Benro offers a fantastic range of beginner to professional tripods, monopods, a series of accessories and some other bits.
Recently they asked me to review one of their professional ranged tripods the Benro TMA47al which is part of the Mach 3 series a extremely reliable series of tripods & accessories. I have now had the tripod for 6 months now, and it has been abroad and around the UK more times than I have had birthdays.
Ranging from the sand filled and heat dominant Vale Do Lobo - all the way to the furthest side of rainy Norfolk. It has been battered by the sea several times, and has been attacked by sand and dirt too many times. Starting with the most important aspect of a tripod, would be :
The tripod itself, has very firm and large width legs which can sustain all of my gear, even at once. Recently I took a trip to the furthest side of Norfolk which was quite eventful, with the weather telling me to stay in bed. Once setup, the wind & the rain both took a toll on the images I was getting, however through this with my bag strapped to the bottom, the tripod held steadily. Although the sea water, and sand combined made the legs stiff, but with a wash this went straight away.
Setting up the tripod, and placing the camera on it with the variety of lenses I used served as quite a great anchor point for the tripod, if not they include a hook at the bottom to attach your bag to, which I use quite regularly. So far, I have not had an issue with the tripod blowing over, and has been quite a good feature to making my photography that much more unique.
Benro kindly sends you with all the necessary tools, feet, and centre columns to change out for the variety of photography they are used for. Furthermore, they send it with a sleeve to put it in, a carry case for travel and a whole range of pamphlets, and guides. Which you can never have enough of.
The ability to change out the centre columns for a shorter/longer one allows you to have your tripod to your preference on the go, personally I use the short column to just enable me to carry it easier, and not get my hands caught, and to also try to reduce that little bit of weight it adds. The weight itself, does not effect the usability , as I’ve comfortably walked miles with my bag full of camera gear + the tripod strapped to the back with comfortable ease. Itself it ways just under 3kg, which for a heavy duty tripod like this, is very reasonable - which has a maximum weight of 20kg on it, so it is worth the extra weight. This tripod also has a leg locking mechanism that is a twist lock, which allows you to assemble your tripod in a number of seconds if your in a rush or on the go.
Moreover, the legs themselves also have a variable tilt leg that allows you to adjust them to multiple degree angles to get down low, or by using the longer centre column - higher, approximately 180cm. However what i have learned from using it in a variety of conditions would be the fully-folded down tripod which itself is still 68.5cm, which means strapping it to your bag may be a small 30 second task.
What i liked
This tripod has been the first-line of defence for most of my photographic trips, and I have been using it for some time now. I loved the overall feel of the tripod and stability, The personable features of this tripod made it very easy to use and also having it suit my needs for what I wanted to use it for made it favourable from my other old tripod. I loved the inter-changeable feet, adjustable tripod angles, the centre column inter-changeability.
The ball head feels durable and ready for DSLR camera setups, and professional range film cameras.
All the knobs from the centre column to ball head are grippy and feel well made.
The tripod looks clean and cool, the carbon-fibre looks even better.
There’s a hand grip on one of the legs for carrying comfort.
Pros & Cons
Versatile and customisable
Arrangement of attachments & necessary tools
Quite heavy duty, however still light at 2.85kg
Great customer service & brand reputation
5 Year Warranty
The aluminium aspect is the basic version of the carbon fibre, however which is £100 more.
Not completely airtight, water can enter the tripod frame itself.
Medium sized folded down size of 68.5cm, quite big.
Doesn’t come with a tripod head, so you’ll have to buy your own.
Stiff at first, however becomes un-stiff with use. (Included this due to the already heavy build, makes it difficult at first).
Expensive if your on a budget, depending on where you purchase.
Cleaning regularly (I like to take care of my tripods, however if not the locking mechanisms can become stiff) - Optional.