The Most Popular Tripods, Bags, and Monolights of 2018

The Most Popular Tripods, Bags, and Monolights of 2018

From bags, to tripods, and gadgets: were there any standout products that people picked up?

This year, I picked up a new Pelican Air, a Peak Design pouch, and some dongles for my MacBook Pro. A very exciting year, you can see. Looking back, it’s interesting to see which bags and tripods are popular right now, so let’s dig into the data.

The data we have for this article largely came from B&H, who are only counting the final quarter. LensRentals has some interesting insights too, and of course, online recourses like 500px don’t have metadata on the camera bags people are using.

Most Popular Tripods

  1. Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 three section
  2. Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 four section
  3. Manfrotto 190go! w/ twist locks
  4. Benro TMA38CL Long Mach3 Carbon Fiber w/ twist locks
  5. Manfrotto MT190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber

I expected Manfrotto to do well here, although it’s funny that neither the really compact nor heavy duty tripods made it onto the list. I actually own a Manfrotto tripod from this list so I can attest to the popularity in some sense. For the size and weight, they’re incredibly handy and do most of what I need.

Most Popular Bags

Backpacks

  1. Manfrotto Windsor
  2. Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW
  3. Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II
  4. Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW
  5. Lowepro Flipside 300

Shoulder Bags

  1. Ruggard Journey 44
  2. Ruggard Journey 34
  3. Tenba DNA 10
  4. Ruggard Journey 24
  5. Tenba DNA 15

I’m a big fan of Lowepro’s backpacks, and the 450 AW is probably my favorite. Still though, I’m surprised that it’s so dominated by a single brand. Where’s Peak Design? Bear in mind that for B&H, Manfrotto and Lowepro have the most amount of available backpacks.

Ruggard and Tenba are killing the shoulder bag game. Again, I'm surprised Peak Design isn't on this list, but I suspect the incredibly affordable options from Ruggard are pushing the competition out. I'll bet lots of people received new cameras in Ruggard cases this Christmas.

Most Popular Monolight

  1. Godox AD600Pro Witstro All-In-One
  2. Profoto B10 OCF (single head)
  3. Godox AD400Pro Witstro All-In-One
  4. Interfit S1 500Ws
  5. Interfit Honey Badger 320Ws

Leaving the best for last. Recently, Lee took a look at the Profoto B10 and the Godox AD400Pro, putting them head to head. In my eyes, they’re both at the cream of the crop, and the stats prove it. Which do you prefer?

So that's 2018 wrapped up. Here's to 2019, and the gear that might be released. NAB is in April, but CES starts next week! I’m not holding my breath for a Sony a7S III, but I’d love to see more info on Panasonic’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. Also, will Apple bother to update the MacBook Pro when they’ve just done a decent job with the new Mac Mini? What do you see coming next year?

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10 Comments

Alex Cooke's picture

"Profoto B10 and the Godox AD400Pro... In my eyes, they’re both at the cream of the crop, and the stats prove it. Which do you prefer?"

My Bron. And quite frankly, how dare you.

Jon Winkleman's picture

I have two Interfit S1's and love them, even better that B&H threw in a transmitter during a half price sale (right now B&H is discounting them at $540 from their list of $999). I invested the savings in better modifiers. I bought a Mola Setti last spring that has really improved my lighting. Photons are photons. The Interfit is reliable, has battery or cord options, easy to use and I find it very reliable and well built. Light coming out of my Mola Setti produced by an Interfit, Godox or even a Profoto all light my subjects the same way. The Profoto does have a better modeling light suited to video and they are easier to gel. I do not do video and have made gels to fit over the pyrex domes on my Interfit.

Alex Cooke's picture

I'm just messing with Steve; don't get me wrong. My first strobes were Interfits and I learned a ton with them. I prefer my Brons over Profotos because of the exposed tube (I use a lot of large and parabolic modifiers) and the higher power in a battery-powered monolight (I work outside a lot).

Jon Winkleman's picture

I do a lot of figure landscape work on photo-hikes. I had been using speed lights as moonlights with cords are useless outdoors. I find 500 watts is all I need for my own outdoor work...HOWEVER I am delving into alternative process and want to start doing tintypes in 2019. With an ISO equivalent of 1, wet plate chemistry needs between 2000-4000+ watts to use studio lighting. I am looking into used Speedotrons with an external power pack.

Jon Winkleman's picture

One thing I do like about the Godox is the transmitters are interchangeable with their speed lights making it easier to use moonlights and speed lights in the same shoot. I was looking at the Profoto A1 and it has the same power as any other flagship speed light (it is a speed light and not an on camera moonlight as advertised). The only difference is Profoto designed a superior reflector and Fresnel to produce a more beautiful direct unmodified light. However I very very rarely use my sppedlights while on camera without modifying or bouncing them so I personally do not see an advantage to an A1 other than it would be compatible with my system if I also had B1's and B10's. I have intermit and the handful of times I combined speed lights with moonlights I simply did it in manual slave and it worked fine (my more complex lighting is not TTL anyways)

For a day out in the city or country these may be able to carry every lens, flash and tripod you may have in your arsenal, but none are very useful for anything else. Some food, some water or other liquids (in some cases), rain gear or other things humans need when outside the studio. These are useless for day hiking. I got a mid-sized back pack, which is too much but at least it works for me. Any better suggestions?

Graham Glover's picture

The backpack list is funny. I have the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW. It was part of a package when I bought my 5DMkIV from B&H (which is the company where the link in this article leads). The bag is very well made and there's nothing at all wrong with it, except for one thing: I have no use for it. I have it in my list of things to do.

Use Lowepro bag
UPDATE
No compelling need;
More trouble to use than it is worth

On some level, the design is awesome. AW means All Weather. The 16L means volume is 16 litres. There are lots of very interesting features it has. Again, it's a well made backpack. It's attractive. It feels good. It seems rugged. It's made from good materials! This is a high quality product. Still, whether I'm doing a grab-n-go shoot, a street fashion shoot, or something in between, there's not been one time I've said this bag will complement my work flow. I have lots of bags from small to large, and even a Pelican case for those rare times I need lots of gear. So many times I've forced myself to look at the Lowepro first and allow for some 'learning curve' with it and said, "It's going to slow me down too much and get in my way." Then I grab something else. Was this designed by someone who actually uses cameras?!

I imagine this bag is useful for someone. It's popularity is curious to me, however. Have people actually purchased it directly, or is its popularity a function of how it's been distributed through various kit packages? It's as if it belongs on the Island of Misfit Camera Bags.

Eric Salas's picture

Honestly kinda surprised with the absence of the AD200 in here.

Rifki Syahputra's picture

if the "winning" or most favorite gear are defined with the most time spend with them, then my 2018 "favorite" gears are the $1 portable (plastic) mini tripod, neoprene insert bag and the yongnuos.. they're really handy and great to travel with

Rob Watts's picture

I've gone through a lot of backpacks over the years. About 2yrs ago I found the MindShift Backlight 26L. Costly, and not perfect, but damn near for me. I carry a 5D3, 100-400 II, 16-35 f/4, LEE Filters, and misc stuff on the inside and various things in the pockets on the outside. Its comfortable and the whole swing it around on your hip and unzip is insanely useful.