MeFOTO makes an entire array of colorful tripods equipped to tackle any terrain you may need to travel. The MeFOTO RoadTrip tripod is a nice compromise in weight and size and also converts into a monopod — or selfie stick for those who are into that kind of thing. By itself, it's capable of holding mid-size to smaller full frame DSLR cameras. Add the SideKick360 attachment, and you've got yourself a tripod setup that works great with your iPhone, too!
Editor's note: I picked the MeFOTO RoadTrip tripod because it fit my weight and size requirements, both expanded and folded. However, most of this review should apply to most MeFOTO tripods since they're of the same construction. There are small differences between tripods, though, so make sure you research those before choosing a model.
It sounds silly, but the first thing that stuck out to me about MeFOTO's line of products was the bold colors of the tripods. Picking out a tripod is usually pretty dull business, but when I saw the wide array of colors MeFOTO offered, it caught my attention. I had always heard good things about them, so I figured I'd give one a try. After narrowing down my selection, I ultimately chose the RoadTrip model in aluminum. MeFOTO offers many of their tripods in carbon fiber as well, which makes them a hell of a lot lighter. Just be prepared for a drastic price difference — that weight differential is worth a pretty penny.
The RoadTrip comes with an extra set of metal legs that are great for rugged or rocky terrain. The rubber legs that come already screwed into the tripod are good for grip. For instance, if you need to prop one leg on a lamp post or side post, the rubber will definitely hold itself up without having to worry about your camera taking a tumble. You also get a nice carrying bag with an adjustable strap. I carried this particular tripod through 4 countries alongside my Lowepro Passport Sling III and found it to be comfortable and lightweight. I imagine the carbon fiber model must feel like carrying a feather around.
What drew me to the MeFOTO, aside from its fancy colors, was its construction. Simply turn the legs and they'll expand. You can lock legs and different angles as well to accommodate for tough-to-shoot terrain and cramped quarters. What really set the MeFOTO apart from any tripod I've ever owned was the ballhead itself: MeFOTO says it's an Arca-Swiss style, and while that means very little to me, it's the smoothest tripod I've ever used while panning. I've yet to find an angle I wasn't able to get by adjusting the ballhead. I've even used it to level a photo — because I'm too lazy to re-adjust the legs. And mainly because it's that smooth and easy to manipulate. And for anyone wondering, the RoadTrip does feature a recessed hook, so you can add extra weight for stability.
The RoadTrip also converts into a monopod with a nice foam grip when you remove the other two legs. You can use the monopod with the standard mounting plate, or you can purchasing a SideKick360 attachment for your iPhone. MeFOTO also released a SideKick360 Plus that's the same price but accommodates larger phones such as the iPhone 6 Plus.
High quality aluminum and carbon fiber
Easy to assemble and disassemble, a common pain point with many tripods
Ballhead is super smooth and allows for super fine adjustments on the fly
Two sets of legs for two different kinds of terrain
Easily converts to a monopod (or selfie stick if you will)
Lots of bold and beautiful colors to choose from
Carbon fiber model is quite steep at over $300
I've had the legs come unscrewed in the travel bag, not a deal breaker but slightly annoying
To use the monopod as a true selfie stick, you'll need to buy a bluetooth remote
The bottom line
If you want a high quality tripod that offers no-fuss assembly and disassembly, travels light, and offers a smartphone attachment with just as much versatility as a traditional well-built mount, the RoadTrip definitely fits the bill. You can always buy a generic attachment for your iPhone, but the SideKick360 offers a great grip and lets you rotate and straighten on the fly without any compromises. Not to mention you get a GoPro-style monopod all in one.
The price point may not fit everyone's budget, but if you take lots of photos with both your DSLR and want to take your iPhone photography to the next level, MeFOTO's lineup of tripods is the place to look.