There is an old saying about necessity being the mother of invention, and that is entirely true where the Manfrotto line of tripods is concerned. It was in the 1960s that Italian photojournalist Lino Manfrotto was in need of solutions for his challenging work. He began to create his own tripods, light stands, and booms to answer his needs, as well as those of his fellow photographers.
When he was introduced to a technician specializing in mechanics, the two partnered up and created their first product in 1972 - a tripod. From that time onward, the firm grew and expanded, but was purchased by the Vitec Group in the 1990s.
With more than ten plants and a few subsidiaries, the name has long been upheld as a premium tool for photography of all kinds. Whether photography or cinema work, their equipment has a long standing reputation for quality, durability and performance. Today, the firm is in more than 100 countries and is a multinational, publicly listed firm.
The Product Lines
The Manfrotto name may be most closely associated with the best tripods, but their offerings are extensive and diverse. The basic list of products available to buyers includes:
Photo supports - This category is their most diversified and includes their many tripods (055 series, 190 series, Befree series, compact series, 290 series, 390 series, Pixi series and more), heads (adjustable, panoramic, geared, hydrostatic), monopods, remote controls, and accessories. Meant to offer a complete solution at all times, the photo support, according to Manfrotto, is just the beginning of the system and/or solution.
Video Supports - This group also includes specialized tripods, heads, and combination units along with rigging, remotes, and accessories.
Alternative supports - Because the firm has acquired other brands and worked closely with professionals over the years, they understand that a complete range of solutions is not possible in standard photo and/or video supports and heads. This is why they offer a diversity of stands, posts, boom and stands, bases, autopoles, arms and brackets, stabilizers, and sky track systems.
Heads - As the piece that allows the photographer to control the camera, it makes sense for Manfrotto to offer a large array of these devices in order to coordinate with the tripods and supports. Their line up includes two and three way heads, ball heads, geared heads, joystick heads, photo movie heads, tilt heads and panoramic heads.
Lighting - This category incorporates their light modifiers, LED lights, lighting stands, still life tables, studio rail systems, backgrounds and accessories. Known for being some of the most innovative answers and tools available, they are also noted for their impressive safety features to prevent breakage, falls, and damage.
Lens Filters - Protective filters, polarizing filters and UV filters comprise the bulk of this group.
Bags - Described as a system for carrying your gear, the collection of bags is comprehensive and includes standard backpacks, straps and harnesses, holsters, waist packs, organizers, pouches, rain gear, rolling bags, shoulder bags, slings, and more.
Smartphone accessories - An exclusive set of tools known as the KLYP+ it includes an "all-in-one photographic solution exclusively designed to satisfy the needs of iPhone? users who love to capture special moments, shooting pictures or recording videos to share with friends. 匥LYP+ system includes a photographic bumper for iPhone? 5/5s, a brand new case for iPhone?6 and 6 Plus, 6 interchangeable lenses, a LED light with tripod mount and a PIXI mini tripod. All accessories are compatible with both the bumper and the cases."
The Manfrotto systems are just that - more than individual pieces. This is a good reflection of the evolution of the firm over time. Not only taking on new technologies, but looking for premium designs to incorporate into their comprehensive answer to any videographer's or photographer's needs. For instance, they have acquired bag makers based on the superior designs and used those to complement the rest of the gear they offer.
As a thoughtful and innovative brand specializing in the actual, field tested needs of those who will purchase them, the Manfrotto brand is hard to beat. When you are putting together your kit, don't overlook their impressive array of accessories and products.