Manfrotto have just launched a new range of entry level carbon fibre tripods aimed at enthusiast travel photographers. The new Element Carbon range currently features two tripods, Big and Small, which pack up pretty small for easy packing. The Small model handles loads up to 4KG (8.8lbs) while the Big can take a whopping 8KG (17.6lbs).
Each of the carbon fibre legs locks into three positions, and features twist locks to adjust the length. The larger of the two also has a detachable leg, which connects directly to the centre column to create a full size monopod. The ball head also features the popular Arca-style quick release plate rather than the proprietary Manfrotto plate.
The two new tripods shave a little more weight (10-15%) off their popular aluminium siblings. The weighs comes in at 1050g (2.3lbs) while the big is 1400g (3lbs) and can handle payloads of 4kg (8.8lbs) and 8kg (17.6lbs) respectively. The ball head and fittings are aluminium, and they both pack up to an extremely compact size. Even the “Big” version is only 41.5cm (16.3″) long when folded up.
It’s funny how things works out. I’ve got a few trips planned next year, so I’ve been in the market for a travel tripod. Then Manfrotto go and announce this. For the past 15 years or so, my go-to tripod has been a Bogen 3001B. Bogen is the brand that Manfrotto used to market as in the USA, and the Bogen 3001 basically became the Manfrotto 190 series. I did swap out the head on mine for a ball head with an Arca style plate, though.
It’s a fantastic tripod, but a fair bit too heavy for travel use and a little too large for most of my bags. I’m also a big fan of my Manfrotto Neotec 685b monopod. But it’s also far too long to fit into any of my bags. Being able to just whip off a leg off a small tripod, and not have to carry around a separate monopod would be a huge bonus for me.