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.