Benro vs. Gitzo

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by ben c, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. 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

    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
  2. Consider wood for your purpose.
  3. 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.
  4. This review of a Benro ball head put me off of any and all of their products:

    I would expect similar shoddy design and quality from their other products.
  5. '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.
  6. Can anyone comment on the relationship (is there one?) between Induro and Benro?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. If you have but one good tripod and are looking at Gitzo, get a series 3 (3530 or 3540). It is much stiffer and more versatile than any smaller tripod. The measure of a tripod is how steady it holds the camera, not how much weight it can support.
  12. Thanks for all the input. It looks like the Benro users are fairly happy with their tripods. I have read Tom?s review of the ball head and that is one of the reasons I did not just buy a Benro. Quality is always in issue and I am a believer in the saying, ?You get what you pay for.? The question is, how much more do you get in a Gitzo for what you pay for?

    The main objective of a tripod is to steady your camera so you get sharp images. If both Benro and Gitzo do this (as do many other brands) then the determining factor of which one to buy would be the longevity of the tripod. (This assumes load factor, height, weight, etc. are somewhat similar.)

    Let?s say I buy a Benro, take it in the sand and saltwater on a regular basis, hose it off, and throw it in the truck without any real maintenance and it only last six months. I would imagine a Gitzo would not last much longer with that kind of abuse.

    On the other hand, if I properly maintained, will a Gitzo last that much longer than a Benro? I don?t plan to abuse the tripod as mentioned above, but I am also not one of those who are meticulous about maintaining my equipment. If it is a big chore to take the legs off and properly clean, it will not get done as much as it should. Without proper maintenance, will the Gitzo end up needing expensive repairs in a few years? If so, I?d rather buy the cheaper Benro and just get a new one (maybe a new or heavier model) in a few years.

    Now, let?s say my less than stellar maintenance is enough to keep my tripod in good condition. If, in five years I decide to upgrade, I can probably sell my Gitzo and recoup a good portion of my investment. I don?t think this will be the case with the Benro. I think used Benro?s will be common and not overly expensive in a few years, so future resale value is not going to be good (at least nowhere near as good as a Gitzo).

    Having said all that, I am kind of leaning toward the Benro. I?ll use it in the studio some and for a few location shots (no beach or wet locals) and it I?m not satisfied, I think I could still recoup most of my costs by reselling. (I have not seen a lot of these for sale on eBay by individuals, so that might be a good sign.)
  13. I just noticed that Benro has put test results on their site. There is a lot of info to go thru and I would take it with a grain of salt as it is a sales tool for Benro, but it looks like Gitzo consistently scored higher:
  14. There are many different ways to save cost when making a tripod. Gitzo's were made in France and are now made in Italy. Italy is a bit cheaper than France, but still expensive. Benro is made in China. It is possible to make equally good tripod in China for less money than in Italy or France, arguably even better. It is also possible to make it even cheaper by using cheaper materials and not spending that much time in finishing. Many people, myself included, have used Gitzo tripods for decades. There is no question that they will last a lifetime, at least with reasonable care. Benro is too new to have that kind of track record. They seem to use quite good materials and are nicely finished, at least for the parts you can see. The problem in China is that often they start cheating on materials and finish when it comes to the internal components that are not so easily checked. Tripod is a simpler, and less critical, piece of equipment than ballhead. If money is no object, I would buy Gitzo legs and a good head (but not Gitzo, their heads are not the best). If I wanted to save money, I would consider Benro legs and a good head. Only if I was desperate, or just wanted a cheap second or third tripod, would I get both head and legs from Benro.
  15. After much research I decided to try the Benro over the Gitzo. I wanted a tripod capable of holding everything I own, and if I ever rent a 400 f2.8 or 500 f4, I wanted to know it could it (on a calm day, anyway).

    I decided on the Benro C-457 (or C-427???) which is rated at 26lbs. This is equivalent to the Gitzo GT2530, except the Gitzo weighs about half of the Benro.

    I had looked at the Gitzo GT1530 and the Benro C-257-n6. Both were rated for 17 lbs. The Gitzo is going for +- $480, the Benro about $320 - enough of a difference to risk buying the Benro.

    The GT2530 that I wanted goes for around $535. The best price I could find on the Benro equivalent was around $500!!! For only 35 bucks difference, I?m going with the Gitzo. Canogacamera had a new GT2530 on eBay today. I got it for less than the price of the Benro, quite a bit less.

    Thanks to everyone who gave their input here, I really appreciate it. Now it?s time for a ball head. I?m not sure what it will be, but I?m pretty sure it won?t be a Benro.
  16. I am glad you got a good tripod. It will serve you well. But your comparison of different tripods based on their stated support ratings is not right. These numbers have nothing to do with reality and are certainly not comparable between manufacturers. With more or less similar construction, heavier tripod is always more stable, no matter what the manufacturer claims it can support.
  17. Well - how about a response 1.5 years after the last post. LOL. I was reading about Gitzo vs. Benro tripods and saw the post above where someone said:
    "I decided on the Benro C-457 (or C-427???) which is rated at 26lbs. This is equivalent to the Gitzo GT2530, except the Gitzo weighs about half of the Benro. "
    It should be noted that the Benros report maximum capacity in Kg not lbs. Currently the Benro C-257 MB is the equivalent of the Gitzo 2531. They weigh about the same and have about the same load capacity.
  18. Hello: I just purchased the Benro C-427 and have a little problem: I can't figure out how to change from rubber feet to spikes. The crappy Chinese instructions look like the rubber feet just pull straight off and the spikes are underneath. The Benro website states that the rubber feet screw off and the spikes screw in. I got no spikes in the accessories so hopefully they are underneath the rubber feet. Either way, I can't get the rubber feet to budge. They look like they are sealed on. Are there any Benro owners out there that can help please?
  19. Gary.
    Sounds like you have bought one of the older (old stock?) Benro - without the option of interchangeable feet!
    It also would be lacking the anti-rotation leg feature.

    If it says C-427n (or n6) on it, then it should have been supplied with the spike kit - to change the feet the rubber ones just screw off anti-clockwise by hand and the spikes screw in clockwise and can be tightened with the spanner included in the 'kit'.

    BTW, the 'n6' versions are also much sturdier than the earlier ones - since my previous response in this post I have bought the C-358n6 and couldn't be happier with it (used with an Arca head).

    If you did get the older one (which is probably at least 2 years old) from a reputable dealer, perhaps they will change it for the current one?

    Hope this helps, Nick.
  20. Thanks very much, Nick:
    Purchased it from the used equipment section of B & H website. They are still available, last I looked. They are described as n6 but in the specifications it does say no interchangeable feet for spikes. Also, there was a little plaque in the parts bag with a 2005 date which must be the date it was made. So, an innocent error on their part I am sure; they are very reputable. I got it for $270.00 and it really isn't used; condition is described as brand new in manufacturer's packaging which is accurate. I think it is something new they have had around a long time that they are trying to get rid of. It seems like a really good buy, even though not exactly what I expected. Even though not really an n6 it seems very sturdy, and, like yours, it is plenty tall so I should never have to use the center column which is a good thing for stability. Unless you are really tall I'll bet you can use yours just fine without the center column. I thing I will keep mine, mainly for around the house and shots of all the birds in the trees right across from my balcony and maybe pick up something a little lighter for packing around sometime in the future.
    Thanks again,
  21. Hi everyone! I just went to B&H yesterday and bought A-427 BENRO tripod - NEW!!...for my BURK & JAMES 810 camera for $138.00 + tax....LOVE IT!!
    I use Manfrotto Hydrostatic Ball Head, with Fixed Plate, Supports 35.3 lbs... BENRO is great deal, if you need a big tripod.
    Thx guys!

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