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Why I love the most hated tripod. | Photography and Video Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Why I love the most hated tripod.


latentux

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I’m referring to the Benbo and it”s sibling, the Uniloc. The Benbo was designed by Chris Mills and Ken Brett of Kennet Engineering, which was eventually sold on to Patterson Photographic. When legal clauses expired Chris and Ken started Uniloc Tripods and produced an updated version of the same design.

In my experience these tripods are either loved by their users or hated by their previous owners and it’s easy to see where the hate comes from.
Both brands are made in several sizes but apart from a small table top model they all have only two leg sections and are not remotely compact or lightweight. They are unique among tripods in that one lever unlocks all the legs and the centre column together, which are then able to be configured in just about any position imaginable, (and a piece of pi$$ if you can wrestle a bagpipe). This does take some getting used to, but there’s worse to come and it goes like this.

You’ve just finished wrestling the tripod, mounted your camera, and you need to make a slight change to a leg or the centre column. You undo the lock and Whooooa Holy $h1t. The tripod has just done a perfect impression of Bambi-on-ice and your camera has bit the dust. Or concrete, or rocks. So now you’re a confirmed hater, venting your hate as only a confirmed hater can.

But hey, why would you do that, doh? Don’t you always support your camera?

Haters sometimes sell these on for silly money.

Here’s why I love mine. It’s a Mk1 Benbo that I’ve used since the early 1980s. Bought second hand from a hater. It has supported everything from a compact camera to a monorail 10”x8” film camera, and is steady as a rock. The legs and centre column are easy to release and reposition however you want. The camera height ranges from ground zero to 1700mm. The outer lower leg sections are sealed at the bottom and the tripod can be set up in water deeper than your wellies. There is virtually no flex in the legs, even when fully extended. It has both 3/8” and 1/4” standard camera threads, one on each end of the centre column. A camera bag or weight sack can safely be hung over the joint for extra stability if it’s a bit breezy.

Here it is. Easily wrestled into a silly stance, and as normal.

It was pristine when I bought it but after the first scratch I stopped worrying about the appearance (I’ve never been a social photographer) and now it shows a few signs use, like dragging over walls, under fences, through railings, and along crawls. I like to think of it as urban camo'.
All cosmetic though and it still functions like new. Mine has thumb screw locks for extending the legs and centre column but later models have huge fancy knobs. I prefer the thumbscrews as they’re more compact when folded.
Yes I really love my Benbo and I couldn’t part with it. It’s done well through thick and thin, wet and dry, etc, etc. Although it’s not ideal for exploring I always use it. And its hiding its age better than I am.

I keep telling myself I should get the lighter Trekker model, still not compact, but easier to carry around.

Any haters wanting to get rid of their foolish indulgence can contact me here.
 

tigger

mog
Regular User
Still have one round here somewhere but unused for a long time. In the 80's it was my goto tripod for nature photography.
 

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