Tripod for Lumix GF1

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: feb 2011; revised: oct 2017; readers past month: 1089

I own a Lumix GF1 camera with the 20mm f/1.7 pancake kit lens. I also have one of the Voigtlander Micro-4/3 M-Mount adapters, so I’m able to use my Zeiss and Leica M-mount lenses. This is a seemingly excellent combination, but many of my images are terrible.

Besides having problems with focusing manually, the pancake lens and M-mount lenses don’t have image stabilization. Because of the camera’s size and all, camera shake is a problem except in the brightest lighting. I have the electronic view finder attachment. Using it allows me to steady the camera. Still, the results are often very disappointing. However, when I put the camera on a tripod, especially with one of my Zeiss lenses, the quality is exceptional.

Manfrotto Compact MKC3-H01

I have a tripod, but it’s a heavy Manfrotto tripod (055XPROB). I bought it for studio work to use with a Canon 5D Mark II camera. It’s generally not the kind of thing that I want to drag around with me. With regards to style concerns, it dwarfs the Lumix GF1. It’s quite a mismatch. So, I decided to buy a new Manfrotto tripod — I prefer them — suitable for the Lumix GF1. I bought the Manfrotto Compact MKC3-H01. It’s lightweight (1 kg), small when closed (43 cm), and inexpensive (€ 50). It’s pretty strong, though. There’s no bend to it like some of the smaller and cheap tripods.

It has a head built in that can be used for videos or still photograph — there’s a switch to change from one to the other. The head has a handle grip for pointing the camera in any direction, easily. It also has a plate that you attached to the bottom of the camera. Then you can press a button to release quickly the camera when you want. As you can see from the photos above, it’s a pretty good size fit for my camera and lens.

One problem I discovered with this short tripod, something lacking in the Manfrotto Compact MKC3-H01, is that it doesn’t have an eyelet or any other point through which to connect Manfrotto’s tripod shoulder strap. This is despite Manfrotto’s text in their catalog on their shoulder strap that says the strap has “an adapter that enables it to be used with all Manfrotto tripods.” It’s very frustrating.

I’ve been looking for a nice canvas tripod bag with a shoulder strap, one about the same size so that the tripod will fit snuggly, but most are too big for it. The search for the right equipment never ends.