Well, it’s not a secret exactly, but you could easily overlook not one but two great little features in this ultra-portable travel tripod. They might not mean much to a regular camera user, but to smartphone photographers they really are brilliant.
The MeFOTO Air Road trip is a super-compact travel tripod that folds away into a bag small enough to fit inside a (decent sized) backpack or shoulder bag, not strapped to the outside. It has legs that rotate through 180 degrees to lie flat against the centre column and minimise its folded length. It’s not going to be suitable for heavyweight pro-spec DSLRs or telephoto lenses, but it’s fine for light casual use.
But it comes with two extras that make it rather extraordinary…
One of them is tucked into a sleeve just inside the mouth of the carry case. It’s a little fold-out smartphone clamp that fits directly to the tripod quick release plate. The MeFOTO RoadTrip Air isn’t just a tripod for regular cameras, it’s designed for smartphones too.
Once you’ve fitted the clamp to the quick release plate and then attached the plate to the tripod head, you just pull up the top jaw of the clamp against spring pressure, insert your smartphone, and release the clamp to grip it. It’s a pretty secure grip, too – easily secure enough to step away without any worry that your smartphone is going to slip out.
But that’s not all, because clamped to the centre column is a tiny Bluetooth remote release. You might be used to big and complicated camera remotes, but this one is designed specifically for a smartphone. The best news of all is that you don’t have to install any apps to use it.
The controls are simple. There’s just an On/Off switch on the side and a big shutter release button on the top. Once it’s paired with your smartphone, you can fire the shutter remotely from a distance.
Pairing is easy too. You switch on the the remote, then open the Bluetooth settings on your smartphone. The remote should appear on the list, and once you’ve selected/paired it, you can use it to fire the shutter when your smartphone’s camera app is running. There’s not even a battery you need to replace – you simply recharge the remote periodically by plugging a USB cable into the socket on the end.
If you’re using a regular camera, the MeFOTO RoadTrip Air is already a compact and effective little travel tripod, but if you’re shooting with a smartphone, it’s just brilliant.
And I haven’t even demonstrated the removable centre column which extends to form a handy selfie stick – with that super little Bluetooth remote clamped at the end right by your hand. Did I mention that it was brilliant?