For roughly 50 years, Manfrotto has been leading the way in delivering quality and capable camera and lighting supports to photographers and videographers around the globe.
Many years ago, I was traveling to visit family in my hometown of New Orleans. I was dabbling in night photography and my grandfather’s discount-store tripod was not making the grade. I went to a local camera store and bought my first “real” tripod. Excited about my new purchase, I called my father, a photographer who used to work at a camera store in New Orleans, and told him about my purchase. “What kind did you get?” he asked.
“A Manfrotto,” I replied.
“That is a good tripod,” he said.
I have owned Manfrotto tripods ever since. One sits beside my desk right now supporting my Leica spotting scope, ready to rush out into the backyard for some viewing.
History and Today
Company founder Lino Manfrotto started selling lighting supports and gear in the late 1960s, and Manfrotto, working with Gilberto Battocchio, created his first tripod in 1974.
With a lineage dating back almost half a century, Manfrotto has kept pace with the times by constantly designing innovative new products and product lines to meet the needs of today’s creatives. While the tripod is still at the company’s core, it has responded to the changes in market forces to create products that are mobile photography and videography centric for today’s creatives.
To see what the Northern Italian company is bringing to the market today, let’s take a deeper dive at some of their product lines.
Tripods, Monopods, and More for Photo and Video
Manfrotto’s extensive line of aluminum and carbon fiber photo tripods has always represented awesome innovations and incredible value for the consumer. They range in size from heavy-duty models designed for the bulkiest pro gear to lightweight travel tripods for those looking not to be weighed down while traveling the world.
Manfrotto tripods, regardless of their size, often have versatile features that many other brands do not. I love the lateral arm functionality of the Befree GT XPRO tripod—versatility that allowed me to get a photo that other tripods would not.
The brand’s experience with photo tripods translates easily to its video tripod lineup where, again, we see products with great value that meet a wide range of needs for the demanding professional, as well as for those just getting their videography launched.
For those seeking added stability without the logistics of the traditional three-legged support, Manfrotto’s amazing monopods pack features and specs that not many other brands can touch—designed with an eye for video and photography work. One of its latest is the Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod. Check it out here.
A hidden benefit of purchasing a Manfrotto tripod or monopod is the fact that the company adds a rare level of support by making many of its support parts and components available as replacement parts. If you are rough on your gear and experience a minor failure, you can grab new parts and effect the repair yourself—usually much easier and more convenient than sending the gear in for repair.
I have to hand it to Manfrotto’s design arm—the company makes some of the best-looking camera bags on the market. Their aesthetic leans toward sleek, understated, and urban with an eye on practicality, function, and versatility.
If a single manufacturer had a camera bag for every shooter on the planet, it would likely be Manfrotto as their expansive line covers backpacks, shoulder bags, roller cases, drone bags, video cases, and more.
One part of the Manfrotto line in which I have always discovered great and practical products is its family of mini and tabletop tripods. Bringing the brand’s full-size tripod expertise to a smaller scale, Manfrotto makes some of the best miniature three-legged supports in the business. I have had one in my desk drawer for years for both those days where I didn’t bring my full-size (or travel) tripod to work and also for those days when I simply need to stabilize my camera low to the ground or on any other surface.
As we know, many of today’s creatives travel light and simply use their smartphone cameras to capture stills and video while on the go. Manfrotto has a mobile product line focused on supporting vloggers and Internet influencers with supports, holders, and supplemental lighting to meet a wide variety of production needs while not getting in the way of mobility and easy transport.
In this same genre of production, gimbals are definitely a trending product, and there are no signs that the trend will end in the future. Manfrotto has a great-looking lineup of top-performing gimbals for today’s demanding creative needs.
Light Stands and Accessories
While the Manfrotto name is most commonly associated with high-quality tripods, the original Manfrotto products were found supporting lighting equipment. Staying true to its heritage, the company still creates some of the best light & background stands and grips & accessories on the market to meet the needs of studio and on-location shooters and videographers everywhere.
Batteries and Chargers
Manfrotto is also in the power business with their line of batteries and chargers. You can never have too many batteries, and Manfrotto’s come in a beautiful red color for your Nikon and Canon cameras. On the charger front, the company’s ProCUBE charger (for Nikon, Canon, and Sony batteries) not only charges two camera batteries simultaneously, but also has AA battery charging capability with a removable magnetic charging tray.
The Latest and Greatest
One of the most exciting new innovations from Manfrotto is the Move Ecosystem, based on a circular quick release system that allows for rapid swapping of gear on a variety of supports while also providing easy 360° rotational mounting. Traditional quick release plates are bi-directional when placed on a support. The Move system allows you to point the camera in any direction while mounting it—another potential time-saver during fast-paced productions. Check out this video for more information about the Move system.
On the bag front, Manfrotto just upgraded the versatility, features, and looks of three of its popular bag lines—PRO Light, Advanced, and Street. Check out this article for a closer look at those improvements.
If you follow the Explora blog, you have probably noticed that new product announcements from Manfrotto are a regular occurrence at B&H and we, and our customers, certainly don’t mind. The company is constantly innovating new products, refreshing legacy gear, and expanding into new territory in response to constantly evolving creative needs. For today’s photographers, videographers, and creatives, this means that new Manfrotto products are keeping pace with industry trends and giving customers products they need, when they need them.
Are you a fan of Manfrotto products? Let us know what's in your kit in the Comments, below.
The ball head on the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Table Top Tripod is joyous to use. I wouldn't use the word "joyous" with any other tripod. I take my PIXI on all my hikes and trips. It doesn't angle high enough for astrophotography, but for landscapes and portraits, it's charming. I leave it screwed into my K-S2 during city shoots. It's small and light enough that it doesn't interfere with handheld shots, and I can usually find a fire hydrant or trash can when I need a taller platform. Especially for beaches and wildflower scenes, I think the 6" height of the PIXI helps my compositions.
Thanks for sharing the "joy!" :)
I think table-top tripods are an often-overlooked photographic accessory and it sounds like you employ yours exactly the way one can to maximize their usefulness and add stability to your shots in almost any environment!
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!