Object of Desire: Manfrotto Befree Tripod

August 13, 2013

By Jesse Will

Most tripods have zero wanderlust, and are content to languish in a closet once you’ve passed them over in a last-second gear grab before hitting the road. Not so for the Manfrotto Befree, a tripod with an easy-hauling, compact design and a quick, fuss-free setup that makes it game for just about any trip—even if you don’t have a shoot planned. Folded up, the Befree is only 15.75 inches long, and a quick-release adaptor allows the foldable legs to be packed easily, with little wasted room, so the entire 3.09-pound package can fit inside your carry-on luggage. It’s also compact enough to fit in your backpack, so you can haul the Befree into treacherous terrain and use its unique leg selectors to grab a steady hold on varied inclines (each leg can be adjusted to 25 degrees and 51 degrees). Its max height is an impressive 56 inches with the center column extended (but like any tripod, it’s more stable without the center column extended; it reaches to just over 48 inches).

The Befree’s structure can support cameras up to nearly nine pounds attached to its aluminum ball head. An included shoulder bag with a rubberized strap ensures that its svelte, Italian-designed, matte-black body doesn’t get dinged up in transit. Think of it as your sober, steady-handed travel companion, and don’t be surprised when you open your gear closet and find this tripod reading On the Road in paperback.

Price: $223

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