In this article, I’m going to review the Benro Travel Angel travel tripod with a ball head which I got recently. It comes in two versions, aluminum and carbon fiber.
Importance of the right tripod
When you start out in photography you put a lot of thought into what camera you will buy and what lenses you might need. The same with the bag to carry it around in, but the tripod is often not given enough thought. You see so many people with tripods that are just not adequate for what they are attempting to photograph. Often too small or not strong enough.
Tripods are important and having one that suits almost everything you do cannot be underestimated. It is also important to make sure it is easy to carry, not too heavy, and affordable. It needs to be sturdy and not fall over with your camera on it. While some of you will have more than one tripod to give you choice, most will only have one. That makes it very important to select a good one.
The Benro FGP18C SystemGo Plus Tripod Travel Tripod was introduced to me recently. I was looking for a tripod that would be more versatile than my current one. I bought a new one a couple of years ago and thinking that it would be the only one I would own, I purchased the biggest and heaviest one I could. It turns out that it is too heavy to carry around most of the time, and too big for going into the city, or just to bring along when I wasn’t sure if I would need one or not.
The Benro Tripod was loaned to me to try out and I told that person that I wasn’t giving it back. I have used it over and over. It has become a valuable piece of equipment and one that was most definitely affordable, especially when compared to the price of my camera.
Benro Tripods and Heads
While Benro is very new to Australia, they have been selling their tripods and heads for several years in the USA. Along the way, they have picked up some awards as well. The products are Chinese made, though under constant supervision to always ensure that the quality is never compromised. There is a lot more information about the technical aspects on the Benro website.
Shop online for the Benro FGP18C SystemGo Plus Tripod Travel Tripod at:
When first shown the tripod who wouldn’t be impressed with the sleek look, plus the lovely blue highlights. It appeared to be a well thought out piece of equipment and it soon became clear that it was more than your average tripod.
Having the twist leg locks makes it easy to move the three adjustable sections in and out. You can unlock them all together, and lock them when packing up. The legs can be put out in three different positions or widths. As with most tripods, you get quite a few choices for positioning.
It is quite light and a good size to carry around
Most tripods this size are going to be fairly light, and this one is no exception. It is a great size, especially for someone who is fairly short, so when fully extended it’s 49.6 inches (126cm), add the ball head, then the camera on top and it’s eye level for someone around 5’2”. This is to be expected for a small travel tripod, but compared to many it is a good height. How many times have you seen small lightweight tripods that the photographer has to lean right over to see through the camera?
The actual size, while not as small as others, is still good for carrying around attached to my camera bags. When folded it is only 18.1 inches long (46 cms).
The transforming part
The extension pole in the center can be extended up, but there are also options that allow you to make it go sideways, and many other different angles. Many tripods have the option for the center column to be put into a horizontal position, however, the Benro GoPlus has been set up so you can set it at any angle. You can even have it upside down.
This just adds to its versatility. It means that it is easier to take just about any kind of image that you want. The legs can be positioned so that the camera can be placed almost at ground level. For people wanting to do macro photography, this is a great advantage.
It is predominantly a travel tripod which accounts for its weight, but it can also fold up so the head is protected by the legs. It is easy to get into this position and then convert back ready for use.
Considering all the uses that people can have, being able to transform it to a monopod is another great advantage. If you take out the middle section, unscrew the leg with the foam covering, you can screw it to the extension pole section and you have yourself a monopod. When you are traveling, having a tripod that can also be a monopod means that there is one more piece of equipment you can leave at home.
This can work anywhere, you can leave the main part of the tripod at home and just take the monopod with you. Or if you find yourself somewhere where you can’t use a tripod, but want some extra support then you have that wonderful option.
You also have the extra bonus of being able to use the head you have for the tripod on the monopod as well. Once you connect the center column to the unscrewed leg, it is complete. With many monopods, you have to get a separate head for them or use it without one. But the Benro option allows you continue using the head that you use with your tripod.
Extra bits included
With other tripods, they usually don’t come with extras. If you want other accessories for it then you need to purchase them individually. But with the Benro tripod you get a carry bag, some tools, plus a hook for your camera bag to help weigh the tripod down (for windy conditions) and some spikes so you can replace the screw-in rubber feet.
The carry bag is very well padded, though to fit the tripod in you need to have it folded up in its travel position. There is a shoulder strap plus smaller handles as well. Inside the bag is a smaller cloth bag that you could use to cover the tripod when you are traveling and putting the tripod into your luggage.
With the bag and its accessories, you’re pretty much set up for any kind of photography that you could wish to do. You have the spikes when you need to dig it into the ground a bit. The hook if it is windy and you need to hang your camera bag off it (just remember to make sure the bag is touching the ground). The carry bag is good to use when you travel and to help protect the tripod.
Cleaning gear can be a bit of a problem for some of us. The Benro Tripod is very easy to take apart and wash when it needs to be done. This is great for those who can find it all too hard. The legs can be removed so if you get sand in them while at the beach you can easily get it out.
Always wash your tripod after it has been to the beach. Though unlike other brands it doesn’t have screws or nuts that can corrode after being in salt water. The water is still corrosive so don’t leave it on the legs.
You can select which head you would like, however, the one I have been trying has a B2 Ball Head and I’ve been very happy with it. Using it is very easy and the tension dial allows you to set how tight or loose the ball will be when released. You can set it so it is tighter and takes more effort to move when you want to adjust the camera, or have it looser.
The plate is a Universal Arca-Swiss fitting, so many plates and L-brackets will fit. If you already have one you won’t need to get a special plate just for this tripod. The quick release has a locking system to make sure you can’t just unscrew it and the camera goes flying.
The B2 ball head is easy and moves as it should. It will take a maximum weight load of over 10kgs, which is a lot more than most cameras weigh. It is a great addition to the tripod legs. However, there are other choices if you would like something else.
The Benro FGP18C SystemGo Plus Tripod Travel Tripod retails for around $350 USD and you have to add extra for the tripod head, depending on which you choose. The one I have been using with it, the B2, is around $130 USD. Not cheap compared to many, but the quality makes it worth the extra dollars. Don’t forget you want a tripod that can look after your camera and won’t fall over. Spend your money wisely and buy the best tripod you can, instead of doing a trade-up every year (you will end up spending more money in the long run that way).
Shop online for the Benro FGP18C SystemGo Plus Tripod Travel Tripod at:
During the time I’ve been testing the tripod, I have used it for long exposures, landscapes, and cityscapes. It has been used in the wind, though not strong winds. It has withstood everything I have put it through.
The Benro FGP18C is a tidy tripod that will suit almost every occasion that you would need one. It can serve as a good tripod to travel with, but also as an everyday one. It is light enough to carry around with you on the off chance you might need it. It is easy to use, and its versatility makes it very handy. I have found a second tripod, though it really is the number one now, and the one I grab first when I go out shooting.