Benro Series 3 Tripod Review

Benro Series 3 Tripod Review

Benro Series 3 Tripod Review

6227 2

Steady She Goes

TrueToad
/ Categories: My Reviews

If you are new to Tripod language let me go over the basics to allow you to make a better choice when deciding on your three-legged friend.

Many Tripod companies use terms such a Series 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.  The Series number basically equates to the diameter of the tripod legs thus a Series 3 is larger than a series 2 which also results in greater carrying capacitance and stability. Benro's Series 3 tripods can support upwards of 35 pounds or 15.8 kg, which is a good choice for a larger DSLR and Telephoto setup, or as we will discover as a general purpose Tripod. 

Additionally, some Tripod companies use the term 5X, 6X, 9X, etc. the X rating generally relates to Carbon Fiber Tripods which means the number of interwoven carbon fiber layers, and you guessed it the higher the number the stiffer the legs are.

Carbon Fiber VS Metal Tripods (aluminum): This choice is mostly driven by cost and personal choice, some people simply like the aluminum versions over the carbon fiber ones but, sometimes the choice is driven by cost savings when choosing an aluminum tripod.  Quite frankly it does not matter as long as the basics are taken care of, more on the basics in a moment.  Me personally I prefer Carbon Fiber models for their lighter weight. 

The basics questions you need to ask yourself.

  1. What is your photographic objective for the tripod - landscapes, birding, general purpose?
  2. Do you plan on doing commercial traveling with your tripod?
  3. What is the maximum weight you will place on the tripod?
  4. Are you needing a Tripod Head or will use one you already have? 
  5. What is your budget?
  6. How tall are you?

If you are a commercial traveler I suggest you consider a tripod that folds down to allow it to fit inside your carry on bags, otherwise it will need to go into your luggage in the cargo hold. Something to keep in mind.

Obviously, your budget will drive what you ultimately choose and purchase - My recommendation is to buy a tripod that has headroom to support more weight than what your current requirements are. The reason is, I have always found that if I purchase a tripod that supports say 20lbs today, thinking that is all I need, then in two years I run across that super telephoto lens I had to have, that would stress out the smaller tripod and make for an unstable support for larger lenses.

Fold down and Stand Up Height: I have errored many times and thought I would never need a "tall" tripod, wrong!  I suggest you get one with a standing height that comes to your chin or even higher.  Trust me on this, If you are an outdoor nature photographer you will need the extra height. Shooting on a hill, shooting on the very uneven ground, or shooting from a creek bank - One leg will need to be fully extended to position the tripod to a useable level and the longer the tripod the easier it is for you and less frustration.  Fold down height is less of an issue unless you travel commercially so, find one that folds down to a height you can live with.  I try to stay under 24".

The Tripod Head:  Getting this right is just as important as the tripod legs, Financially painful but just remember a good purchase should last you a lifetime. The heads are also rated on weight capacity so, like the tripod, I suggest you buy one with some room to grow.  Top vendors for very good tripod heads are Acratech GP Ball Heads or a Really Right Stuff (BH 40/30) size. If you need something more specialized like a Gimbal head than I highly recommend the Wimberly WH-200 Gimbal Head. 

Now The Review:

Who is the Benro TMA38CL Series 3 Mach 3 Tripod suited for? I consider this tripod a general purpose tripod that can cover general photography needs as well as supporting larger telephoto lens such as a Nikon 500mm f/4.  I use my Benro TMA28CL with my small Nikon Z7 for landscape and nature shooting. So, it suits many of my shooting needs from small to large.

Things I do not like about the Benro TMA38CL first.  My only real complaint is the tripod feet, these are screw-in rubber feet and when my tripod arrived one foot had worked it's way loose and fell off in the bag. Easy fix just screw it back in. However, if you do a lot of hiking and carry your tripod over your shoulder as I do, I can guarantee your gonna lose a foot at some point.  I recommend if you are sticking with the rubber feed place some blue thread lock on the threads.  On the plus side, Benro includes a set of metal Spike feet.

What do you get with the Tripod: 

You get a very nice padded carry case with enough room to store the tripod with a BH-40 Ball head attached.  The case has a side compartment that stores the included metal spiked feet and a Short Center Column along with a tool.  Additionally, you get a soft carry bag for the tripod. 

Specs of the Tripod: Full Standing Height is 69.7 inches with all 4 leg extensions fully entended, and can be lowered to a mere 14 inches, weighs in at only 4.5 pounds, and folds down to 23.2 inches. 9 layers of carbon fiber, supporting a whopping 35 pounds.  For those who shoot low to the ground the center column is replaceable with a short version that is included for free - just to note the short center column is made of aluminum, not carbon fiber.

Fit and Finish:  I would say the fit and finish of the Benro TMA38CL Carbon Fiber Tripod is top notch, well built with solid no slop fittings. The large rubber leg tensioners are well built and easy to turn to require only a slight turn to loosen or tighten. They also allow the owner to disassemble the legs for cleaning when the time comes.

Firmness/Stiffness:  I rate he Benro TMA38CL Carbon Fiber Tripod as equal to my GITZO Series 3 tripod I use.  The Benro is as every bit as stable as the Gitzo and costs half what the Gitzo cost.  When using this with my Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ballhead, Nikon D850 with Battery Grip and a Nikkor 70-200mm assigned I found the Benro stood strong and steady and was a very stable platform for the setup.

If you are looking at the Series 3 but plan on getting a Super Telephoto such as a Nikkor 600mm I would recommend you go with a Series 4 or even a Series 5.

Some optional Accessories I recommend for your Benro TMA38CL Carbon Fiber Tripod if you so happen to buy one - accessories at the bottom of the review.

Print
Rate this article:
4.5
Benro TriPod Series 3  Benro Tripod Leg Covers AcraTech GP S Ball Head  Other Ball Heads
  Tripod Ball Heads

 

More Benro Tripods at the link below

Benro Tripods

 

Comment

Dean Acheson · 3/20/2020 7:18:50 AM

Enjoyed the review. So, I have a Nikon 300mm f2.8 currently. And I plan to rent a 600mm for a trip to Yellowstone. Would you still recommend a "4" (purchase), or a "3"? In other words, would the "3" handle the 600mm f4?

Thanks for your insight.

TrueToad · 4/28/2020 3:15:44 PM

If I recall the 300mm f/2.8 is around 6.5 pounds - the series 3 Benro would be a nice match. If I were planning on buying the larger and heavier 600 then I would go with a Benro 4. I plan on getting a series 4 now that I use my 600mm quite often, the 4 is a more steady platform, but I would stick with the series 3 if I was mainly using a 300mm. - sorry for the late response.

You are replaying to

Your comment was added, but it must be approved first.

Please enter your name
Please enter your email adress Please enter valid email adress
Please enter a comment
Please solve Captcha.
Add Comment

Photography Reviews, and Information

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens Review

This is not a comparison between various 70-200mm lenses 3rd party lens manufacture.  This review is based on my experience using the Nikkor 70-200 ED FL zoom lens from Nikon. My expectations when I made the purchase was very high given the price point.  So, how has this lens performed?

Nikon Z 6II Review

The New Nikon Z 6II is here and what does it bring to the table?  A lot in the shortest sentence I can type. The Nikon Z 6II is one awesome camera - and did I say it does top-notch video?

Nikon 500mm F/5.6 PF Lens Review

In August 2018 Nikon announced the release of a compact super telephoto - the 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR  Making this their second Phase Fresnel lens the first being the awesome 300mm PF PF/4. I am excited to see Nikon introduce this new prime lens at a sub 4k.  Let's run through the technical details as it relates to weight, compactness, and sharpness.  All of which are expected to be superior.

Nikon D850 Review

The Nikon D850 camera when release soon became lauded as a game-changing DSLR and now that I have mine let me give you my opinion not that Nikon Mirrorless Z cameras have become widely available.

Nikon Z7 vs Nikon Z7 II Which one to buy?

Nikon Z7 vs Nikon Z7 II: Nikon has made several key improvements to the Nikon Z7 II mirrorless camera by adding a second-generation body that supports dual card slots and a second EXPEED processor.  Now the question is which camera should you buy or should you upgrade you Z7 or DSLR?  Without the techno ramblings, this article is a simplified recommendation.

Nikon 400mm f/2.8E ED FL Review

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400MM f/2.8E ED FL VR Lens:

2020 update ... The Nikkor 400mm 2.8 ed fl is an exceptional lens known for its flexibility and amazingly sharp images. Lighter and more nimble than it's predecessors but all the while retaining and improving on an already great Nikkor 400 heritage, this lens will bring to the photographic market a continued, appreciated, and highly sought after photographic instrument.  The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400MM f/2.8E ED FL VR Lens is an excellent lens.

NIKON 400mm f2.8 lens review

Help This Site: Buy a Nikkor 400mm

Nikon 600mm f/4 FL ED Lens Review

Nikon 600mm f4 lens review: Almost 2 years since the last big 600mm lens release,  Nikon announced a stunning update to an already spectacular Super Telephoto lens; the new Nikkor 600mm f/4 FL ED VR lens, and just how could any manufacture make this wonderful lens faster, lighter, and better?  Let's find out.

Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Lens - Review

After waiting almost two years for Nikon to release the new Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 S lens it has finally arrived!  One of my favorite lenses to shoot with and use. This New Lens, Allows for sun and other light sources in your composition due to the superior Anti-reflective Nano Crystal Coat (N) and ARNEO (A) coatings which virtually eliminate flare, ghosting, and coma by suppressing incidental light coming from any direction.

Nikon Battery Grip MB-N10 - Review

The Nikon MB-N10 is a Multi Battery Power Pack designed for the Nikon Z7 and Z6 mirrorless cameras. This grip/power pack extends the run time and offers a counter-balance when using long super-telephoto lenses.

Nikon D500 Camera Review

Since it's release the D500 is reported to be one of Nikon's best DX offerings to date, and I agree - It is a solid high-performance camera.  I share my thoughts and experience after months of solid use. The Nikon D500 has many technical benefits of the D5 making it a super sports camera, fast and agile with reasonable files that are easy to off load, process, and store. and after un-boxing in April my journey has begun, Read on ......

Nikon 20mm f/1.8 S lens Review

Nikon says the 20mm f/1.8 S lens ishas superior performance and resolution. Sophisticated features and operability. Specialized technologies and reliability enhancements. All while taking full advantage of the monumental Nikon Z mount and adhering to the strictest image quality and build standards.  Lets find out if this is true.

Nikon Z5 Review

Nikon Z5 Camera Review: Like other Nikon Claims that fell short - Nikon claims your full-frame mirrorless journey starts with the Nikon Z5.  Push the limits and shoot for the sky!  let's take a few minutes to go over where this Nikon Z5 fits into the mirrorless ecosystem.

Nikon 58mm f/1.4 G Lens Review

Following several years of using my f/2.8 zooms that covered the 50-60mm range, I finally decided I had enough of the compromise. After doing some testing with 3rd party lenses and doing online research I went ahead and purchased my Nikon 58mm f/1.4 G lens direct from NikonUSA.

Nikon Z7 Real World Review Z Series

Great News for Mirrorless Camera Fans! Nikon released their new Full Frame Mirrorless Z series camera, the next generation mirrorless camera - a new mirrorless camera system that will take photography into the next 100 years with A Nikon Full Frame Mirrorless, available now.

Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Camera Review - Real World

Nikon made the jump into Mirrorless territory with their first ever two new Full Frame Mirrorless Z series cameras. Following the release, many comments have been posted on both YouTube and Websites.  Me personally I am not an armchair camera collector that sits and talks about camera gear. All the equipment I purchase I also use in my daily photography needs.  Here is my review of the Nikon Z6.

Synology NAS Diskstation Warranty Review

Synology DiskStation Warranty  Review: Every so often you are faced with a situation having two potentials outcomes when it comes to hardware failure - It can go good or it can go bad.  This short review outlines how Synology handles their warranty of NAS Diskstations.

Nikon R1C1 Close-up System Review

Time for macro Photography & I am ready to get out and shoot.
In the early days, one of my least favorite aspect of photography was flash, simply because I sucked at it, and normally got mixed results when I tried using it. Since discovering Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS) my Macro has improved.


rss_feedRSS