Lino Manfrotto Passes Away at Age 80 – The History of My Manfrotto
Cameras Come and Go. Tripods and Lenses are Forever.
-The Angry Video Guy, circa 2017
On Sunday February 5, Lino Manfrotto passed away at the age of 80. He started as a photojournalist in Italy who noticed the gap in the market for stands, booms, and clamps. In the 70’s Lino met Gilberto Battocchio, a technician who helped him create a worldwide company.
The duo introduced the first Manfrotto Tripods in 1974 and the rest is history. Although owned now by Vitec Group, Manfrotto the company remains based in the same town it was founded, Bassano del Grappa, which is also where Mr. Manfrotto passed away.
The History of my Manfrotto.
My Father was always doing Photography or Videography (and owned his own company where I learned how to edit) and I remember playing with his SLR camera before I even understood what film was. I remember pushing buttons and sliders on his editing station. I remember seeing a steadicam for the first time. It seemed like he was making magic. I always wanted to work on movies or TV, in any capacity. I loved photography and cinematography.
When I first moved out of my parents place and started to freelance on my own, I had a cheap camera and a flimsy $30 tripod that wasn’t rated to support more than a few pounds. For Christmas that year, my Father sent me a gift. It was a used, loved, but beefy Manfrotto set of sticks with a 3 way photography head. While for stills, I made it work as a video tripod. I shot my first jobs with it.
It’s flown and driven thousands of miles and been dropped and kicked around. I still use it for my stills photography. I used it to take newborn pictures of my son. It has scratches and dings in it, some of which I remember the circumstances of. When I set it up, it always reminds me of my Dad.
Camera technology leaves us upgrading for sensors, frame rates, size, weight, colors, and whatever else to say you have the ‘new hotness’. When you buy a solid tripod or lens, those bits of gear will last you forever and see use on many cameras.
One thing I’d love is (please!) if my son gets into photo when he gets bigger, is to be able to give him this Manfrotto tripod to use himself. I think it’s what production people pass down instead of cars or tools.