Upload & Sell: Off
I have this massive set of legs from Gitzo which I coupled recently with an Induro BHL3 and GHB-A heads. While they are sturdy enough to support anything I can possibly have now or in the future, the entire setup folded down to over 30" and weighed about 7-8 pounds- not necessarily for travel.
So on the lookout for a travel tripod, I came across the Benro transfunctional travel angel series on B&H with the carbon fiber series going upto $550 or more. I decided to see if it was cheaper via eBay w/Chinese dealers and I found out that Benro actually had upgraded this series over there already. I found this dealer 1cent2008 who had the model I was looking for, the C2682TB1 for not only a lower price than the others but also offered about $100 in additional accessories. I spent a couple of days confirming everything with the guy who was really helpful and I bought it this past Tuesday only to have it in my hands Friday morning.
Unfortunately I had to ship my camera body for a trade and all the photos below are from an iPhone.
The package contents:
1) Travel bag
2) Benro C2682 tripod/monopod with B1 ball head and PU60 QR plate (Arca style)
3) Hand strap
4) Monopod head adapter
5) Tripod/Monopod pocket with carabiner
6) Short center column
7) Allen wrench, 3 steel spikes, warranty and manuals
8) Extra PU60 plate
9) Walking stick wooden head adapter w/compass and another hand strap
All this for $345 with free 2-3 business day shipping is very hard to beat.
This is how the tripod looks after the legs are reversed and center column (grooved, non rotating) lowered:
Maximum height with all leg sections extended and center column extended is about 165 cm w/ball head:
Minimum height with short center column and ball head is about 42 cm:
With the monopod leg removed and wooden head attached, it makes a very nice walking stick and yes- the compass actually worked right out of the bag:
With just the monopod head adapter and the ball head, the total monopod height is about 140cm, which was the major issue with the previous model:
You can get an additional 9-10 cm if you mount the short center column on the monopod leg followed by the ball head:
For more height, you can mount the regular center column and that goes up to about 172 cm:
I personally use the regular column and retract the lowest leg section to get about 150 cm but with a lot more stability. The lowest leg section is about 1.8 cm in diameter but still functionable with most camera setups. Before I sent off my camera body, I had mounted a gripped 60D with 70-200 IS II on it and there was little to no slag whatsoever. The tripod as well as monopod were also pretty stable, which was a nice surprise. I know a lot of people complained the previous versions were not really stable but seems like Benro has a real winner here. Hopefully this helps someone who is looking at an affordable travel tripod. The aluminum version is a pound heavier but about $150 less expensive as well.