One of the most important pieces of gear I own is my tripod, I have a Manfrotto 055CXPro4 carbon fiber tripod with a Manfrotto MH054MO-Q2 ballhead. This won’t be a typical tripod review also I own this tripod for 6 years now, so this is not a new tripod but I would still recommend it. When I bought this tripod I was using a Canon 5D DSLR so I needed something that was sturdy reliable strong and not very heavy, due to the fact I shoot landscapes a lot and temperatures can vary from -10 to +40 degrees I needed something that could take the environment head on, I shot many times in snow, ice, mud, beach, on salt water and all types of surfaces.
After 6 years the tripod shows normal signs of wear, I used in places like the Portuguese beaches coastlines to the icy cold Iceland and Norway, shooting waterfalls is one of my favorite things to do so i always end up putting the legs on the water. At the time I was not sure if I should get a tripod with a middle column or not and to be honest I’m still not sure if I need it, I rarely use it and sometimes it is on the way, but other times has been useful.
The locking system of this tripod works well even on cold situations, I took this tripod once apart to clean it up after Iceland because of the black sandy beaches and with the proper care this tripod will last a very long time. Some of the mechanisms to open the legs are a bit noisy and I should oil them but I haven’t done it yet.
The only thing I don’t like on this tripod is the spirit level, I don’t find the use of it and it was bothering a few times, there were certain positions where the spirit level was just bothering me and not allowing me to work my camera properly. That being said once I bought an L-bracket those issues were gone, but I still believe it should be removed. I no longer shoot with a DSLR and now I have a Mirorless camera, I considered changing this tripod but I came to realize that for landscape work this is still the best for me, I might buy a small/lighter tripod for cityscapes but for landscapes I will keep this one for now.
I will do in more depth reviews when I will have newer products, I still decided to make this one because most of the time we only see reviews of new products but we have no idea how they will be after years of use.
On this tripod I decided to choose the Manfrotto MH054MO-Q2 ballhead, it is a great ballhead but has one big problem that I only came to realize much later, it uses the Manfrotto proprietary camera mount. While that is a good system for some I rather have Arca-Swiss system, the reason being I use L-brackets, while you can also have a universal L-bracket from Manfrotto is not the same as having one made for your camera, not having access to all ports of your camera can be a problem for me, so because i liked the Ballhead so much I decided to upgrade it to Arca-Swiss, I found a company in the US (Hejnarphoto) that made an adapter for my ballhead. I contacted them to be sure what I needed and how I could reach it and they were super useful and I can’t recommend them enough.