MeFOTO Globetrotter in Aluminium Tripod Review

 

This is a review for the Globetrotter Tripod Aluminium, sent to me by MeFOTO Australia to lend out to other photographers when I am running various workshops and or photography meet ups. I decided I’d add it to my kit and keep my Globetrotter Carbon Fiber aside, and see if the 500 grams of weight difference would stop me from wanting to use it (that’s your average tub of butter). Every other spec is pretty much the same.

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For me I’m after a tripod that is easy to use, not too heavy, durable and is able to easily carry any of my camera gear.  Benro Precision Industrial manufactures MeFOTO tripods, they are made in China and come in a range of cool colours.

MeFOTO Globetrotter Aluminium Tripod with carry bag, shoulder strap, Spiked Feet and Allen Key

 

 

WHERE I'VE BEEN TESTING THE GLOBETROTTER ALUMINIUM TRIPOD:

One of the most extreme spots that I have used the MeFOTO Globetrotter in aluminium is down on the reef beds of Dragons Head Rye No. 16 Beach, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.  For those unfamiliar with the location, it is only accessible at low tide and exercising caution is required due to rogue waves, hidden rock pools, and the constant flowing water moving across the reef bed and around your tripod legs (except during a very low tide).

This session of testing the Globetrotter was a night shoot for astro and steel wool spinning photography so a sturdy tripod is a must.  I have also spent time taking photos in a few paddocks with beautiful foregrounds and starry night backgrounds plus in my favorite city, Melbourne capturing long exposure shots in bluestone laneways, concrete walkways and old uneven timber wharfs.

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WHY I USE A TRIPOD:

I use a tripod for much of my work and then when out on an adventure enjoying a day off.  The reason being is that a tripod helps support my camera, allowing me to shoot different situations, such as:

  • high speed

  • long exposure

  • low light

  • portraits

  • macros

  • time lapses; 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.

 THE UNBOXING:

Straight out of the box, there's a:

  • Handy carry case with a shoulder strap and a zip pocket inside that contains an allen key and a set of spiked feet.

  • Inside sits the Globetrotter Aluminium tripod (the one is Green & Black, it looks really good) that can handle up to 26.5lb or 12kgs of camera, lens and accessories; featuring a minimum height of 415mm, a maximum height of 1630mm, it’s pretty lightweight for an aluminium tripod weighing in at 4.6lbs or 2.08kg.

  • The tripod has a double-action ballhead and quick release Arca-Swiss Style plate.

  • The tripod converts into a monopod.

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LEGS:

Having five leg sections and two leg angle sliding lock positions, the Globetrotter in aluminium allows for height adjustment which helps when on unlevelled surfaces such as rocks, sand or getting low to the ground for say macro shots.

MeFOTO top it off with supplying 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 and easy to change over.

The leg lock grips require a half turn clockwise, which allow 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.  Ensuring the legs are locked in is simple with the leg angle lock on the centre spider/tripod body.  After a few trips out on the beaches and getting water washing over the lower sections of the legs, the leg adjustment system has kept out I’d say 95% of unwanted elements, but a wash under clean water got rid of the bit of sand.  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.  Like the Globetrotter in Carbon Fiber I have found the legs smooth and easy to operate.

 Globetrotter Monopod

Globetrotter Monopod

The Globetrotter in aluminium is also a monopod.  One leg is designed to be removed and with the detachable centre column and become a monopod, the handgrip from the tripod becomes a handy useful monopod handgrip. The monopod allows for great height flexibility too - I'm 183cm tall!

 Tongue & Groove in centre column

Tongue & Groove in centre column

CENTRE COLUMN: 

The centre column is extremely important on a tripod, however in the past I have been reluctant to extend the column at all on some tripods, as I was certain I'd get camera shake whenever there was a slight breeze.  In my testing so far the Globetrotter in aluminium has performed to my expectations, the column is of a decent circumference - it looks and feels sturdy.  I haven’t had it fully extended while out shooting but have had it about half way and had no issue.  One of the first things I noticed when using the tripod was the tongue and groove running up the column, which I believe adds a huge amount of strength and rigidity that is so important when out in the field.  

 Spring loaded hook on the Globetrotter in Aluminum

Spring loaded hook on the Globetrotter in Aluminum

There is also a spring-loaded hook at the bottom of the center column for adding extra weight in windy conditions to stabilise, like a camera bag.

I know I have already talked about the monopod function of the tripod in the legs section, but I'd like to quickly touch on it again.  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 center column locking collar) from the centre of the tripod spider and attached to the monopod leg.  It's simple and took me under 30 seconds without rushing.

CENTRE SPIDER/TRIPOD BODY:

 Leg locks engage and disengage easily.

Leg locks engage and disengage easily.

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 aluminum legs to be placed into position; folding away to a compact 420mm in the handy carry bag.

Let's not forget here about the tongue and groove incorporated in the Center Column Locking Collar.  I've spoken about the correlation between the tripod body and centre column - these two components are integral in firming and creating great stability, particularly when extending the centre column up higher.  An Allen key is supplied for basic cleaning/maintenance. 

 Q2 Double-action ball head and mounting platform.

Q2 Double-action ball head and mounting platform.

BALL HEAD:

The MeFOTO Q2 double-action ball head has three operating knobs: 

1)    Head locking knob  

2)    Drag control knob

3)    Pan locking knob

Just like the Carbon Fiber version of the Globetrotter, the grip on each feels great and has small ridges which mean your fingers don't slip while using them. Drag control can be manually adjusted and locked, along with independent panning. The ballhead can be moved freely, allowing the mounting platform to be positioned between 0-90 degrees vertical orientation, yet can be smoothly locked quickly with the Head locking knob, important creating panoramic photos.

 Quick release plate

Quick release plate

The Globetrotter in aluminium uses the Arca Swiss quick release plate, which are industry standard and the quick release locking knob work smoothly together.  I like the fact the plate has two screws that sit in grooves either side of the mounting platform, as it adds a little extra security when releasing the quick release-locking knob.  

To use it, it's simple:

  • Twist the knob to half release and allow the plate and camera to be moved sideways and to the centre of the mounting platform; then

  • Tilt and twist to fully release and remove the plate and camera.

  • The head has a bubble level and 360 panning indicator numbers. Separate head and pan lock are user-friendly additions on this tripod.

CONCLUSION:

If you are looking for a solid, well built good looking tripod at a fantastic price point around $395/$430 (I’ve found for online and in store) then the MeFOTO Globetrotter tripod in aluminum could be just the tripod for you, I would happily have this as my everyday tripod. If you want to get away from the standard ‘black” colour tripod then there’s a few of colours to choose from, including black.  

I’ve used the Globetrotter in aluminium with my Canon 5D MK IV, Canon 24-105mm f/4, Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 and Samyang XP 14mm f2.4 lens and on each occasion my kit has performed, as I would have hoped for. I am a big advocate for using the “hook” and hanging your camera bag from it for extra stability but even without doing this the tripod is a very solid performer.

Favorite things about the Globetrotter in aluminium:

  • Price $395-$430 for a tripod that can carry up to 26.5lb or 12kgs of camera and gear that’s fantastic.

  • For a tripod that has flexibility of a monopod option, height of 1630mm fully extended it only weighs 4.6lb or 2.08kg that’s pretty light weight.

(NOTE: for me I didn’t overly notice the weight difference between the Carbon Fiber version vs the Aluminium. But if you do or are planning on hiking a distance regularly or travelling where airlines charge like wounded bulls on excess baggage then spending the extra on the Carbon Fiber could be a big plus).

  • Ease of operation - half a turn to unlock and lock legs for quick set up or pack up and each operation is a smooth motion.

  • Centre column has a tongue and groove adding extra rigidity.

  • 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.

  • Colours! I’ve been using the Green but the Red is very eye catching!

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to own this tripod but for many professionals the Globetrotter in aluminium could be a fantastic addition to their gear. If you were starting out and wanting your 1st - 2nd - 3rd tripod then I’d strongly consider checking out the MeFOTO Globetrotter.

At a photography meet up, Nick from Nick Dobinson Photography. (on Facebook) borrowed the Globetrotter in aluminium from me for the afternoon and evening.  Nick loved how much lighter it was to use than his current tripod, yet was sturdy when shooting with his Canon 6D and 18-200mm lens on it with a decent offshore breeze. If buying a new tripod he would strongly consider the Globetrotter in aluminium.

As I’ve mentioned in another review for the Globetrotter in Carbon Fiber, which uses the same system, I think the bubble level could have been moved off the top plate.  This would make it more accessible when the camera and lens are mounted on the head for panoramic photos, but many people use attachment levels that lock into the hot shoe. With the leg locks just don’t over-tighten them, about half a turn has them locked into place ready to go and I always remember the saying ‘righty tighty, lefty loosey’ as in the dark you don’t always want to be turning on a torch when adjusting your tripod.

Where can you buy the MeFOTO Globetrotter in Aluminium or any other MeFOTO tripods:

Digidirect in NSW, VIC, QLD and WA www.digidirect.com.au in store and online

Vanbar in Melbourne www.vanbarphoto.com.au in store

Michaels in Victoria www.michaels.com.au in store

Georges in NSW www.georges.com.au in store and online

Camera Pro in QLD www.camerapro.com.au in store and online

Digital Camera Warehouse in NSW and VIC www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au in store

Owens Camera House Queensland www.camerahouse.com.au in store

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Max load: 26.5lb or 12kg

  • Max height: (with column extended) 1630mm

  • Minimum height with legs fully extended: (with column retracted) 1400mm

  • Minimum height legs not extended: (with column retracted) 415mm

  • Converted to Monopod: (fully extended) 1695mm

  • Folded length: 420mm

  • Weight: 4.6lb or 2.08kg

  • Leg sections: 5

  • Leg lock: Twist lock

  • 2 Leg locking positions

  • Quick release plate: PMU60

  • Bubble Level

  • Inter-changeable spiked feet or rubber feet (rubber feet fitted as standard)

 Check out the great range of colours for the Globetrotter in Aluminium

Check out the great range of colours for the Globetrotter in Aluminium

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.

MeFOTO Australia Ambassador