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beardedwombat
24th November 2007, 05:24 PM
There I was, all miserable because my new E-3 didn't arrive yesterday but this morning another new toy did arrive. A few days ago I posted an enquiry about Benro tripods on the FTU forum, asking if anyone had any experience of them. There were no replies but me being me, I ordered one anyway late on Thursday. I was after the impossible - a light but rigid, versatile tripod for not much money. I had read several opinions on various forums rating Benros quite highly but had never seen one so it was a bit of a punt in the dark. They are Chinese Gitzo knockoffs at less than half the price. The jobbie I ordered was a Benro Flexpod C-297n6 from here: http://photopal.co.uk/index.php?cPath=38. It cost 159.00 plus postage. I emailed the website first to check that it was in stock and received an almost immediate reply stating that all items listed on the site were in stock - very efficient. I was expecting it on Monday but it turned up today. I have been using a Manfrotto 190MF4 which is very light and compact, and ok for the 410/510 with kit lenses but not for anything much bigger. The pic below shows the difference in size. Once the head and camera are mounted, I can't use it with the legs fully extended - me being a bit of a shorthouse.

I have to say I am delighted with it. The quality is very good, better than I expected and better than the Manfrotto - less plastic. It is only 200g heavier at 1.8kg in spite of being much bigger, and much more rigid. It comes with a nice bag big enough for the tripod and head plus a set of spikes and shoulder strap. The strap clips on to the tripod or bag. The multi-function centre column works very well and is very versatile, though obviously when in use the rigidity is affected as with any tripod centre column. I use a Giottos ballhead which has grey stove enamelling to match the tripod mounting assembly which is convenient. My 510 with 50-200 sits very nicely atop the head though I am surprised that the 50-200 lens tripod mounting flexes so much vertically but that is no fault of the tripod but of Olympus.

I have no idea of the longevity of a Benro but I would expect it to last at least as long as a Manfrotto. I would suggest to anyone thinking of buying a new tripod that they should at least investigate a Benro as well as the other more popular brands.

Cheers
Chris

Magnumaniac
24th November 2007, 06:27 PM
... and you post that just as I return from the E-system live day in Sheffield, having talked myself into buying a Manfrotto setup capable of supporting the large piece of glass I have arriving on Monday :D Like you, I have a lightweight one that is fine for kit lenses, but I wouldn't trust it with a lens weighing nearly 2KG.

No problem though, I am very happy with what I have obtained, and the price I paid after a bit of haggling ;)

055XB Pro tripod (like the Benro, it allows the centre column to be set horizontally for low shooting) with the 322 trigger ball head, for the same as the best price I can find that combo anywhere online.

Do let us know how the Benro shapes up though - sounds like a good find and excellent price for a carbon fibre kit.

Ian.

beardedwombat
24th November 2007, 06:47 PM
I would be interested to know how you get on with the 322 and heavy lenses. I was thinking of buying one but thought it might be a bit lightweight and bought the Giottos ballhead instead, perhaps I was mistaken.

I thought the Benro was spectacular value for money for a carbon tripod and lighter than most. The smaller Manfrotto 190MF4 I have is around 40 more so I should be able to fleabay it for what I paid for the Benro since it is unmarked.

Cheers
Chris

Ian
24th November 2007, 07:26 PM
There I was, all miserable because my new E-3 didn't arrive yesterday but this morning another new toy did arrive. A few days ago I posted an enquiry about Benro tripods on the FTU forum, asking if anyone had any experience of them. There were no replies but me being me, I ordered one anyway late on Thursday. I was after the impossible - a light but rigid, versatile tripod for not much money. I had read several opinions on various forums rating Benros quite highly but had never seen one so it was a bit of a punt in the dark. They are Chinese Gitzo knockoffs at less than half the price. The jobbie I ordered was a Benro Flexpod C-297n6 from here: http://photopal.co.uk/index.php?cPath=38. It cost 159.00 plus postage. I emailed the website first to check that it was in stock and received an almost immediate reply stating that all items listed on the site were in stock - very efficient. I was expecting it on Monday but it turned up today. I have been using a Manfrotto 190MF4 which is very light and compact, and ok for the 410/510 with kit lenses but not for anything much bigger. The pic below shows the difference in size. Once the head and camera are mounted, I can't use it with the legs fully extended - me being a bit of a shorthouse.

I have to say I am delighted with it. The quality is very good, better than I expected and better than the Manfrotto - less plastic. It is only 200g heavier at 1.8kg in spite of being much bigger, and much more rigid. It comes with a nice bag big enough for the tripod and head plus a set of spikes and shoulder strap. The strap clips on to the tripod or bag. The multi-function centre column works very well and is very versatile, though obviously when in use the rigidity is affected as with any tripod centre column. I use a Giottos ballhead which has grey stove enamelling to match the tripod mounting assembly which is convenient. My 510 with 50-200 sits very nicely atop the head though I am surprised that the 50-200 lens tripod mounting flexes so much vertically but that is no fault of the tripod but of Olympus.

I have no idea of the longevity of a Benro but I would expect it to last at least as long as a Manfrotto. I would suggest to anyone thinking of buying a new tripod that they should at least investigate a Benro as well as the other more popular brands.

Cheers
Chris

Hi Chris - I have never noticed the mount on my 50-200 flex. Silly question maybe but have you tightened the collar fully?

I've had to tighten the allen screws on the 90-250 mount, though.

Ian

Ian
24th November 2007, 07:36 PM
One thing I'm not keen on is twist lock legs.

Ian

beardedwombat
24th November 2007, 07:37 PM
No question is ever silly where I am concerned. I have been known to do the daftest things but, yes, the collar was as tight as I could get it. When you apply gentle pressure to the lens you can see the gap narrow between the mounting foot and the lens. The only other lens I have used with a tripod mount was a Tokina and I don't remember that flexing.
Chris

beardedwombat
24th November 2007, 07:43 PM
The advantage in this case is because it has three section legs, you can undo both the twist locks at the same time on each leg with one (1/4) turn. Makes it quicker to erect. In my case, being a shortie, I then have to align the lower sections to pencil marks I have made on the carbon to get the correct height thus nullifying the advantage. I think I prefer the twist locks though, they seem less fiddly than levers.
Chris

Ian
24th November 2007, 07:49 PM
No question is ever silly where I am concerned. I have been known to do the daftest things but, yes, the collar was as tight as I could get it. When you apply gentle pressure to the lens you can see the gap narrow between the mounting foot and the lens. The only other lens I have used with a tripod mount was a Tokina and I don't remember that flexing.
Chris

I will have a look at mine to see if it does the same - it's at the office so I don't have it here with me, unfortunately.

Ian

beardedwombat
24th November 2007, 07:55 PM
Thanks Ian. As I say, I am not experienced in the use of tripod mount lenses and assumed that the mounting would be rigid. Maybe I was expecting too much. I still love the lens though. It's pining for its E-3!:(
Chris

Barr1e
24th November 2007, 10:41 PM
Chris -

The grass needs cutting!:D

Kindest regards. Barr1e

beardedwombat
24th November 2007, 11:29 PM
I know Barr1e, and its got big grey things growing out of it too!:D

Magnumaniac
25th November 2007, 12:41 AM
I would be interested to know how you get on with the 322 and heavy lenses. I was thinking of buying one but thought it might be a bit lightweight and bought the Giottos ballhead instead, perhaps I was mistaken.

I thought the Benro was spectacular value for money for a carbon tripod and lighter than most. The smaller Manfrotto 190MF4 I have is around 40 more so I should be able to fleabay it for what I paid for the Benro since it is unmarked.

Cheers
Chris

I was leaning towards a nice fluid head they had in there, but then saw the 322 and started asking about it. The guy demo'd it to me with a Canon setup that must have weighed about 3Kg, and it handled that without a problem.

It certainly doesn't appear or feel lightweight, and is specced at a maximum load of 5Kg - so I'm hoping it won't have any trouble with my 2.5Kg E-510 / Bigma combo. Time will tell of course - I'll let you know more after the lens arrives.

Ian.

yorky
25th November 2007, 02:41 PM
Benro! is that the same as Benbo? These are arguably the best for natural history photography as they will go anywhere you wantto put them once you get used to them

Nick Temple-Fry
26th November 2007, 12:31 AM
Benro! is that the same as Benbo? These are arguably the best for natural history photography as they will go anywhere you wantto put them once you get used to them

No Benro are a chinese copy of conventional tripods.

I agree Benbo are great, I use a Trekker. However they are neither particularly light nor particularly compact, very versatile though and you can plonk them down in 18 inches or so of water with no risk of harm.

Nick

beardedwombat
26th November 2007, 09:47 AM
I hope I did not offend anyone in my use of the phrase "Chinese knockoff" when describing the Benro tripod. I note that there has been an exchange of posts on the FTU forum regarding a similar phrase. If I have offended anyone then I sincerely apologise. I should, of course, have said "Chinese copy". China is without doubt an industrial force to be reckoned with and produces some extremely well made products, Benro tripods being one of them. I seem to remember Japan being well known for copies a few years ago and it now produces some of the world's best known brands - how long before China follows suit? As a consumer I am more than happy to pay lower prices for quality products.
Cheers
Chris

yorky
26th November 2007, 12:15 PM
Seems you got it right first time? I had wondred about the misspelling of Benbo. Whilst they are very heavy etc they are superb

beardedwombat
26th November 2007, 12:29 PM
Yes Benro and Benbo are two completely different brands both making excellent tripods.