Today, I’m sharing a quick review of the tripod I’ve been using for the better part of 2 years now. There are no affiliate links in the review below, the link provided is where I purchased mine.
True to it’s name, the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter makes an excellent travel tripod. I purchased mine shortly after buying my Canon EOS 6D, which was my first “real” camera that cost more than a few hundred bucks. As I learned and shot more, I realized how useful a tripod could be. I decided to bite the bullet and pick up a tripod prior to a cross-country road trip with a friend.
Generally I stick to what I’ve heard called “the buy once, cry once” philosophy when it comes buying gear. I buy the best quality I can afford, intending to keep it for many years, rather than buy the least expensive option and end up replacing it far sooner and spending more in the long run. As an amateur photographer, I couldn’t fathom spending thousands on a tripod when it really isn’t going to help my photography any more than a $200-$300 tripod would. Sure, it would have been really cool to have super light carbon-fiber legs and a fancy high-end ball head, but I’m nowhere near ready for gear like that.
I set out to spend between two hundred and three hundred dollars on a decent tripod. My initial requirements were:
- Packs down as small as possible. I like to hike and travel, so portability is a must.
- Ball head. I’d never owned one, but everyone said “get a ball head”. I’m a sheep.
- Arca-Swiss style quick-release plate. I like this better than the locking lever type of quick-release system.
I honestly didn’t look at too many models, because the MeFOTO line caught my eye almost immediately. I went with the GlobeTrotter for height more than anything, but it still packs down to under 16” and weighs less than 5 pounds. The “titanium” color was the least attention-grabbing of those available to me, so I decided to go with something less flashy than bright blue or red.
In the end, I paid $249 for the GlobeTrotter at B&H Photo & Video. Ground shipping from New York to the Boston area is cheap and arrives next day, and they have great customer service—which incidentally came in handy when the first tripod shipped was missing the horizontal panning lock knob. After a brief exchange of emails, a new one was on it’s way for the next day along with a return shipping label for the first tripod.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I was off to give the GlobeTrotter a real test on a cross-country road trip in a Jeep. It got bounced around, set up in water, mud, and dusty areas. It visited Theodore Roosevelt, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, as well as a number of National Forests and state parks. It was great to be able to fold up my tripod and toss it in my rucksack when it wasn’t needed. I also took it on a road trip around Iceland more recently, and it was a joy to have for that trip as well.
The way the GlobeTrotter folds up was a bit interesting to me at first. You have to remember to fully raise the head extension before folding up the legs, but it’s easy enough to get the hang of. The plus of this setup is you can use the hook under the ball head to fasten the tripod to a carrying handle of sorts or anything else you can rig up. It’s not the intended use of the hook, but it works well enough for me (though I’m not sure how it would affect your warranty, should the hook break. In other words, don’t try this at home. If you do, it’s at your own risk.). I hang it from the lower portion of the shoulder straps of my ruck if I need to free up my hands for something else.
The GlobeTrotter is equipped with a ball head and an Arca-Swiss style quick-release system, which comes with one plate that will fit most cameras. The plate fits into a channel on the top of the clamp, and you twist a knob to lock and unlock it. The clamp makes a secure connection between your camera and the tripod when properly mounted. I’ve used it at some fun angles and never suffered any issues or dropped cameras as a result of the clamp failing. I find this type of quick-release more secure and generally a bit more stable. I’ve used locking-lever quick releases in the past with camcorders, and the plates tend to have a little play in them—but to be fair, they were very cheap tripods, so your mileage may vary.
The one area that I think the GlobeTrotter suffers is a consequence of it’s small design: to fold up small, you need more leg segments to get to the desired height. The result is a slightly slower setup if you’re going to fully extend the legs. It led to quite a bit of walking around with the legs fully extended and folded in rather than collapsing the legs over and over. It’s an acceptable trade-off for the added portability of the smaller package and being able to just toss it in my ruck.
The GlobeTrotter can support up to 17 pounds on the tripod, which isn’t really a concern for me since my camera and heaviest lens weigh 7 pounds together. This becomes a benefit though, as the legs are thicker to support the extra weight compared to some of the smaller MeFOTO tripods, translating into added stability for lighter loads too and making it a good choice for me for long exposures like Milky Way shots. It keeps my camera stable even in breezy weather, reducing the risk of blur from shaking. The legs can be locked in one of two positions, allowing for a wider stance for added stability in windy conditions, or to get a lower shot. As an added bonus, you can flip the ball head onto the bottom of the center pole to suspend the camera under the tripod legs for some creative positioning.
After a year of use, I’ve come to the conclusion that the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter is an excellent choice for a lower-priced yet still feature-packed tripod for travelers and those photographers with an active lifestyle who still want to carry a tripod.
A final note about cleaning:
As with any tripod, I suggest thoroughly cleaning it after any trip or every few shorter outings. The twist-collar style leg segments have fine threads, which can wear prematurely if they get jammed up with sand. Just unscrew it all the way and slide the collar out of the way, being careful not to pull the leg segment completely out while it’s unscrewed. Blow any sand out of the threads inside the collar and on the leg with compressed air. For any stubborn bits of sand or dirt, I like to use a microfiber vehicle dusting towel to wipe around the threads. Once the threads are clear, reattach the collar and tighten it. Expect this to take a good 30 minutes due to the number of locking collars.