Benro tripod and ball head review

Started Apr 4, 2006 | Discussions thread
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msandra New Member • Posts: 19
Benro tripod and ball head review

Having received my Benro M-228n6 and KS-1 and used them for a week, I feel like writing a review for these China made, Gitzo and Arca Swiss like products as I don't see many informative posts on this forum..

Product: Benro M-228n6 4-section tripod, carbon fiber and KS-1 ball head

I was puzzling my head off when I finally realized my old Gitzo G1127 outfit was no more qualified for the new D200 body I purchased. My budget was limited and too shy to see a G1227, therefore I turned to a friend of mine who’s a full time photographer for a cuisine magazine, having in mind that he may just sell me one of his at a descent price. Then he mentioned to me the brand ‘Benro’ (yes, I thought he meant Benbo too). Unfortunately he didn’t have his Benro at home to show me how it performs at that time.

I went home, done my research, ordered the m228n6 and ks1 at almost half price of what G1227 costs from a wholesaler in Montreal and got it after 3 days (weirdly it was shipped from Ontario). I was a bit shocked when I opened up the parcel, is this thing really made in China? (no offence to our Chinese friends in any way) the carbon fiber tubes are beautiful and extends smoothly, the seller told me they just come out of the factory weeks ago and are built with the new n6 process, I think they just updated their processes to match up with Gitzo’s X6 technology. A few words on the n6 because the price is $50 more for this model compared to the regular non-n6 m228. According to the seller, the carbon fiber tubes of the n6 Benro’s are 8-layered, as opposed to the regular model and the Gitzo’s new X6 model’s 6-layered tubes. They are supposed to be the strongest among all brands. Other n6 improvements include the use of sand-proof locks and water-resistant capability.

Moving on to the performance, this thing is built like a tank, solid, solid and solid! The extension of all tubes is smooth and can be done with one hand (thanks to the anti-rotation mechanism), the trade-off is that the sand-proof locks are a bit stiff to tighten, no big deal. The tripod measures about 160cm while fully extended; with the ks1 monoball and d200 on top it’s almost 185cm! I can now take photos while standing straight. Stability is excellent, too. I remember seeing a picture with a guy hanging on a Benro tripod somewhere but I couldn’t find it anymore, I used to think that is impossible but now I am convinced. The tripod wouldn’t budge a bit when I tried to squash it with one hand. With my D200 and 70-200 VR lens attached, the m228 and ks-1 handle the shooting at any angle perfectly, without any observable vibration on any picture, even under long-time exposure. My favorite feature is the three feet can be quickly switched between spikes and rubber stands, no more worrying about holes in my wooden floor.

Compared with the G1127, I would say the Gitzo has a slightly better crafting, in terms of performance and stability, the Benro wins hands down, maybe because I am comparing with a smaller size Gitzo but the Benro is 4 sections while G1127 has 3 which should give it extra stability. Maybe someone who has a G1228 and a M-228 can better justify the comparison.

Extra values: the m228n6 comes with a mini navigator and a mini level; they both work very well although I don’t know how accurate they are. All three legs are equipped with foam tubes, and these tubes normally don’t come with Gitzo’s tripods which means you have to pay for them. The m228n6 comes with a nice and tough carrying bag that fits the tripod and the ball head, a nice and practical accessory.

Now on the KS-1 monoball, this ball head is so smooth and easy to use, I will believe this is an Arca Swiss if the Benro sign is not there. Locking is quick and sharp even with the heaviest camera set I own. I have no problem with it at all, and it totally blows the Manfrotto 488 out of the water. Only thing I hate is the quick release can not be fitted without a coin.

This outfit is absolutely the best bang of the buck, a solid performer. My only complain is the locking mechanism is a bit stiff.

Pros: value, stability, sand proof, light weight
Cons: locking is a bit stiff, hard to find

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