I have a lot of tripods. Most of them came free with a gadget like a camera or a video camera. The only tripod I actually put money on was my Manfrotto. Then recently I got my hands on a Benro travel tripod. The Manfrotto and Benro tripods are now my camera’s two best friends. All thanks to my photography mentor, Jo Avila.
Years ago, I started out as a volunteer assistant (VA) for Jo whenever he has a shoot. Back then he was using a big Manfrotto tripod for his medium format cameras. He also had another Manfrotto tripod that he uses for his outdoor shots. This was the tripod that I fell in love with. A Manfrotto 190PROB.
Then one fateful day, I saw this same tripod being sold at a pretty hefty discount during the PhotoWorld Asia convention. I can’t remember now when and how much I bought this thing. But I do remember that the price, along with the 460Mg head, was so affordable that I would be a fool to pass it up. The whole setup was a heavy 2.43 kg. It came with a nylon bag which proved to be useful on my trek up Mt. Pinatubo with the rest of the Zone V Camera Club members. Then again, 2.43 kg is heavy specially when you’re hiking more than 8 kilometers up the mountain. Couple that with the heavy metal-bodied Nikon FA that I was lugging around with me and - well, you get the idea.
Last October 2010, I got the chance to assist Jo in another shoot. This time he shows me this small bag that housed a surprisingly tall tripod. Base to base, the Benro Transfunctional Travel Angel is an inch or so higher than my Manfrotto. But gosh-darn-it! It was light! And it folds small! And I can also twist off a leg to get a monopod! I was sold. But I didn’t have the budget for it at the moment. I mention my dream tripod on Facebook. Then I get a call from Jo about a deal with Digital Walker Zoom. Around November, I finally got to meet their representative. At the end of the meeting I was still in sort of a shock. The deal that I thought would go down would be that I write about this wonderful piece of metal in exchange for a sizable discount on the tripod which I had hoped to claim sometime early 2011. Instead, I would be writing about this wonderful piece of metal in exchange for the tripod.
I soon set up both tripods in my bedroom. The older Manfrotto and the younger Benro, side by side. One has been everywhere. The other will soon be having its own trips. Will I be selling my Manfrotto? Not a chance. It’s just not going to see as much outside action as before. But the Manfrotto will still be useful for my studio shots. On the other hand, the Benro was put to good use during the last Christmas season. It was such a wonderful experience! I can’t wait to try it out in future events!