If you ever come across a person asking that “is it necessary to use a tripod with your camera?” know that either a person never did photography or he never used a tripod.
That’s why he doesn’t know how significant improvements a tripod can bring in terms of footage quality. Tripod isn’t a luxury accessory for the camera but an important one.
No matter how perfect your camera settings are, how beautiful your scenery is, how much expensive camera you are using if there is a little shake, all of your efforts to capture a perfect image can go to the waste.
A tripod not only reduces the camera movements and improves picture quality but also help the photographer to take the perfect images in all kind of circumstances.
Tripods don’t just hold cameras and camcorders, but they also serve as a stand that holds flash units, slaves, lenses, and reflectors.
There are many tripod producers in the market, and they have a lot to offer. There is a wide variety of tripods with different sizes, extension ranges, built quality, and prices et cetera.
Among all these tripods, which one can fulfill your camera need, that’s the actual question.
Manfrotto is one of the industry leaders in tripod manufacturing. They offer several tripods to address the needs of every segment of photographers looking for different kinds of tripods.
Manfrotto MKELEB5CF-BH Review
The Manfrotto Element Big Carbon tripod is the flagship model of Manfrotto’s new ‘Element’ collection of lightweight, and portable camera supports.
This review will explain all about this tripod. MKELEB5CF-BH has a strong minimum to maximum height ratio, load capacity of 8kg, and sturdy ball head to support compact / DSLR / Mirrorless cameras.
Also reversible to monopod central column, secure grip, and several other features to talk about. Let us begin with details of it.
MKELEB5CF-BH is built with aluminum (head) and carbon fiber (body). It is a decently constructed and reasonably priced, long-lasting tripod.
Aluminum and carbon fiber are both light-weight materials but strong enough to support the weight.
Being carbon, it is slightly lighter than the aluminum equivalent weighing in at 1.4kg and can support a maximum load of 8kg.
Carbon fibers tripods are lightweight and are usually very good at dampening vibrations and shocks. Their construction can save you around 30% of weight as compared to aluminum one just like this tripod.
It is light-weight, but it is a perfect candidate to carry camera gear within its weight supporting capacity.
Besides being lightweight, the physical dimensions of the tripod are pretty small when it is not extended so it can be carried around easily.
About its working, the maximum working height upon tripod’s full-length extension is 64.6 inches or 164 cm, maximum height without central column is 55.5 inches or 141 cm, and minimum working height is around 16.1 inches or 41 cm to capture dramatic low angle shots.
This extensive range is suitable to cover almost every type of photography, including a wide frame and nature photography.
Upon folding, the tripod is 16.3 inches or 41.5 cm. This folding size supports the claim of the company that tripod is specially designed for traveling.
A carrying bag also comes with a package with a shoulder strap for this bag. You can easily carry this bag on your shoulder and move around without feeling that you are carrying a burden.
This tripod can easily support the small-form cameras such as CSCs and amid-size DSLR. Still, element big tripods are mainly designed to support the bigger tripod (MKELEB5CF-BH comes under Manfrotto’s Element Big umbrella).
At the top of the tripod sits a robust yet straightforward ball head aluminum. It comes with several quality aspects such as a panning lock, a large tilt lock, and two bubble-levels for horizontal or vertical shooting.
This ball head is so easy to attach and detach with MKELEB5CF-BH, even in case you are a beginner.
In the case of the ball head, Manfrotto tried something new. This time they used the Arca Swiss style plate rather than the Manfrotto mainstream plates or dual compatible plates.
The Arca-Swiss quick release system is based on a two-piece mechanism. The first piece generally referred to as a “plate,” is attached to a camera or a lens.
It uses a clamp design that allows the camera to drop in from above in tripod, rather than slid in from the side.
There is a safety pin to stop the camera slipping out of the clamp in case it’s not tight enough to stay at the place.
The setup is rounded off with three bubble levels to help keep the camera straight. The Swiss-style plate usage is very welcomed by the users.
The head can be locked or unlocked using the screw knob at the side of the head, which works perfectly well.
The head also features panoramic rotation making it easy to shoot in all directions. This panoramic rotation can be locked using a pano lock, even a new feature.
Coming towards the legs, there are 5-section carbon fiber legs. These legs are lighter than aluminum legs and are most resistant to the dents and scratches.
Upon the first look, they give the impression of very good built and high-quality material, and the performance of the tripod support this impression.
Photographers can adjust these legs with a three-angle option. Each angle has its significance.
When you pack up the tripod, legs fold down from around the center column. This design enables the tripod to pack down nice and tight while consuming very little space.
When not in use, you can also fold up the three main legs towards the aluminum ball head.
The legs do their function correctly and extend smoothly without needing any extra effort or force. When you get your desired extension, you can lock your desired position with twist locks.
The twist lock is very effective in the job of locking the legs into position so that legs do not move during the shoot. You’ll need a reasonably standard rotation between 90 to 135°.
At the end of the legs, there are standard rubber feet. These rubber structures protect the legs and provide a better grip.
Many tests showed that rubber feet grips are more stable than grips made of metals and other material.
These can be unscrewed and can be replaced if needed. You can also put third-party feet on depending on the situations you’re shooting or if the original one gets damaged or old.
If your work includes the use of both a tripod and a monopod, you don’t have to spend extra bucks on buying both.
This tripod can easily be converted into a monopod if you need more mobility. All you need to do is to detach one of its legs from the spider and connect it to the center column.
It will quickly make it a versatile monopod. Hence, this 2 in 1 tripod comes handy.
Independent pan lock
As we explained in the ball head section, the panoramic rotation can be locked using the pan lock.
This independent pan lock is offered for smooth movement along a single axis and to avoid unsolicited rotation in 360 degrees.
Merely clicking this lock will restrict the movement of the head on that axis so the photographer can have more precise focus.
Twist lock for legs
Twist lock for legs and center column are also newly introduced feature in Manfrotto’s tripod via this model.
Just like pan lock, these locks secure the legs at the given extension and completely lock the movement.
Well, there is a con related to this feature. Many users have complaints about this that most of the time, these locks do not work well.
To avoid any kind of accident, please put a little additional care to ensure that the twist locks are good and tight. The manufacturer should address and resolve this issue as soon as possible.
Pan and Tilt
The capability of panning and tilting of this model is better than its predecessors. The Lateral Tilt is -38 degree to +38 degree, whereas the Vertical Tilt is -28 degree to +90 degree.
There is a foam grip around one of the legs among five. This grip makes it comfortable to carry it around and can also help in motion photography.
As the foam doesn’t get cold like the carbon fiber or aluminum, so it is constructive in severe weather conditions too.
The leg which features a soft foam grip is the same leg, which can be unscrewed and then attached to the upper disc to create a standalone versatile monopod.
With the package, the manufacturer also sends a shoulder bag and its strap. Tripod easily fits in this bag. The bag makes it further easy to carry around a tripod.
There is also a feature of a comfortable grip. The easy-grip is a feature that makes it easy to attach accessories such as lens, lights, or reflectors to the ball head.
Photographers who often use these accessories and find trouble when they try to use it with a tripod, they should consider buying this one.
The tripod comes with a two-year warranty. This warranty can be extended to 3 years if you register your product on the official website on Manfrotto (mentioned in the pros section).
Manfrotto MKELEB5CF-BH Specs:
In this section, you can find all to the point details about physical, performance, and technical specifications about the tripod and its manufacturer.
- Item model number: MKELEB5CF-BH
- Manufacturer: Manfrotto
- Load Capacity: 17.6 lb. or 8 kg
- Item Weight (including head): 3.52 pounds, 1050 grams (carbon fiber), 1150 grams (Aluminum)
- Maximum Working Height: 64.6 inches or 164 cm
- Max Height without Center Column: 55.5 inches or 141 cm
- Minimum Working Height: 16.1 inches or 41 cm
- Folded Length: 16.3 inches or 41.5 cm
- Materials: Aluminum Alloy and Carbon Fiber
- Weight: 3.1 lb. or 1.4 kg
- Leg Lock Type: Twist Lock
- Leg Positions: 3 Positions
- Leg Sections: 5
- Leg Diameter: 0.98 inches to 2.5 cm
- Head Type: Ball Head
- Camera Mounting Screw: ¼ inches to 20 inches Male
- Number of Bubble Levels: 2
- Friction Control: No
- Independent Pan Lock: Yes
- Lateral Tilt: -38 degree to +38 degree
- Vertical Tilt: -28 degree to +90 degree
- Center Column Sections: 2
- Center Column Extension Type: Rapid
- Lateral and 90-Degree Center Column: No
- Package Weight: 3.69 lb.
- Includes quick release plate: Yes
- Box Dimensions (L x W x H): 17.85 inches x 5.05 inches x 4.8 inches
- ASIN: B075D6SKT7
- Carry bag: Included
What is inside the package?
- Manfrotto Element Big tripod
- Aluminum ball head
- Shoulder case with shoulder strap
- Spikes for the body
- Allan key and instructions manual
- Spare reversible 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch screw
- Standard compulsory warranty. This warranty can be extended by registering the tripod at the official website of Manfrotto
- Designed so well to support the weight of cameras and ensure their safety
- Easy to carry around. Light-weight
- Capable of holding weight up to 17.6 pounds
- Can be easily turned into a versatile monopod
- Twist lock. Makes set-up and tearing it down easy
- An independent pan lock provides smooth movement along a single axis
- Three adjustable leg angles to lead you to your desired results.
- Few users complained that the QR plate does not hold the camera firmly in place.
- The inclusion of the quick-release plate is not Arca Swiss compelling.
Owning the Manfrotto MKELEB5CF-BH can be a game-changer for your photography. It has all the features which good quality and reasonably priced tripod should possess.
It can extend and de-extend to a very impressive range, and it is very light-weight but durable and capable of holding the weight up to 17.6 pounds.
It covers almost all cameras except telelens and some heavier professional cameras, has panoramic movement, can be easily turned to a monopod, and has several other features to give out effective and efficient performance.
We didn’t find any reason not to recommend buying it. If you are looking for a long-lasting yet very less costly tripod, this is the one for you!