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Manfrotto Befree Live


Alex Uzan

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Hi there,

Hello les gens,

I've just received the Manfrotto Befree Live, best travel video Tripod according to a lot of YT reviewers, But I have an issue with it.
Here's the thing:

As you can see, the buble go out of the ring when I pan, and I'm not sure it's supposed to.

 

What do you think ?

 

 

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Errr... Nope! It is not supposed to... Kinda defeats the purpose of a bubble level. It is a not so weird defect in some cheapo tripods or tripods that have been through a lot use and abuse: if the level is not completely and perfectly parallel, you would actually be skewing the camera when trying to place the bubble in the ring.

Having said that, it is very unusual to find that problem in a top brand tripod -even in their cheapest line-. With Manfrotto, Sachtler, Miller, etc. at least you know the tripod is well made and goes through quality control... Check if there's any other thing that might interfere with the rotation of the head (or something in the bowl).

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It's not unusual at all unfortunately for Manfrotto tripod levels to not be level. I have a pair of Manfrotto legs - 190xproB - the level on that is totally off. If I center it then the level on the tripod head is off. If I center that then the hotshoe level is off. If I center that, the camera is still not level because none of these levels are truly level!

My solution is to level the camera on the horizon and then note and remember how much each level is off by for future reference. 

Some people have suggested trying to push the tripod level down fully into its socket. If that doesn't work and it's really annoying you, send it back and try another copy of the tripod.

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1 hour ago, hyalinejim said:

It's not unusual at all unfortunately for Manfrotto tripod levels to not be level.

Wow I didn't know that... I've owned a couple o bigger manfrottos -long ago- and never had that issue, but it's good to know! I'm more of a Sachtler guy myself.

56 minutes ago, Alex Uzan said:

I have tried two units, and same issue.

It's not acceptable, and I will send them back.

If you are looking for a light tripod, the Sachtler Ace is superb. Light, well built and reliable. As smooth as a Caddy, though the sticks are not as sturdy -nor meant to carry that much weight anyway-.

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Sorry to hear about that, Alex. Seems like you're having bad luck these days. Off topic, I know, but my aging, cheap Weifing fluid head started leaking sticky goo from between the seals a little while ago, so I thought it was time to look for a new fluid head. I was actually ready to go all out and buy a Sachtler Ace, but everywhere I looked, the heads were bundled with tripods. I already have sticks. And this was true not only for Sachtler, other huge names in video heads (like Vinten and Miller) were paired with legs as well. So I just went ahead and ordered the Manfrotto 504 HD, the only one I could find by itself. I'm really worn out and stressed from wasting so much time online looking for damned USB-C cables. :(

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Sachtler and Miller are not at all like Manfrotto. Even Benro has some better cheap models.

I have bought a bubble cube that goes at the cameras hot shoe, and I level throught that. 

I was considering this befree, but it seems to me like a very cheap construction not even worth its money.

How's the head though? Does it have good friction for the price (and size)?

The Ace is an ace (pun intended!) among low cost tripods, especially the head, but the very cheap model doesn't have a light in the buble, and it is a stupid omission for such an expensive-cheap tripod set. Also, it is multiple times the size of befree (when in its bag), so I wouldn't consider them as competitive models.

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Yes, I have the Ace and while it's not a travel tripod by any means (too heavy and doesn't break down to a small size) the bubble level is actually accurate! A hot shoe bubble level will get you close with any tripod as long as it's not a cheap one. There are manufacturing intolerances and sometimes the hot shoe itself is not perfectly level. But of course, it means that you can't mount something on the hot shoe while using it.

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6 hours ago, jonpais said:

Sorry to hear about that, Alex. Seems like you're having bad luck these days.

Thanks for simpathy Jonpais :)

But you know, it's only gear.

That's annoying it's true,  but fortunately today, if a manufacturer delivers a product not as good as promised, it's very easy to get a refund.

1 hour ago, dbp said:

How is the Befree overwise? Been looking getting it. 

It's not that bad, but quite expensive for what it offers.

Therefore, there is no many option when you talk about light travell video tripod, except the Benro Aero 4. But it's not as compact than the befree Live.

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I have heard a lot of negatives about Manfrotto gear as of late. I just bought a Manfrotto PIXI EVO Mini Tripod and within days the "c Clip" broke on it. Common problem I found out. Went down to Ace Hardware and bought like 4 new Clips for 65 cents. They are Way better quality than the stupid one that came with it. I mean how much money are they saving with a cheap clip. It cost them this customer for life I can tell you that.  Probably the last one I am going to buy from them, ever.

My older photo Manfrotto tripods you could kill a charging Bull Elephant with them, built that well. I have no clue why company's make cheap crap now and risk their reputation. Manfrotto was a top end product 20 years ago.

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come on now ... it's a cheap tripod meant to be light and easy to carry. All of the design is quite flimsy but whatever it works great for what it's suppose to do...

It didn't took long for me to loose those stupid rubber feet. Lost them in mud I think. Bahhhh - still support my camera anyway, fit in my backpack and easy to get a low shot too...

My 055cx and 190db are still going as strong as day one - even after 8 years of worldwide abuse... manfrotto is alright and parts are easy to find when they break. 

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That's whack, the bubble should stay level when panning. But the head is on top of a lot of other stuff, I much prefer to keep it simple with a bowl.

Benro's video tripod line is really underrated since its not as well known as Satchler or Manfrotto. I have the S8 with the carbon sticks, spent some time in B&H tinkering everything under $1000 and the S8 was the clear winner, the counterbalance and pan/tilt handled my 6 pound camera/lens/rig/light/mic setup better than everything else.

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11 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

That's whack, the bubble should stay level when panning. But the head is on top of a lot of other stuff, I much prefer to keep it simple with a bowl.

Benro's video tripod line is really underrated since its not as well known as Satchler or Manfrotto. I have the S8 with the carbon sticks, spent some time in B&H tinkering everything under $1000 and the S8 was the clear winner, the counterbalance and pan/tilt handled my 6 pound camera/lens/rig/light/mic setup better than everything else.

You're lucky to be able to walk into a shop and actually handle real gear. 

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