When you think of a top-quality tripod with fluid video head, do you immediately visualize the one with the fancy Italian name? You know--the one with red highlights whose name starts with "M"? Yeah. I did too, until I saw the price tag. After the sticker shock wore off I set out on a mission to find a tripod of comparable quality, at a lower price point. I read lots of reviews, and watched lots of YouTube videos. And guess what? I found an amazing tripod that doesn't cost Italian prices!
This isn't some flimsy plastic tripod—it's constructed with quality materials, (mostly aluminum), and comes loaded with features worthy of a pro-quality tripod. And the best part is, it doesn't cost as much as the Italian competitor!
The legs feature snap-lock mechanisms, which I much prefer over twist-locks. One of the legs has a foam hand grip, so you won't freeze your hands on the cold aluminum. I’ve shot outside on cold days, and trust me, that foam grip is a lifesaver! The head is mounted to an extendable neck--so with the legs at full extension, you can raise your camera up another foot to achieve an impressive 69.3" height. If you need to get low, the legs can be positioned almost straight out, allowing for shots near the ground.
The fluid head is connected to a half-ball platform, which is really handy when you're outdoors on uneven terrain. Just loosen the lock on the half-ball, gaze into the illuminated bubble level, and frame a level shot in seconds.
I love the S6 fluid video head. It's got an extendable handle which can be mounted on either side of the head--depending on your needs. The head has adjustable tilt drag, and a nice weighted feel when panning. I've never experienced "jerky" pans and tilts. The mounting plate features a safety catch that prevents your camera from sliding out of the head in case you forget to lock it off. And the whole system has blue accents--my favorite color--so aesthetically, it looks pretty cool!
The kit comes with a nice padded bag with shoulder strap. Inside the bag is a little set of metal spiked "feet". If you're outdoors, and need added stability, just unscrew the rubber feet, and swap 'em out for the spikes, and your tripod will stick into the ground. The bag is large enough to accommodate the folded tripod with video head attached--no need to disconnect the head for transport. That makes setup easier when you get it out of the bag!
Benro makes a lighter weight, carbon fiber version of this tripod, that costs a little more. I personally like the heft of the aluminum set I bought. It's very sturdy, and gives me confidence that my gear isn't going to blow over in a gentle breeze.
Here's some sample footage I captured with my Canon 80D on the Benro S6 fluid head tripod:
My main point is this: The Italians make a good quality tripod, but they aren’t the ONLY option out there. Remember, there are non-Italian brands that make high quality stuff and Benro has compelling products to consider.
Do your research, watch some YouTube videos, and ponder what you're willing to spend. In the end, you should get whatever works best for your needs.
Click here to check out the Benro A2573FS6 tripod with S6 video head on Amazon.