Not Quite as Strong. Benro Rhino Tripod Review (VX25 Head)

The Benro Rhino tripod is pretty sturdy with a not so great head on its shoulders.

One of the most important parts of a tripod is the head. I’ve always loved different variants from ProMaster, Vanguard, and Manfrotto. With the Benro Rhino, it’s a bit of the opposite. You are getting quite honestly some of the best tripod legs I’ve ever tested. But the attached VX25 head is a bit disappointing. But throughout my testing, I still question whether or not I was pushing the tripod too far. At the same time, you should know its limits.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It’s light
  • Good for sticking it in one position for the entire time
  • Handles the Panasonic S5 well
  • Handles the Sony a6600 well
  • Fairly well built
  • It reliably held a Sony a7r III in place for weeks.
  • It held a Canon EOS R with a 50mm f1.2 L RF USM with no issues.
  • It reliably held the Fujifilm GFX 100S with a 45mm in place.
  • Fairly priced at a bit above $300

Cons

  • Can’t handle the weight of a Leica SL2 well
  • You need to tighten everything so much, and there aren’t cues like audible clicks to let you know when it’s fully set.
  • The tripod plate is tough to tighten fully without the Allen wrench. I’ve had lots of close calls because of that.
  • The panoramic locking knob is very difficult to understand.
  • Need more bubble levels

What’s Innovative About This?

Quite honestly, nothing is really innovative about the Benro Rhino tripod. It’s well built, and it can surely do the job. Plus, it’s lightweight. When fully folded, it stores away with ease. But there are lots of other options on the market too. Benro and others are a more ethical choice than Peak Design for sure. In a head-to-head, my best friend and I tried to see who could set up their tripod faster. The Benro Rhino beat the Peak Design Tripod by a long shot without contest. The quick-release knobs are great. But again, that’s been around for years.

Benro could and should try to do something different. Tripods could absolutely be multi-functional tools with joints at this point.

Gear Used

The Benro Rhino was used and tested with a ton of different cameras and lenses during our months of testing.

Tech Specs

Specs are taken from the Amazon listing:

  • The Rhino series of photographic tripods offers the best combination of strength and weight without compromising stability. With the reverse folding design, it is extremely portable and is equally suited for the studio as well as outdoors.
  • The automatic leg angle adjustment allows you to change leg angles with the push of a button. Each Rhino tripod also converts to a full-size monopod when the designated leg and centre column are combined.
  • Dual Panning Ballhead Included – Aluminum Ballhead with Arca-Swiss Style Camera Plate
  • Automatic Leg Angle Adjustment – Change leg angles with the push of a button
  • Converts to Monopod – The Leg and Centre Column combine for a full-size monopod.

Ergonomics

The Benro Rhino is, in many ways, a standard tripod. But what makes it special is how lightweight it is while being solidly built. In some ways, I’d expect a Rhino to be heavy. But in this case, it’s not.

The tiny Rhino turns into a big adult when needed. And it’s incredibly sturdy. The legs have three sections.

The legs have buttons to press that let you invert them. This is good for storage. And there’s a center column. This section needs to be tightened and loosened carefully. I’ve had a number of close incidents here.

Here’s a closer look at the button.

Here’s the VX25 head that comes with the tripod. It’s not the most advanced head by any means. In fact, I wish it had a lot more bubble levels.

The key to this head is the ball head knob. Using this knob, you can adjust much of the head’s function. On the other side is the pan control.

Then here around the plate is another panning knob.

Build Quality

The Benro Rhino is talked about as being as tough as a rhino. Rhinos are indeed tough despite being one of the most endangered animals. With that said, I can’t really fault it. The Benro Rhino is incredibly tough when it comes to doing most things for which a tripod is needed. But the most important part is the head. If a Rhino loses its horn, it’s still a very strong animal. And that’s mostly the case with the Benro Rhino. 

The VX25 head that’s attached to this unit is a bit of a letdown. It’s nowhere as tactile and good as many other heads I’ve used. In fact, I had a ton of close calls with it. When tightening the head, I’d often think that I tightened it enough. But that wasn’t the case–and a camera would nearly fall. The same thing applies to the plate. Overall, this head caused me a ton of anxiety and frustration. Just when I’d think that it was fine, it wasn’t. Because of this, I tend to still reach for my Manfrotto and Promaster tripods. Though at the same time, I accept that if I change the head, this tripod would be near perfect. It’s so incredibly lightweight! This means a whole lot if you’re a cityscape, landscape, or long exposure shooter. 

Ease of Use

Thankfully, the Benro Rhino is incredibly straightforward to use. In fact, the only thing a bit difficult to understand is the tripod head. As stated earlier, it’s faster to deploy than Peak Design’s tripod. If you’ve used tripods before, this will be a walk in the park. But the included VX25 is the issue. I looked online at videos, and the panoramic head lock was pretty difficult to figure out. Otherwise, it was really just an issue of getting the tightening in the right spot. If this tripod had a better head, it would be an easy Editor’s Choice award winner this year.

If you really need it, one of the legs can combine with the center column to be a monopod. But it means nothing if the tripod head sucks.

Conclusions

Likes

  • Not a bad price
  • Lightweight

Dislikes

  • This head is enough to make me not want to use it.

The Benro Rhino is a solid tripod. But I’m of the collective belief that we all need to try and do better. We hold the camera manufacturers to keep innovating. And we have to do the same throughout the industry. With that said, there’s nothing new or particularly exciting here. Can it do the job? Yes. But so too can literally any tripod on the market. Amazon, B&H, and Adorama all flood the market with their own house brand stuff. Those are all cheap and eventually fall apart. But so too do most tripods. The Benro Rhino, I’m sure, is going to outlast those from the retailers. But the company needs to bring more innovations to the photography scene.

The Benro Rhino gets three out of five stars. Want one? Check them out on Amazon.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.