Manfrotto Compact Tripod: Review after years

The Manfrotto Compact Series tripod is the ideal model to start with Light Painting!

You will find many reviews around, on blogs, YouTube etc. This is the first of a (long?) Series of reviews that analyze a product after a lot of time of use, just to understand how durable and consequently convenient it is.

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In my post How to do Light Painting:the Basics I have already mentioned that a light painter must have a good tripod. It seems trivial to say it but when it comes to photographing in long exposure it is necessary to have a solid, reliable, comfortable to use and light tool.

My first choice years ago was the Manfrotto Compact, currently updated, improved and renamed Compact Action .

The Manfrotto Compact series stands out for being the one with the best price-quality ratio. Very cheap (try to find a similar tripod for less than 100 euros), lightweight and robust.

Manfrotto Compact Tripod Review

The best tripod for the "light" Light Painter

Manfrotto Compact Tripod

It is the ideal tripod for beginners and enthusiasts who approach photography. Equipped with a particular "unprofessional" joystick head with its own attachment plate (in the sense that it is typical of this series) and a single wheel that will allow us to fix the camera very quickly.

The Manfrotto Compact that I used (and that I still own) has been brought truly everywhere, in all weather conditions: rain, wind, snow, hellish heat in the sun without damaging it in the least thanks to the plastic materials of which it is made. A little rust only on a couple of screws but I repeat, it is normal after years of use. The wheel that blocks the head is not precise but is very robust.

It does not have the bubble (but who cares, the current cameras have it integrated!), It loses stability when the legs are fully extended (but which model is not?) but the central column is made of metal and it can be turned upside down for more comfortable macro shootings at ground level. Just pull it out and back it up.

The head is a bit special, it has a switch that allows you to change from video to photo mode (don't ask me what it means) and in reality it is only useful for me to invent some new dirty word trying to straighten the frame. If you are wondering: yes, it can be tilted for vertical photos.

Manfrotto Compact Tripod

 Manfrotto Compact: Opinions

If you want a clear opinion on the purchase of the Manfrotto Compact tripod my answer is: yes, absolutely. I have used it for years and it has never given me any problems. Now I have switched to another model only for some more particular aspects but still today I use it as a second tripod for video shooting.

 Let's move on to the pros and cons:


  • Light and small when totally closed (45 cm!)
  • Easy to use: one adjustment wheel instead of three. Good, isn't it?
  • Inexpensive, so great for getting started
  • Lasting, because plastic in this universe does not rust


  • Plastic materials: if you want to be cool at the photography course and everyone has a carbon one
  • The head plate is just that and if you lose it you only have to buy the original one. Ah, it's plastic.
  • It may not be very stable with very heavy cameras and/or heavy lenses.

Buy the Manfrotto Compact Tripod on Amazon

Alternative Tripods These models have not been tested or reviewed but I think they are good enough.