Top Navigation

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Fibre Tripod Review

The new Befree Carbon takes the Befree range for advanced hobbyists and professionals who are passionate travelers to a new level. The travel photography tripod is now even lighter and more compact than ever. It’s fast to set up and intuitive to use but also surprisingly stable for capturing stunningly precise, sharp images. 

I would have sold my Grannies best China to get my hands on something like the Manfrotto BeFree range let alone one made from anything quite so exotic as Carbon Fibre…

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

Its brand new 100 % carbon fiber legs ensure rigidity and transportability:

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Befree carbon weighs only 1,1 kg (2,4 lbs) – 20% less than its aluminum version. Thanks to its unique mechanism and to the Quick Release Adaptor of its ball head, its foldable legs pack very tightly, reaching a folded length of just 40 cm (15,7in).

Befree Carbon comes with its own padded carry bag, so it’s always comfortable and easy to carry everywhere. The bag’s extra padding makes it easy to pack in your luggage while protecting it from any accidental damage.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

Befree Carbon’s premium Italian design and graphics are eye-catching and attractive. This is the very first tripod to feature graphics on its first section: a great-looking, superbly designed photographic tool that makes Befree Carbon users stand out from the crowd and expresses their unique, innovative photographic style.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Befree Carbon is made in Italy by Manfrotto.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Highlights:

  • 100% carbon fiber legs guarantee lightness ensuring rigidity.
  • Befree comes with a dedicated padded shoulder bag.
  • Its aluminium body and ball head guarantee stability.
  • It’ s the first tripod with Eye catching graphics on its legs.
  • The folding system allows legs to perfectly fold around the head.

Checkout the Manfrotto HomePage for more details of this and all their great products

So before we get into this, here’s a little detail about just who Manfrotto are:

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

Based in Northern Italy at Cassola, Manfrotto designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of camera and lighting support equipment for the professional photographic, film, theater, live entertainment and video markets. The product line includes an extensive range of camera tripods and heads, lighting stands and accessories.

Manfrotto products are sold by its own distribution companies, Manfrotto Distribution, in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus independent distributors in over 65 countries around the world! The unrivalled strength of the international distribution network and the team efforts between the company and the distributors is a key element in the success of the lines. The group owned distribution companies provide direct access to the market, trends and requirements which is essential in keeping the company at the forefront of development and innovation.

It has become a tradition of Manfrotto to continually invest in the latest technology together with constant assessment of the product range, production needs and consumer trends. This policy maintains the highest standard of quality at all stages and set the standards others follow.

Manfrotto Products are manufactured by the Manfrotto Supports and Manfrotto Bags units.

History

The Beginning

At the end of the ’60s Lino Manfrotto was a photo reporter in Bassano del Grappa for Il Gazzettino and Il Giornale di Vicenza. He was also engaged in industrial and advertising photography. The photographer’s studio equipment was cumbersome, heavy and did not facilitate the work of professionals. The market offered a wide range of studio flash-units and quartz illuminators, but completely neglected basic accessories such as stands, booms and clamps.

Thus, with the help of a collaborator, Lino Manfrotto made his first products, including a light and sturdy lamp stand, that was finally high enough. For a couple of years he produced just a few pieces to meet the needs of his photographer friends. Later he decided to present them on an international level, obtaining his first significant order from a Swiss distributor.

The garage became a production workshop. It was there that the first Manfrotto booms, telescopic rods and other stands were manufactured. He soon realized that the production capacity was insufficient to address all the orders from customers.

The 70’s

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimbIn 1972 Lino Manfrotto met Gilberto Battocchio, a technician working for a Bassano mechanical firm. The commercial and product soul had meet his technical counterpart. It was an all-important moment. Battocchio’s arrival turned Lino’s product into three-dimensional solutions. The two made a great team, and within just a few short years they had created a leading enterprise on a world level.

In 1974 the first Manfrotto tripod was launched. Innovative, light and versatile, Manfrotto tripods and stands achieved success in many markets. Articles such as the Superboom, Autopole®, and Superclamp® became an important part of every photographic studios all over the world. And the competition? They followed and copied, but were unable to match Manfrotto innovation, quality, performance and service.

The 80’s

The Group grew, and in 1986, Manfrotto already had 6 production sites in Bassano, he then expanded to Feltre, establishing another 5 plants in the space of two years.

In 1987/88 the Avenger brand was established and started production, responding to the needs of photo and cine markets. Product quality became the hallmark of this range, which could withstand extreme use, rough atmospheric conditions with high load capacities.

Innovative, quality products with worldwide brand recognition and a vast distribution network encompassing 140 countries with top-level personnel, attracted the interest of international investors. In 1989 the entire Lino Manfrotto shareholding was sold to the British Vitec Group plc, a multinational company listed on the London Stock Exchange. At the time it was operating in the broadcasting sector with American, German, English and French subsidiaries.

The 90’s

1992 saw the purchase of the French company Gitzo, a leader in the sector of tripods and heads for top end amateurs and professional photography.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

2000-2010

In 2004 the distribution company Bogen Imaging GmbH was launched in Germany.

In 2005 Kata, an Israeli company leader in the videocamera bags sector, was acquired. In the same year the group was also given licence to distribute National Geographic photographic bags.

In 2006 two new groups to the Bogen Imaging distribution network were added, one in Japan and the other the United Kingdom.

In 2010, Bogen Imaging changed its name to become Manfrotto Distribution in all of its territories which at the time were: Germany, France, Italy, UK, Japan and the USA. In the same year two new Manfrotto Distribution companies were created, based in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

In 2011 the company acquired the Lastolite brand, leading manufacturer of backgrounds and light stopping equipment for the photographic and video industries. Lastolite also became the distributor of paper backgrounds with the Colorama brand.

From Today forward

In recent years, the advent of digital technology has profoundly changed the photography and video sectors and is creating millions of new photo enthusiasts. Manfrotto has anticipated this trend and is capitalizing on its own experience in order to promote new solutions for photographers and videographers worldwide.

In 2010 Manfrotto underwent a brand evolution, expanding from its core among hobbyists and professional to the new photographic enthusiasts population of the “social recorders” – consumers who approach imaging through smartphone and smaller cameras, and for whom photo and videos are a key social currency to share in the rising virtual meeting place of social networks. With the help of a renown advertising agency the brand moved from its core of “Proven professional” to the more inspiring and exclusive promise of “Imagine More” – Manfrotto thus started its journey to become a Power Brand.

“Manfrotto Imagine More” spells out the mission to serve the imaging creative community in expressing and exploring their imagination more fully, whatever the level of technical competence. This mission is guiding the company into new products like LED lights devices, accessories for iPhone® photography, new video shooting solutions, new bags and gear equipping solutions that will serve many more imaging enthusiasts and professionals around the world – whatever their level of skills and gear, and whatever their imaging missions take them.

Having always been interested in Photography from the early 80’s, Manfrotto was, to me, a name synonymous with quality, desirability and of course cost! I diligently saved my pennies and finally bought my Holy Grail, the Manfrotto 055C with a two-way tilt-n-pan head.  A beast if ever there was one…

This provided me with literally years and years of faultless service and was gotten rid of in moment of weakness, something I still regret to this day.  It might have been heavy, it might have been cumbersome but it was an armored Ferrari; beautiful, powerful, a God amongst mere mortals.

So what about the BeFree range of tripods?

I would have sold my Grannies best China to get my hands on something like the Manfrotto BeFree range let alone one made from anything quite so exotic as Carbon Fibre.  Even inside the box these things look awesome!

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing you see after (carefully!) opening the cardboard container, if there cute little nylon bag

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

Not only does this protect the precious contents, it also has a carrying strap meaning it’s easy to tote the thing around.  Something I probably could have done with all those years ago!  Now one of the other major expenses with quality tripods is the head, possible one of the more important and overlooked items as lets face it, this is what keeps your expensive gear from an impromptu introduction with the ground.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

The head provided with the tripod is well made, but not brimming with features, however as this tripod is designed to the a travel companion; a lightweight take anywhere beastie, I’d say that understandable.  It has a quick release head which is good, there’s nothing worse than fiddling around when you’re keen to capture that perfect shot.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The legs of the trips are actually designed to fold-up around the head, thereby protecting it and reducing pack size.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There an adjuster on the leg-tops with three positions covering normal upright usage and second setting which allows the legs to be splayed out (25°,51° respectively)  The third position allows the legs to be folder back for stowing away.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

The adjustable legs are still made from strong and robust materials which is great to see, lets face it the moving parts will get the most hammer.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

The center column has some travel, although not a great deal.  I’m slightly wary of maximum height settings on lightweight tripods and this invariable means a little more likelihood of wobbles.  The BeFree does feel pretty good though.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checkout the “Specifications” tab for details around Minimum and Maximum heights.  The ball head itself whilst functional is surprisingly strong, capable of “safe” loading upto 4kgs; pretty impressive.  It is however relatively limited and doesn’t – as you’d expect – provide a huge amount of flexibility.  This is a good thing I feel; the BeFree range are ultimately travelling companions, offering ease of use and portability.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I was surprised by is the indicated weight of 1.1Kgs.  It just doesn’t feel that heavy, which obviously means all of my existing equipment I rather smugly thought was fairy-like in weight department must actually weigh a tonne!

Also, the carbon fibre bit worries me slightly.  You can buy cheaper tripods which are similar in weight and spec but cost significantly less; they’re don’t carry that “Manfrotto”  or “Made in Italy” logo however.

Weight 1100 g
Collection/Series Befree
Material Carbon
Safety Payload 4 kg
Minimum Height 34 cm
Maximum Height 142 cm
Maximum Height (with Center Column Down) 123 cm
Closed Length 40 cm
Head Type Ball Head
Legs Tube Diameter 11.55, 15.05, 18.55, 22.25 mm
Leg Sections 4
Base Diameter 40 mm
Leg Angles 25°,51°
Attachment 1/4″ screw
Base Type 26 mm
Ball Locking Yes
Carrying Bag Included 1035,52
Center Column rapid
Color Black
Easy Link No
Friction Control No
Front Tilt -90° / +40°
Independent Pan Lock no
Independent Tilt Lock no
Lateral Tilt -90° / +40°
Leg Type Single
Leg Lock Type Flip Lock
Maximum Working Temperature 60 C
Minimum Working Temperature -30 C
Pan Drag NONE
Panoramic Rotation 360
Plate Type 200LT-PL
Quick Release Yes
Tilt Drag NONE
Upper Disc Diameter 40 mm

  • 100% carbon fiber legs guarantee lightness ensuring rigidity.
  • Befree comes with a dedicated padded shoulder bag.
  • Its aluminium body and ball head guarantee stability.
  • It’ s the first tripod with Eye catching graphics on its legs.
  • The folding system allows legs to perfectly fold around the head.

Ball Head:

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

Nylon Bag:

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious Tripod:

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BeFree Carbon is an awesome tripod; simplistic, lightweight, oozing quality and stunning to look at

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re after a quality item which is light, portable and easy to use this is definitely worth a look.  I certainly wouldn’t take this anywhere it’s likely to be bashed about, dropped or generally used and abused in extreme surroundings.  I’m slightly dubious where carbon fiber is concerned as it can shatter or fracture; I’ve owned numerous supports which have been dropped on rock with little or no damage, I’m not so sure the BeFree Carbon Fiber would survive such abuse.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

With a RRP of £279 it’s also far from cheap, but in right circumstances it really does excel.  I could see me taking this on holidays, working trips, city breaks, everyday use.  How often do I take my current support out with me?  Answer=Zero! Why?  Answer=Size and Weight.  The BeFree Carbon really does feel lighweight and it’s extremely portable, and with a maximum (safe) payload of 4Kg’s it’ll support some serious kit.

So if you want to buy something that won’t just sit in a draw, this could be the one for you.  Lets face it, how could you resist something as gorgeous as this!

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Tripod Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

, , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes