audijam: what's the relationship between Benro and Sirui?
OK, I happened to be looking at tripods in my local camera shop and got the lowdown as far as my very limited Chinese and the salesman's limited English allows. Yup, I live in China, about 30 km (20 miles) from tripod central, as it turns out.Benro/Mefoto, Sirui, Velbon (that's right, the Japanese Velbon) and a local brand (Oho?) whose name I don't recall, are all made in the modern manufacturing city of Zhongshan in Guangdong Province. Twenty short years ago Zhongshan was but a dusty town. Now it's a thriving city of 5 million. History buffs might know that it's named after Dr. Sun Yat Sen (otherwise known as Zhongshan) "the father of modern China". Zhongshan is also part of a mega-city centred on Guangzhou (Canton) that is home to 44 million people. This manufacturing juggernaut has room for plenty of tripod factories. The skinny? Sirui and Benro are definitely under different ownership in the Detroit of Chinese tripods.