Vid Review: Manfrotto Magic Arms 143N & 244N – Which is Best?
Manfrotto has two different Magic Arms that essentially do the same thing, but does one work better than the other?
The 143N and the 244N by Manfrotto are variable angle magic arms that hold equipment like lights, cameras, and even laptop table tops in place. They’re mainly used by photo and video people where it may not be feasible to use a light stand or tripod. In fact, using a magic arm could be ideal in odd spaces where conventional methods aren’t practical.
DESIGN / USAGE
They almost look identical – they both have two metal arms that swivel and two ball mounted ends that insert into lights or other grip connectors like super clamps. Both are heavy duty and almost fully made of metal and supports 6.6 lbs (3kg) of weight.
The difference then, comes in the locking mechanism – the 143N has a lever that locks things in place with one swift turn while the 244N uses a knob. Both have pros and cons.
The long and short of it is, the 143N should be used if speed is a concern, especially in the case where you have several of these magic arms to position lights. But if minute placement and direction is more important, the 244N is the way to go and is certainly what you want to use for cameras.
In my case, placing an overhead camera with a lever was almost impossible – I’d never get the exact placement I wanted because every time I locked the lever, the arm would jump a little and the aim would be off. But with the 244N, turning the knob with variable amounts of locking stiffness guaranteed much more precise control.
I wouldn’t dream of using the 244N for lights though. I mean who has time to twist a stupid knob 7 or 8 times just to position a light – if you can do it with a quick turn of a lever?
WHERE IT’S MADE
Surprisingly (at least according to the labels), these products are made in Italy. In fact, all the Manfrotto gear I own (tripods, light stands, fluid heads, etc) are all made in Italy. It’s one of the few companies that don’t have the word “China” on them, which is quite a rarity these days. But despite that, they still remain a competitive force in the photo/video world with a very strong brand. In the back of mind, I’m sort of glad to be supporting Italians and their economy though in reality, it’s owned by a British company.
The Manfrotto 143N and 244N are magic arms that basically do the same thing, but shouldn’t be used for certain things if you value your time and sanity. 143N lever lock for lights, and 244N knob lock for cameras.
Great grip equipment that are highly recommended – if you need them.
More info: https://manfrotto.com