In this age of the cell phone camera, the quest for rock-solid imagery has taken a back seat to the convenience factor. But anyone interested in shooting a picture free of vibrations knows the value of having the camera (regardless of its configuration) on a tripod. And for those who prefer using a a DSLR or even a film-based camera, the mefoto RoadTrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit is exactly what is needed.
For the uninitiated, a tripod must be composed of a number of parts that work together in concert to provide a stable platform for the camera to rest on. mefoto chose aluminum because it is relatively lightweight in relation to its size, but also durable as a result of the material it is made of.
Unlike run of the mill tripods which choose their color scheme and then have you picking from amidst those choices, the RoadTrip is fully color-configurable. From the website, you select the color of the legs, the platform, the center column and even the small ringed nub at the bottom lying between the legs. But cool as a colorful tripod is, what’s even cooler is how it works, along with the fact that mefoto is confident enough to offer a 5 year warranty (unless you fail to register, which makes it your fault).
The purpose of tripod legs are to hold the tripod (and camera) upright and steady, regardless of the terrain or location. Besides recessed spikes for use (only) outside, each tripod leg has the ability to lock into place at two different angles so as to alter the tripod’s positioning as needed. The legs also adjust with a twist lock (having an anti-rotation system) and the rubberized locking grips work in tandem with the anti-rotation for a fast setup and tear down
The platform on which the camera lies has individual head and pan locking mechanisms. This makes for better positioning of the camera — but more to the point it allows the user to angle the view that the camera sees in the way he/she wants.
Another factor is an enhancement built-in. Increasing the weight of the tripod to hold it down and so make it more steady has often baffled the photographer, causing a choice to be made between a lightweight tripod and a heavier one. The RoadTrip bridges the gap between these two black and white choices by having a recessed hook n the center column. In its retracted state, you are able to hang weighted objects (like a water bottle, etc.) to force the tripod down — and since it is at the tripod’s center of gravity, this use is more sensible and easy to control.
Attention must also be drawn to the ballhead — here it is a dual action, heavy duty model with a quick release plate (Arca-Swiss style compatible). Also to be found here is a bubble level to use in making adjustments for shooting.
Doing panoramas by hand and body movements rarely results in a professionally finished image, but for a tripod like the RoadTrip it’s a piece of cake. This is especially true due to the graduated panning scale that is integrated into the platform and which makes 360 degree panning simplified.
The RoadTrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit weighs in at a bit over 3 lbs. and can support a bit over 17 lbs. And just to add as if the name didn’t say it all, it can be converted into a monopod quickly and efficiently. For taking with you, transporting takers advantage of its having a small footprint, due to the tripod legs able to invert themselves and fold back 180 degrees. As it is designed to be both weather as well as dust resistant, using it outdoors makes perfect sense, although indoor use is definitely not ruled out. The $249 retail price points out that this is not a toy, but it also speaks to the value that the RoadTrip allows to the photographer/videographer looking for improved control and quality when shooting.