|MeFoto A1340 Tripod.|
For a recent trip to florida I needed a tripod that is light, small, and converts to a monopod that is pretty cheap on the budget. I needed to fit this into my Lowerpro Vertex 300
when I go and take nature and bird shots, so a large tripod just won't work. I was looking at those HorusBennu tripods but I didn't have time to wait for 2 weeks since the HorusBennu tripods usually come from overseas. I needed one in like a week or so.
|Pretty stable even when on its minimum height.|
So I found the MeFoto A1340 tripods online. They were just released when I saw them. I found the older MeFoto tripods once online and the colors were pretty attractive and that's what basically caught my attention. I did research and found out that the MeFoto tripods are made by Benro. Couple of month ago I wanted to get a Benro ballhead for one of my tripods, I was thinking of getting the new MeFoto tripod and getting the ballhead at the same time. Well the MeFoto A1340 includes everything that you'll need for your setup.
|The twist lock system found in many tripods.|
I ordered it online and got it within a week. These average from $150-$250 depending on where you get it. I got mine pretty cheap at $149 so I can't complain. I got my package and was surprised at how good the packaging was. The tripod included a carrying case with a strap. The carrying case is pretty well made. Also included in the pocket of the carrying case was an allen wrench for tightening the screws on the legs, and the spikes that you put in the feet to keep the feet planted into soft surface like grass or earth.
|The leg angle is adjustable by pulling the locks.|
The tripod features a twist lock locking system for the legs. As I mentioned before in an earlier post, a lot of photographers don't like the twist lock system for tripods. In my opinion it's just a matter of getting used to it. I kinda liked it on my monopod and in my new MeFoto tripod, it's not too bad at all. Right now I am used to either the twist lock or the usual tab lock found in other tripods.
|The ballhead is really nice.|
The leg angles can be adjusted with the locks that are on the top of the legs that attach to the main body. Just pull, adjust, then push back. One nice thing about the MeFoto A1340 is when it's folded all the way with the midpart tucked in, the total length for it is around 17 inches...with the ballhead attached. It actually fits in really nice inside my suitcase. It is one of the reasons I bought this. Fully extended, the tripods height is around 62 inches.
|Really compact when folded.|
The MeFoto A1340 converts to a monopod when you need one. It's actually buying two things in one. One of the legs unscrews and attaches to the middle tube that holds the ballhead. The bottom cap that includes the hook that attaches to the middle tube attaches to one of the legs when in monopod mode so you don't lose it. The monopod isn't too bad at all. I carried the monopod almost all day everyday in Florida when I shoot birds, and it did its job. The only gripe I had with the monopod is that it is not as compact as a real monopod which folds down to like 17 inches. Also the foam part isn't as high as it is on a real monopod which is really useful when carrying the monopod with your camera on in your shoulders. The foam part makes the monopod comfortable to carry because it cushions the metal tube against your shoulder. If you're really uncomfortable then I suggest getting an actual standalone monopod for that...or you can attach foam into the middle tube of the MeFoto A1340.
|The bottom cap attaches to one leg when in monopod mode.|
The ballhead that comes with the MeFoto A1340 is really nice. It feels like a higher priced ballhead. I suppose it's because it's made by Benro which is one of the best ballhead manufacturers around. The ballhead features 3 knob adjustments for rotation, ballhead position and friction...which is pretty handy when doing macro shots. The Arca swiss compatible mount has a bubble level. The lock for the mount feels nice too. The ballhead does not slip when tightened, even with a larger lens mounted on the body. The ballhead includes an Arca swiss compatible plate that has screws on the side to prevent slippage when the mount isn't tightened all the way. Although you'd have to unscrew these if you are using the plate with other Arca swiss compatible ballheads because it's not universal.
|Easily becomes a monopod.|
The tripod feels solid for being a travel tripod. Although it is not as stable as higher end tripods from Manfrotto, Gitzo or other more expensive tripods, it is pretty good for its price. It feels like its more expensive that what it really is. I've tried this with a 70-200 2.8 lens attached to my 5D MK2 as well as a 400mm f5.6 and the tripod still feels pretty stable even when fully extended. The best thing I liked about this tripod is the ballhead and the monopod conversion. For around $200 you really can't beat having a monopod and a tripod in one.