Perhaps one of the coolest aspects about being a marketer is that there are all sorts of tools, gear, and equipment you could use to tell your organization’s story. Cameras, microphones, lighting kits, audio mixers, drones, gimbals, the list is endless.
In this post I want to review something I just recently purchased and added to my equipment list, the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod. This is a highly versatile piece of gear, but read on for more about this tripod.
I’ve known about the brand for years because I already have the Manfrotto Pixi tripod. It’s a neat little table top tripod that you can put anything on. Plus, you can use the device handheld. Anyhow, here’s my review of the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod.
Great build quality
Manfrotto has a great reputation for building solid supports for cameras and this tripod is no exception. It is a smaller size tripod but it’s sturdy enough to keep cameras and accessories up to 3 lbs, so this is a great entry to mid level tripod. Because it’s a compact style, it’s not going to look as “beefy” as ones in a higher class.
Lightweight and compact
This tripod’s length when collapsed and in its included shoulder bag, measures out at around eighteen inches and it’s super lightweight. At only around 2.5 pounds, it’s something you can actually put in your camera bag (I have an old Timbuk2 messenger bag) or carry alongside your usual bag and not add any cumbersomeness in transport.
Ideal for Photography and Videography
The thing that attracted me to this tripod was its innovative head design. First it adds a grip to the head of the tripod that many older, more clunkier models would have a longer handle for tilt and pan movements. The compact action tripod shortens the handle and adds a wheel to loosen and tighten so you can move around for that perfect angle and movement.
Photographers will love this tripod because it has what I’ll call Photography mode in the head of the tripod. When engaged, it unlocks the ball joint to provide a wide range of motion, really close to 360 degree movement to let you create some really cool angles and compositions.
Videographers will love it too because it also has a Video mode where you can move the head in the traditional tilt and pan movements that you need to capture landscapes, lateral movements and other shots. It’s limited though, as many tripods and setups for larger cameras may have zoom functionality built into the grip and an extra handle as well. This tripod won’t let you connect to your camera to zoom in while tilting or panning your shot. Probably not a big deal to the entry to mid level videographer.
Innovative design features
Button instead of plate
The first thing I noticed about the tripod was the way you connect your camera to the tripod. Many tripods will have a large square plate to attach to the camera and then you use the plate to attach to the tripod. Not so with this one. You have a small “button” that you attach to your camera and then insert that into the hole in the top of the head. This is a compact tripod after all, and it looks like Manfrotto has done the work of shaving off excess material to achieve the same result. The only concern I’d have is losing the little piece. I may have to buy a spare sometime.
Locking Wheel in the Grip
Most tripods will have the camera operator use two hands. One to move the head with the grip, and the other to tighten the head once in position. Manfrotto has developed a way to do this with one hand and your thumb with a wheel that tightens and loosens when you need it.
Sometimes there might be a need to capture footage that is lower to the ground, like the passing of feet running in a marathon, or a skateboard passing by (or other sport or action shot). To do so, you pull out the stem of the tripod, click the button release on the end to remove the stem from the base, and then re insert the stem upside down into the bottom of the base. The footage you get will be upside down but you’ll simply flip the footage in post production.
Cons of the device
There aren’t many negatives to this device but there are a few. First, Manfrotto could have redesigned the legs of the tripod to make the tripod look more sturdy by eliminating a four section tripod leg in favor of three section tripod leg to make the device feel more “beefy” and solid.
Second, I might have redesigned the feet of the tripod legs to have a more sturdy foot, but I’d say that the grip and the support they provide on most surfaces like carpet, hardwood, concrete, etc. would be sufficient. I would hesitate to take it outdoors and place it on soft surfaces like soil and sand. if you do so, perhaps take along plywood sections or find flat rock to place for your shot.
Third, and maybe not entirely fair to this class of tripod, would be adding a small bubble level to the base of the tripod so that I can make sure that I have a level shooting environment. Years ago big tripods had this feature and I guess in my past RTV work I would be working with larger devices with this feature. Though now I have a pretty keen eye on composition and making sure my level is good.
The Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod is a good entry to mid level tripod for most users. With innovative features and solid design features, it’s a great tool to use to get that great shot.
What are some of your favorite devices and tools that you use in your marketing toolbox? Would you want to buy this tripod as a result of this review? Let me know your questions below!
*This post is not written as consideration for me from Manfrotto. I purchased this on my own and this review is clearly for your benefit. If you buy the tripod by clicking on the links above, I won’t receive any affiliate income. (FTC requires me to say these kind of things now)