One of the most crucial items a photographer needs, other than the camera itself, is a tripod. Even simple point-and-shoot cameras benefit greatly with the use of a good tripod.
Long shutter shots, long focal length, studio photography, you name it. It is always a good idea to use a tripod whenever possible. Using a tripod also allows you to use lower ISO sensitivities and smaller apertures to achieve better photo quality and greater depth of field in low lights conditions, without the need of complicated and expensive flash or strobe setups.
There are many types of tripods in the market. They range from el cheapo aluminium ones that cost around US$13 (RM50), up to lightweight carbon fibre tripods that cost upwards of US$1000 (RM3800). Despite the huge price difference, even cheap aluminium tripods can be very useful. They are certainly better than shooting without a tripod!
Besides the obvious price advantage, the light weight of cheap tripods make them very portable. Lugging one for a photo trip won't stress your arm and shoulder too much. But don't expect them to work as well as their heavier brethren. Due to their light weight, such tripods will not be steady enough for large SLR cameras, especially those with ultra-long prime lenses.
Today, we will be looking at a reasonably-priced tripod from the Italian firm, Manfrotto. While cheap enough to avoid burning a hole in your pocket, it should be more than enough for most budding photographers, even if you have latest DSLRs.
Manfrotto was founded in 1970 by Lino Manfrotto. Since then, Manfrotto has been equipping photographers with all sorts of tripods, monopods, heads, and other equipment.
When it comes to tripods, Manfrotto caters to practically all kinds of photographers. You can find a myriad of different models, from cheap aluminium tripods up to cutting-edge carbon fibre tripods. For most users, carbon fibre models will not be affordable, even though they have a few advantages over the aluminium models.
In this review, we will be taking an in-depth look at one of their cheaper (but still feature-packed!) aluminium models - the Manfrotto 055PROB tripod!
The Manfrotto 055PROB came in a large plain cardboard box. It appears to be a generic box since the model name was not printed on the box.
Rather, the tripod model is identified by a sticker stuck to the side of the box.
The label also lists the tripod's key specifications. And yes, it comes with a free bag!
The bag is meant to transport the 055PROB tripod although it's definitely compatible with other tripods as well. It has a shoulder strap with a rubber grip. This allows you to carry the tripod on your shoulder or slung onto your back.
Unfortunately, the bag is not really as useful as it appears. Made from thin nylon, the bag feels out of place compared to the relatively heavy and expensive tripod it's designed to carry. Although it will support the tripod, the thin nylon cover feels like it will tear easily. The zip is equally flimsy. It gets derailed pretty easily, which annoys me a lot!
The only good news about this bag is that it has a smooth inner lining. This protects the tripod from scratches. But with such a flimsy zip and cheap nylon cover, I won't be using this bag, except to store the tripod at home!
Inside the box, you will find the following :
- Manfrotto 055PROB (Bogen 3201BPRO in the US) tripod
- General Instructions Sheet
- Warranty Card
The bag is not actually in the box. It comes separately with the 055PROB box.