Tripod+head search... Mefoto roadtrip?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by SojiOkita, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Hello everyone,

    My tripod head is dead a few days ago... it's a Manfrotto joystick 322RC2 that I had (with a 190 tripod) from 10 years and I was very happy with it.
    The ball is too loose and can't stay still...

    However, recently, I began to think the joystick was not the best choice. It was great with my previous gear, but now it's quite huge with my E-M10, and not very precise.

    So, I was searching for a replacement, and I spotted this nice 3 way head from manfrotto:
    X-PRO 3-Way Head with retractable levers & friction controls
    (the model is MHXPRO-3G)
    Not very expensive and with good reviews.

    I mostly use my tripod for landscapes, so I think it will be a good choice.

    However, one of my use would be to shoot panoramas (single row, vertical orientation), so I searched ball heads with Arca Swiss plates... and I ended up reading very good reviews of the MeFoto Roadtrip tripod:
    It has nearly the same height than my current tripod (157 cm, head included), which is fine, is very small when folded, light, and not very expensive in its aluminum version.

    The ball seems quite nice (not as precise as a 3 way head though), and with an Arca Swiss compatible plate, that can be used with things like this:
    512x384xP8170259-thumb-512xauto-5756. Neewer® Black Metal Quick Release L-Plate Bracket Hand Grip Camera Grip for Olympus OM-D E-M10 Fits Arca-Swiss Standard: Camera & Photo
    (L plate for E-M10, so you can mount the camera also in vertical mode).
    And this:
    51yQlE97V-L._SX522_. : Neewer Professional Rail Nodal Slide Metal Quick Release Clamp for Camera with Arca Swiss Compatible : Camera & Photo
    (a rail to adjust the nodal point, this one is maybe a bit short but this is just an example)

    I would use the tripod+head+plate for standard landscape pictures, and add the rail for panoramas.
    (for panoramas, a ball where the panning mechanism is just below the plate - not below the ball - would be preferable).

    Do you think this is a good set?
    Do some of you already have some of these tripod/head/accessories?
  2. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    A friend of mine uses MePhoto Roadtrip. It's a very nice little tripod, that's for sure. Very sturdy for its weight.
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I spent a bit of time comparing the MeFoto Roadtrip with the Sirui T005 and bought the Sirui in the end. They are both very nice, but I preferred the Sirui - the ball head was somewhat better made and it was a little cheaper (and I preferred the colour!).
  4. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Fwiw, some of the Peak Design straps come with an Arca compatible plate.
  5. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    I have a RoadTrip and am very pleased with it. I haven't used it for panoramic photography, but the ball head has a separate pan lock, so that should make it convenient. One disadvantage is the bubble level is mounted to the camera mounting plate, which means it's not much use leveling the tripod legs. This is a fault of other tripods too. You'd have to use something else to level the legs.

    But, there's things like this. Offset bubble levels to place between tripod legs and heads.
    Triple Add-on Offset 3 Bubble Levels for Tripod / Head Desmond Easy Installation no tools
    by Desmond
    Link: : Triple Add-on Offset 3 Bubble Levels for Tripod / Head Desmond Easy Installation no tools : Camera & Photo

    Or even this.
    Neewer® Tripod Leveling Base with Offset Bubble Level for Canon,Nikon,and Other DSLR Cameras with 1/4" Thread, Tripods & Monopods with 3/8" Thread
    by Neewer
    Link: : Neewer® Tripod Leveling Base with Offset Bubble Level for Canon, Nikon, and Other DSLR Cameras with 1/4" Thread, Tripods & Monopods with 3/8" Thread : Camera & Photo
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  6. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Yes... when I looked at their straps, I didn't know about the Arca system so I didn't bought it - I didn't like to remove the strap to be able to use the tripod.

    However, there seems to be different types of Arca plates... I'm not sure all this Arca stuff is compatible.
  7. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I have the Roadtrip for my E-M1 with the RRS L-plate. It's small enough to fit in a carry-on bag. It's tall enough that I can get most shots I want.

    It works, but you need to be very disciplined when using it, as the tripod is pretty light and not that stable. For comparison, my Gitzo 2451 - which costs 4x without a head - is rock solid.

    But for an inexpensive, lightweight, and pack-able tripod, I like the MeFoto.
  8. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    What are your priorities and budget?
    Weight, height, stability? Pick two! ;) 

    Personally, I would start with a good head.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Make sure to take a look at the Sirui T-005X. I own one as my small tripod, and it's a great little tripod with a nice little head (C-10x) included. If using it with a m43 camera and the majority of the lenses for the system, it's a great option.
  10. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    I've read that it was very stable, but it's probably something relative.
    If it's not stable, it will definetely be a problem.

    What do you call a good head?
    I thought the Manfrotto MHXPRO-3W was nice, and in the ball heads, I like the Arca Swiss P0 (because of the panning plate on top)...

    In terms of priority:
    - I'm quite tall so I'd like to be at 150 cm minimum (counting the head - that's 59").
    That's a few cm less than my current tripod but I think it would be OK.
    - I also need a minimum of stability, because if it's not stable enough it will be useless (I would like to be able to take very long exposures like I did with my current tripod).

    Weight is not a real issue. The less weight, the better, but I won't pay 50% more for 200g less (for example, I'd choose the aluminum version of the mefoto)

    Budget... it really depends on the benefits of what I get for more money ;) 

    I'll look at Sirui tripods, but I think the maximum height can be a problem.
  11. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Comparing the Sirui T-005X (link, BH Photo Link) to the MeFOTO BackPacker (link, BH Photo Link), the T-005X has a max height of 48.6 inches with the center column retracted, and 54.5 inches with the center column extended. It weighs 2.2 lbs., folds down to 12.2 inches, and can handle a maximum of an 8.8 lb load (what m43 gear weighs over 8 lbs though?). The BackPacker from MeFOTO has a max height of 45.7 inches with the center column retracted, and 51.2 inches with the center column extended. It weighs 2.6 lbs, folds down to 12.6 inches, and can handle a maximum load of 8.8 lbs, just like the Sirui. At B&H, the Sirui costs $140, and the MeFOTO costs right around $140 (the price fluctuates based on what color you get).

    So for the same price, the Sirui gives you an extra 3 inches of height, weighs 0.4 lbs less, folds to be 0.4 inches shorter, and can handle the same max load.

    I have a Sirui T-005X, and can personally attest to it being a great small tripod. I took many multi-minute exposures this past summer when in London, and didn't have any issues with camera shake at all. Below are a few examples where the T-005X was used with my GH4 and 12-35 f/2.8 lens.

    You can't go wrong with either tripod, but for the same amount of money, the Sirui does offer just a bit more than the MeFOTO does.

    This shot of the London Eye was 206 seconds, just about 3.5 minutes.

    This shot of the sunrise down on the river Thames was 173 seconds, just shy of 3 minutes.

    This shot of the sunset behind Buckingham Palace was 257 seconds, over 4 minutes long.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Yes, but I'm not interested in the backpacker.
    I'll look at Sirui's offering, to see if they have taller travel tripods.
    I'll also test mine

    Probably, but on the few direct comparisons I've read, the MeFoto was prefered to the Sirui (sometimes because of max. height).
    On user comments on forums, it seems that the Sirui has the preference (especially for the ball)

    One of my concerns is the ease (and time) to unfold the tripod from its smallest form to the maximum height.
    I think this is the same with all travel tripods...
  13. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ah yes, well then... ignore my comments about the T-005X compared to the BackPacker, haha.

    Regarding the RoadTrip, I don't believe Sirui has a tripod that competes with it. They have tripods in the same price range that offer a bit more height, but they're larger than the RoadTrip.

    Either way, at least my images show that with even a smaller tripod than the one you're considering, they're still quite stable and can be used for long exposures.
  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
  15. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Smaller doesn't mean it's less stable.
    It means I would have to bend more... I'm 1m92 tall.
    I'll check if it's really a problem.
    With a mirrorless camera + tilt screen, maybe not.
    But as Oly doesn't seem to make tilt screen anymore... I won't be comfortable moving a fully articulated LCD on a tripod...
  16. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
  17. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have two GH4's, which have fully articulating screens, and I would actually argue that they're better on a tripod, because it allows me to angle the screen so I can see it when I'm standing while shooting in portrait orientation, which I'll do when I'm shooting a panorama, as it gives me more room for framing the shot in post.

    I wouldn't have any concerns about a fully articulating vs. tilt-only screen on a tripod. You only use/touch the screen when you're setting everything up. Once you press the shutter release, you're not touching the camera anyways so it doesn't really matter.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    While the tripod itself is nice, the head it comes with is rubbish. I bought a 428 and the larger 432 so I could compare them side-by-side, and ended up going with the 432. Although it is larger than the 428, it only weighs a bit more, is rock solid, and will give me as much height as I'll ever need. So between the 432 and the Sirui T-005X, I have all basis covered regarding my tripods.

    Having said that, neither of the Desmond tripods are anywhere near the MeFOTO tripod you're looking at in terms of compact size.
  19. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    I admit that it is a quite good argument;) 

    I often use a wired remote anyway.
  20. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Cell phone remote control as well?
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