The MeFoto tripods are a line of tripods that was spun off from Benro. They are inexpensive and compact, clearly targeting the traveler as the GlobeTrotter name would suggest. The GlobeTrotter is the largest model in MeFoto’s line and should thus be the most capable of supporting a wide range of equipment.
This is the sister review of the carbon fiber version of the same tripod, which can be found here. These reviews will share some pictures, and have some unique ones that apply to both tripods. I will be highlighting the differences as well for those who are trying to choose between the two. Most of the text however, will be identical.
This is an abbreviated list. The full measured specs can be found here.
|Weight||3.64 lbs (1.653 kgs)|
|Maximum Height||50.7 in (128.8 cm)|
|Minimum Height||17.2 in (43.7 cm)|
|Max Height with Center Column||59.8 in (151.9 cm)|
|Folded Length||16.0 in (40.6 cm)|
|Folded Volume||225.0 cu. in. (3.7 liters)|
|Primary Leg Angle||24.5 deg|
Note that for consistency of comparison between other tripods, these measurements are made without the included ballhead.
MeFoto claims that the tripod will support 26.4 lbs, but in the same breath says that it will support up to a DSLR and 70-200 f/4 steady. This highlights the misleading nature of the weight rating given by tripod manufacturers. While the tripod can technically support the weight, it can never hold a camera and lens of that weight steady.
The Aluminum version is about 300 grams heavier than the carbon version. If you are trying to shave weight, this can be a big difference.
The MeFoto GlobeTrotter is packed full of all the features they could cram in. There is a a center column, bottom hook, and removable feet. These are pretty standard.
Becoming more standard for travel tripods, including this one, is the ability for the legs to fold all the way up, letting the head and center column rest between them. The beauty of this is that the entire tripod, when folded up, is quite short and can therefore fit into just about any bag or suitcase. The downside is that this operation rather increases the diameter of the folded tripod, and so the actual volume it takes up is still rather large. If you are okay with removing the tripod head when length is critical, the traditional design tends to be more compact overall.
The GlobeTrotter also has the ability to convert into a monopod by removing one of the legs and screwing it to the bottom of the center column. If you find yourself wanting both a monopod and tripod while traveling, this is a great feature. If you have never had that though, you probably don’t need this feature.
A MeFoto Q2 ballhead is included with the GlobeTrotter line. It is a perfectly adequate low-end ballhead that takes standard Arca-Swiss style plates. It has a panning lock knob, tension knob, and main lock knob. It is perfectly adequate for anything the GlobeTrotter tripod legs are designed to handle.
I experienced no significant problems in handling the tripod, except that it is time consuming. Whenever I unfold the tripod, I have to pull each leg 180 degrees, push the angle tab into place, and then unscrew and tighten four lock knobs on each leg. Then open the legs to the correct angle, place the tripod down, and lower the center column. This is time consuming. I can setup my RRS TFC-14 in about 10 seconds. The GlobeTrotter, from a fully folded state, took me 35 seconds. If you are spending all day shooting, this isn’t a big deal. But if you are on the go, and needing to pack up in between shots, this would quickly become a nuisance.
On the aluminum GlobeTrotter, I did notice that the legs did not expand and retract as smoothly as on most tripods. Certain sections of a tube would get caught on the leg lock, indicating that the tolerances on the tubing are not as good as they need to be. This did not impact overall functionality, but was an annoyance when setting the tripod up.
The build quality of the GlobeTrotter is very reasonable for a tripod at this price point. The fit and finish are better than expected. The Aluminum pieces that make up the spider and leg locks are nicely smoothed and colored. Some details were clearly cut in the design. There are no rubber gaskets on the leg locks to prevent moisture from seeping into the legs. The rubber on the leg locks has a tendency to slip, and no grease has been applied to the threads on the leg locks.
The full test data can be found here. The table below summarizes the results.
|Stiffness About Vertical Axis||348 +/- 2 Nm/rad|
|Damping About Vertical Axis||0.126 +/- 0.012 Js/rad|
|Stiffness About Radial Axis||860 +/- 26 Nm/rad|
|Damping About Radial Axis||0.444 +/- 0.044 Js/rad|
These numbers are somewhat poor, but in line with what we expect from tripods at this price point. With this kind of stiffness, the user would struggle to get sharp images with the advertised DSLR and 70-200 f/4 lens. This is not enough stiffness to adequately damp the mirror slap or prevent wind from moving the camera around. The tripod will be much more at home supporting smaller, short telephoto to wide angle lenses. The stability of the aluminum version is just as good as the carbon version, so the only real benefit to carbon in this case is the weight reduction.
The GlobeTrotter is a mixed bag. It is full of features, has decent build quality, and a low price. However, the uninspiring stiffness limits the tripod’s range of applications. If Mefoto made a four section version of this tripod, sans features, I think they could provide a really good tripod, as opposed to just an acceptable one.
- Good build quality
- Built-in monopod
- Short folded length
- The aluminum version is more stiff than the carbon one
- Features all add weight
- Mediocre stiffness
If you are looking for a tripod, need the aforementioned features, portability, and low cost but don’t need to be on the forefront of weight or rigidity, this could be a good tripod for you. The aluminum version appears to be the better value, given that it is just as stiff as the carbon version.