Among many notable features of the Manfrotto 645 FAST Twin Leg Video Tripod, one is highlighted in all capital letters. With most 3-leg-section tripods having two leg locks on each leg, setting up a solid video tripod, especially with a heavy load on it, is not especially fast. However, this tripod's single lock lever per leg is indeed that, giving it the right to have FAST in its name.
The Manfrotto 645 FAST Twin Leg Video Tripod review was not long-planned (and I'll keep it short), but it showed up mounted to a Manfrotto 608 Nitrotech Fluid Video Head I requested for review. All video heads need a matched support, and Manfrotto designed this combination to be an ideal match.
The product name also specifies "Video". While this tripod provides great support for still photos, the bulk and weight of this model, including the twin leg design, pushes video recording support as the optimal use for this tripod. With that small clarification out of the way, let's move on.
Here is a look at the Manfrotto 645 FAST Twin Leg Video Tripod's measurements and specs.
|Specifications||Manfrotto 645 FAST Twin Leg Video Tripod|
|Load Capacity||55 lb||(24.95 kg)|
|Max Height||61.8"||(156.97 cm)|
|Minimum Height||10.6"||(26.92 cm)|
|Folded Length||28.7"||(72.9 cm)|
|Top Leg Section Diameter||0.6" x2||(1.6 cm x2)|
|Apex Max Width||5.7"||(14.4 cm)|
|Weight||8.6 lb||(3.90 kg)|
This tripod's load capacity exceeds a high percentage of video rigs in use today, even with a full assortment of video accessories mounted. Still, a load capacity that far exceeds the actual load results in less vibration and flex.
The taller a tripod is, the more likely it will accommodate your eye-level height or even your eye-level height with one or more tripod legs positioned below you. Add the camera viewfinder height, and this tripod comfortably accommodates a 6' (1.8m) person operating on a flat surface. Video head height is always an addition to the overall height, and that these heads are often moderately high is a tripod height bonus.
While high is good, so is low, and getting the camera right down on the ground can be ideal for some compositions. Relative to tripods without center columns, this one does not go extraordinarily low. Still, 10.6" (26.92 cm) is adequate for most video scenarios.
A tripod's folded length is of primary concern for packing and transport. A 3-section tripod featuring a good maximum height will not be compact when retracted. This tripod is also relatively large in diameter.
All other aspects being equal, larger diameter leg sections will provide greater stability and lower vibrations than smaller diameters. Of course, leg wall thickness and construction details enter into play here. This tripod's 0.6" (1.6 cm) diameter leg tubes are relatively thin. However, this design includes double tubes on the top two sections, significantly increasing the structural strength and rigidity of the design.
The diameter and strength of this apex are significant, contributing to the overall solid design — and surely to the weight. So while this 8.6 lb (3.90 kg) tripod is somewhat heavy, it remains manageable.
As just mentioned, this tripod's apex is significant in size and strength.
As video heads are usually two-way adjusting, a level platform is required. Tripods at this performance level feature a bowl for a half ball to mount in.
This one features a 100mm bowl and an adapter that takes the size down to 75mm.
The kit with a Manfrotto Nitrotech head includes a half ball to flat base adapter. This adapter is not specified as included in the tripod specs, and many video heads feature an integrated half ball.
Unless you are only going to use the tripod on a completely flat surface, typically a floor, you want a tripod model with an independent leg spread that allows the tripod legs to open at various angles to accommodate whatever terrain you encounter. The 645 has this feature.
Models having an independent leg spread feature angle stops at the leg pivot axles, and this seemingly basic design feature plays an important role in the tripod's functionality. One of the primary tripod design observations to make is how strongly the leg angle locks transition into the stops provided on the chassis. Is the stop a weak little tab that protrudes from the chassis? The latter invites failure, and it must be considered that this failure may mean your camera and lens hitting the ground. Also, does the weight distribution go straight into the leg through the leg cups? Or is there a vibration-inviting angle design being used?
The Manfrotto 645 FAST Twin Leg Video Tripod's apex features substantially-sized slots integrated into solid aluminum. The significantly sized plastic locks are mounted on the aluminum double leg connection, and the lockup is firm.
Three stop angles are provided to accommodate varying terrain and height requirements.
Like the apex, the legs are a critical part of a tripod. As hinted in the name, the Manfrotto 645 FAST Twin Leg Video Tripod has aluminum (optionally carbon fiber) tubes that are doubles on the two top leg sections.
When panning under a fluid load, torsional stability is critical. It is important that the tripod head does not twist, and the dual tubes meeting the apex several inches apart aid in that respect.
This tripod is quite rigid, especially with the optional (included in the with-head kit) Manfrotto MVASPR2N1 2-in-1 lockable spreader in place.
The spreader quickly mounts between the feet or between any leg section connector.
Multiple spreaders further increase rigidity.
Note that the ends of the centermost spreader sections are rather sharp.
That the legs stop at their proper folded position is nice.
Most tripods have multiple legs sections, allowing them to be set to various heights or retracted compactly. This means that leg section locks are needed, and this is where the Manfrotto 645 breaks away from the crowd with the FAST feature.
Extending and locking the legs of a heavy tripod load can be physically taxing — and slow. Lift a strong plastic FAST lock lever, and the three leg sections become immediately adjustable.
Slide the open FAST lever to the desired position on the top section, and let gravity and ground pressure position the bottom section. Note that fully extending the top two sections first can make sense for their anti-rotation and higher strength features. Close the FAST lever to lock the selected leg lengths and section positions.
While the factory-adjusted leg lock tightness does not support my weight, these locks will have no problem supporting weights exceeding the capacity rating. Being able to dial in the ideal tripod leg extension positions without bending over is a great feature.
Each tripod leg features twin-spiked feet and a removable wide foot that rides on a small ball between the spikes, attaching via a rubber pull tab.
The rated and tested load capacities of this tripod far exceed what most photographers will need to support. The Manfrotto 645 handled the Canon EOS R5 and RF 600mm F4 L IS USM Lens with ease. Vibrations from this combo were settled out in a few seconds on a Manfrotto 608 Nitrotech Fluid Video Head.
Manfrotto has a reputation for delivering high-performing products with very good build quality and reasonable prices. The 645 FAST Twin Leg Video Tripod fits that expectation.
I usually find it difficult to find cases that ideally fit my tripods. In this case, the ~36" (91cm) padded bag that comes with the kit mentioned above is an ideal solution. The case has a full-length zipper, a sewn-in shoulder strap, and a long, thin zippered interior pocket for storing small items. The kit fits snuggly.
This tripod features a limited 6-month warranty, extendable to 5 years with online registration (in the USA).
Featuring significant strength and rigidity, including against torsional force, good build quality, smart design, including the FAST leg extension adjustment feature, and a modest price, the Manfrotto 645 FAST Twin Leg Video Tripod is a great choice for mid-high level video support needs.
Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan