I have been looking for a compact but sturdy tripod for sometime and after a few days of use I can say that this Benro fits the bill. The legs flip 180 degrees to lay along the center column (which is permanently up) and the whole thing fits in a case that is about 14″ long, the actual tripod packs down to 12″. The case is quite nice with a sturdy strap and a bit of padding, plus a zipper pocket inside to hold the hex wrench (used to take the quick release plate on/off – you can also use a coin or screwdriver. With everything extended the tripod reaches 52″ but the last two sets of legs are a bit on the small side and if you need serious tripod height you should be considering something else – this is really designed to be a portable tripod and not something you are going to use in the studio. The twist lock legs are awesome – an easy 1/4 turn to lock and unlock and they slide smoothly.
I was a little disappointed to find that the center column is always upright and not reversible but you can actually flip the whole thing upside down and get quite close to the ground for low level/macro shots. The ball head is small but well made, degree marks around the edge allow for precise rotation during panoramas.
More photos coming soon
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