For a while the only option for a video monopod was the Manfrotto version. Before I dive into this post I want to say I have nothing against Manfrotto or their monopod. Although, I have heard several complaints about it getting very sticky and making noise after a few months of use. I found out about Benro from an ad on the Planet 5D side bar and was very curious to know more. When I saw they were only $200 for a video head with flip lock legs, I knew I had to get one.
Thoughts After Unboxing
When unboxing the Benro Monopod, there were a few things that really stood out to me. First being the case it came in. The monopod fit perfectly in there and the shoulder strap made it really easy to carry. The case isn’t anything magical, but it is a nice touch that not many companies offer. Another feature that stood out was how small it compressed. Not only will it be easy to throw on a day pack, but it easily fits in my suitcase for flying. Without even testing it out, I already knew this would be a piece of gear I’m not leaving home with out.
After only a few hours shooting on this monopod, it became my favorite stabilizing system. Now those shooting on Reds, Alexas or F5/55, will not be able to use this system due to the 8.8lb weight limit. I shot with a DSLR (Canon 5D and 7D) and Black Magic Cinema Camera which worked great. I will say the BMCC did seem a little heavy and I was able to achieve better shots with the DSLR. Those shooting with the Canon C100 will benefit greatly from this monopod.
Now after shooting on the monopod for a couple weeks there are some huge benefits I noticed.
- More control than handheld
- Faster setup and breakdown than with a tripod
- Much less fatigue at the end of the day
- Easy to travel with
The Benro line is available through B&H and the specific monopod I am referring to can be ordered here. Build quality is extremely important to me when it comes to camera stabilization. I want something that will last and can take the daily abuse on set and when traveling. When shoots call for multiple locations in a day, you don’t have time to neatly pack each piece of gear. What usually happens is I throw it in the back of my Jeep, drive to the location, unload, get our shots and repeat. The Benro is well built and can handle production abuse. I have flown to 6 different airports with it in my checked bag and is still going strong. There are plastic pieces on the tripod head but nothing that worries me when it comes to longevity.
Along with the build quality, this monopod has list of features that make it a great purchase. The Benro S4 head has a weight capacity of 8.8 lbs making it perfect for DSLRs, Canon C100 and other small cameras. The head is very smooth and offers both pan and tilt, which gives you even more creativity for shooting. There isn’t a true drag for either but you can find your sweet spot with a little time.
The monopod folds down to making it easy to carry and easy to pack. It will extend to which is more than I will ever need. You have options for either flip or twist locks and I chose flip. The reason being quicker to set up and breakdown. Although I shoot a lot of commercial and corporate videos, a large amount of my projects are weddings. Time is something I never have enough of and I always look for ways to expedite my shots.
The feet are the biggest selling point for any video monopod. With an allen key, you can quickly change the firmness of the ball joint. What’s great about this is that you can adjust for the type of shots you are getting. If you are looking for more locked off shots or just pans and tilts, you can tighten the ball joint to stick a lot easier. If you are looking to get slider, or jib-like shots, loosening the ball joint will give you a much more fluid base.
Below is a video that gives my overview of the Benro Monopod along with the shots I was able to get using it. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions about it. Thanks!