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Benro or Oben quality questions
  
 
tdawg
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p.1 #1 · Benro or Oben quality questions


Hi All,

I'm looking at possibly getting a new tripod that is lighter / easier to travel with and I'm coming across Benro and Oben options. These both seem to fold up nicely and are lightweight for backpacking and support a sufficient weight. They also have arca-compatible tripod heads, which I like. I have no idea what the reputations for either of these brands are, the internet has been a bit of a letdown on this issue so far.

Does anybody have any first-hand experience with either of these? I know the adage of tripod shopping and I'd be replacing a bogen/manfrotto 3001 and 488rc2 head, which combined came in much cheaper back in the day, so I'm not going the way of cheap tripods.

Any advice would be appreciated. While I'd love a lightweight Gitzo, that's not in the cards, even with their current rebate promotion.

Thanks in advance,
Trevor



Jul 14, 2013 at 03:00 AM
sjms
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p.1 #2 · Benro or Oben quality questions


I would look into the induro product right now. Though produced by benro they are considerably better made under stricter controls. They currently have some real good pricing going on till the end of August.

Much better warranty and better support from a good distributer the mac group.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/655195-REG/Induro_471_114_Carbon_8X_CT114_Tripod.html
To start from

And yes the mac group distributes benro too.



Jul 14, 2013 at 03:15 AM
melane3
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p.1 #3 · Benro or Oben quality questions


I like my Benro C-2680, which I paid about $220 after I sold the ball head that came with it. I put a Markins Q3T ball head on it, and it works great. It is just a little short for me (6'), but it is a travel tripod, and lightweight and small - yet strong - is of the utmost importance.

The entire unit folds to 17.7" including the head.

You might consider the C-2692 if you want more height.

I like my Gitzo GT3541XLS a lot more, but it cost almost 4x as much, and I am not hiking it too far or putting it in my luggage. Benro legs are very good legs for their price. I also own a Benro B-4 head that I got my wife for a present. It is a perfectly adequate large head. It does not compare to my RRS BH-55, but then again it only costs $137 delivered.

Benro is fine equipment for the money.

Also, you might look as Sirui. I own their very small P-326 monopod, and it is well made.

Michael
Kane'ohe, Hawai'i

Edited on Jul 14, 2013 at 06:46 AM · View previous versions



Jul 14, 2013 at 03:44 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #4 · Benro or Oben quality questions


melane3 wrote:
I like my Gitzo GT3541XLS a lot more, but it cost almost 4x as much, and I am not hiking it too far or putting it in my luggage.


I've been all over the states and other countries with a 3 series tripod in the luggage. I'm not sure why it would be a problem for anyone.

EBH



Jul 14, 2013 at 06:00 AM
melane3
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p.1 #5 · Benro or Oben quality questions


EB-1,

A smaller series 3 Gitzo should be better for travel, but the XLS is large and not travel-friendly. That said, for daily shooting via automobile, the GM3541XLS is amazing. A tripod that is tall enough for a 6' man to walk under is not the best travel companion.

Michael



Jul 14, 2013 at 06:33 AM
melane3
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p.1 #6 · Benro or Oben quality questions


EB-1,

I corrected the numbers I used previously, as I was looking in the wrong column. Yes, I keep a spreadsheet with the data for all my equipment. Sad, I know.

Gitzo GM 3541XLS - 6.2 lbs with RRS BH-55 head; 31.3 in folded with head
Benro C-2680 - about 3.6 lbs with Markins head; 17.7 in folded with head

The travel pod's size is what makes it so attractive. However, when I really want to travel light, I take the Gitzo GM1550t - 2.4 lbs with RRS BH-25 head; 14 in folded with the head.

But I do agree with you, if it was feasible, I would take the series 3 XLS everywhere. It is a fantastic tripod.

Michael
Kane'ohe, Hawai'i



Jul 14, 2013 at 07:01 AM
tdawg
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p.1 #7 · Benro or Oben quality questions


Thanks for the input, all.


Jul 14, 2013 at 11:17 PM
ronfronberg
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p.1 #8 · Benro or Oben quality questions


If you are a student, educator or academic institutrion you can get Benro (tripods, heads, etc) at great prices through:

http://www.mac-on-campus.com

ron



Jul 15, 2013 at 02:51 AM
 

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lukeb
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p.1 #9 · Benro or Oben quality questions


Owned Benro's for several years - great tripods and monopods.

And, their Travel Angels can't be beat IMHO.



Jul 15, 2013 at 03:37 AM
justruss
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p.1 #10 · Benro or Oben quality questions


I've roughed up a CF Benro 0-series Travel Angel for years on many continents and in harsh conditions.

It's been great.



Jul 15, 2013 at 08:26 AM
peter_n
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p.1 #11 · Benro or Oben quality questions


melane3 wrote:
I like my Benro C-2680, which I paid about $220 after I sold the ball head that came with it. I put a Markins Q3T ball head on it, and it works great. It is just a little short for me (6'), but it is a travel tripod, and lightweight and small - yet strong - is of the utmost importance.


I also use a Benro C2680T and I'm well into my third year of use. It's stable and deals with vibration well, and has a max height without the column extended of 51.6" yet folds (as Michael said) to 17.7". I've graduated to a short center column and an Acratech ballhead and like both very much. I reviewed the tripod here, it's an older review but the tripod has remained virtually the same and I update the review on an irregular basis.

Benro don't sell their best tripods in the US. You need to source from mainland China to get their better models. They are well made and durable, and since they're Gitzo copies quite a few parts are interchangeable. I have Benro parts on my Gitzo systematic and Gitzo parts on my Benro traveler.

Induro is a Benro brand supposedly a little upscale for the US market. The tripods have small differences in design details but are very similar products. Many of the parts are identical but you pay more for an Induro part than a Benro part. I've ordered a Benro part from Adorama and received an Induro part. There's basically no difference but with Induro you're paying for US distribution and marketing so they're more expensive. And Induro doesn't sell Benro's travel range, their articulating tripods or their systematics.




Jul 16, 2013 at 01:34 AM
sjms
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p.1 #12 · Benro or Oben quality questions


not supposedly, it is.
Induro is a product that is built in a Benro facility that was setup for that operation. they are separate entities. its designs are US based and under control of the QC by the MAC group. after the first generation of the Induro product line was a failure due to less then adequate oversight (a little too much of Benro in them) they did some managment reevaluation and repositioning. the next round came out considerably improved. as Induro has improved so has Benro as they have taken on some of the QC ideas and techniques for better QA.

the MAC Group is the US Benro Distributer.



Jul 16, 2013 at 03:59 AM
peter_n
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p.1 #13 · Benro or Oben quality questions


This is way OT but Benro & Induro are closer than you think. They're essentially just brand names. Benro tripods were originally manufactured by a company called Yicheng Hardware, that company changed it's name to Yilee Precision Machinery in 2003. The company was renamed yet again in 2007 to Zhongshan Benro Precision Industrial. They changed their name again recently but I can't recall the new name but it has Benro in it for sure.

I think Induro emerged around 2006 and here's the announcement: "Induro is manufactured in a new, state-of-the-art facility by Yilee, Zhuhai, China. Yilee developed and pioneered their own brand under the Benro name, which has become the #1 best selling professional tripod in Asian markets. They have been awarded with the Best Brand, Highest Quality, Best Reputation and Photographer’s Choice Awards 2005 in China."

I think you are correct that the two brands are assembled in different plants, but some components are common. I also think you're correct in that the exterior design of the base, center column lock and leg locks of the Induro models were, to use the MAC Group's own words "... designed and engineered in the US. Worldwide distribution by MAC Group." You only have to look at equivalent models from the two brands to see that they look slightly different. As I pointed out above, if you buy parts they are identical and completely interchangeable.

Benro's relationship with Gitzo is even murkier, and I don't really want to get into it. Suffice to say that Benro quality is high and not necessarily better or worse than Induro, despite what the MAC marketing guys may imply. They both sell a decent product that's very competitive, as do many other Chinese companies. Some of the Chinese companies have pushed older and more established companies to innovate as is the case with Benro and Gitzo. WRT Benro and Induro distribution in the US I can only speak to the Benro side and that's a repetition of what I said above; you have to source from mainland China to get their best models. They're selling the Versatile models here but only the flip-lock versions.




Jul 17, 2013 at 01:50 AM
sjms
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p.1 #14 · Benro or Oben quality questions


the first round of induro product was very much a benro product. this is true. and it was wrought with compromise and failures.
and yes it is true now the benro product is more like the newer very much improved induro product. the tail wagging the dog?

as to you getting parts marked as induro? well be happy. they may be better overall. it may not just be a name difference.

I think I see yet another path for benro.






Jul 17, 2013 at 01:13 PM
boingyman
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p.1 #15 · Benro or Oben quality questions


I have a Benro travel angel that's alluminum with the B0 head. It's my first and only tripod at this time. It's been through a lot and has been holding up quite well. If I could go back I would get a CF version with a better head though... On the other hand when I do upgrade my tripod I'm likely to venture to a different brand. Maybe Feisol as Gitzo and RSS are way too pricey for my needs.


Jul 17, 2013 at 05:34 PM





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