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Following up with my previous post on the Benro A-298 Tripod M8 review,which I wrote up inspired by this podcast, I wanted to review the ball head I put on top. I was initially looking at putting a Benro ball head on the tripod but after searching prices I came to the ralization that they were costing more than the legs. As with the tripod istself I wanted to make sure that it would be able to carry a good amount of weight and stay stable. I found that Benro had two versions of four models to choose from (confused by that?) basically they are the B-0, B-1, B-2, B-3, and the Bh-00, BH-1, BH-2, BH-3 the main difference is that the “H” versions have a “double action” quick release plate instead of the normal slide in dove tail “Arca Swiss” style mount that the other versions have, and they cost more!
After checking the stats on each version I decided to go overboard and get the heavy duty version the B-3 which is rated for ~26pounds, however the lowest price I could find was around $170 which was too much. I searched for alternatives and soon found the brand Triopo, which is from what I can gather basically the same company just a new name, even the model naming convention is the same,(they even have tripods) so I found a Triopo B-3 ballhead here for $74. It ships from overseas so I ordered a few accessories to make the shipping cost worthwhile (I’ll review those other accessories later as well), and waited two weeks. It actually arrived in Los Angeles after 6 days but then they shipped it to New York for customs (I have no idea why -that’s government efficiency for you!)and it took another week to get back to me in Utah.
My first impressions were that this might be too big, it sure was hefty, it arrived in a box and was packed in a nice felt type drawstring carry bag and it’s definitely solid! what sets this apart from some of its littlest brothers is the inclusion of numerous controls versus just one large locking control, it has a portrait mode notch that allows you to rotate the camer to the vertical if you don’t have a “L” bracket.
Starting from the base up we have a Pan control/lock this allows the whole head to swivel in the horizontal without having to use the ball head so the camera can stay level (provided the head itself is level of course), the largest knob is the Main Lock Control, the knob on the other side with the scale on it is the Adjustable Tension/Drag control so you can set the tension to hold your camera still while shooting but be loose enough that you can move the ball head and camera without needing to loosen the main control for every readjustment. This is a very handy feature that saves time and motion but takes a little tweaking with to get the right tension set, with the D7000 and a 18-200mm I needed to set it at 8-9. The top knob is for the Arca Swiss style quick release plate. It’s not really “quick” in the sense that you have to tighten/loosen the knob to add or remove the camera instead of a single push of a button like some heads have, but it’s really not that big a deal. It’s easy to just slide it in and tighten plus I like the tongue in groove style it feels very secure versus the sloping design of some other heads.
I also like how the camera mounting plate has rubberized pads on it so it won’t scratch the bottom of the camera, and helps prevent twisting of the plate on the camera under load.
My only real complaint and it’s very minor is that I wish the camera tripod socket mounting screw had a D ring on it to make mounting it to the camera easier, but a coin from your pocket works very well, and the plate stays put once attached. You can see the safety pin on the base in the picture above, this prevents the plate from sliding out the open sides if you forget to tighten the lock enough (if you’re in such a hurry that you do forget to lock it down, you need to take a breath and slow down!!)
That’s it nothing fancy just solid all metal ballhead that moves smoothly and locks tight and solid I love this versus my old tripod you can see in the previous review it’s really beyond night and day difference. I’m very pleased with it and hopefully it will last me a long time, if it doesn’t I’m only out $74!