June 3, 2014

Benro Updated Combination Series Carbon Fiber Tripods

Benro Combination tripod redesigned top spider overview
An updated version of Benro's top series of Combination Tripods has reached some on-line stores after their announcement and display at the recent China P&E Show in Beijing (April 25-28, 2014).

The updated version seems very influenced by the latest Gitzo® Systematic Series from which it has "borrowed" many characteristics both optically and functionally especially on the top platform and leg spider design.

Benro Combination Series Specs
The new Combination Series models, which differ from their predecessors by the addition of the letter "N" at the end of the model name. Somehow the series update does not stop in the redesign of the already existing tripod models but extends also in the expansion of the series with two new models, one at the bottom and one at the top of the line.

Benro Combination tripod series specification table
As obvious from the Benro Combination tripod series specification table above, the series has been enriched at both ends with the smaller C2770TN 3 section, ∅ 28.6 mm top leg diameter model; and the largest C5790TN 5 section, ∅ 41.2 mm top leg diameter model, which boast a maximum height slightly over 2 m (6' 9.5") and a load bearing capacity of 32 kg (70.5 lbs) ! Otherwise, the specification of the other models remains the same in all aspects.

New Combination Series Highlights
Despite Benro's turn to the forged Aluminium with consequent CNC machine finishing in their most recent Aerometal Travel Angel II Series Tripods; the updated Combination Series features a totally revamped top platform / leg hub made of cast Magnesium Alloy as before.

Benro Combination tripod redesigned top platform / spider details
Most prominent in the photos above, is the top platform and spider redesign where a triangle with oval shaped sides encloses the top platform, bracing the leg hing extensions in a more elaborate manner in order to enhance the torsional rigidity of the once circular top chassis.
The major change however, is that the top chassis has been transformed into an open shell design which uses a ratchet locking lever to tighten the two parts via a bolt. (Circled in orange on the top photo above). Although this mechanism is directly related to Gitzo's own, it is far better than the single levered screw that locked the top plate, pushing it sideways, found on the previous versions and explained in detail in the Benro C3770T Combination Carbon Fiber Tripod Review.
The Top Plate besides the anodizing in cyan, has now a safety anti-twist screw driven from below the plate. (Yellow arrow in top photo).
Further, the swivel ring found on the previous versions has been removed and the tapped hole is now suggested to be used for the attachment of accessory equipment as illustrated in the smaller yellow squared photo above.
The Top Plate is now secured with a spring loaded lever (bottom left photo) which has to be pulled out in order for the plate to be removed.
Lastly as we can see in the bottom right photo a huge steel hook has been added below the Top Plate intended for hanging a counter balance weight as a camera bag or back pack. I don't know how strong or practical a hook of this size was meant to be, but aesthetically is far lesser than the compact solutions found on Gitzo® and other tripods of the same nature.

Benro Combination tripod redesigned removable leg grip
Further to the revamped top platform, the updated combination tripods feature a totally new removable leg warmer / grip made of padded nylon fabric instead of the closed cell foam grip of the previous models. As the former foam grips were difficult to obtain as spare parts and even more difficult to retrofit on the tripod legs, the new grips will rejoice users who wished to fit all three legs with a grip.
Benro Combination tripod redesigned leg feet and spikes
Another feature change in all updated combination series tripods are the new shape leg rubber pads (feet) made of a more durable material, much larger in diameter inspired by the ones found on the latest Benro Monopods and textured for increased friction and better tripod stability on flat surfaces. The new pads are still interchangeable though, with steel spikes as before, for soft ground or muddy terrains.

Further all updated and newly launched Benro Combination tripod models share the recently improved "Benro Tube Twist Locking System" with dust resistance technology, which promises an increase in locking force by 30% and an increase in stability by 10%.
Furthermore, they share common accessories among which are: 75 and 100 mm Video Bowls for the installation of DV heads, Heavy duty Geared Center Columns, while the usual Benro accessories like the padded Carrying Case, Steel Spikes and Allen hex wrench are included as standard.

For more information click the Related Links below.
I hope you found the information useful, thank you for viewing.

Price & Availability:
Since the new Combination tripods are not yet in any official Benro sites, a little search on the web shows a slight price decrease for the new models compared to the older ones. Indicative prices for the C3770TN and C4770TN are US$ 485.00 and US$ 610.00 respectively on eBay .

I assume that they will be listed a little higher from local distributors but still the price is very competitive compared to what one has to pay for the market leaders.

Availability Update:
The new Benro Combination tripods are also available from Amazon worldwide.

Related Links:

Benro Model Number and Tripod Naming System

Relevant Articles:

Benro C3770T Combination Carbon Fiber Tripod Review

New Benro Aerometal Travel Angel II Series Tripods

Benro A-298 EX (A2980F) Versatile Transformer Tripod Review

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