In my last post, Let's talk about Tripods, I covered my experiences with tripods and why I have chosen to buy another one. Long story short: I need portability! After a bit of research I found that a carbon fiber travel tripod would be optimal and later I came up with three different brands that seemed to do the trick. Gitzo, Benro and MeFOTO.
For a long time, Gitzo has had a good reputation, often presented as the best carbon fiber tripods on the market. However, the fact that they come with a rather hefty price tag made me look for other alternatives. I've had my eye on Benro's lightweight Travel Angel series for a while but I ended up going for a MeFOTO, simply because I think they look a little bit nicer. On a side note, MeFOTO and Benro are in fact both MAC Group companies, just like Tenba, Sekonic, Induro, Phottix, Novoflex, Elinchrom among others.
The tag on the one I eventually bought said MeFOTO C1350Q1 RoadTrip Tripod Kit. Let's have a closer look, shall we?
The RoadTrip is available in aluminum as well as carbon fiber and the product line includes 17 models in 12 different colors. I personally like all of the colors but I went with black because its the most discrete option. However, I do believe the pink one would be an excellent conversation piece!
A few specs for the carbon fiber version:
- Maximum load capacity: 17,6 lbs
- Maximum height, column extended: 61.6"
- Maximum height, column retracted: 53,1"
- Folded length: 15,4"
- Maximum height, converted to monopod: 64"
- Weight: 3,1 lbs.
- Head mount thread size: 3/8"-16
Other than the above the RoadTrip features 5-section anti-rotation legs with spiked feet, a drag control ballhead that has a separate head and pan lock, and an Arca-Swiss style quick release clamp with a bubble level.
It also comes with a surprisingly well made, padded carrying case. It even has a little pocket inside for tools, pens and such.
As a bonus the RoadTrip converts into a monopod! Simply remove the padded leg and the centre column, combine the two and you're done! A simple, 30 second operation.
So, did I get what I wanted? Portability? Well, I think a size comparison between the my new MeFOTO and my old Gitzo setup says it all!
Here's the best part though: if you shop around for a bit you can get a RoadTrip really cheap! I got mine from kghobbie on eBay for $296, and I believe the aluminum is about $180. (Free economy international shipping).
So, to sum things up:
- Perhaps not quite as "rock solid" as a Gitzo but not far from it.
- Very good for travel! 15,4" folded, 3,1 lbs.
- Added functionality converted to a monopod.
- Extremely good value at such a low price point!
My advice? Just get one.