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Using a MeFOTO Backpacker as your 2nd or 3rd Tripod for Night Photography

  by Marketing MAC Group       Category Night Photography       Tags MeFOTO Backpacker, NYC, lomo belair 6-12, mamiya 7ii, nikon d700, toyo vx125

©Matt Hill
4x5" 4-minute exposure shot with MeFOTO Backpacker

I bring along a MeFOTO Backpacker on every night photography shoot I do. Why? It's perfect as the tripod for my second or third camera.

Wait? Second or third tripod? Is this guy crazy. In a word, yes. But not because I bring two or three cameras and tripods. This is logical.

My top reasons for using a MeFOTO Backpacker as my second or third camera for night photography:

  1. Lightweight: Does not add a lot of extra weight to the tripod bag
  2. Small: Being so tiny when folded makes room for other stuff like other tripods, umbrellas, softboxes and more.
  3. Ideal for film cameras: I use a Mamiya 7II (6x7cm film), LOMO Bel-Air X 6-12 Cityslicker (6x12cm film) and Toyo VX125 (4x5" film)- lightweight cameras well within the maximum weight capacity of  8.8 lbs. If you use a mirrorless digital camera, this is also ideal for you, but check out the maximum height to make sure it's comfy for your style. 
  4. Steady: My film exposures tend to be anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. The MeFOTO Backpacker is solid as a rock, and looks good, too.
  5. Increased Productivity: If a digital exposure takes, on average, 2 - 8 minutes - what am I doing during those exposures? Using my second and third cameras to double and triple productivity! A-ha!

I bought my Backpacker tripod as soon as I saw the color. Yeah. I know. But I immediately also saw the above characteristics as a benefit and started using it on every shoot. Below, you can see the same shot on two cameras shot simultaneously. Double down and win!

Film exposure on LOMO Belair X 6-12, 4 mins at f/8 with MeFOTO Backpacker Tripod
Model: Heather Whatever. © Matt Hill from NIGHT PAPER series

Digital exposure on Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 / 1 min at f/8 with primary tripod

Model: Heather Whatever. © Matt Hill from  NIGHT PAPER series

Toyo VX125 4x5" Film Camera at Great Sand Dunes Park in Colorado. © Matt Hill

Excuse the noise in this photo, it was warm and heat plus digital sensors = noise.

Believe it or not, my Toyo VX125 (only 5.5 lbs) handles really well. Here is an action shot from the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado during a 2 1/2-hour exposure I made, which sadly was too little on the new moon; there is no foreground detail and I had no interest in meeting the local wildlife.

The resulting image from the 4x5" camera. Not spotted for dust and processing chemistry artifact after scanning (sorry!). © Matt Hill

My green MeFOTO Backpacker in action at the 69th Street Transfer Bridge on NYC's West Side. © Matt Hill

It's also very good at low angles, as you can see below.

Film exposure on LOMO Belair X 6-12, 2 mins at f/8 with MeFOTO Backpacker Tripod

Model: Falana Fox. © Matt Hill from NIGHT PAPER series

Tack-sharp 4x5 image from Central Park in NYC, shot on a MeFOTO Backpacker tripod. © Matt Hill

Now please, pretty please check the weight of your camera before considering getting a MeFOTO Backpacker as your second or third tripod. Make sure it's 8.8 lbs or less to be safe. If you are using a film camera (and not a telephoto lens), chances are that you will be A-OK.

Matt Hill is a Night Photographer, Cut Paper Artist, Educator and MarCom Manager at MAC Group.

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