From the photokina Floor: Hands on the Manfrotto BeeFree Tripod
At photokina 2014, Manfrotto unveiled four new colors for the BeFree Tripod, and a new XPRO Fluid Head. Compact travel tripods seem to be everywhere, and many were inspired by the design of the original Gitzo Explorer, with legs that swivel 180° upward for storage.
Manfrotto’s Aluminum BeFree Tripod has a clever design that folds to 15.7" and extends to near eye-level height. It's very well made and stable, and is now available in Green, Red, Gray, and Blue.
The BeFree carbon fiber tripod is based on the same configuration, but it’s 20% lighter, and since it’s made of carbon fiber, it doesn't require a leg sleeve to prevent your hands from sticking to the metal surfaces in frigid weather. As you can see, it’s very well finished in a cool contemporary color scheme; it features three-section flip-lock legs, and a sturdy ball head to keep it flexible but as compact as possible when folded.
While we were at the Manfrotto booth, I also got to play with an ingenious Red-Dot-Award-winning version of the XPRO Fluid Head that has large, ergonomic friction control knobs on the tilt and swivel controls, and a control handle that pushes forward when not in use so it doesn't have to be removed for storage as on previous Manfrotto designs. Very clever.