I decided to take a trip to The Photography Show, my main aim for visiting was to see new gear and make some new contacts. While looking around the kit I was particularly interested by the Benro UK stand which had a plethora of tripods and heads across the range, I already had a very small Benro MePhoto tripod for travel photography and like the quality but had never really considered the Benro range for my main tripod which I use primarily for landscape photography. I took a look around the stand and have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the kit and found the quality in all the ranges to be of really great quality and decided to spark of a conversation with the Brand Manager for Benro.
At this point is important for me to note that for years I have been an avid Manfrotto user and totally on a 3 way head rather than the popular ball head, the main reason being that I hadn’t found a good enough quality ball head from Manfrotto which was up to the job. In all honesty I have been a little disappointed in the Manfrotto range lately and have found the quality to steadily decrease over the years but that’s just my opinion and many others may disagree (which is fine by me). After some time being shown through the products and considering pros and cons of each, I decided on the TMA38CL Mach3 9X Carbon Fiber Tripod and the V3E Ballhead.
So the choice of tripod was pretty straight forward, my main use for it (although not only use) is landscape photography so there’s a real advantage here – carbon is nice and light compared to aluminium – this makes it much easier to lug around on treks for the shots I want to get. Carbon also doesn’t get freezing cold in the same way that aluminium does which makes it much more pleasant to use in colder temperatures if I happen to have my gloves off because I don’t always like to wear them, that being said there’s a nice review on some Rab gloves I’ve been using and finding them much better than any others I have used! As well as the advantages given my carbon this tripod could go nice and low to the ground but still get nice and tall, this along with the twist lock legs made it a really good model for my uses.
“So what made you choose a ball head since you don’t like them Tom?” is the question I think you might be asking! Well the ball heads that Mark brought along with him to our meeting were certainly all of great quality, seriously, superior quality. They seem to have taken the same unmistakable quality from their Induro range and put that foundation into their whole range of heads, their movement feels almost mechanical and you are truly in control at all times. It also coped perfectly with the heavy weights of a Canon 5D Mk3 with battery grip and 70-200 f2.8 lens on board – not the lightest setup in the world but the head never gave any inclination of giving up, not even a gradual change in position over time, once locked in it felt safe and I could happily step back – but not too far – I wasn’t completely in love with it yet.
So it was decided, I just had to wait for the gear to arrive… and not too many days passed before the courier arrived at the door to see me grinning from ear to ear. I was looking forward to unboxing the kit and getting it tested out in the field.
So on first inspection the packaging from Benro is lovely and obviously shows the guys care about how their products are presented as well as how they function. Some might think that they’ve spent unnecessary wonga on some packaging but not in my opinion, it shows a great level of professionalism for the product inside while also making it appealing on the shelf in store I guess.