. I’ve had a few close calls with misplacing that plate. Another negative of the quick release is it blocks the battery door of the M50/M5 when attached.
The largest load I tried on the tripod was a Canon EOS M5, the EF-EOS M adapter, and a Canon 100-300mm EF lens. The setup was attached to the tripod connection on the adapter rather than the camera. It worked decently well. If you have a similar setup with a wired cable release, and/or use a timer then I think it should be alright. The official capacity is 3.3 lb (1.5 kg), so just keep that in mind.
The inner section of the tripod can be reversed for tasks like macro photography. On the new tripod it has a spring loaded pin to prevent the inner section from being pulled out of the tripod by accident. The older tripod has a rubber cap that eventually wore down and kept falling off. Tape solved that issue, but now I can’t easily reverse the inner tube.
The tripod has simple rubber feet with a bit of texture to them. With the old tripod, those lines in the feet can get a build up of dirt with use (the feet on the new tripod are slightly larger than the old one). I usually try to cover my tripod feet in that case.
Each leg joint has two hex screws that are used to set the amount of tension the joint will have. Straight from Amazon, the legs needed tightening. In that case you need two hex tools of the same size. Use one on each side of the given leg at the same time to tighten.
After filming this video I took it out for recording another video unrelated to the tripod itself. So far I’m happy with its functionality. It can suffer from vibration.
Overall, I prefer this new tripod to the older one, though shorter height and narrower base are a drawback. I do especially like the smaller compacted size and the simple ball head design.
If you keep your expectations low, something like this can be a nice simple tripod when you want to be ultra mobile. It works okay with my mirrorless cameras and does very well with devices like smartphones (using the proper phone clamp).