Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod Review

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod Review

When it comes to photography, there are few accessories that really count. While many photographers may say you need the latest lens or filters, a tripod is actually one of the best things one can add to their kit.

Even the cheapest of tripods can go along way in adding stability which increases the list of things you can capture while providing razor sharp images.

One particular tripod that is great at doing these tasks is the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod which I will review here today.

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod Review


Weight: 2.64 lbs
Collapsed Height: 17.83″
Extended Height: 53.36″
Maximum Load: 3.30 lbs
Head Type: Joy Stick
Materials: Aluminium & ABS Plastic
Price: Click here to find latest price

Photo Quality When Using Tripod

At the end of the day, a tripod is meant todo one thing and stabilise your camera so you can get the most crispy images possible. Below you will find a wide range of photos that I have taken using my Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod.

Without a doubt none of these photos would have been possible without a tripod of this calibre.

photo taken with Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod new zealand hills
This photo was taken on a recent trip to New Zealand in which these mountains are located just behind the Hobbiton movie set.
long exposure photo taken with Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod
I’m a sucker for nighttime photography! This image was taken at 2am on a local street in my neighbourhood. Exposure is about 3 seconds.
sunset photo taken with Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod
I was very pleased with this image just after the sun had set in the winter. I had to opt for a longer shutter speed, so the tripod came in real handy.


Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod compacted down

As you can tell from the above images, I have used this tripod at many different locations. Being a light traveler, it was important for me to keep my weight down while still keeping the functionality of a great tripod.

When it comes to the weight of this tripod, it comes in at 2.64 pounds which makes this a true feather weight. While it is extremely light, it doesn’t feel flimsy or unstable which is a trend amongst Manfrotto tripods.

I have packed this tripod into my carry on luggage many times before and wouldn’t hesitate to take it on an overseas trip!


Manfrotto MKCOMPACTACN-BK durability

I abuse my photography equipment a lot. I have the view that if your not putting your equipment out on the line, your not getting the most out of it.

As for this tripod, it has withstood 4 years of constant barrage and is still going strong. I put this durability down to its aluminium build quality and its simple design which is less prone to breaking.

I’ve used this tripod literally on the beach with waves coming in and on top of mountains. While there are a lot of scratches and dints, it’s still alive to tell tales.


Manfrotto MKCOMPACTACN-BK review

Having a substantial maximum height for my tripods is important to me as I’m just over 6 feet. This means I don’t have to lean over too much when taking photos as full extension.

When it comes to the height of this Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod, it comes in at 53.36 inches which too be honest is on the shorter side. But after shooting after a few sessions, I didn’t notice the lack of few inches that much. But that was a tradeoff I was happy to make for its small footprint and light weight.

Compacted down, it measures 17.83 inches which made it ideal for throwing into my pack or even strapping it over my shoulder.


Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod stability

While tripods are used for many different purposes, one could say their main purpose is to stabilise ones camera. So how did my Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod stack up to the challenge?

In a nutshell, it did extremely well, however there are some caveats. Let me explain…

With this particular tripod, there are four telescoping legs which makes up the height of the tripod. For each tripod leg that I extend, it gradually gets more thinner and thinner. While the first three legs are very sturdy, I would say the last leg looks almost like a toothpick. It is seriously thin!

While I could still get very sharp images at full extension, I had to be careful of exterior forces such as the wind, unstable ground and even my own movement that could cause blurry images. But to be honest I didn’t really extend to full height that often so it wasn’t really a problem.

Overall it did a great job, but you may just have to pick your shooting spots more carefully.

Weight Capacity

Even though this is an extremely light weight tripod, the maximum load capacity is still quite good. When I first started using this tripod I was shooting with my Canon T4i with a 18-55mm lens. After two years I then jumped up to a Canon 70D with a 15-85mm lens which this tripod handled with ease.

The maximum load capacity is rated at 3.3 pounds so I imagine it might struggle with a full frame DSLR camera and a telephoto lens. But for point and shoot cameras and beginner/mid entry DSLR cameras, this tripod is up for this task.


Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod pistol ball head

Last but not least on my Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod review is of course the head. 

Since starting photography, I have used dozens of tripods and all different types of heads. So I can confidently say that the head on this unit was one of the most enjoyable and fun to use!

This Manfrotto MKCOMPACTACN-BK uses a 360 degree ball head movement, but with an added pistol like locking and moving mechanism. This made it extremely quick to go from landscape to portrait orientation in an instant. Having the unique grip also made it great for various video tracking shots

To lock the ball head in place, there is a fly wheel which you can scroll backwards or forwards to loosen and tighten the head. After using this for quite sometime, I hope more tripod manufactures adopt this as it is very easy to use!

Wrapping It Up

Overall I was very pleased with this tripod and the use that has given me to date. While there are some subtle flaws with this tripod, I think the positives definitely out way the negatives and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this tripod to any photographer. Happy shooting!