Hopefully this past Labor Day weekend offered you time to relax and enjoy boating, bird watching and just being outdoors for the last hurrah of summer. At the beginning of the summer I wrote about the many aspects of selecting a tripod set-up. In the few months since I first tackled this subject, Bogen Manfrotto has made a complete switch in numbers assigned to the different legs available from their company. Even though the numbers have changed, you still have the same great quality and performance with even more variety to choose from.
Starting with the long time favorite and work horse of tripod legs, the old Bogen Manfrotto 3021 BN legs are now the new Bogen Manfrotto 055 XB. This aluminum tripod has improved with a lighter body weight but still has the same great features of quick release leg lever locks and a maximum height of 70.08 inches. With the same 70.08 inches in height, but weighing one pound less, the previous Bogen Manfrotto 3011 legs are now known as the Bogen 055 XDB. Although the 055 XDB weighs less than the 055 XB, the main feature difference to keep in mind is the leg locking mechanisms. The 055 XDB is made with the traditional locking twist knobs. The locking knobs provide a very stable tripod to better withstand possible bumps from kids or pets. With this in mind, I will recommend the 055 XDB or the 190 XDB to someone wanting a well designed tripod for indoor use.
Now before you start thinking this is confusing, there is a consistency to some of the letter designations. When we compare the Bogen 190 XB tripod (redesign of the former 3001 BD) and the 055 XB, there are some things in common. The 055 XB (70.08 inches maximum height) is obviously taller than the 57 inch maximum height of the190 XB, but both contain the following features:
- Quick action leg locks
- Extremely low minimum height
- Leg warmers on two legs keep hands protected in the cold
At the risk of becoming "The Blog That Cured Insomnia", I still want to cover the MF tripod legs. These are fairly new to the Bogen line and the MF stands for mag fiber. Mag fiber actually refers to magnesium and carbon fiber. According to Manfrotto's website, the MF tripods consist of die-cast parts made from lightweight magnesium and carbon fiber tubing. Despite the lightweight of these components, both are more rigid than aluminum and the carbon fiber tubing supports heavier loads. Fueled by consumer demand for lighter weight tripods, the MF series is certainly filling this niche.
Our Eagle Optics website offers a number of tripods in the MF series, but most of our birding customers are buying the Bogen Manfrotto Mag Fiber 055 MF3, Mag Fiber 055 MF4, and the Mag Fiber 190 MF3 tripod legs. The basic differences in features will be the following:
- The 055's have maximum heights of 65-66 inches and weigh 4.4 pounds
- The 190 has a maximum height of 56 inches and weighs 3.5 pounds
- The number 3 or 4 at the end of the name stands for the number of leg sections the tripod has
- Three leg sections (055 MF3) may be slightly more stable, but the 055 MF4 folds down to a compact 21.3 inches high, while the 055 MF3 collapses to 25.2 inches
- All three offer a low minimum height of 4.3 inches
So if your friend has a tripod you really like, but when you check the website it isn't there, be sure to call us. We welcome your calls and questions. No detail is too small for us to find out for you! We are fortunate to have access to our instock merchandise and often get out tripod legs or heads to clarify minute points of function. As always, call 1-800-289-1132 for the customer service that makes a customer happy.
Eagle Optics Staff