If the idea of carrying another piece of gear makes you want to scream, take a deep breath. Manfrotto’s new tripod, appropriately (or oddly, depending on your perspective) named BeFree, may just be the answer. This compact, lightweight tripod folds neatly to an ultra-portable 15.7 inches, small enough to fit into a backpack, camera case or overhead bin. Constructed from aluminum, the BeFree weighs about 3 pounds, including its ball head, and comes with a carrying case and rubberized shoulder strap when you’d rather carry the tripod separately.
With a maximum load capacity of 8.8 pounds, this is no toy tripod. When its four-section legs and center column are fully extended, the BeFree reaches a maximum height of 56.7 inches (48.4 inches with the center column down) with a minimum extension of 13.4 inches. It’s nicely designed, too, and has a street price of around $200. It even comes with a quick release plate, so it’s a pretty good deal for the price.