Mafrotto Compact Action Tripod Review by a Private Investigator #132

I have had many tripods over the last 13 years of my career.  Many of the tripods I have purchased have not been made with the greatest of quality typically because I have only purchased inexpensive ones.

About a year ago or so I was in a jam and needed a new tripod so I went to Best Buy (a story I feel as though I have told before).  Best Buy had a few options of tripods but on this occasion, I saw the ManFrotto Compact Action Tripod.  I knew Manfrotto was a very well known name in the realm of tripods so I purchased it.  I learned while writing this review that Lino Manfrotto produced his first tripod in 1974 and since then has been creating quality tripods.  Many professional photographers and those involved in shooting videos trust the Manfrotto brand.


  •    Weight: 2.64 pounds
  •    Material: Aluminum, Technopolymer
  •    Minimum Height: 17.3”
  •    Maximum Height: 61.02”
  •    Height with Center Column Down: 53.36”
  •    Head Type:  Joy Stick (my favorite)
  •    Colors: Black and Red
  •    Plate Type: Fixed- with ¼-20” screw


  • Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod
  • Padded Shoulder Bag Tripod Carrier
  • Sony NEX 5R/5T Adapter for Maximum Camera Stability
  • Instructions
  • Quick release plate

My Impressions and Experiences With the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

With this particular review I can say I have used this tripod for quite a long time.  I have used it when conducting surveillance in my vehicle,  when creating videos for the PI Advice Youtube Channel and for videotaping my kids with their sporting and school events.  I use this tripod to support my Canon Vixia HF R600 video camera and my Canon T3i camera.

Joystick Grip

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

I am attracted to the smaller grips on tripods for some reason.  My last decent tripod had a pistol grip (SUNPACK 600PG) as well.

The joystick grip gives me the ability to grip the tripod and move it around. I can move it by using the handle whether the legs are fully extended or whether the legs are retracted.  The grip feels sturdy and wide enough to provide stability when holding it in your hand.

The joystick grip also has a thumb wheel that you roll forward or back to lock the tripod head into place and make it stable.

Circular Attachment for Quick Release

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

Most tripods come with a plate that screws into the bottom of your camera which then attaches to the tripod.  This allows for quickly attaching and detaching a camera from a tripod.

This tripod uses a circular design for the quick release.  A small circular design provides a smaller obstruction on the bottom of your camera unlike traditional quick release plates.

Dial to Adjust Camera Stability

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

After you place the camera in the quick release attachment area you can adjust the tightness of the camera to the tripod.

I use this dial when I want to pan from side to side without using the Joystick handle.

The bottom of cameras are not all the same so adjusting the tension from the tripod head to the camera will help to make sure every different camera is stable.

Quick Photo or Video Selector (Pictured Above)

This camera has a quick option for individuals taking photographs or taking video.

The photo option allows the tripod had to go to the side for the vertical photographs while the video camera option only allows for the head of the tripod to go up and down and pan left to right.

What I like about this Tripod

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

It is a Heavier Tripod

Coming in at 2.6 pounds the tripod doesn’t sound that heavy but it is heavier than my less expensive tripods It feels as though it is made with a slightly thicker metal which gives the feeling as though this tripod will not break if it falls over in your vehicle or on the ground.

No Middle Support

Yes, you heard me, I like that there are no middle support bars.  The reason I don’t like the middle support bars is because it is just one more thing that has the chance to break.  Without support bars, I don’t have to worry about the mechanism that slides the legs into its proper position when I fold up the camera.  It is less clutter on the tripod.

This tripod is designed so that it doesn’t need any middle support and it folds up quickly as a result of not having it.

Folds up Very Compact and Expands Enough for Any Private Investigator’s Needs

This tripod doesn’t take up a lot of space when compacted measuring at 17.3” as it minimum height.  When fully expanded it measures 61″.

Comes with a Nice Padded Bag with Shoulder Strap

This tripod comes with a nice padded bag.  They didn’t go overboard on the padding but it is more padding than any bag that has come with my previous tripod purchases.

What I Didn’t Like About the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

The panning motion on this tripod is not the greatest.  It is not like the panning you would find in a high-end tripod and I think the affordable price reflects that.  Though it struggles with panning it has not affected anything I have done in the field in regards to quality of my video documentation during a surveillance.

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

Final Thoughts on the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

The numerous points I provided in the “What I Liked” section sums up why I am a fan of this tripod.  This tripod would likely be the last tripod you purchase for awhile because it does basically everything a private investigator needs it to do.

It is great for taking photographs. It is great for shooting video in your vehicle on a surveillance.  I even use this tripod for family events as sporting events.  I haven’t used it to take photographs but I am sure it works great.

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