In an earlier post I explained why you need a good tripod. In this post I will give a full review of the Manfrotto 055 Aluminium tripod which I consider to be one of the best on the market and a great investment that will last you for years, if not the rest of your life.
Product: Manfrotto 055 Aluminium Tripod
Price: $219.99 (with free carrying case)
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Maximum Height: 70.3″ with centre column extended
Maximum Height: 55.9″ with centre column down
Minimum Height: 3.9″
Closed Length: 25.8″
Load Capacity: 15.4 Lbs
Weight: 5 Lbs
Package Dimensions: 4″x4″x26″
Guarantee: Warranty subject to authorized dealer’s Terms and Conditions, underwritten by Manfrotto
My Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Manfrotto 055 Aluminium Tripod, Product Overview
Manfrotto has been regarded as the top tripod manufacturer for many years – and with good reason.
The Manfrotto 055 Tripod Video.
Italian engineering and manufacturing has been at the forefront of high-end luxury vehicles such as Ferrari and Lamborghini since forever and that same class of elegance, functionality, reliability and solid strength can be found in the Manfrotto Tripods.
The Manfrotto 055 Aluminium Tripod is a beautiful workhorse made for functionality, ease of use and years of reliability with the following features:
- Famous multi-functional ‘Q’ centre column that allows for adjusting the centre column to virtually any angle. This allows for a multitude of uses in macro, documentation photography, extreme low angle shots and photographing from unusual situations where one might not normally be able to use a tripod. I can tell you from firsthand experience that although you may not need this column often it is really cool to have when you do need it.
- Very tight lock for when the center column is extended. With a lot of camera tripods the extension of the center column becomes a bit dodgy as the center of gravity tends to shift upwards and create a feeling of imbalance. This is not the case with the Manfrotto tripods and certainly not with the 055 aluminium tripod under review here.
- There are three sections to each leg. This has long been acknowledged as the perfect number for stability and strength. Who am I to argue with Italian engineers?
- Quick release catches that are easy to use (basically a one-handed operation) yet lock the legs very securely. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to release legs and lock them with ultra loose or stiff releases.
- Two of the legs are fitted with foam-like material to keep the hands warm. If you shoot in extremely cold weather you will know how cold the legs can get and how uncomfortable they are to handle. A simple but great feature
- The aluminium finish is a work of art while the non-aluminium parts (threads etc.) are all made of the highest quality stainless steel. You’ll never have to worry about rust or concern yourself that your Manfrotto 055 will ever look ugly.
- You are able to fit your favorite head on to these legs as the fittings accommodate all brands of heads.
Sure it’s an Expensive Tripod, But The Only One You’ll Ever Need to Buy
The point of using a tripod is twofold:
- To allow you to take hands free photos that are well focused. This could be for one or several images to be stitched together or processed as HDR. It could be for night photography or any other photography where a long exposure is required and where it would be impossible to hold a camera steady for that length of time.
- The second purpose is to safely support your camera and lens. There is no point in having an expensive rig mounted on a cheap flimsy camera only to see the lot come crashing down. I would imagine it looks bad and sounds terrible. And to add insult to injury there would no doubt be no photo to show for it! Why anyone would put an expensive camera on a cheap tripod is beyond me.
I used to work in a camera shop and we often had customers come in a rush (always in a rush) wanting to buy a tripod for a particular event or weekend but not wanting to spend much – “just something that will do the trick”.
I can recall on at least 2 occasions when customers returned with tales of woe where the lot had blown over and expensive cameras and lenses had been damaged as a result.
While I am all for paying as little as possible I won’t do so at the expense of quality. It’s just not worth it.
There are hundreds of testimonials online stating the longevity of the Manfrotto range of tripods and the 055 aliminium is at the top of the list!
Rather than me rabbiting on about reviews it’s probably easiest if I include some of them here:
What more proof does one need?
Order your Manfrotto 055 from Amazon today …
It’s Not Just a Tripod, It’s an Investment
The Manfrotto 055 Aluminium tripod may seem to be a bit of ‘overkill’ for someone with an entry level DSLR camera with a kit lens combo that ways nowhere near the 15 pounds this can take. That is very true but …
I can almost guarantee that person will one day upgrade to something more expensive and buy new longer/bigger/better lenses. I say that because from my experience anyone looking to buy a tripod (and that includes you reading this) is taking their photography a bit more seriously.
Buying a tripod now that will last you for years to come is one of the best investments you can make in photography gear. Second only to good quality lenses in my opinion.
What’s Not To Like About the Manfrotto 055?
Not much as it turns out but …
- I should think Manfrotto could come up with some decent packaging. Seriously such an amazing product basically lying loose in a crappy cardboard box? Surely they can do better.
- The Manfrotto 055 Aluminium is too big and heavy for traveling (unless you are going on a dedicated photography trip) and tramping. For that I would recommend one of the smaller and lighter range. They’re just as good but you need to be a tad more careful when using them as they aren’t quite as sturdy.
- Likewise if you’re a tramper or into these long hikes up mountains. The weight will eventually tell – or it would on me at age 62! Unless of course you can hire a Sherpa. Now there’s a plan.
It’s Conclusive, the Manfrotto 055 Aluminium Tripod ROCKS!
Well not really as it is rock-solid but you know what I mean.
I have yet to come across anyone that has this model that is not 100% happy with it.
Right so it is decided then – the Manfrotto 055 aluminium is the one for you – the only decision now is where to buy it from? Here again I have saved you some research and found that Amazon is the cheapest place on the planet. Not only are they well priced but Amazon also has it’s full refund “no questions” asked policy so if that packaging plays up you simply send it back for a new one or a refund.
Don’t forget to mention the packaging issue at the check-out.
Manfrotto Tripod Buy – exciting stuff getting new camera gear.
You can thank me later for helping you buy a great tripod!
Oh and when you get it could you please let me know in the comments below how much you love it?