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Manfrotto BeFree Travel Tripod Sony Alpha Edition Review

Manfrotto BeFree Travel Tripod Sony Alpha Edition Review

I am a big fan of both Manfrotto and the Sony Alpha line of cameras.  Manfrotto recently updated their Befree Travel Tripod and also created a Befree Travel Tripod Sony Alpha Edition.  The new Manfrotto Befree Advanced special edition tripod showcased at CP+ camera and video expo in Japan.  The Alpha Edition is obviously aimed at the Sony Alpha crowd, but realistically it could be used for other camera manufacturers as well. 

The Befree Alpha edition was created as the first collaboration initiative between Manfrotto and Sony.  What specifically sets this Befree tripod apart from others is the orange pin stripes on the legs and orange camera base plate.  I assume there will be other Manfrotto products produced specifically for the Sony Alpha line in the coming years.  

Manfrotto BeFree Travel Tripod Sony Alpha Edition Review Advanced


Manfrotto BeFree Travel Tripod Sony Alpha Edition Review Sony A7iii

Manfrotto Befree 494 Aluminum Center Ball Head

The tripod is kitted out with Manfrotto’s Advanced 494 (Aluminium or aluminum depending on your dialalect) Centre ball head.  The 494 ball head is a small yet powerful and intuitive head that enables quick and precise camera movement. The 494 Centre ball head features three independent controls:

  • Main Knob: The main knob is for managing the sphere lock
  • Friction Control Dial: The main knob includes an integrated friction control dial that adjusts the ball tension so that equipment weight is always perfectly balanced and shots framed effortlessly;
  • Panoramic Knob: independent panoramic knob that keeps the horizon flat and moves the camera horizontally, enabling astonishing landscape shots.

The 494 Ball Head packs a lot of punch for it’s size and seems perfectly adapted for use with the Befree.

Befree Camera Plate

One of the neat features of the Befree Sony Alpha Edition Tripod is an orange camera plate that matches Sony α7 and Sony α9 camera bodies and is designed to ensure a perfect grip.  The front jut of the plate physically blocks the camera, preventing any play both on tilt and rotational movements, always keeping the camera stuck to the head plate. The result is impressive camera stability, which improves image sharpness when taking pictures or video.

Manfrotto also designed the Befree quick release plate to be fully compatible with the world’s most widespread standard head attachments: Manfrotto RC2 and Arca-swiss style platforms.

Befree Travel Tripod

The Befree tripod is a lightweight travel tripod optimized for portability, solidity, easy set-up and operation.  It’s ability to pack up small, making it easy to transport or to travel with, makes it ideal for the traveling photographer or videographer.  The Befree can be folded down to Folded Length: 15.7″

The Sony version comes as an aluminum with leg clamp locks.


Product Specs

Befree Travel Tripod Sony Alpha Edition Specifications

One really cool feature of the Alpha Edition is the ultra cool orange base plat that is both RC2 and Arca-swiss style compatible.

  • Dedicated plate maximizes stability in all camera positions
  • QPL Travel lever secures maximum stability and easy setup
  • Centre Ball Head with three independent ergonomic controls
  • Side pull selector ensures quick setup with both hands
  • Unique premium design, 100% Made in Italy
  • Load Capacity: 17.6 lb
  • Max Height: 59.1″
  • Folded Length: 15.7″
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Weight: 3.6 lb
  • 494 Ball Head with Pan & Friction Knobs
  • RC2 and Arca-Type Compatible QR Plate
  • QPL Lever Leg Locks
  • Easy Link Attachment and Integrated Hook
  • Three Leg Angles with Side-Pull Selector
  • Retails: $189

Bottom Line

The Manfrotto Befree packs a lot of punch in a very small package.  It’s great for the traveler who wants the convenance of a tripod without getting weighed down.  Weighing just 3.6 lbs, you’re going to be hard pressed to find a lighter more robust tripod.  If you do want a lighter tripod, Manfrotto makes the Befree in carbon called the Befree advanced Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod.

Regardless of what camera you own, the Befree tripod is definitely worth a look.  Manfrotto offers Befree Tripods for both Sony’s (Alpha Edition) and a standard edition that can be used by any manufacturer’s cameras.



About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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