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Manfrotto MKC3-H01 tripod review

Audley Jarvis

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Manfrotto MKC3-H01 tripod

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Pros

  • Extremely light and portable
  • Solid aluminium/tough plastic build quality
  • Easy to use and adjust
  • Unique ball-head design caters for still photographers and videographers

Cons

  • Can get a bit wobbly when fully extended
  • Minimum height of 44cm a little restricting

Review Price £50.00

Key Features: Closed length: 46cm; Weight: 1.15kg; Maximum height: 143cm; Maximum height (centre column extended): 163cm; Minimum height: 44cm

Manufacturer: Manfrotto

A decent tripod is one of the best investments you can make as a photographer and there are numerous good reasons why this is so. For starters you’ll be able to take sharper pictures in general; not only at slower shutter speeds as you might expect, but also at faster speeds that are usually (and correctly) considered perfectly safe to shoot hand-held at.

Just as importantly, having a tripod to hand will allow you to choose from the full aperture range offered by the lens you are using, including its so-called ‘sweet spot’ (often around f/8) where it’ll deliver optimal sharpness across the whole frame. Furthermore, if available light is in short supply then having a tripod to hand also means you’ll no longer have to resort to throwing the aperture wide open (or cranking up the ISO) in order to get the sharpest shot possible – assuming you’re shooting a stationary subject, that is.

And, of course, there are other benefits too. As well as taking sharper pictures and having more control over depth of field, a tripod will also allow you to experiment with all kinds of creative techniques such as long-exposure, multiple-exposure and even time-lapse photography.

The biggest single consideration when looking for your ideal tripod is finding one with the right balance between strength and durability and weight and portability. After all, there’s not much point in buying a tripod that offers tank-like construction if it means you never take it out because it’s too heavy, whereas similarly there’s no point in buying something so lightweight and flimsy that it can’t support the weight of your camera and/or just blows over at the merest hint of a breeze.

The Manfrotto MKC3-H01 we have here is essentially a travel tripod, which means it’s geared much more towards portability than strength. That said, given that it has a claimed maximum load capacity of 1.5kg we’d expect it to be sturdy enough to support a mid-weight DSLR and zoom lens, while packing down into something small and light enough to be carried around all day. Let’s take a closer look and find out if that is indeed the case.

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PoisonJam

January 27, 2012, 1:48 am

A Manfrotto with a ball-head for £50? Wow. This is going on my birthday wish list!

BrendanS

February 24, 2012, 4:52 pm

Dixons Travel had this at the airport for €55. Impulse purchase, confirmed after checking out this review. Thanks. It got great use on holiday. I like the clips, but never extended the last (most skinny) length or the centre pillar (for improve stability). I was shooting with a micro four-thirds and it's perfect for that. The handgun lever for the ballhead is intuitive, the rubber tensioner is well positioned and effective. The only gripe for me is that the photo/video switch has limited use, so there is no way to ensure smooth panning without a steady hand. There is always some risk of vertical shifting. That said, for still shots, the ball is so easy to manipulate, especially when switch is set to photo. I have no regrets about the purchase.

Ovidiu Stefan

December 26, 2012, 10:28 pm

I'm using this amazing tripod with my Nikon D5100 and 50-200 mm lens ( a total around 2.5 kg) and it's working great. For a perfect shot I just don't open the last legs.

The materials from which is made are high quality and resist very well.

I recommended it with no problem

young

February 2, 2013, 1:55 pm

Hi, I just bought this tripod but im not sure if it'll support my Nikon D7000 + 24-70mm lens. (~1.6kg). I was planning to return it to JB Hifi, until i saw this post. But just out of curiosity, D5100+ 50-200mm = 850g. So, was it really 2.5kg? was it with all your other equipment ie. flash etc?

Pete Johnston

February 6, 2013, 8:09 pm

Actually, both of the "bug some users" comments are incorrect. If you remove the little rubber protector on the base of the central column you will see two holes to allow attachment of said hook. Removing the protector also allows the central column to be completely removed, then inserted from the bottom. This allows the camera to be held at ground level, admittedly upside down but not really too much problem.

Bogdan Coticopol

May 10, 2013, 9:51 am

i used with with my D5100 & 55-200mm lens, it's pretty stable even with the all legs opened. i doubt the camera & lens have 2.5kg, tho.. :)

Simon

May 11, 2013, 7:16 am

I got this tripod last minute from Argos for £40 for my recent holiday to Crete as my current tripod was too big to fit in my suitcase. I've gotta say that I was really impressed.

For the price this tripod was surprisingly compact and lightweight, whilst being very stable and extremely intuitive.

I found it quick and easy to get into position and I was able to take some nice long exposures with my fairly compact D5100 18-55/55-300mm setup which weighs up to around 1200g with filters.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this tripod. It is one of the best compact travel models I've come across and for a measly £40 I really can't fault it and would have to give it 5 stars.

Jeffrey Byron

May 11, 2013, 4:25 pm

Thanks for the info, I was good with buying this to upgrade from my now ancient cheapo tripod, now I have even more good ticks on getting it.

Chris Milbourne

September 12, 2013, 1:32 am

Would this tripod be possible to change head to a fluid video head in the future making panning/tilting shots more cinematic or would i need a more "pro" tripod. Thanks

Jacopo Scarpa

July 23, 2014, 11:02 am

As already said by others, very light and solid, works fine with my OMD e-m5. Central column can be twisted upside down, so the minimum height is far lower than 49 cm (as stated in the review): once you've removed the rubber stop at the base you can use it for macros at ground level. 5 stars, I've not felt a significant difference with my carbon Benro in most cases.

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