MeFOTO Tripods Rapid Gear Review

Gear & Apps November 22nd 2013 10:49 AM 16 Comments

Introduction

In our studio one of our most crucial pieces of gear are our tripods. Tripods give us the flexibility to create stable and unique shots; from bracketed High Dynamic Range shots to slow shutter drags, to wild 15 shot composite images. All of this is made possible by using a tripod. With so many on the market these days, it’s difficult to find good quality tripods that are reliable under heavy long-term use.

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I’m extremely skeptical when it comes to tripods because I have been through so many, and almost all of them have failed in one way or another within about 3 to 6 months of use. When it comes to relatively inexpensive tripods, initially everything feels nice and great to the touch. But within a few months knobs begin to fail, joints begin to lose their strength, and the overall functionality of the tripod begins to diminish.

Case in point, I purchased a $300 Chinese carbon fiber Flash Point tripod and within 3 months of casual use, the leg snapped in half without it even coming close to the listed load weight. When I say “snapped in half,” I don’t mean the leg came out, but rather it literally snapped in half.

When I heard of MeFOTO and their new lineup of inexpensive, small, and colorful tripods, I was positive they wouldn’t be reliable. Then I found out that MeFOTO was a made by Benro, that they were a MAC Group represented company, and that their products have a 5 year warranty. After finding this out, I decided that it may be time to look into their tripods.

Check out the MeFOTO Tripods Review

In this episode of Rapid Gear Review we’re reviewing the two full sized tripod options; the MeFOTO RoadTrip and the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter.

Music: “Aerials” from Lights & Motion “Reanimation” (Deep Elm)
License this song at The Music Bed

Specifications for MeFOTO RoadTrip

Aluminum – $189

  • When folded it is 15.4″
  • Extends up to 61.6″
  • Supports up to 17.6 lbs.
  • Weighs 3.6 lbs.
  • Comes in 8 different colors

Carbon Fiber – $329

  • When folded it is 15.4″
  • Extends up to 61.6″
  • Supports up to 17.6 lbs.
  • Weighs 3.1 lbs.
  • Comes in 2 different colors

Specifications for MeFOTO GlobeTrotter

Aluminum – $209

  • When folded it is 16.1″
  • Extends up to 64.2″
  • Supports up to 26.4 lbs.
  • Weighs 4.6 lbs.
  • Comes in 2 different colors

Carbon Fiber – $369

  • When folded it is 16.1″
  • Extends up to 64.2″
  • Supports up to 26.4 lbs.
  • Weighs 3.7 lbs.
  • Comes in 2 different colors

Initial Impressions

I picked the MeFOTO RoadTrip and the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter, which are their two full size tripod options. Each of these tripods use Arca Swiss quick release plates, twisting leg locks, and everything else you would want in a tripod. The twisting knob head adjustments are smooth, yet firm, and are very easy to use.

ara swiss quick release plate

These tripods can also be easily changed into a monopod giving you a wider variety of stabilizing functionality. One unique feature about the MeFOTO RoadTrip is that you can get the aluminum version in 8 different colors, which is nice if you are looking for something more unique and personalized.

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The MeFOTO RoadTrip is perfect for travel and any situations where you need more portability. It is optimal for point and shoot , micro 4/3, and smaller DSLR setups as it can support up to 17.6 pounds. I would not load it with larger lenses and DSLR setups for something like telephoto photography.

For all of my professional shoots, I use the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter because of its stability under larger camera setups. Both are incredibly light and very small compared to my past tripods, and when traveling they both fit easily into my carry-on luggage. I prefer the carbon fiber variants of both the MeFOTO RoadTrip and MeFOTO GlobeTrotter because weight is a big concern for me when I am out and about shooting.

Twisting Leg Locks

You could argue that there are a lot of tripods on the market currently with similar features and you may question “what’s so new and great about MeFOTO tripods?” The MeFoto tripods stand out because of their combination of quality, design, color variety, reliability, 5 year warranty, and most importantly, their affordable price.

Long-Term Reliability

Since I am extremely skeptical in regards to how reliable tripods are, especially after long term heavy use, I decided to take my time for this review. In fact I took 6 months on it because I didn’t believe the results. I have taken both of these tripods on 20-30 shoots each, and both operate just like the day that they arrived. They have been incredibly reliable!

MeFOTO GlobeTrotter RoadTrip

In fact, we created a special video that shows the MeFOTO Globetrotters engineering perfection. If Jean-Claude Van Damme saw this I’m sure he’d agree that it truly is the most epic of splits (for a tripod).

Conclusion

After testing out the MeFOTO tripods, I have decided to retire my Manfrotto Tripods and exclusively use these two MeFOTO tripods on all my shoots. Don’t get me wrong, I still dig my Manfrotto Tripods and will still be using them inside of the studio as they are very well made tripods.

But given that MeFOTO tripods are light-weight, stable, reliable and overall more affordable, they have become my on-the-go tripod of choice.

MeFOTO has done a fantastic job with the GlobeTrotter and RoadTrip. These are well designed tripods that are extremely portable, compact and reliable. Given that they are also backed by a 5 year warranty, there is really no reason why we wouldn’t recommend them!

We give the MeFOTO Road Trip and the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter a 100% satisfied 5 out of 5 star rating for creating what is currently my favorite on-the-go tripod without breaking my bank.

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Pye

About

Pye (AKA Post Production Pye) is a founder and the Managing Editor for SLR Lounge. Pye is also a Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography, an Orange County based wedding, engagement and portrait photography studio. Connect with him on Google Plus

16 Comments

  1. John Lee

    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
    lol

  2. Nate C.

    How do these compare to the Promaster copies of the tripod? They are the XC522 & XC525. They cost a little less then the MeFoto options.

  3. Reece Washington

    Hello Pye,
    Do you think these sticks work well for video ?
    Thinking of getting a few and replacing the head with a manfrotto video head. We use DSLR’s and canon C100.

  4. Mike

    If you are really going through a tripod every 6 months, why are you still buying $300 models that fall apart? If you shoot professionally, why not spend the money up front and get something that will last? In the long run, you save money. I have a Really Right Stuff TVC-33 and the BH-55 ballhead supporting a D800. That tripod and head haven’t missed a beat in over two years, and I have carried it with me to three continents and and many countries. It has been used in all sorts of conditions and so far I have had zero problems. Sure, it cost me $1500 but worth it to never have a problem.

    • Matthew Saville

      Mike, unless they are “hardcore” landscape photographers, I doubt if people even know what the heck “Really Right Stuff” is, let alone actually need one. Most of the team here at SLR Lounge are mainly portrait and wedding photographers, so they’re simply NEVER going to shop in the >$400 market for a set of legs. Just a fact of life. It’s nice that you have a $1,500 tripod system, and I love my RRS gear as well, but the whole point of this review is to point out the fact that finally, (in our opinion) for $300-$400 you do indeed have the option to NOT buy a new tripod every 6 months.

      Maybe in the future we’ll review RRS, Gitzo, etc. brand equipment, and if that happens we’ll surely sing some high praises as those are the “Rolex” of the tripod world.

      As a landscape photographer myself, we’ve all read that article about “spend a lot once, save $$$ in the long run instead of buying crappy tripods 2-3 times…” This, in my opinion, is only still true for those who are shopping at the total bottom of the barrel, and/or really really abusing their tripods. I’ve personally tested pretty much every tripod brand ever made, from Gitzo to Sunpak, so I can definitely tell you that we’re not going to recommend something if we think it would fall apart in 6 months.

      The bottom line? These tripods in the $300-$400 range are finally of good enough quality that, with proper care and reasonable abuse, they should last many, many years.

      =Matt=

    • Pye

      RRS is amazing stuff. But yeah, completely different markets. If you have a tripod that costs $300 and has a 5 year warranty, you can essentially have 25 years worth of warranty covered tripods for the same price as $1500. But I feel you, and I love gear that is built to last. I also love gear that is a great balance between price and quality, which is why I am a big fan of these tripods.

  5. TerraWan

    Is this the same as the Fotopro C5i? It almost seems like?

    • Matt

      Hi Terrawan,

      Matt from Fotopro here. While the tripod may seem similar to the Fotopro C5i, there are features that the C5i has that the MeFOTO does not. The C5i has 3 different angled leg positions, as well as a double lock that secures the monopod leg to the canopy.

      Hope this answers your question! Cheers!

    • Matthew Saville

      Hi Terra! Matthew Saville Here – I’ve tested both the Fotopro and the Mefoto tripods, and while they are very similar and both awesome performers, I do see some slight differences. I personally prefer the Fotopro series for a few reasons, and Pye loves the Mefotos, so IMO you can’t go wrong.

      One notable difference, for example, is that the Fotopro tripods have only three leg locks while the Mefoto ones have four leg locks. (so, five total leg sections!) Personally as a very serious outdoor photographer, I prefer as few leg sections as possible. We’ll expand on the differences between ALL different types of tripods in future review videos, rest assured!

      =Matt=

  6. Laurent

    Feisol, Sirui, Benro, 3LT… Not that unique in my mind but of course a good option.

  7. tanya smith
    tanya smith

    Hey Guys, I’m looking for a tripod that I can use to mount my camera for taking pics directly over head of items on a table top. Will this one work for that purpose? Great review!

  8. red and gold 7s

    MeFOTO Tripods Rapid Gear Review red and gold 7s http://www.hotelsjaro.com/login.asp?module=tags&brand=jordanretro&tags=air-jordan-10-chicago-2012-footlocker

  9. Gregory Hitchcock

    Looking to purchase one of these tripods, I would love a red roadtrip but I might need the support of the globaltrotter. I often times shoot with a Canon 7D and a Sigma 50-150mm f2.8, need that solid. Do I need the globetrotter?

  10. Fauwad

    I am looking for a tripod to support my 5D mark III with 70-200 F/2.8 (with 600EXII). Is globe trotter a good option to hold that kind of weight and stable?
    I just want to make sure i am spending money on right thing

  11. Simple Compositing Techniques For Awesome Results

    […] use a remote shutter release to minimize camera shake. For the tripod I love using the fullsized MeFOTO tripods (MeFOTO GlobeTrotter and MeFOTO RoadTrip) which offer light, compact, and reliable tripods […]

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