Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

I know how I use my tripods and these are not abused, so how come I get a leg falling off for no good reason ?

9 months ago I bought this Manfrotto 055 tripod from Calumet and yesterday the leg fell off while being transported on a job.

As you can see the metal has just sheered for no good reason. I look after my kit and am a great fan of Manfrotto so its a hard blow when one of the legs falls off to find out the metal on the clamp has sheered for no good reason.

Has anyone else suffered from this, I was lucky there was no camera on the tripod when this happened but it does not give me confidence to use this tripod in the future.

I have kept the part in case Manfrotto want to inspect it.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

6 thoughts on “WARNING : 9 month old Manfrotto 055 leg assembly sheers for no good reason

  1. What colour is the metal in the crack – shiney or dull?

    HDW : dull

  2. I just had the exact same failure but on a light stand. It was a Lowel stand but I assume they don’t make their own locking collars. I think it’s just one of those things that happen because sometimes metal fractures of its own free will. As long as they send you a new one, I wouldn’t hold it against them. Unless it happens again, of course.

  3. Hi HD warrior.

    Manfrotto began life in the world of tripods as a manufacturer creating tripods as a cheap alternative to industry standards like Sachtler, Cartoni, O’Connor, Vinten. Interestingly Miller from Australia was at the forefront of Fluid head tripod technology).

    So Manfrotto bursts onto the scene with very cheap “CAST ” material for their heads and all my professional friends bagged me when I bought one of their first tripod heads the “316”. It turned out ok and got it re-greased with better grease from my friend at Panavision.

    Tripods were always a long term investment just like lenses and you would pay in excess of $10,000 and expect to pay at least half of that second hand. my Manfrotto 316 ($1700 new in the 90’s) is long gone, but I still have my Cartoni Gamma (which I prefer to Sachtler).

    Anyway don’t want to start a lecture here, but Manfrotto make cheap tripods that will fail eventually, The above brands will keep on for your entire working career.

    HDW : Its what suits your camera, I am using GH4s and need a head suitable for smaller cameras, video heads are far too bulky as is the tripod plate.

  4. Vinten make a nice head for lightweight cameras.
    I’ve used manfrotto 055B legs for stills for years, must be bad luck there. How do you find levelling your tripod on uneven ground without a ball head? are you continuously putting legs up and down?

    HDW : I use the 555B Levelling Centre Column hence the reason for buying the 550 tripod legs. See the blog post below

  5. We can see that a clamp has failed. From my perspective as a design engineer, casting is not the right process to produce a clamp which is going to be under tension in use. In the region of fracture, the fillet blend (inside corner) looks too sharp, a more generous radius there would improve strength. So, I suspect a design flaw, which means if the replacement is the same as the original, it could fail the same way. Certainly the others that have not failed should also be replaced.

  6. Late the show here, but I have both the 055aluminium and the 055C. The Al one has been used and abused and just keeps coming back for more. I’m almost convinced that if the apocalypse happened it would survive; it’s a radically different story for the carbon… sadly. I have had several occasions where the legs have come apart while out in the field. Thankfully, I have managed to keep all the pieces and have reassembled it back at the car. This is not what I expect.
    I used to have the leviathan 058B Triaut which I expected to have problems with when I used the 3 legs release – I didn’t but sold it as it was just too heavy for use in the field.

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