Review: Manfrotto 055CXPRO4

by: Johnathan Aulabaugh

I bought the Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 about a year ago and have been using it almost exclusively since. It was to replace an older heavier 3 section tripod that I had used previously. So why did I make the switch to Manfrotto? And why did I get a 4 section instead of a 3? Read on

  • Load Capacity 17.5lbs
  • Height w/o center column 53.3in
  • Center column extended: 66.9in
  • Minimum Height 4.5in
  • folded Length 21.5in
  • weight 3.7lbs
  • 4 leg sections
  • lever lock
  • Carbon fiber and magnesium
  • Cost at time of writing $364.90

My Thoughts:
When I was on the hunt for a new tripod I had some requirements for what I felt I needed. As an outdoor photographer I am constantly having to hike to the prime spots that I want to photograph, which translates to needing a light weight tripod. I wanted something a bit easier to haul around, be it in my pack or even a suit case from state to state. I am not a twist lock fan so the lever it was. Most importantly though, I wanted a tripod that would put the camera at eye level without the center column extended. I am not a fan of having the center column extended if it can be helped as it can introduce vibration and even camera shake into your camera during longer exposures.

Enter the Manfrotto 055CXPRO4... The light weight carbon fiber and magnesium, quick flip lock 4 section tripod. Without a doubt one of the best tripods I have ever used. Coupled with a good ball head it is strong enough to hold most camera systems up to a pro body and 500mm f/4 lens. Worth every penny in my opinion. This tripod is tall enough that when combines with the ball head I cannot see through my viewfinder unless I am on my tippy toes, Very NIce! Did I mention that the legs move independently and they can be rotated out to 89 degrees for those hard to get into spots. If you shoot macro, then the 055 has something for you as well. the center column also extends horizontal  for shooting down  or when getting lower for the unique angle that would normally be impossible.

While I was in Maryland, I had this tripod with me everywhere we went. Being there in the fall was awesome to shoot the changing colors and get some of the beautiful hills and landscapes that Western Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are known for.  Simply amazing to witness first hand.  The Manfrotto Tripod stood up to it all, heat, dust, rain, and snow.

The construction on this tripod is amazing. even after a year of heavy use the legs do not slip, there is no play in the legs and it still feels almost new. It even has a little bubble level on the base plate to help you keep things strait. I have traveled across the country and back several times on the road, stuffed it in my suit case to fly, taken it hiking, fishing, camping. Construction is a big priority for me as when I buy a product it is for use, heavy use, and accidents have been known to happen. With the Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 I have no worries. everything is still as tight and worry free as the day I bought it. For me even the lack of a hook to hang a bag off is fine because I have always felt that the bag can generate a pendulum  effect that adds more vibration than it removes. Far better in my opinion to set a bean bag over the camera and of necessary add some sand bags propped to the feet of the tripod.

Finally, my time spent with this tripod has been great and it has enabled me to get some great shots be it wildlife, long exposure, portraits, just about everything that you can shoot outside or in a studio for that matter. It is a dependable, well made tool that goes with me almost everywhere.   If I had anything to gripe about it would be that I wish it had spike feet at times but then again I have not really had any issues with it as is.

So who needs this tripod? You do! Well maybe not everyone but really, this is a great tripod that would fit into just about any photographers day to day needs.  Having a tripod out in the field is paramount and this tripod just makes life that much easier.  It is light, easy and fast to deploy, extremely well made, and very versatile. What more could you ask for?