Manfrotto Neotec 458B Tripod Review


Readers may recall from Tripodding 101 that I mentioned a couple unique tripods from Manfrotto and Gitzo that are worth considering if you’re in the market for a new tripod, or just want to upgrade to something more useful. These Manfrotto/Gitzo tripods are designed around how the photographer intends to use the support, while also including the flexible features that are found in some of their newer models. Perhaps the most unique concept is the Neotec 458B tripod.

The Manfrotto Neotec 458B’s most compelling feature is its unique design that is built for speed. Instead of the usual knob or flip-lock mechanisms found on most tripod legs, Manfrotto engineers designed a simple, easy-to-use push button release for the automatically locking tripod legs. The unique coupling mechanism transfers the weight of the camera down into the clamp holding the leg sections together. In this way, more weight equals more leg strength and stability. The internal mechanism uses the weight to push itself outwards against the tubing, holding it securely in place.


Quite simply, the Neotec 458B is the fastest tripod I’ve ever used. No need to individually lock/unlock at least six clamps. To set up, just push the legs down; they lock automatically wherever you leave them. To retract, just hold down the grey button and push the legs back in. The fastest way to collapse all three legs is to bring the legs together and hold the lock buttons in while pushing the whole tripod down. Each leg can be set to any one of four angle positions, including flat down (90 degrees). It’s so fast, it takes a little getting used to the simplicity of it all.


Additionally, the Neotec 458B’s two section center column can be shortened for use low to the ground, and the column can be used horizontally like the Manfrotto 190XPROB I reviewed earlier. The Neotec 458B’s horizontal arm feature requires unscrewing the base cap at the end of the column and reassembling it in the horizontal clamp (which incidentally has a bubble level built in). One advantage to this design is that the extra center column length can thus be detached when shooting with the legs flat down or very close to the ground. Despite requiring a little more effort than the 190XPROB, it’s still a quick operation.

Another unique feature of the Neotec 458B is in how the large diameter tubes are at the bottom (extended sections) of the legs. This “upside-down” construction helps to minimize dirt and debris from gumming up the legs if, for example, the tripod leg is extended into dirty water or something similar.

The potential drawbacks to the Neotec 458B are its weight and surprisingly, it’s construction. The 458B is the heaviest tripod I’ve been testing at 5.3 lbs., and in my mind this makes it more suitable for studio use or outdoor use where you won’t be carrying the tripod for long distances. The construction is top-notch but I would watch out for a couple things related to the legs. First, every aluminum light stand or tripod I’ve owned has over time been bumped and bent slightly out of perfect alignment so that the leg(s) don’t slide smoothly–the leg(s) get hung up a little at the bent spot. This did not occur with my test unit and I’m not saying it will definitely happen, but it’s something I’d want to be aware of in the field. Second, the leg sections clearly seem to require much closer tolerances than light stands, therefore it’s a good idea to keep them especially free from dust and dirt (another thing to be aware of is the oil on the leg sections when extended).

Overall the Manfrotto Neotec 458B wins your heart by virtue of its speed. Because it is so fast to setup and use, I enjoyed having it around or in my car for those times when I might not otherwise bother with a tripod. Along with the tripod, Manfrotto thoughtfully includes a sturdy carrying strap. For more information, see <>.

By Laurence Chen |

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  • Li says:

    It’s a great design but the stability need improvement, particularly because of the up-side-down design that made whole tripod very unstable. Long time exposure usually ends up with a motion blur if mirror lock up is not used or if it is windy.

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