It’s been quite a while since I’ve talked about gear on the blog, so in light of my recent obsession with my Fuji X-T1 camera, I asked my wife to get me a new tripod specifically meant for smaller cameras for my birthday. She delivered with the MeFoto BackPacker Travel Tripod – And she made me this awesome raspberry-filled almond wedding cake too:
Anyway, I took a closer look at the tripod this morning and this thing is pretty awesome for what it is.
It’s only 12.6 inches long when folded up, and it expands to 51.2 inches. It also only weighs 2.6 lbs. While I prefer a much taller and heavier set of legs for my Nikon, the whole point of the Fuji is to minimize your gear. It’s a camera that makes you want to always bring it with you. So for traveling, I can take a tiny tripod like the MeFoto and fit it in my bag without really noticing it.
It has twist locking legs, which I prefer because with one twist of my hand I can unlock all 4 joints on a leg. They also minimize the bulk of the whole thing. The ball head has an Arca-Swiss style compatibility quick release plate, which is cool because you can get an L-Plate without changing out the base. That’s a great thing on such a small ball head for shooting in portrait mode so the camera’s weight can remain centered and balanced. There’s also a little bubble level built into the head, which is always a time saver when setting up a landscape photo that you want to be level. Sure, the X-T1 has a level built in, but this saves you time while setting up before you even get the camera mounted.
Hold on, I just remembered that there’s still cake in the house…
OK, so the other thing that really impresses me about this set of sticks is the versatility of its design. Because the legs fold up over the ball head, you can invert the tripod to get down low!
I was a little concerned about the overall height of the tripod, as one of the reasons to want a travel sized tripod is to take self & family portraits while on a trip. I setup the tripod fully extended and stood as close as I could to fill up the frame from waste-up. I think for this purpose, the angle is flattering enough, and if I were standing in front of something that I’d want included in the photo, it would work. Please take no notice of the 14 year-old trying to photo-bomb this shot – f/1.4 FTW!
My first impression of the MeFoto BackPacker Travel Tripod is that this thing is loaded with great features and the only compromise is its height, which for what it’s designed to do isn’t a deal-breaker. You wouldn’t want this as your main tripod for professional work, but if you’re someone who leaves the tripod at home because it’s too inconvenient for you to lug a giant pro set of sticks around, then something like this is the way to go. I’ve yet to try it out with any long exposures, but I was impressed to see that it does feature a retractible hook to hang a weight (more than likely your camera bag) to help keep it steady in the wind. Also, in theory the lightness of the tripod shouldn’t be a problem with a mirror-less camera for long exposures since there’s no vibration caused by a mirror flipping up.
Now, I think there’s still more cake left…