Lino Manfrotto was an Italian photojournalist in the late ’60s who hated lugging cumbersome lights and poles on location and at his studio. From desperation comes inspiration, as they say, and today Manfrotto is known in the industry as producing some of the toughest and lightest photo and film gear essentials. Equipment matters, and Manfrotto gear ensures you get your shot and feel warm and fuzzy about it — and that’s priceless. So when we had the chance to pair a sling, tripod and a photo/video head for a few Behind The Wheel productions, we were — in the parlance of our times — stoked.
See our Manfrotto gear reviews after the break.
Manfrotto Agile V Sling
Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a great picture and missing it, whether you’re thousands of feet up Mt. Hood or sauntering around your ‘hood. Having a sling rather than a traditional backpack allows you the chance to rotate the bag to your front quickly, fire off a few shots and sling your camera and lenses back again — all without stopping. The Agile V sling ($49) is well padded, full of pockets with customizable velcro dividers, and has loops on the outside to holster a tripod. Conveniently, a secondary strap keeps the bag snug so you aren’t constantly adjusting. On the downside, it only has a few slots for lenses and there is no laptop space — but it’s a great alternative to hauling everything you own everywhere you go. Take what you need.
Buy Now: $49
Manfrotto 055XProB Pro Tripod
If you do low-light shooting, time lapses or want your films to look more Wes Anderson and less Anderson Middle School, you need a tripod. The 055XProB Pro Tripod ($150) (we didn’t come up with the name) answers that call with a built-in level, quick action leg locks and a one-touch leg release that can extend completely flat to stabilize your shot no matter what angle or obstacle you find. Handy features include the center column, which transforms from vertical to horizontal in one move, and ruggedly padded legs that make the tripod more comfortable to rest on your shoulder when running to (or from) your subject.
Buy Now: $150
Manfrotto 055 Magnesium Photo-Movie Head
When using DSLRs for shooting video, a moving head that tilts and pans smoothly instantly changes production value. Manfrotto’s 055 Magnesium Photo-Movie Head ($262) is a great answer to compactness — it combines a locking ball head for photography with the panning and tilting abilities needed for video. A flip of the switch instantly allows the head to be moved from landscape to horizontal on one plane. Flip it again and all axes become available for your filmic pleasure. It has a built-in bubble level, internal fluid cartridges to ensure smoothness and adjustable counterbalance. All that combined with a friction control and quick release mount and your views and street cred will rise like a Sundance darling.
Buy Now: $262