After my bad luck with the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ tripod I decided to go with a safe choice. I'm a member of photography forum where somebody bought a Benro A2970f tripod recently. She is really satisfied with it and recommends it. I googled a bit and found that it also exists in twist-lock version. As I prefer this type and it was even £10 cheaper, I pulled the trigger and ordered the last available from eBay. Just to be clear this is a leg only. I also bought a ball head for it which I'm going to review next time.
The tripod arrived in a black cardboard box. Inside the box you can find the carrying bag in which the tripod is packed.
On the label you can read it's an Mg-Aluminium tripod where Mg stands for Magnesium. Not every description mentions that the tripod is actually constructed from aluminium alloy and coated with magnesium alloy,
The carrying bag is a pleasant surprise. It's well padded and even has a little zipped inside pocket for the accessories. The shoulder strap is detachable and adjustable. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. :)
- Material: aluminium
- Extended height: 173cm/68.1in
- Weight: 2.13kg
- Load Capacity: 10kg
- Folded Height: 65.5cm
- Leg Sections: 3
I realised already when reviewing the Vanguard that the extended height is sometimes differs from the specs. So here are my results.
Let's jump into the details!
The thickest leg section has a diameter of 28 mm, the thinnest 20 mm. These are better numbers than the Vanguard's. But only one leg has a grip. The manufacturer calls it "closed-cell nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR)". It doesn't seem to be as durable as the Vanguard's, I hope it will last.
The twist-lock system isn't as sophisticated either. Basically there's a normal thread under the rubber knobs. It means you can unscrew it. For a completely free leg movement you have to turn the lock about 360°. The leg is a bit stiff but still can be moved if you only turn the lock by 180°. I would recommend always fully unlock it especially in sandy-dusty environment.
Legs only have 3 angle settings and at the widest one the tripod still doesn't sit completely on the ground. The leg locks are simply pull-push knobs without spring mechanism so you have to push them back to fix the tripod in the desired setting.
The rubber feet are cone shaped. They can be unscrewed and stainless steel spikes are provided if needed. I've never ever needed spikes on my tripod's feet but good to know when I'm lost in the jungle I still have a spear to hunt for food. :)
Good news! When all locks are tightened it's solid as a rock. No wobbling at all. It has two big knobs and a small lever. One big knob is for the vertical movement, the other is to set the angle. The small lever is responsible for the rotation. The movement is smooth and literally you can set the center column in any position.
There is a hook at the bottom of the center-column. It allows you to hang additional weight for increased stability.
There is no safety pin placed on the center column so you have to be careful when adjusting not to push too far. Usually the head which contains bubble levels but in case of the Benro A2970t the tripod neck has one.
Also on the neck of the tripod there is an eyelet. Its function isn't described in the manual. You can use the strap of the carrying bag in a different way too. There is a small strap attached to the main one. This needs to be wrapped around the legs and the other end can be connected to this eyelet. This is a convenient way to carry the tripod without its bag. But you can also use this as a kind of safety eyelet. For example when you are using the tripod at the cliff's edge you can secure it to something to avoid from falling. And there is a third option too, to use it for hanging smaller filter holder pouches.
The Benro A2970t is definitely a winner when comparing price per performance ratio. It gives lot for your money. For me who shoot macros and landscape probably the best all-rounder. I couldn't really find any weak spot when reviewing. The newly developed models may give you a bit quicker twist-lock mechanisms and less fiddly center column setting but then you have to expect at least a 1.5x multiplier in the price. If you want a reliable, sturdy, all-purpose tripod for a good price, definitely this is my highly recommended option.
- very sturdy construction
- versatility of the center column
- padded bag and multi-functional strap
- very good price (£109 - June 2017)
- a bit long when folded
- center column has no safety pin