So I recently purchased the Benro A38T Classic Aluminum Monopod with the S2 head and the fine folks at Photography Bay here were kind enough to let me talk about it.
I promise this wont take long, but here are some tech specs. This monopod has just the right maximum height of 68.9”, which is perfect unless you are recently retired from the NBA and are exceptionally tall. It folds away to a tiny 25.8” and comes with a handy dandy carrying case that straps nicely over your shoulders. That and the low weight of 2.9 lbs has come in handy when I am carrying loads of gear.
The monopod has a 5.5 lb weight carrying capacity, which for me is a little low because I rock a full frame DSLR as well as some heavy older Nikon lenses. It is also on the low side of weight support in it’s class of monopod, but definitely not the lowest.
The monopod has 4 leg sections that lock and unlock with a twisting system that I am a fan of. I find it easy to switch heights on the fly, but it did take a little getting used to at first. There is also a 3 (mini) leg stabilization attachment on the bottom that really does a good job of keep your shots balanced and stable.
My only complaint is that I wish it had more range of motion with only 85 degrees of tilt… which isn’t the most I have experienced. You can pan a full 360 degrees, and on this head it is a very smooth pan which allows you capture some great footage of a bride walking down the aisle.
This particular monopod comes with the S2 video head from Benro which to say is their ‘base’ model. I was fairly happy with the head, but the quick release plate was a bit finicky. It comes with separate pan and tilt locking mechanisms as well as a bubble level which is great for making sure that your shot is as close to level as you can get.
See… that wasn’t too bad, was it?
What I love about this monopod:
- I love the smoothness of the head when it is set completely open. It is a very stable feel, but smooth as butter when you are working the camera around a cinematic shot.
- I love the price! At $140 this thing is a steal!
- I love the twist to lock mechanism on the base. The four segments work smoothly together and you can do a lot of creative stuff with the working parts. You can see in the video sample below that I did a tracking forward movement with it laid almost flat to the ground. It was reminiscent of a glide cam rig. I was pretty pleased with the results.
What I didn’t love about this monopod:
- I didn’t really like the quick release plate. The screw that keeps it tight is rather large and it keeps you from getting your camera in there secure and tightly in position. Thank goodness for the safety lock or else the camera might fall out constantly. It has given me a few heart attacks.
- The head’s tilting lock is either all or nothing. When it is only slightly loose, the camera movement is a tad jerky, but it is smooth when the lock is completely loose.