MeFoto RoadTrip Tripod Review

I needed a lighter weight travel tripod.  I didn't want to spend the kind of money that a carbon tripod would cost.  I don't do a lot of hiking but I needed something that I could carry down a trail or through a zoo or a park that I could attach to my backpack without adding a lot of weight.

About six months ago I decided to give the MeFoto RoadTrip a try. MeFoto makes 4 different aluminum tripods at the moment - the Daytrip, the Backpacker, the RoadTrip, and the GlobeTrotter.  They also make carbon versions of each and an aluminum monopod.  The aluminum tripods come in a variety of great colors.


Folded it's just a little over 15" long.  It fits nicely inside my Think Tank Streetwalker Pro backpack. It ways 3.6 lbs and will support 17.6 lbs of equipment.  Fully extended it is over 5 ft tall. It's minimum height is 15.4 inches. The RoadTrip also converts to a monopod so you get two great tools for the price of one.


It has an Arca-Swiss style ball head with quick release. All of my Cotton Carrier and Manfrotto plates can be used with this head.


Two simple knobs control all the tilt and panning functions. 


This photo shows the tripod fully extended with my Canon 5D Mark III, a battery pack and my Canon 100-400 L lens with the lens fully extended.  


I don't and would not use the tripod fully extended like this unless I was standing right by it all the time although I've been very surprised at the sturdiness of this tripod. I usually use it without extending the lowest and thinnest legs and with the center column down about half way.  In that position it is amazingly sturdy even with this much weight. 



Since purchasing this tripod, I have to say, it has become my go to tripod for most things.  My heavier much more beefy Manfrotto tripod has been relegated to backup. This tripod is so lightweight, so easy to put up, that it's just fun to use. Although it will securely hold much more weight than I expected it would, I want to note that I would never use this tripod if I wasn't going to be right by it.  A fairly strong wind or an uneven terrain might topple it quite easily and I personally would feel uncomfortable using it around a lot of other people especially children (with this much equipment weight).  For that reason, it might not be the best portrait tripod - although with a smaller camera and lens I think it would perform quite well. Though it is not flimsy, by any means, the legs are quite thin making it, to me, a bit risky to leave to pose people. I personally would want something a bit more bulky holding up my $5000 worth of equipment while I pose a family for a wedding portrait. But if you're looking for something that you can grab quickly for some extra stability or low light photos and you're going to be right behind it the whole time, I highly recommend it. It's a wonderful tripod and at the retail price of $189 dollars it's well worth considering as your travel or everyday tripod. I don't know how long this tripod will hold up but I've been using it for about 5 months on a weekly basis for landscape photography and it seems to be holding up quite well. 

Vello vs Canon Battery Grips

With the exception of my first DSLR, a Canon Rebel, I've purchased battery grips for my subsequent three DSLRs. Despite adding weight to some already weighty cameras, I like the feel and balance that a battery grip adds not to mention the extra buttons for a vertical portrait position.  I also like the fact that I virtually never run low on battery power with a grip. 

When I acquired my Canon 5D Mark III last December, I gulped a bit at an added $299 for a Canon battery grip. I wasn't sure whether I would use a battery grip all the time on my Canon 5D and so spending $300 for an accessory that might spend most of it's time in my camera bag wasn't appealing.  That's when I found Vello camera grips. Vello makes camera accessories for both Canon and Nikon.

After reading several very positive reviews, I decided to give Vello a try.  As you can see by the photos below, the Vello battery grip is virtually identical to the Canon.  I've used mine now for 7 months and it has performed equal to the Canon battery grip on my 7D.  The controls all feel and act exactly the same as the Canon. The quality of the build seems to match the Canon. There's nothing about the grip that seems cheap, which is remarkable considering it cost a third of the price as the Canon.  I've had absolutely no issues with this grip and I would highly recommend it.  And by the way, it has not been off my 5D since I purchased it.  

Check out the article at Solo Shooter for a more comprehensive review. 
VELLO BG-C9 - Currently $99.95 at B&H Photo
 (Photo from B&H Photo)

CANON BG-E11 - Currently $299.00 at B&H Photo
(Photo from B&H Photo)