Lightweight, compact and practical are the three adjectives which first came to mind having attached my Manfrotto Tripod Compact Action to my mountain bike rucksack. To test it out, I took it with me on a bike trip, together with my reflex camera and a lightweight wide-angle lens.
I carried it for several kilometres pedalling uphill and when I reached the foot of a thundering waterfall, I immediately thought: “This is the perfect location to take a few photos!”.
I positioned the stand opening two of the four sections and choosing a lower viewpoint than usual, as if the photo was taken by a child.
The gloomy day of this strange summer allowed me to improvise a long exposure, despite it being mid-afternoon. As well as the waterfall, I took advantage of the presence of another cyclist to get a second subject in and create an image more fitting to the situation.
The leaden sky warned me to hurry to try out a few shots using the ergonomic joystick grip, before rushing to put all the bits of equipment away in the various cases and get back on my bike to escape the storm.
My impression of the Compact Action kit
The feature of the Compact Action tripod that immediately strikes you as compared to other tripods is just how light it is, making it the ideal product for hikers, mountain bikers and lovers of outdoor pursuits. It’s amazing to think that in little more than one kilo you can find everything you need to ensure camera stability, and therefore clearer images in photography and videos, as well as it extending for a good one and a half metres, thanks to the four sections and the central column.
In order to fix the camera to the tripod, this model has a circular quick release system, which is both quick and easy to use even for less experienced photographers.
Depending on the make of camera to be attached to the tripod, you can adjust the quick release to ensure total camera stability.
Appreciable attention to detail includes the Manfrotto logo on the underside of the attachment point.
The comfortable joystick grip has a metal ring that secures and frees the head movement around the ball and is designed for video production thanks to its 360° movement around the vertical axis. Furthermore, a designated selector allows you to choose the desired use from the kit test: video, with blocked lateral tilting; photo, with the option of free camera movement.
The maximum load of the Compact Action is not very high – just 1.5 kg – but it is enough to hold a camera such as the Canon 60D (the one I tested it with!) with a wide-angle lens attached.
With the kit, you also get a Sony Nex 5R/5T attachment and a padded shoulder bag for quick and easy transport.
After careful analysis of the technical characteristics of the tripod, I would like to mention another great aspect of this Manfrotto product: the price. At less than €80, anyone can buy this entry level kit that is certain to allow you to experiment and play creatively. Before buying it, however, make sure to try it out with your camera and, in the case of of a reflex camera, to evaluate carefully the weight and the type of lens you will be using…. the maximum load isn’t enough to hold telephoto lenses or zoom lenses.
When do you use a tripod?
The uses of a tripod are many and varied. When I prepare my rucksack for a cycling adventure or journey, I never forget to pack my tripod in amongst the essential equipment, for various reasons…
But when can you use a tripod in photography?
When the light conditions are insufficient to produce a still shot, a tripod allows you to stabilise the camera and take interesting photos with long exposures. On summer nights when the sky is dotted with millions of stars, it’s nice to pause and enjoy looking up whilst the camera gets on with its work from its position on the tripod: the sensor needs time for the exposure and thus the use of a remote shot is essential.
When the clouds are moving quickly across the sky, when you find yourself in front of a stunning waterfall, or in another thousand instances, you can use your tripod to lend the image a velvety effect.
In particular situations, such as in the case of photographs within industrial buildings, pictures can be taken in HDR. This type of photo requires taking, on location, images of the same frame with different exposures, for which the use of a tripod is essential.
In certain occasions, you find yourself travelling alone and end up going home without any photo reminders. With a tripod and self-timer on your camera, travelling alone is no longer a problem…
The help of a tripod is also essential in panoramic video shots where a high level of fluidity of image is required, that can only be guaranteed by securing the equipment to the head of the kit.
Leo and Vero
Leo and Vero are two tireless travellers who love to discover the world by bicycle. After ten months cycling through Southeast Asia, they returned to Italy, but still dedicate their every spare moment to cycling, travelling and photography. They have travelled far and wide but are convinced that the best journey is always the one they have yet to make… “Because travelling is to remember the past, live the present and dream of the future.”
Twitter: @viaggioinbici @lifeintravelita
Instagram: @viaggioinbici @lifeintravelita