A tripod, in the most simplistic of terms, is a self-contained camera support system. These support systems are often necessary and always helpful for providing a stable place upon which your camera can sit. The main drawback to using a tripod is carrying it; it creates extra weight and takes up more space in your setup. While this is something that can never fully be eliminated, Benro features a number of products that address this issue squarely and strive to make a line of support systems that are lightweight and sturdy at the same time.
At the forefront of Benro’s product line stands their Transfunctional Travel Angel Tripod kits. Transfunctional alludes to the fact that these tripods feature dual functionality and can be broken down to work as compact monopods. They are available in either aluminum or carbon fiber construction, and all come as kits with a ball head. There are also a few Travel Angel tripods that lack the transfunctional monopod capabilities, but have the same features in regard to compact sizing. Regardless, if you go with aluminum or carbon fiber, both types offer a great deal of stability (ranging from 5.5 to 26.4 lb in maximum load allowances) but the carbon fiber tripods tend to be approximately 20% lighter than their aluminum counterparts.
Each of these tripods has the ability to fold the legs back, up to 180°, for easy portability and a wide range of angles for shooting on uneven surfaces. The legs incorporate patented dust- and water-resistant rubber locking grips and are anti-rotational. This design allows for quick and simple setup and significantly reduces the chances of dust, sand or water getting between leg sections. The center column includes a hanging hook for placing additional weight for increased stability and many of the legs can be used with rubber or spiked feet for additional traction on the ground. All of these tripods also include a durable soft case with a strap for simple transportation and protection of your tripod. The transfunctional design also incorporates a closed-cell foam grip around one of the legs for a comfortable grip on the tripod when carrying and maneuvering.
The ball head included with the transfunctional kits is dual-action and compatible with Arca-Swiss style quick release plates. The ball head with the standard Travel Angel tripods is a single-action head with Benro’s snap-in style quick-release plates.
The Travel Flat series of tripods are similar in their aim to the Travel Angel tripods, their main goal being to provide a stable platform that is as compact as possible. The Travel Flat tripods are a bit more pared down and simple in design, yet still feature Benro’s dust- and water-resistant rubber lock grips and anti-rotation leg system. The design does differ in a couple of notable ways, however—the center column is fully removable and split into two sections for fine tuning of vertical height, and the tripod can fold completely flat with the legs in line. The largest of this line of tripods has a folded length of 17.3", which can easily fit into suitcases or into the included carry bag for porting. The Travel Flat is available in both carbon fiber and aluminum, with weight difference again being about 20% lighter for the carbon fiber models.
The Classic and Versatile lines of tripods from Benro are less concerned with portability and address the concerns of providing the greatest support more squarely. This is not to say these tripods could not be considered portable, with the longest still being only 26” long when folded. Like prior series, the Classic and Versatile tripods come in both aluminum and carbon fiber designs, with the carbon fiber being the lighter option of the two. The Versatile tripods differ from the Classic ones with the addition of a quick switch center column that can be oriented vertically, horizontally, or diagonally for a wider breadth of flexibility in camera placement.
|Classic Series||Versatile Series|
All of these tripods have the ability to independently lock the tripod legs at three different angles, ideal for shooting on uneven ground and in cramped spaces. Legs can quickly be extended with quick lock levers on each section, and there is the anti-rotation leg system for keeping legs straight and preventing warping or uneven placement. These tripods also feature closed-cell foam grips on one of the three legs for additional comfort and grip when carrying. Spiked or rubber feet are also featured on many of the models and a center column hook is integrated into the design for the option to suspend more weight for greater stability.
Beside the aforementioned difference between the Classic and Versatile tripod lines, there are some other smaller differences to consider when choosing between the two. The Classic tripods feature a reversible center column for greater ease in shooting from low angles. They also have built-in spirit levels and compasses. Lastly, the column lock is a wing nut style for simple, secure height adjustments. The Versatile tripods have column-locking set knobs for a more precise locking method of the center column, ideal when used in regard to the ability to shoot with the center column in horizontal or diagonal configurations.
For even more compact and lightweight support, a monopod provides reliable performance for low-light and long lens shooting. The monopods from Benro have a number of the same features the three-legged systems do, but obviously at 1/3 the size and weight. You again have the choice of aluminum or carbon fiber and options concerning height and load requirements. The monopods feature the same quick lock levers as the Classic and Versatile tripods and feature the anti-rotation leg system for consistent extending and closing. At the base of the leg is a swivel foot pad; this extra-wide base provides grip on almost any surface and is attached to the leg with a ball-and-socket mechanism. The combination of the wide base and ball bearing promotes easy panning and movement while maintaining steadiness during shooting. At the top of the monopods is a closed-cell foam hand grip constructed from NBR for maximum comfort and grip. A hand strap is also attached for additional security.
With the exception of the tripod kits, each of these tripods or monopods is greatly enhanced with the use of a head. Either a ball head or a pan/tilt head will provide a great deal of support and control wherever you point your camera and they all offer a quick-release feature for speedy switching between mounted and handheld use.
The B series double action ball heads feature a universal quick release system that is designed to work with Arca-Swiss style systems. These heads also support separate locking and drag controls, so you don’t confuse operations when working quickly. At the base of the head is a graduated 360° scale, providing visual feedback of the number of degrees you have panned. A bubble level is also built in to the top of the head for maintaining evenness while panning or tilting.
The BH series ball heads are single-action heads for a slightly faster work pace. This single action means that when loosened, you can rotate the ball in any direction you please, and it can be locked into place quickly with a one-touch adjustment knob. These heads feature Benro’s dual lock quick release system that allows for quick and easy mounting and removal of your camera from the tripod.
The DJ80 Monopod Tilt Head is specifically designed for use with monopods and uses the same dual-locking quick release system the BH ball heads feature. It also features a single locking knob for simple front- and rear-axis tilt while keeping the lateral motions constant, dependent on your positioning of the entire monopod. A bubble level is built in to the top of the head, too, for plumb-gauging.
|DJ80 Monopod Tilt Head||HD 3-Way Pan Heads|
Straying from ball and tilt heads, the HD 3-Way Pan Heads are the most accurate and precise of the heads. They feature two handles for controlling the lateral and vertical tilts and a separate pan knob for controlling the rotation of the head on the tripod. At the base of the head is a graduated angle scale for precise positioning of your movements. An integrated bubble level on top allows you to assess the levelness of everything. These heads also incorporate Benro’s dual locking quick release system for a secure and reliable connection between your camera and the support system.