« on: September 01, 2014, 12:13:59 PM »
I have two $150 Benro ball heads that were a complete waste of money, pure junk. They have been sitting in their original boxes for 7 years, used once. I have two Benro CF tripods that are 7 years old now, and cost $450 each. The quality was reasonable, but not what I'd call $450 worth. Parts are not nor were ever available as it turns out. I could never recommend them.
I'd agree on the Benro ballhead- at least the one that came as part of the C2970T tripod kit.
However, it was better than nothing.
If one has the ballhead already, the C2970 can be had on that really big auction site for $375, including shipping from China... $465.00 from the same vendor with the B2 head. So, I suppose for $90.00, the B2 head has some value.
I have found the design of the C2970 to be very useful for macro pictures, despite the general poor opinion of telescoping/adjustable center columns.
From what I have seen, the Gitzo GT2531EX is the closest functional match to the Benro C2970. The Gitzo and the Sirui 40 is approaching 2x the cost of the Benro kit and adding a Euro/USA ballhead easily approaches a $1k investment. I have read the occasional tale of poor repair service for Gitzo products.
I am not aware of other usable tripods with a positionable center column. If RRS made one, I would have considered it.
Some of the lateral arm accessories can get pretty pricey too.
I did try a cheaper CF adjustable tripod and promptly sent it back. It was a Vanguard Alta Pro, pretty much only suitable for a point and shoot or small DSLR and small lens.
There seems to be a gulf in the middle for photographic accessories. Lots of cheap knockoffs and then there is the upper end.
I would like to have an Arca Swiss Cube... but that's a ways off yet.