I’m hoping to take a trip to Europe later this year and wanted to carry a tripod. It’s not my intention to carry one all day, but leave it in the luggage until evening, then pull it out for night-time HDR shots. My Manfrotto weighs in at over six pounds, which was more than I wanted to carry. There is a weight limit to the luggage, and I didn’t want the tripod eating up a big portion of that. Not to mention that it is probably too long for the luggage. This started my quest for finding a smaller, light-weight travel tripod.
After much research, I settled in on the Benro C1692TB0 Carbon Fiber Tripod Monopod Combo. The items that attracted me most were that the legs folded 180 degrees up, alongside the center post. This shorted its size by several inches. It weighs just over 3 pounds! This model only has 4 leg sections instead of five, which offers more stability without the tiny, thin, lower leg section. I wasn’t sure about the twist locks, but they are extremely fast and hold well. An extra bonus is one leg unscrews and connects to the bottom of the center post for a monopod. I don’t use one much, but this might come in handy. I wouldn’t suggest taking a tripod apart if you needed a monopod frequently, to avoid wearing out threads; buy a separate monopod if you need one regularly.
Made of carbon fiber, it weights in at just over 3 lbs, so it’s very light. So far, I’ve been very pleased with the tripod. It feels secure and holds my Canon 7D well. I would choose something heavier if I were a sports or wildlife photographer using a long lens on a regular basis, but for occasional use, it should be fine.
The Benro comes with a Arca-Swiss Standard mount. When using an L-bracket, it’s a bit slower to mount and I can’t tell visually if it’s completely locked, as I can with my other Manfrotto tripod.
After using the Benro a few times, I was going to have to swap quick release mounts on one of my tripods to standardize camera plates. I prefer the Manfrotto RC2 mount because it’s fast, easy and secure, plus it has a D-ring on the bottom side for my Black Rapid strap to connect to. I tried to remove the quick release adapter plate from the Benro head, but it wasn’t budging. I almost stripped the allen screw too. So, after a trip to my local camera store, I discovered a Manfrotto “323 Quick Change Rect. Plate Adapter”. I noticed it had a 1/4-20 hole in the base. This means that I can screw the Benro camera plate to the bottom of the Manfrotto Quick Change Adapter and insert it onto the Benro arca mount. This way, the Benro head looses no original function, but I can still mount my Manfrotto adapters. Problem solved! The only downside is it’s about an inch longer and doesn’t quite fit in the supplied case, unless you take the plate off the head. No big deal.
Here are the published specs I found on eBay. This model was not available from U.S. distributors and had to be ordered from overseas. The U.S. models were similar, but the monopod combo was different. The head comes off and connects to the leg. While this sounds great, it makes for a shorter monopod and is too short to be used standing straight up. The extra length of the center post on this model comes up to eye level for me.
C1682TB0 Tripod Kit
- Material: Carbon Fiber
- Lock System: Twist Lock
- Number of Sections: 4 Sections
- Folded Length: 440mm
- Max. Height (center column extended) : 1590mm
- Max. Height (center column NOT extended): 1330mm
- Min. Height: 440mm
- Max. Monopod Height: 1650mm
- Self Weight: 1.50kg
- Max. Load Capacity: 8kg
- Max. Leg Pipe Diameter: 25.2mm
- Min. Leg Pipe Diameter: 15mm
- Mounting Screw Diameter: 3/8″ (the screw size that connecting the tripod and the ball head)
BO Ball Head
- Material: Metal Alloy
- Color: Matt Black
- Max. Load Capacity: 8kg
- Panoramic Ability: 360 degrees
- Self Weight: 0.29kg
- Ball Diameter: 30mm
- Base Diameter: 50mm
- Height: 90mm
- Base Screw Diameter: 3/8″ (the screw size connecting the tripod and the ball head)
- Mounting Screw Diameter: 1/4″ (the screw size connecting the QR plate and camera)
- QR Plate Dimension: 50mm * 38mm * 10mm
- Compatibility: Arca-Swiss Standard