Manfrotto MKC3-H01 travel tripod - Features and Design

Audley Jarvis

By Audley Jarvis



  • Recommended by TR
Manfrotto MKC3-H01 tripod


Our Score:


The Manfrotto Compact Kit tripod range comes in two variations: the P0-series of ball-head tripods are designed exclusively for cameras, while the H0-series we have here uses an advanced ball-head with a two-position ‘camera-video’ switch that’s designed to open up its appeal to budding videographers as well as stills photographers. While in ‘camera’ mode, the ball-head (and attached camera) can easily be manoeuvred into a portrait position, while in ‘video’ mode this vertical movement is locked off in order to help you keep panning shots smooth and level.

The ball-head is operated via a sculpted handgrip that feels oddly chunky given the all-round slightness of the rest of the tripod. Located on the top of this handgrip is a quick-release button for the camera mounting plate and a thumbwheel that operates the main ball-head locking mechanism. The supplied camera plate uses a universal 1/4inch screw design that should fit the overwhelming majority of cameras – from cheap compacts to mid-range DSLRs.

Each leg of the tripod is made up of five aluminium leg-sections that are locked off by four technopolymer (plastic) leg-locks. The legs have an oval cross-section, while the centre-column is more triangular in shape. There is only one leg position – an angle of 21-degrees – and with all the legs fully extended the gap between each leg is approximately 96cm. Fully closed and with the ball-head handle folded back into the legs the MKC3-H01 measures 46cm in length and weighs 1.15kg – small enough to fit inside (or attach to the outside of) a rucksack, and light enough to be barely noticeable should you want to keep it with you all day.

The five leg-sections of each leg vary slightly in length with the thinnest legs slightly longer (at c.29cm) than the top sections (c.24cm). With the centre column down but all legs extended total leg length is 134cm, giving a total height of 143cm to the quick-release camera mounting plate. Raising the centre column to its highest position this extends to 163cm – about shoulder level for someone of average height.


January 27, 2012, 1:48 am

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


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


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.. :)


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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