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Benro vs. Gitzo

Ben Cooper , Jul 29, 2007; 12:46 a.m.

I realize that Benro vs. Gitzo has been discussed at length here and on just about every other photo forum on the net. I?ve read most of them. Every time I am close to choosing a tripod, I find another tidbit of info that causes me to rethink everything.

I shoot weddings, portrait and some commercial and I also shoot for fun ? nature, landscape, etc. I have a Nikon D200 and D80 with the standard assortment of lenses, the 70 ? 200 2.8 VR and the 80 ? 400 VR being the heaviest.

Here?s where I am at:

I was very close to biting the bullet and buying a Gitzo GT2530. I could probably get by with a GT1530, but if I am spending that much money I would rather spend a little more and get one that can hold a heavier load in case I ever need it. These seem to go for $500 - $550. There is also a Gitzo basalt (GT2931) for about $100 less.

The equivalent Benro?s are the C-357n6 (around $350) and C-227n6 (around $250). Benro makes a basalt tripod, the H series, but I have not seen any of these for sale.

I have read many posts saying that the Benro were inferior products. Different pieces have broken on first use, quality was just not there, etc. After reading these, I decided on the Gitzo. Then I found the threads about how water and sand will very quickly damage the Gitzo and it is very expensive to have repaired.

Lately, I?ve been reading about the new generation Benro?s that have, ?Patented Dust & Water Resistance Locks.? I shoot in the sand and saltwater, so this looks like a good alternative to the Gitzo.

Then newer n6 series Benro?s seem to have addressed some of the thinks there were criticized for. I don?t pretend to think that even the newer Benro is anywhere near the quality of a Gitzo, but when you factor in the water/sand/salt issue of the Gitzo?s, it kind of evens things out.

Does anyone have one of the newer n6 Benros? Does anyone have first hand experience with the Gitzo using in sand and water? Any opinions or suggestions?

Responses


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Bruce Cahn , Jul 29, 2007; 02:13 a.m.

Consider wood for your purpose.

Bennett Richards , Jul 29, 2007; 03:22 a.m.

I have read reviews of the Benro knockoffs of Gitzo tripods and their Ball head which is a knockoff of the Arca Swiss B1. It was clear that the materials and workmanship were a far cry from equaling the pieces they imitated. Remember.. you get what you pay for.

Robert Budding , Jul 29, 2007; 05:27 a.m.

This review of a Benro ball head put me off of any and all of their products:

http://www.tomwebsterphoto.com/Essays/Benro/benroks2.htm

I would expect similar shoddy design and quality from their other products.

Nick White , Jul 29, 2007; 06:19 a.m.

'I don?t pretend to think that even the newer Benro is anywhere near the quality of a Gitzo' - Think again Ben. I purchased a Benro C228n6 about 8 months ago. I have used Gitzo and Benbo (with a b!) tripods for over thirty years, the Gitzo Sport being my regular travel/light(er) weight tripod and the Benbo Mk1 & MK2 for the extra rugged stuff (waterproof legs, totally indestructable). When I decided to buy a CF tripod the obvious choice was to get another Gitzo, but to be sure I decided to check out the rest - I hadn't even heard of Benro at that time. To cut a long(er) story short I ended up comparing Gitzo and Benro side by side - or as near as I could, the same dealers not stocking both. I was ignoring the price difference at that time, just comparing the quality and features. To my complete surprise the Benro came out top, on both counts. IMHO Gitzo quality has suffered now they are no longer made in France (Groupo Manfrotto); the Benro 'feels' like Gitzo used to! It remains to be seen whether the Benro will last as long as my other tripods, but I see no reason to doubt that it will; but then it cost just under HALF of the Gitzo! Take into account that you also get a high quality bag (extra from Gitzo) and interchangeable rubber/spike feet (again extra with the Gitzo) and the choice, for me, was an easy one. If you want a versatile, high quality, high value tripod, go with the Benro; if however a badge and former reputation are more important then go Gitzo. In either case I suggest, since you want to us them in sand & water etc, that you also look at the Benbo (BENt BOlt) MK1 (or if you need to go over 8 feet high, MK2) - these are made for those exact conditions. Nick.

Matt Laur , Jul 29, 2007; 09:59 a.m.

Can anyone comment on the relationship (is there one?) between Induro and Benro?

LJ Kirk , Jul 29, 2007; 11:31 a.m.

The n6 tripods are great quality for the price. I have had one for 7 months and would buy another of the C227 tripods if I needed it. The ballhead KJ-1 is not as impressive, so I would look elsewhere for the bh.

Paul Ferrante , Jul 29, 2007; 02:16 p.m.

I was very reluctant to buy a Benro tripod too, but after reading some good reviews of their 2nd generation pods (it was the 1st gen that got all the bad reviews) I figured I'd try them out,frankly because Gitzo was too expensive (In my opinion overpriced). I bought the C297n6 carbon fiber tripod and went with the KJ-2 Arca-Swiss type ballhead and I couldn't be happier with the quality. I already had a Slik 700dx, a very nice budget tripod, but it was heavy and I didn't like the tilt/pan head that came with it. I like outdoor/wildlife photography and use the Benro with my D80 & 100-500 Sigma lens and with a slight turn of the knob on the very smooth & sturdy KJ-2 ballhead, it is rock solid. I have been using it for 3 months and I'm very happy with it and the 55%-60% savings over a comparable Gitzo setup. They are pretty much carbon copies of Gitzo, so much so that Gitzo is suing them. I think the competition is healthy and maybe it will bring the price of Gitzo pods down. Anyway, I thought you should hear an opinion from someone who owns one. Good luck with your choice.

Ilkka , Jul 29, 2007; 10:41 p.m.

I have four Gitzo's and have been using some of them for 25 years. They certainly will not damage easily with sand or water. Common sense and regular maintenance is required if used in such conditions. I do have one Benro as well. I will tell in ten or twenty years time how well it does against the Gitzos. It seems quite okay so far.

Craig Gillette , Jul 29, 2007; 11:06 p.m.

Induro is apparently a new import channel for the products that had been under the Benro ladel. Giottos seems to have the same source. Previous versions of the Giottos ballheads got a fair amount of poor reviews although I think there are some recent models which haven't been around long enough to have a track record. That doesn't suggest great things of the same source heads. The tripods are a competent product but not at the same level of "quality."

I think Gitzo's "problem," if there is one, is that the availability of good CF and basalt/lava from other sources has gotten a lot more attention.


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