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Benbo Tripods 1 “Standard” Tripods

4.22 star rating
                      4.22 / 5 (9 Reviews)
MSRP : $190.00

  • Tripod TypeTripod
    Maximum Height62 in.
    Folded Length33 in.
    Leg Sections2
    Weight7.5 lbs.
    Product ID23144082

Product Description

The original Benbo 1 is ideal for most photo applications. Its solid construction and versatility make it equally well-suited for studio and remote location work.

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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Kaelastreet a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: June 4, 2006

Strengths:    Solid, metal, simple, easy to maintain, no gizmo's or gadgets and nothing to break off if you twist it a bit further. Legs wont buckle, ever. Can stand in any terrain. Can be used underslung for ground level close ups, or as a cantelever for lying on your back and shooting straight up. Highest reach is about eightfeet.

Weaknesses:    1) it wont fold up and fit in my back pack, or the trunk of my Smart Car
2) Its not a leightweight, so hawking it around the countryside for an hour or two is a challenge.
3) You don't forget where you put it down.
4) Unlike a five year old, it stays put when you need it to.

Bottom Line:   
I needed a tripod that was strong, stable and capable of being used in any situation, on the side of a hill, on a bridge, in a field or in a workshop. It has to be capable of holding my heavy camera and lens and to be reliable, once set, forget it. I chose the Benbo for good reason, its large, its heavy, its of solid construction and its chunky with no frills. It does not have laser balancers, dangly bits with hooks or bubbles in green goo for deciding on horizontal.

The legs are free to extend telescopically and are infinitly adjustable and they are not tied by a central brace, limiting the amount you can spread them. The main tube has a thread on each end for small and large mounting adaptors.

THE ONLY CONTROL IS THE BIG BENDY SPRING LOCKING MECHANISM WITH THE SIX INCH MAN-SIZED LOCKING HANDLE. Telescopic sliders have fist sized release locks, simple, twist and lock, untwist and unlock. The release shoe has three moving parts and I recomend that you buy a couple extra beds for your toolkit.

You do need patience, as you will want to set it up once and use it, not set and reset and set again.

The whole thing weighs in like a 5 year old, with boots on. Unlike the five year old, it stays put. Streams dont affect it (unlike a five year old), and when it gets knocked against the side of the car, the car gets the scratch. It is serious kit and I suggest it is value for money.

Its not a casual, "I'll take it along in case I want to use it", its planned for, accounted for and has to be accommodated. I wont go without it, and I know it will hurt if I carry it for too long, so I will darn well use it and think of myself as being lucky to own such a solid tripod.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $70.00

Purchased At:   eBay

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by wa8edx a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: June 10, 2002

Strengths:    Fast, Flexible setups in the field. easy to carry, light weight.

Weaknesses:    Total Bent Bolt failure after approx. 200 usages in field. Can't get internal replacement parts. No MFG WeB Site.

Bottom Line:   
I have owned the Benbo Trekker for about 5 years and have used it about 200 times. The Benbo drift has been a problem. At present the Tripod is useless. The main Bent bolt is stripped and I can't locate a replacement. The Outer Clamping nut (handle) became stripped after 20 or Thirty uses, and I welded a wrench to the nut itself. It's too bad, as I really enjoyed using this tripod because of it's multi capabilities, but I've had so many problems with the drift and the stripping on the nut and the bolt that I'll be moving along to another similar product if I can find one with a better bolt. They should have used a hardened, stainless bolt. I'm really disappointed with this product.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Purchased At:   Adray Appliance

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Michael Fanelli a Expert from Golden, CO

Date Reviewed: June 19, 2001

Strengths:    Bent-bolt design is much more versatile than a standard tripod. Fast set up once you get used to it.

Weaknesses:    The famous "Benbo Drift" is still there.

Bottom Line:   
This is both a great product and a poor product. The configurations are extremely useful for macro and weird terrain and they work well in shallow water thanks to the inverted legs.

The big drawback to the Benbo 1 is the famous "Benbo Drift." There is no way to tighten down the lever enough to fight the bent bolt's tendency to slowly drift when the geometry is in relatively high-torque configurations. This was true with the original, it was true with the "new" model just a couple of months ago. The newsgroups are filled with solutions but all require that you disassemble the tripod and rework the parts.

A much better buy, if you can find it, is the Uni-Loc tripods. These tripods are built by the same guys who founded Benbo (they kept the patents when they sold the company). The Uni-Loc tripods have lots of improvements and there is absolutely no drifting even under heavy loads.

Note that the Benbo's little brother, the Trekker, is excellent and does not have the same severe drifting problem as the Benbo 1.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Purchased At:   Adorama

Similar Products Used:   Uni-Loc, Gitzo.

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Charles Everitt a Expert from Denver

Date Reviewed: June 16, 2001

Strengths:    Quick setup, once you learn how
Big, easy-grip knobs and handle, no fiddly bits
Solid construction & truly rigid big-tubing legs

Weaknesses:    Learning curve

Bottom Line:   
I owned the original Benbo and stupidly sold it several years ago. I just bought a new one, and it's even better: much nicer finish and detailing.

Most people who like this tripod praise its flexibility for ankle-high nature photography, but that's not my thing. I like the Benbo for its quick setup and rock-solid stability in more normal use.

It is a weird design, no question. Loosening a single control turns it into a handful of wet noodles. To avoid people laughing at you, practice a while in your living room before using it in public. Once you learn how, that single control makes it the quickest tripod there is. Here's the trick: Before you fold it, pull the center column all the way up and lock it. Pick it up by the column, loosen the big handle, and swing the column 180 degrees, so the head is down. Then bring the legs in close to the head and tighten the big handle. That way, your expensive ball head is protected inside the legs when the tripod rolls around in the back of your pickup truck. Setup is just the reverse: Grab the center column before you loosen the handle, swing the column up and place the legs.

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Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Local shop

Similar Products Used:   Tiltall, Bogen, Gitzo

Type of photography:   Fine Art

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bill Ward a Professional from Camarillo, CA

Date Reviewed: March 22, 2001

Strengths:    Flexibility
Fast set up
Very solid

Weaknesses:    Full verticle extention would not be good for heavier medium format or larger cameras

Bottom Line:   
I shoot mostly macro nature and flower shots. It is impossible to imagine using any other tripod for low to the ground macro work. With a ball head, I can set this tripod up in less than a minute on uneven ground, extend the camera holding column and attach my camera and focus in another minute or two. Because there is only one leg tightening knob per leg and the knob is high on the leg, it's very swift to adjust leg height. The one bent bolt frees the legs and column and with a little practice, you can easily and quickly configure this pod into more positions than a yoga master. The legs telescope from the bottom upwards and are sealed, so sand and mud are no problem. This is the only tripod I am aware of that has been designed for Nature Photography from top to bottom. The larger XL model would be great for studio illustration work because the camera column could be used in a lateral position and the longer legs and camera column would be very helpful. I hate tripods, but this one is fun to use and has to be the most flexible on the market while remaining rock firm and solid. I prefer it to the Gitzo tripods I've used. I would recomend this tripod to all outdoor photographers.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $190.00

Purchased At:   Smile

Similar Products Used:   Velbon

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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