Finding a good tripod can be a hassle, but finding one that you’ll actually use can be downright discouraging. Lately I’ve shot exclusively with a Gitzo Traveler tripod coupled with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead. This combination has been my go-to kit for nearly six years. But, here’s the rub: that darn kit was expensive! Definitely worth every penny if you’re going to use it a ton, but I always feel a bit guilty recommending it as a kit to people starting out or just looking for a second tripod to use while traveling or walking in the city. Then something wonderful happened when I started researching a tripod for Staci. Staci and I go out shooting together quite often and I typically focus on the big picture while she enjoys shooting macro (she’s a bit nerdy), so we’re always fighting over who gets to use my tripod. I finally decided I needed a second tripod, but I didn’t want to spend another $1200.00 building an identical kit.
Instead, I decided to reach out to my friend Chris Klapheke, owner at Outdoor Photo Gear, to get his thoughts. Chris is an expert in the field and pointed me in the direction of the MeFoto Backpacker tripod kit, so I bought one. At the time, I think all Staci cared about was that it was lightweight (and it helped that it came in 8 different colors). But after using it for nearly seven months I want tell you it’s much more than a pretty tripod. There are some trade-off’s no doubt, the maximum height is 51.2 inches and the ballhead is no Really Right Stuff head, but then again, for the price of the Really Right Head I could buy three of the MeFoto tripods.
Here’s what I loved about the tripod(Staci too):
1. It comes with a very nice carrying case that makes for easy packing and it’s great for trips. We have a lot of clients bring them to our New Orleans Photo workshop.
2. When folded it comes in a little over a foot at 12.6”. Extended it’s 51.2” so it’s super compact.
3. It weighs just 2.6lbs so there are no more excuses for leaving a tripod behind because it’s too heavy, which means no more excuses for blurry photos. 🙂
4. It comes with a ballhead with an integrated leveling bubble and an Arca-Swiss style quick release.
5. Three year warranty and an additional two years if you register it (so register it!).
6. Ok, I’m going to agree with Staci here….the colors are super cool with over eight to choose from. She chose the green.
7. Finally, the price is amazing and very affordable at $139.00.
What could make it better:
1. My biggest complaint with this tripod is the design of the leg locks which you engage and disengage when you change the angle of the legs. They work fine but I would have preferred something a little bit beefier and with legs that would automatically lock in place.
2. I wish it expanded another 5-6 inches, but that’s where the trade-off in weight and size comes into play.
All in all is this is a great tripod for the price; it’s sturdy, compact, and user-friendly. Like I say, owning a tripod is great as long as you’re going to use it. The MeFOTO backpacker tripod takes away your excuses for leaving your tripod home. It’s great for street photography, or when you’re traveling and need to pack light. We both have been really pleased with it.
Finally, if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks to get a bit more reach with additional weight support then you might want to consider the MeFotto Roadtrip.
Let me know if you have any questions…John