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Up close & personal - macro tripod review part II

Benbo - Trekker Mk 3 $124.99 (£120) ball head extra

SPEC PANEL (exc ball-head)

Max Height (column down): 107cm
Max Height (column up): 150cm
Min Height: 0cm
Leg Sections: 2
Closed Length: 84cm
Weight: 2kg
Load capacity: n/a

Quality 3/5
Features & Design 3/5
Value for Money 4/5
Overall 3.5/5

The Benbo was the first tripod to adopt a tilting column that rotates with the legs around a single (bent) bolt, hence the name. All four tubes are locked off with the one clamp, and while quick to set-up, after some practice, I found you must always support the centre-column to avoid potential pitfalls. Once mastered though the Benbo soon pays dividends in the field.

The long centre column and infinitely adjustable legs make short work of the most demanding macro subjects. But while the Trekker 3 is one of the lighter models in the range, and pretty portable as a result, heavier cameras have to be used with some care. I found this was especially true on smooth flooring, as the Trekker lacks additional leg bracing and is supplied with spiked feet. Clip-on non-slip feet would have been very handy.

Load capacity isn’t stated but it was perfectly fine with our, albeit low weight, Pentax K-2000 (aka K-m, in Europe) and 35mm macro lens. Our Trekker was supplied with the optional Compact ball head. It’s a pretty basic affair, but well matched for the tripod in size and can support the Pentax and similar DSLRs with a small macro lens. Optional table-top legs make the Trekker a highly versatile tripod for all-round use.

Check back tomorrow for part III, where we'll be reviewing the Giottos MTL 3361B & MH1301 652 ball-head.

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