Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium Travel Tripod Review

We take a look at both the twist and clip lock versions of Manfrotto's new BeFree Advanced aluminium tripod.


|  Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium Tripod with Ball Head in Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
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Features
Handling & Performance
Verdict
Specification


 

The Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium is a travel tripod kit available with either twist lock or lever lock legs. Compacting down to just 40cm in length and weighing 1.5kg, the tripod comes with a ball head with 3 independent ergonomic controls and newly designed leg angle selector. Here, we take a look at how both models fare. 

 

Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium Features

Both the Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium twist lock and lever lock models have very similar specs. Despite a slight difference in overall height, they both weigh relatively the same and the bodies are exactly the same design with the same ball head. 

These newly designed BeFree tripods don't feature the striking red highlights used on previous Manfrotto models but they do have a trendy striped design on the legs, along with a rubber grip on one leg to combat against the coldness. There are 4 leg sections and each leg is finished with a rubber boot. 

 


 

The centre column can be reversed for low-level work by removing the stopper, inverting it and replacing the cork. There is a chunky plastic grip to tighten and loosen the centre column which also allows you to set and alter the height. Below this, on the main body, there is a hook to allow you to add counterbalance as well as the 'Easy Link' screw port, an innovative feature letting you add arms and supports for lighting and other accessories easily. 

The ball head can be moved horizontally clockwise and counterclockwise by unscrewing a small knob. There is a larger plastic knob which when unscrewed allows you to rotate the ball head. Inside this knob is the friction control, so the looseness of the ball's movement can be tailored to your needs. There is a quick lock release for attaching and detaching your camera. 


 

The clip lock model features 3 easy to undo clips on each leg. These are plastic but feel pretty sturdy. The twist lock model features 3 grippy rubber coated twist locks on each leg. these are smooth to operate and allow you to open more that one at once on each leg when compacted. 

Key Features

  • Aluminium body
  • Ball head with friction control
  • Quick lock camera plate
  • 4 leg sections
  • Grippy rubber feet 
  • Height adjustable and invertible centre column
  • Manfrotto easy link compatible 
  • Compacts down to 40cm 
  • Comes with carry bag

Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium Handling & Performance

The redesign of the side pull leg angle selector is a welcome one - it's now really easy to simply use your thumb to push up the catch and alter the leg angle. Legs feel well damped and have a good amount of resistance. They fold upwards to enclose the head and keep things smaller. 


 

It's nice to have the flexibility to change the friction on the ball head and not just by screwing and unscrewing the release - the amount needed can vary according to the weight and size of the camera. 

The feet on the bottom of the tripod are ridged and give a good grip on the majority of surfaces. 

Regarding the two different leg locking mechanisms, the clip locks don't look like the sturdiest things but are actually really robust and feel reassuringly stiff when locking and unlocking. The twist locks have a texturised rubber grip that feels good to handle and are well damped. They are also chunky enough so that they can be easily altered with gloves on. The rubber handle on one leg is grippy and will be a big help in the winter when the frame of the tripod will be cold. 


 

Both tripods have a max weight capacity of 8kg, which should enable you to place a large DSLR and a long lens on without trouble. Care should be taken if adjusting the ball head with a camera mounted, though the adjustable dampener should help with this. 

The neck tightening mechanism and the ball head loosening mechanism are chunky but don't feel that good to hold - it would be nice if these were rubberised and a bit more ergonomic. However, they do feature a rubber stopper to avoid the column slamming down into the body if it's accidentally loosened with kit on. It's easy to revert the centre column for low-level work - simply unplug the stopper and unscrew the fitment to remove the column and re-insert it. 


 

Compared to other models, the minimum height is still relatively high and this is where inverting the centre column will come in handy.

 

Value For Money

The BeFree Advanced Aluminium travel tripod in both the lever lock and twist lock models are available for £174.95 each. Looking at the improvements that have been made to this model of the BeFree tripod, this makes it look good value for money.

A similar tripod is the Vanguard VEO 235AB available for £119, however, this model has a max load capacity of 6kg, 2kg less than the Manfrotto BeFree and doesn't feature the damping controls of the Manfrotto model. 

If compactness is less of an issue for you, you could also consider the Cullmann Mundo 525M tripod that features a detachable monopod, available for £125.65.

If you want to consider more tripods, take a look at our Best Tripods roundup or our 'best tripods for travel' article.

 

Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium Verdict

The Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium tripods have a simple, functional design that is no frills yet also provides everything you need for a day out on the road. They compact to just 40cm, come with a well-made carry bag and feature the ability to alter the friction of the ball head.

Whether you opt for the twist lock or clip lock model is really up to you, which is best really comes down to personal preference but both methods feel well made and sturdy. 

At under 1.6kg in weight, they are a breeze to carry and provide a large 8kg max capacity. Overall, we are happy to recommend the tripod.

 

Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium Pros

  • Versatile with 3 leg angles 
  • Invertible centre column
  • Lightweight
  • Large weight capacity of 8kg

Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium Cons

  • Plastic fastenings give a cheaper look
  • No spiked feet option

Features4/5
Handling3.5/5
Performance4/5
Value4.5/5
Overall Verdict

 

Manfrotto BeFree Advanced Aluminium Tripod with Ball Head Specifications

ManufacturerManfrotto
Tripods
ConstructionAluminium, plastic
Maximum Height151cm
Minimum Height40cm
Maximum Weight Capacity8kg
Number of Leg Sections4
Headball, adjustable friction
Box Contents
Box Contentstripod, carry bag, tools, instructions
Dimensions
Weight1590g
WidthNo Data
HeightNo Data

View Full Product Details

 

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Comments


StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
30 Jan 2018 7:24PM
I read another review that compared the twist lock to the clip lock, and all 3 who used them in different conditions much preferred the clip lock for quickness, ease of use and security.

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