Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by patrick j, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. patrick j

    patrick j Guest


    I'm not an experienced photographer by any means. However I do find myself
    taking quite a lot of photos.

    I'm looking for a tripod and web searching has led me to consider UniLock
    or Benbo.

    This is with a view to taking good close-ups of difficult to access parts
    of bicycles. One of my interests is DIY bicycle stuff and in relevant
    discussion forums I like to supply photos of the things I'm talking about.

    UniLock or Benbo look like they would be good for this because the camera
    can be held in strange positions, which is ideal for me.

    Does that make sense to you?

    Are there other tripods that might be more suitable?

    I can't seem to find web-sites for UniLock or Benbo, "googling" just shows
    up retailers who stock them. I'd really like to have a close look at the
    whole range of tripods. Does anyone know of web-sites for these companies?

    Thank you for any assistance you can give.
    patrick j, Dec 22, 2007
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  2. Benbo is a brand name owned by Paterson:

    The Benbo and Uni-Lok tripods are based on the same original design by
    Kennett Engineering. When the company closed, Benbo's distributor,
    Paterson Photax, took over the brand and had it manufactured in China.
    Some of the former staff of Kennett Engineering set up the Uni-Lok

    The tripods give an amazing range of camera positions and have sealed
    legs. However, and this is a very big BUT, they can be lethal to your
    prized photo gear because when you loosen that locking lever, they
    lose all stability, turning into a loose set of bagpipes without the
    bag. I was a big fan of Benbo, having owned three of their tripods, a
    Trekker, a Mk 1 and a Mk 4. But I was always nervous about seeing my
    photo gear crashing to the ground.

    Instead, I would recommend that you look at the Manfrotto range,
    especially the 055 Pro B, which has a very wide range of leg positions
    and a centre column that can be set horizontally. These features
    together offer a very wide range of camera positions with the added
    benefit of stability that you can trust, meaning that seeing your
    camera and lens hit the ground hard is much less likely.
    The Good Doctor, Dec 22, 2007
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  3. patrick j

    Rob Morley Guest

    patrick j
    I wonder why you think a tripod will be much use for this sort of
    subject - it's not the sort of thing where composition is criticsl, and
    if you shoot with flash then camera movement won't be a problem.
    Rob Morley, Dec 22, 2007
  4. patrick j

    patrick j Guest

    I know the tripod will be useful because my experience with flash is that
    it will often look bad in my case especially with shiny aluminium parts.

    In addition I like the images to be well composed because I do send them
    to be viewed by other people and in addition I may use them as
    illustrations for some web-pages I will be creating.

    The question I've asked is more "which tripod?" rather than "should I use a
    tripod?" :)
    patrick j, Dec 23, 2007
  5. patrick j

    Rob Morley Guest

    patrick j
    Use bounce, a diffuser and/or off-camera flash?
    Crop/rotate the image - you won't want high res for email or web pages
    anyway, so the quality shouldn't be a problem.
    I know - I was just wondering. I've never tried taking photos of bike
    bits, apart from a few frames (bikes, not film!). If a macro lens got
    anywhere near my bikes I'd have to admit how dirty they are.
    Rob Morley, Dec 23, 2007
  6. patrick j

    Mark Stevens Guest

    I was in a similar position earlier this year and was originally
    looking at these two makes. Ironically I bought neither but found a
    Giottos tripod which offered similar flexibility but using a more
    conventional design. The model I have is the MT9371 which I bought
    from the UK eBay seller Ashtons of Hereford.

    I have not had any problems with this tripod although it is on the
    heavy side if you are out and about; but that is the price you pay for
    That was one of my concerns too.

    Hope this helps,
    This message is provided "as is".

    mark at thepcsite dot co dot uk
    |\ _,,,---,,_ A picture used to be worth a
    ZZZzzz /,`.-'`' -. ;-;;, thousand words - then along
    |,4- ) )-,_. ,\ ( `'-' came television!
    '---''(_/--' `-'\_)

    Mark Stevens (mark at thepcsite fullstop co fullstop uk)
    Mark Stevens, Dec 23, 2007
  7. patrick j

    Trev Guest

    Calumet are selling some Chinese made tripods that are copy's of Manfrotto
    at a much lower price.They tend to be heavier as the make them stronger. I
    have had one by the name of marchwood from a previous importer. Can not be
    Trev, Dec 23, 2007
  8. patrick j

    Rob Morley Guest

    Are they stronger, or do they just use more of a cheaper weaker heavier
    Rob Morley, Dec 23, 2007
  9. patrick j

    Trev Guest

    Pop into your local store and find out. There is defiantly no Mag Alloy on
    Trev, Dec 23, 2007
  10. patrick j

    patrick j Guest


    Thank you for this and the other suggestions.

    For me the tripod seems simpler than setting up the off-camera flash.

    My garage is lit sufficiently to take the photos but if the camera is not
    really still then I get a slightly blurred image. So, I feel that a tripod
    is the way ahead for me.

    There's an additional advantage of the tripod which I haven't mentioned
    which is that I can do quite nice little sequences of photos of something
    being altered on the bicycle and have a constant framing in the picture, as
    long as I don't move the bicycle of course :)
    I'm actually quite good with image manipulation on my computer but I sort
    of feel its easier for me just to set it up right with the tripod.

    Having written that I've never actually used a tripod before so I'm just
    guessing :)
    patrick j, Dec 24, 2007
  11. patrick j

    patrick j Guest


    Thank you Good Doctor. I've been looking at their stuff at their web-site
    and I think it is a very good design for me.
    patrick j, Dec 24, 2007
  12. patrick j

    patrick j Guest

    Hello Mark

    I will check it out.

    Thank you.
    patrick j, Dec 24, 2007
  13. patrick j

    patrick j Guest

    Thank you Trev.

    I'll have a look at these.

    Thank you.
    patrick j, Dec 24, 2007
  14. patrick j

    Rob Morley Guest

    patrick j
    That's a very good reason for using a tripod.
    I tend to use a monopod for macro (other than set-up shots) and a tripod
    for portraits and landscapes - the great thing about a tripod is you can
    compose the shot then not have to worry about camera position or
    movement while you work on focus, DOF, exposure, filters. I guess with
    modern digital cameras you only really need to consider DOF, because the
    camera does exposure and focussing for you and post-processing pretty
    much replaces filters.
    Rob Morley, Dec 24, 2007
  15. patrick j

    patrick j Guest

    I'm a bit interested in getting a monopod for video work. I've got a couple
    of largish video projects coming up. I normally use the tripods and cameras
    from the University where I work for this but when filming a public
    demonstration for example I find I can't move fast enough to get different
    shots with tripod, so invariable I just handhold the camera.


    with a monopod I could just keep it on the camera and adjust the height
    when I put the video camera down. This would be fast enough and give me
    much more steady shots than handheld, especially when the subject I'm
    filming is necessarily quite far away.
    patrick j, Dec 24, 2007

  16. You're very welcome, Patrick. You cannot really go wrong with
    Manfrotto - the range is designed by photographers for photographers,
    and it shows.

    The only weak part of the range is tripod heads. Buy Manfrotto tripod
    legs, but the tripod head is best sourced elsewhere.

    Have a good Christmas.

    The Good Doctor, Dec 24, 2007
  17. patrick j

    Rob Morley Guest

    patrick j
    You don't even need to rest the monopod on the ground - just the extra
    mass/lever attached to the camera will tend to reduce jerkiness. There
    is a number of web pages devoted to DIY steadicam construction that you
    might find interesting.
    Rob Morley, Dec 24, 2007
  18. Yes, the skill with a monopod (I don't have a head for my Manfrotto[1]
    so I only use it in landscape format[2]), is to make yourself into a
    tripod. Your two legs brace the third with the camera.

    Then for steady fixed object shots you learn to position the camera +
    monopod, and then adjust your own position to form the rest. Make sure
    you are comfortable or you'll induce shake.

    If the subject is moving (or in no fixed position), get yourself so that
    the range can be covered by swinging your body!

    And of course, as with hand held, if you can find something to brace
    yourself against, then use that as well. In a sitting position one
    beauty of a monopod is that it can be collapsed to either have an end on
    the floor, or on the seat.

    Lastly, in choosing a tripod or monopod, get one with toggle clamps,
    rather than screw clamps. My wife has screw clamps on her scope monopod,
    and we are always struggling to get them either tight enough, or to
    loosen them to adjust them!

    [1] It came with a 2" rubber flexi extension, which seemed a
    good idea as a shock absorber, but I find that it is not stiff
    enough to be useful! Has anyone found a use for them?

    [2] Anyone with recommendations for a monopod head?


    Michael J Davis

    Now with added pictures on

    The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
    Dorethea Lange
    Michael J Davis, Dec 24, 2007

  19. The Manfrotto MN234 is a simple one-axis head, selling for £14 to £21.
    It can also be found with a quick release camera plate as the MN234RC,
    selling for £25 to £35.

    Strangely, Jessops prices appear to be among the most competitive!

    I have one monopod fitted with the MN234RC, and another fitted with a
    Benbo Trekker ball head. They both work well, but I tend to prefer
    the rugged simplicity of the one-axis Manfrotto head.
    The Good Doctor, Dec 24, 2007
  20. Thanks - that looks interesting. I'll check it out. I'm not certain that
    the QR is as much an advantage with a monopod as with a tripod.
    Certainly - thanks for that.

    [The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
    Michael J Davis
    Some newsgroup contributors appear to have confused
    the meaning of "discussion" with "digression".
    Michael J Davis, Dec 24, 2007
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