Benro ballheads

Started Oct 26, 2013 | Discussions
Dave Lively Senior Member • Posts: 1,805
Benro ballheads

I sending back a Benro C2682TV2 tripod I just bought.  The tripod was very rigid but I found the V2 ballhead too frustrating to live with.

The problem with the head was that it seemed like the drag could not be set low enough.  It was very difficult to make fine adjustments.  Once I applied enough force to break the ball free it would move further than I wanted.  On the V series head there is not separate knobs for locking the head and adjusting drag.  Drag is adjusted by setting a dial inside that locking knob to limit how far loose it will be when set to open.  It looked like I could not set this dial as far as needed to prevent the ball from sticking.  There is a scale from 0 to 12 showing how tightly the ball is locked.  I could not set mine lower than 1.5.

Has anyone else had experience with a Benro V series head?

Do the Benro B series heads with a separate drag control have a similar problem?

Does anyone has any suggestions for a rigid tripod that weighs around 4 pounds or less with head and costs less than $600?

My camera is a Sony NEX.  It is light and has a electronic first curtain shutter which means there is no mechanical motion to create blur until the shutter closes.  So normally I could get by with a lighter tripod.  I bought a heavier model because I sometimes use it with an old manual focus Canon FD 300mm f4 L lens and want to be sure I had enough tripod.  The one I am sending back seemed more than stable enough so if someone has a lighter recommendation I am open to that too.

But I absolutely want a head that can be easily adjusted and does not droop.  And the tripod has to be able to rigid enough to prevent motion blur with a 300mm lens on an APS-C camera.  If that means I am going to have to buy a $300+ head on $600+ legs I may have to reconsider if I really need a tripod but I am not going to settle for less.

wanner Regular Member • Posts: 375
Very happy with B1

No text.

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wazu
wazu Senior Member • Posts: 1,373
Re: Benro ballheads

Dave Lively wrote:

I sending back a Benro C2682TV2 tripod I just bought. The tripod was very rigid but I found the V2 ballhead too frustrating to live with.

The problem with the head was that it seemed like the drag could not be set low enough. It was very difficult to make fine adjustments. Once I applied enough force to break the ball free it would move further than I wanted. On the V series head there is not separate knobs for locking the head and adjusting drag. Drag is adjusted by setting a dial inside that locking knob to limit how far loose it will be when set to open. It looked like I could not set this dial as far as needed to prevent the ball from sticking. There is a scale from 0 to 12 showing how tightly the ball is locked. I could not set mine lower than 1.5.

Has anyone else had experience with a Benro V series head?

Do the Benro B series heads with a separate drag control have a similar problem?

Does anyone has any suggestions for a rigid tripod that weighs around 4 pounds or less with head and costs less than $600?

My camera is a Sony NEX. It is light and has a electronic first curtain shutter which means there is no mechanical motion to create blur until the shutter closes. So normally I could get by with a lighter tripod. I bought a heavier model because I sometimes use it with an old manual focus Canon FD 300mm f4 L lens and want to be sure I had enough tripod. The one I am sending back seemed more than stable enough so if someone has a lighter recommendation I am open to that too.

But I absolutely want a head that can be easily adjusted and does not droop. And the tripod has to be able to rigid enough to prevent motion blur with a 300mm lens on an APS-C camera. If that means I am going to have to buy a $300+ head on $600+ legs I may have to reconsider if I really need a tripod but I am not going to settle for less.

I had similar experience with a Benro B0 ballhead. The metal alloy just seems to soft. I picked up an even cheaper Tiopo in a giveaway when I purchased a second Canon body and although it sells cheaper than the Benro and is the same size although labelled B-1 it is much smoother and locks down with more precision.

I also had to return a Benro Arca-Swiss style clamp because the metal and finishing were basically cheap low aluminum with sloppy machining. Purchased a bonafide Arca-Swiss clamp which for just a fraction more was far superior in all aspects.

Burned twice now by Benro so they won't get another chance from me.

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OP Dave Lively Senior Member • Posts: 1,805
Re: Benro ballheads

Thanks for the feedback.  I am still not sure what I am going to do for tripod but am leaning towards spending what it takes to get a good one.  I hate to spend so much money on something that looks so simple but making a good one must be way harder than it looks.  But a good tripod would probably be the only piece of gear that I will still be using 20 years from now.

Giovanni_1968
Giovanni_1968 Senior Member • Posts: 2,217
Re: Benro ballheads

I got a Benro TA, aluminium tripod light enough to go hiking, head is a B-1 and it can stand with no problem the D800 with a long lens like the 80-200, two knobs for drag, can't complain for the price I paid the whole thing, it's not a ReallyRightStuff or an ArcaSwiss but costs a fraction.

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Janoch
Janoch Veteran Member • Posts: 3,772
Re: Benro ballheads

Dave Lively wrote:

... Do the Benro B series heads with a separate drag control have a similar problem?

Does anyone has any suggestions for a rigid tripod that weighs around 4 pounds or less with head and costs less than $600?...

Now that you ask!

I've used the B2 and am currently on a B3 head. Didn't find they dropped (very much at least!), but as 99.9% of my shots are done on soft ground, grass/meadows, I have to use a "slowly lower, slowly tighter" method. If I hold lens, frame, tighten and let go of lens, of course it will drop. Or rather sink!

Using the slow method, I can prevent or minimize drop on all surfaces...

My Benro C3770T tripod weighs 1,7 kg and head some 0,7 kg, so slightly above your 4 pounds. Paid some $615 for tripod and B3 head, so slightly above price tag as well!

But it is rigid. If you search my posts here, you'll find multiple shots of the setup. Or feel free to request further...

Jan

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Cliff Fujii
Cliff Fujii Veteran Member • Posts: 8,048
Re: Benro ballheads

You might look for a Gitzo Series 1 with an Arca Swiss P0 ball head. I love this combination. I use it all of the time for traveling. The AS P0 uses planetary gears to lock the ball. It's a compact head with a very large ball. It will lock positively with heavy cameras with long lenses and the drag is adjustable with the same ring lock adjustment. Since the ring is over 3" in diameter, you can apply fine adjustments. Since Arca Swiss has patented the elliptical ball, you don't have to worry about slamming your expensive long lens into the tripod. I use this setup with my D800 and a 70-200 f/2.8 lens. A pretty heavy combination.

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Cliff

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OP Dave Lively Senior Member • Posts: 1,805
Re: Benro ballheads

Cliff Fujii wrote:

You might look for a Gitzo Series 1 with an Arca Swiss P0 ball head. I love this combination.
Cliff

I am looking hard at the the Gitzo 1542T since I want something that is short enough to fit inside a backpack when collapsed.

Is the AR P0 too big to let the legs fold back completely?  I was looking at the Markins Q3 since it is specifically designed to do that.

Cliff Fujii
Cliff Fujii Veteran Member • Posts: 8,048
Re: Benro ballheads

My travel tripod is a Gitzo G1128 (now discontinued) with a P0 head. I've reversed the center column with the head and it packs as well. I've only purchased the Mountaineer series of Gitzo tripods so I'm not really familiar with the Traveler but if it looks like the photos I've seen, then I would say that the P0 will fit. You might call Rod and he can give you the low down on this. I think he also sells Gitzo tripods as well as distributes Arca Swiss equipment.

You might ask janeenadamsmartin.  She has a Gitzo GT1544T and a P0.

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Cliff

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alan49 Junior Member • Posts: 45
Re: Benro ballheads

Is the AR P0 too big to let the legs fold back completely? I was looking at the Markins Q3 since it is specifically designed to do that.

The AR P0 i use with my benro tripod is just a bit too large for the legs to fold back completly, with the P0 the tripod cannot fit in the bag supplied by benro.

I wasnt happy with my B0 ballhead ( using an EM5 +m4/3 lenses ) that why i bought the P0.

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SK81 Forum Member • Posts: 61
Re: Benro ballheads

I am using Benro B-4. It is heavy but VERY stable.

SK

Mikofox New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Benro ballheads

The Benro V2 ball head [the one I was able to test] was moving [pulling down the ball into the recess] so much during tightening, that we could not frame a shot as intended. It was totally unacceptable and the major reason we sent it back. I have written an extensive review on the V2 head under my webname at several retailers, if someone need more information.

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OP Dave Lively Senior Member • Posts: 1,805
Re: Benro ballheads

Mikofox wrote:

The Benro V2 ball head [the one I was able to test] was moving [pulling down the ball into the recess] so much during tightening, that we could not frame a shot as intended. It was totally unacceptable and the major reason we sent it back. I have written an extensive review on the V2 head under my webname at several retailers, if someone need more information.

There seems to be a lot of quality issues with Benro. Some people here have been happy with them so they must not all have problems.

My final tripod solution was a compromise that worked out well. After a little soul searching I realized that I am not going to be taking a tripod with me on long hikes even if it does weigh less than 4 pounds. But I did want something rigid enough to stabilize a long lens. Instead of buying new I got a ArcaSwiss B1 head and a Gitzo 1325 tripod for a total of less than $500. The combination weighs 6 or 7 pounds and is too big to fit into a pack but is very solid. And the Arcaswiss head is MUCH smoother than the Benro I had. With a 300mm lens I can see the lens move a little when I tighten it down but not enough to be a problem.

billythek Veteran Member • Posts: 5,260
Re: Benro ballheads

Mikofox wrote:

The Benro V2 ball head [the one I was able to test] was moving [pulling down the ball into the recess] so much during tightening, that we could not frame a shot as intended. It was totally unacceptable and the major reason we sent it back. I have written an extensive review on the V2 head under my webname at several retailers, if someone need more information.

There seems to be a lot of quality issues with Benro. Some people here have been happy with them so they must not all have problems.

My final tripod solution was a compromise that worked out well. After a little soul searching I realized that I am not going to be taking a tripod with me on long hikes even if it does weigh less than 4 pounds. But I did want something rigid enough to stabilize a long lens. Instead of buying new I got a ArcaSwiss B1 head and a Gitzo 1325 tripod for a total of less than $500. The combination weighs 6 or 7 pounds and is too big to fit into a pack but is very solid. And the Arcaswiss head is MUCH smoother than the Benro I had. With a 300mm lens I can see the lens move a little when I tighten it down but not enough to be a problem.

I have no complaints at all about the Benro C2190T travel tripod I bought. It happened to come with a ball head that I never use. It seems like a toy compared to my Acratech, which I do use. But I didn't buy the tripod for the ball head, it was just a freebee that was included.
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Mr. Cool Contributing Member • Posts: 501
Re: Benro ballheads

I use a Giottos YTL9314 tripod with a Giottos 3300 ball head. I've had the ball head for several years, no problems with either the tripod or ball head. The tripod is very sturdy and you can get steel spikes for the legs. I would order both again if I had too. Price is cheaper the the  Gitzo pod and head. Check the Giottos out .   www.giottos.com

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