MEFOTO GLOBETROTTER S TRAVEL TRIPOD IN CARBON FIBER REVIEW

Hi, Ben here from Benjamin Eriksson Photography and in this review I will be discussing my opinions on the newly released MeFOTO Globetrotter S Travel tripod in Carbon Fiber, sent to me by Maxxum Pty Ltd the distributors of MeFOTO Australia tripods.

 Canon 5D MK IV with Samyang 20mm F1.8 lens and filters.

Canon 5D MK IV with Samyang 20mm F1.8 lens and filters.

For me it’s important my tripod is easy to use, not too heavy, durable, stable and is able to easily carry any of my camera gear.  Benro Precision Industrial manufactures MeFOTO tripods, they are made in China and the Globetrotter S Travel Carbon Fiber tripod comes in two colours, black and titanium. I run a variety of photography workshops around Victoria, Australia which require a tripod and work for a number of different clients; many of these situations call for the use of a sturdy versatile tripod.

WHY USE A TRIPOD:

I use a tripod as it supports my camera, allowing me to shoot different situations, such as:

·      High speed photography (tripod or using the MeFOTO Globetrotter S Monopod functionality

·      Long exposures 

·      Low light situations

·      Portraits (Corporate head shots, studio shoots)

·      Marcos (insects, plants)

·      Time lapses

·      Using Neutral Density Filters

·      And other situations

Like many people I am time poor, so getting things right in camera is important and a good tripod helps me achieve that.  Tripods have become even more important with the introduction and use of natural density filters and larger heavier telephoto lenses.

 Out of the box.

Out of the box.

OUT OF THE BOX:

Straight out of the box, there's a:

·      Handy soft carry case with a shoulder strap containing the Globetrotter S in Carbon Fiber. 

·      There is an allen key and a set of spiked feet.

·      The tripod has the Q2 double-action ballhead and quick release Arca-Swiss Style plate.  

·      The tripod converts into a monopod.

·      The colour titanium, looks very sleek against the carbon fiber and aluminium.

 4 leg sections, double center column with dual action ballhead.

4 leg sections, double center column with dual action ballhead.

SPECIFICATIONS:

•    Max load: 12kg / 26.5lb

•    Max height: (with columns extended) 1565mm

•    Minimum height with legs fully extended: (with column retracted) 1160mm

•    Minimum height legs not extended: (with column retracted) 400mm

•    Converted to Monopod: (with great height adjustment range)

•    Folded length: 400mm

•    Weight: 1.6kg / 3.5lb

•    Leg sections: 4

•    Leg lock: CNC machined legs lock twist legs

•    Dual action ballhead

•    2 Leg locking positions

•    Arca-Swiss style quick release plate

•    Bubble Level

 Easy to use twist lock legs.

Easy to use twist lock legs.

LEGS:

The Globetrotter S tripod is all about being a multi-functional light weight travel tripod. It has four leg sections, three are adjustable and two handy leg angle sliding lock positions, the Globetrotter S allows for some fantastic height and balancing adjustments.

The leg lock grips require a half turn clockwise, which allows free movement to adjust your tripod to the required height, easy set up.  Follow by an anticlockwise half turn to lock the tripod legs away

I found it very easy with a twist of a leg to easily unlock, adjust then twist and re-lock the leg on unlevelled surfaces such as rocks, sand or for getting low to the ground for say macro shots.

MeFOTO supply two sets of feet - the rubber ones which are what is on the tripod out of the box, and a set of metal spike feet which are great for soft ground surfaces. These are easy to unscrew and screw in, again making it versatile for travel.

The CNC machined aluminium leg lock grips feel really good in your hand, no slipping or twisting, these are an upgrade on the old MeFOTO Air and Classic tripod ranges.

Locking the legs in is simple, with the leg angle lock on the centre spider/tripod body. From my experience so far, the leg adjust system keeps out unwanted elements, but with EVERY tripod on the market I would strongly recommend cleaning it every few months, if it is going to be out in the elements. The legs operate smoothly with a comfortable tactile response with just enough friction.

If you hike or travel a lot, and don’t want to carry the extra weight of a Monopod then the Globetrotter S has one huge bonus! One of the carbon fiber legs on the Globetrotter S travel tripod can be removed, along with the detachable centre column and become a monopod! The handgrip is a durable hard rubber and feels good in the hand. The Monopod allows for great height flexibility too - and I'm 6’1” tall. The Monopod takes roughly 30 seconds to put together or change back into a tripod. To convert to a Monopod: At the bottom of the tripod where the hook is, it unscrews, allowing for the centre column to be pulled out (after a half turn of the centre column locking collar) from the centre of the tripod spider and attached to the monopod leg.

MeFOTO use a reverse folding leg system that makes this tripod very compact; after extending the centre column, the legs then reverse to fold up around the column then ready to pack away.

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Centre Column:

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A centre column is extremely important on a tripod. I am always reluctant to extend the column on some tripods, and still am in certain weather conditions, no matter the tripod being used. I was certain I'd get camera shake whenever there was a slight breeze.  This so far hasn't been the case with the Globetrotter S Travel tripod Carbon Fiber columns (yes columns TWO!) - it looks sturdy, feel pretty solid and should be with an approximate diameter of 28mm Carbon Fiber neck. I haven’t used the tripod in howling winds, but have used it in conditions between 5-10 knots without camera shake shooting sunsets and astro photography. My only side note for taller photographers is that, this is a travel tripod and if you are up over 5’8” tall you will probably want to use one of the two centre columns, unless you are after a low down shot, but this can be the comprise between something bigger / heavier and something smaller / lighter. Throw in the fact that many Mirrorless and DSLR cameras now have articulating screens and this might not even be of any concern. (just not on my 5D MK IV and 6D….).

There is also a handy hook at the bottom of the centre column, for adding extra weight like a camera bag. I often use this handy hook.

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CENTRE SPIDER/TRIPOD BODY:

Made of magnesium alloy, it looks and feels well-made. The leg locks work effortlessly, and once disengaged (if in use), it allows for the reverse folding carbon fiber legs to be placed into position; folding away to a compact 400mm in the handy carry bag.

I love that it easily fits on my Tenba Solstice 24l backpack and disperses the weight of my camera and lenses.

An Allen key is supplied for basic cleaning/maintenance. 

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BALL HEAD:

The MeFOTO Q2G double-action ball head has two operating knobs: 1)  Head Lock;  2) Pan locking knob.  The grip on each feels great and has small ridges which mean your fingers don't slip while using them. I have used the tripod using my Canon 5D MK IV with Samyang 20mm f1.8, Samyang 14mm f2.8, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 G2 and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lenses.

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The Head locking knob and Pan lock run independently and with ease. The ball head can be moved freely, with a twist of the head locking knob, allowing the mounting platform to be positioned between 0-90 degrees vertical orientation, yet can be smoothly locked again quickly with the Head locking knob, which is important if you want to produce panoramic photos without a more bulkier pano tripod head.

It comes with the industry standard Arca-Swiss style quick release plate and the quick release locking knob work smoothly together.  To use it, it's simple - holding your camera, just twist the knob to release and allow the plate and camera to be moved away from the ball head. My tip for attaching the camera to the plate is to have the locking knob on the ball head facing in the direction of the lens, this keeps it away from fingers accidentally un-tightening it when you were wanting to un-tightening the Head lock knob. Hand up!! I did it once, luckily the Swiss Arca style plate has a two pins that add a little extra safety on my Classic Globetrotter CF when this happened.

There is a bubble level and has 360 panning indicator numbers.  

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CONCLUSION:

 Sunset down at Portsea, Mornington Peninsula. Canon 5D MK IV / Samyang 20mm f1.8 and filter holder kit.

Sunset down at Portsea, Mornington Peninsula. Canon 5D MK IV / Samyang 20mm f1.8 and filter holder kit.

The MeFOTO Globetrotter S Travel tripod in Carbon Fiber is a sleek modern looking tripod.  I like the ease of operation, its flexibility and it feels very sturdy when in use. I can grab all leg locks in one hand and give them a half turn to unlock it, and extend the legs out in one motion with ease. Moreover, the optional spiked feet and monopod options make it a excellent choice of equipment that is perfect for amateur photographers who want a great first tripod; or for travel photographers who require something light weight, compact, yet versatile with the strength to hold heavy camera equipment. It also comes with an Australian 3 Year Warranty.

Any negatives? I think the bubble level should have been moved off the top plate, making it more accessible when the camera and lens are mounted on the head for panoramic photos (you need to take your camera off the tripod to use it or get it perfect then hope you don’t move the tripod at all putting your camera on). But many people use attachment levels that lock into the hot shoe.

I am also 6’1” tall and while I would happily use this as my travel tripod, no questions asked, its light weight and versatile. It wouldn’t be my first choice for my everyday work tripod, with the four leg sections, needing to use at least one of the double centre columns to get to the height level I like my camera height to be. But then it isn’t aimed for that market, its aimed at traveler’s and hikers wanting a light versatile compact tripod (but still worth a mention as I want my reviews to always be a true reflection of my thoughts and my thoughts also came back to articulating screens on many cameras now).

Pricing will be somewhere between $550-$600 online or in store with most Australian Camera store retailers such as Vanbar, DigiDirect, Camera Lane and some Camera House stores. Check out maxxum.com.au for more info or contact me directly.

 Mornington sunset that didn’t give much but tested the stability of the Globetrotter S CF on the rocky shoreline.

Mornington sunset that didn’t give much but tested the stability of the Globetrotter S CF on the rocky shoreline.

The Globetrotter S Travel tripod in Carbon Fiber is a great pairing combo with my Canon 5D MK IV / Samyang 14mm f2.8 AF / 20mm f1.8 or heavier Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 G2, I also used it on a Product shoot using my 5D MK IV / Canon 70-200mm f2.8 USM II lens.  I have used it while out on beaches catching sunsets, on rocky cliffs doing astrophotography, and on my Night Cityscape Workshop in South Wharf taking long exposure photos.  

It’s quick to set up: 30-40 seconds from unzipping the bag, unfolding the legs, extending and tightening the legs, and attaching to my camera via the quick release plate.  Adjustments are easy for framing subjects and comes in traditional back or the very modern looking titanium colour.

Will I use this in my photography kit? Yes, for sure.

MY TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR TRIPOD IN GREAT CONDITION:

Always clean and dry your tripod after it has been exposed to wet, dusty, sandy or salty conditions.  I use warm soapy water and then rinse it off with fresh water.  Unlike some tripod brands which are fiddly when trying to remove the leg locks, the MeFOTO Globetrotter legs can simply be unscrewed to clean, allowing us end users to keep the 'twist lock' clean from dust, dirt or sand should any mange to sneak in.

Cheers,

Ben

MeFOTO Australia Ambassador