Cliff Smith finds a small pal

manfrottoPrice: £69.95

*Head:Ball & Socket
*Size/Weight:35cm closed/97cm extended/1kg

When it comes to camera tripods, few names are as well-respected as that of Manfrotto. Over many years, the Italian company has built an enviable reputation for quality, innovation and design that has made its products standard equipment for many professional photographers. Never slow to adopt new trends, Manfrotto manufactures a range of tripods aimed specifically at the digital camera market. Smaller and lighter than conventional tripods, they?re designed to be used with smaller cameras, but thanks to top-quality materials and superb build quality, they?re just as solid and stable as larger models. As you might expect, they also have some brilliant features. The 714SHB is the lightest and most compact of the range, thanks to its ingenious ball-and-socket head. The friction ball fits down inside the tripod?s headstock when closed, and is adjusted by a wheel on the bottom of the centre column. As a result, it has a closed length of just 35cm, but extends to 97cm at full stretch. Thanks to aircraft-grade aluminium construction it weighs only 1kg, but is rock-solid even at full extension and can easily support 2.5kgs, 10 times the weight of most digital cameras. The best part about the 714SHB is the price. Some of Manfrotto?s high-end tripods are over £300, but this one is more affordable at under £70.

For the price, this is one of the best digital camera tripods on the market.

PROS: Small and lightweight, good price
CONS: Less suitable for heavy SLR cameras

Features 16
Ease of use 18
Performance 17
Design 17
Value 19