Benro GD3WH

Recent image from one of my 1-2-1 Workshops at Brightlingsea, Essex.

Recent image from one of my 1-2-1 Workshops at Brightlingsea, Essex.

What to look for in a good head?

Landscape Photography can be influenced & diversified in anyway, due to the variety of subjects that Landscape Photographer's can actually capture, this means that having good reliable kit can make the world of difference. However, even having the best, lightest, highest priced equipment doesn’t mean it can turn you into David Noton in a week.

In 1975 Steven Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak, invented and built the first self-contained electronic camera that used a charge-coupled device image sensor. Today, things are quite different. Digital Camera’s can now be accompanied with a variety of tripods, heads & accessories. Fast forward 40 years, I have my hands on something I’ve been wanting to play with for a while.

I look for 5 main things when I’m adding to my bag, whether this be camera’s themselves or the gear that help me make the image.

  • Versatility

  • Price

  • Product Quality (Enabled Lifespan)

  • Durability

  • Weight

Some facts to get started with.

Head movement
Tilt Up/Down +90*/-30* Tilt Landscape –90*/+30*.

Dimensions
145 x 139 x 109mm

Magnesium Alloy construction
Overall weight of just 740g with 6kg weight capacity

Arca-style Quick Release plate
Swap between heads without the need to change plates.

Versatility

A workshop client having a go, with their 1DX M2.

A workshop client having a go, with their 1DX M2.

The ability this head provides a photographer is second to none, as any geared 3-way head would do, Benro’s version of the 3 way head is a brilliant addition to the range of heads, legs & accessories they sell.

The weight, overall build provided me with quite an easy addition to my kit, as the weight didn’t nearly bother me at all. On the head itself, the fine adjustments that can be made with the knobs I think is a brilliant way of finely tuning my imagery down to a tee, moreover the ability of releasing the knobs with a spring loaded valve like system just before the knob also allows the use for quick turns or tilts.

Moreover, I thought that the addition of the spirit levels throughout the head was a nice touch.

Lastly, without a doubt I’m not sure I’m the only who has un-done the head plate release, and the camera slips to it’s peril. Well, Benro thought of this, and with the addition of the anti-slip place with in-build notches to be released with a further twist & pull of the plate release knob.

Pros

  • Lightweight.

  • Enables fine-adjustments.

  • Anti-slip plate head.

  • Functionality to release each function & twist, rotate or tilt to your wildest dreams!

  • Adjustment scales for each pivot point (degrees scales).

  • Easy application.

Cons

  • Getting used to it.

  • The knobs are stiff at first, however do loosen up.

  • The need to capture quick shots on the move at first is a slow process due to the slow motion of the knobs, however once I got to grips with it the release knobs to use it quicker helped.

A messy bag after a day out with the camera!

A messy bag after a day out with the camera!

Price

Finances restrict my ability to purchase the best, highest of the line equipment I can find. However at first glance seeing the head at between £150-200 across a variety of sites across the web, was already hurting my pocket however, finding the best website with the best guarantee & price can save you anywhere from £10-50 on the head. The quality for pound basis I judge my gear over was second to none with this head, the build/design justifies the price you will be paying for this head.

In comparison with other geared tripod heads, alike Manfrotto, Gitzo & others, Benro is really playing the ballgame for ‘price to quality’, with the head being significantly cheaper than these other heads for me choosing Benro’s set of products was a no-brainer.

Product quality

Magnesium Alloy construction
Overall weight of just 740g with 6kg weight capacity’

Seeing this on the outside packaging of the head itself filled me with joy, as most geared heads run way over 1kg in weight, and most are built with some form of Carbon-fibre which scratches too easily.

At first glance, all the joints for the 3 axis’s were lubricated well and worked smoothly after getting the initial stiffness out of the way. The build of the head itself is firm, sturdy and actually absorbs any knocks or jolts you can encounter whilst taking an image.

Durability

Throughout these last few months, all of my workshops around Suffolk defiantly include a long-walk, or some form of fitness. This Head/Legs combo really does stand out after you’ve used it for a while, after days by the coast and the legs have been submerged in sub-zero seawater all it takes is a clean to get the sand and seawater out, however one time I left it uncleaned, and although the leg locks became tougher to unlock, after it’s bath in the ocean it’s performance was outstanding, I’ve owned a variety of professional range tripods and a substantial amount lighter, however Benro’s USP is that these products are meant to last and last they will.

Weight

Alike any-other photographer, bag weight does take a toll on how far I can travel. With an overall weight of just 740g, which is less than half of Manfrotto’s geared head.

This head also had the opportunity to join me on a shoot with BBC One/Look East, for a segment recently.. and the crew was more than jealous!

An image with the head..

An image with the head..