Benro Aero4 Travel Angel Video Tripod Kit Review – by David J. Murphy

David J. MurphyDavid J. Murphy was born in Boston, Mass., but raised in Southwest Florida. After graduating high school he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and worked as a combat photographer. During his time in the Corps, David worked in Puerto Rico, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Iraq and Kuwait among other places. David also got the opportunity to attend the prestigious Military Photojournalism Program at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y. He later turned this year-long educational program into bachelors degree from S.U. On July 4, 2007, David left the Marine Corps and worked as a freelance photographer in New York City, N.Y. He also worked as a photographer in the Air National Guard, working at the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach, N.Y. He eventually turned this part time job into a full-time one, taking on the role of visual information manager. In 2009, David applied to be an officer in the U.S. Air Force, was accepted and became a public affairs officer two years later. David was stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.Y., for two years before being moved down to Joint Base Charleston, S.C., where he currently works with 1st Combat Camera Squadron.

Benro Aero 4

In my search for the perfect tripod I’ve used both the expensive and the cheap, both the high and the low quality, both the well and the poorly constructed. I haven’t come across a tripod that mixes strength, durability and portability to the right degree, yet. The Benro Aero4, though, comes strikingly close to being the tripod I want to use for all my video adventures.

The Aero4 has three legs that fold over backwards vs. downward for storage and transport. This is counter to most tripods that have legs that fold down and collapse on the center shaft for closure and transport. What I like about the Aero4’s system is that the backwards-folded legs, when unfolded, cause the center shaft to be already up. This automatically gives me extra height without having to extend the legs further.

The legs can also lock at three different angles giving the user either height or stability. The backwards-folding mechanic of the legs meant that I could get my tripod out and down, ready to film much quicker than my traditional tripod. If you’re trying to get set up quickly for a shot this utility is invaluable.

Benro Aero 4

The legs feature three expandable sections adjustable via a clamp system. For me this is preferred over something like a turning mechanism because I have 100% confidence the leg is locked into place and secured, and won’t shift after I extend it. Speaking of extensions, when the legs and center column are fully extended the Aero4 goes to a maximum height of 65.2” and with the head attached the tripod was actually taller than me.

Benro Aero 4

Benro Aero 4

At the bottom of the legs are pointed ends with adjustable feet, so if you need to plant this into the ground you’ll have that option. The center shaft is adjusted with a twisting device, which makes sense given its location and it much appreciated over a more traditional knob, which can stick out and break off. At the top of the tripod where the head connects, is a leveling platform, which allows for quick leveling.

It’s amazing how sturdy this 8.8-pound tripod is. The fluid video head that came with the tripod was able to produce smooth pans, both left to right and up and down. The head uses knobs to loosen the controls for panning, the control stick and locking the plate. There is one button, which is a quick release for the plate.

Benro Aero 4

The tripod also features the built-in ability to become a monopod, as one of the legs detaches from the main tripod can be connected to the center shaft. Definitely a nice convenience when the tripod itself is either too bulky or heavy to manage.

Benro Aero 4

The only problems I had while using the tripod came from the fact that I’m using a micro-four thirds camera to capture video. The issue is that the knob to lock the mounting plate into place directly competes with the camera. After some fiddling around with it I was able to develop a configuration that allowed me to secure both my camera to the plate and the plate to the tripod, but I don’t think the situation is as ideal as the manufacturer would probably want. If you’ve got a more traditional video camera this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re using a DSLR-style camera that has a portion sticking out the right hand side this will be something you’ll have to deal with to properly use the tripod. Additionally, don’t expect to be able to change your battery while the camera is still on the tripod.

As a tripod, I like the Aero4’s lightweight stability. It’s backward folding legs give me the ability to deploy it quickly, and the versatility of those same legs is welcome especially when traveling or hiking with the tripod. The included monopod feature allows me to save money and space by not having to buy or haul an extra piece of gear. Despite the wonky plate battery change issues, I highly recommend this tripod if you are looking for a light and versatile video tripod.

Pros
– Quick deployment at usable height due to backward folding legs
– Versatile leg configurations allow you to make the base as stable as you want
– Can convert into a monopod
– Lightweight

Cons
– Difficulty using a DSLR with tripod thanks to plate tightening knob placement

Benro Aero 4

Benro Aero 4

Benro Aero 4

Benro Aero 4

Benro Aero 4

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