Tripods have become boring over the years, with brands more or less making variations of one another’s products. They’ve also mostly been totally analog. But the Benro Theta is fundamentally unique and addresses an issue that many photographers have had for years: compositional elements. With cameras being really good at image stabilization, tripods haven’t been as useful except as excellent compositional tools and for long exposures. If you want your composition to be perfectly level, you’d often begin the tedious process of adjusting the legs and all. However, the Benro Theta is much different.
This blog post is presented in partnership with Benro. The Benro Theta is one of the most revolutionary support products to be launched in the past decade. The Kickstarter closes soon and offers photographers a special price to get on board. With Benro having been around for over 30 years, we’re positive that photographers will be able to get their units as soon as possible.
What Makes the Benro Theta so Innovative?
What makes the Benro Theta unique are a few things. First off, it’s the first tripod with electronics built-in to help level the tripod to be perfectly flat. For decades, you’d instead rely on liquid levels. Those are removed from the Benro Theta, and it uses smart modules to figure out the process instead.
So what’s it got?
- One-button auto leveling.
- Portability while maintaining strength. In fact, Benro says that it’s designed to last a lifetime, and they’re giving Kickstarter backers a 6-year warranty.
- Arca-Swiss and L-Bracket plate compatibility
- Anti-slip leg-locking mechanisms
- Durability that stands up to light wind, sand, and water.
- Auto light detection with the camera module lets the camera then figure out what light settings will be best for the shot
- Removable legs; no tools required
- 2.7lb weight, 3.5 in the Theta Max
- Max Height of 61 inches, 67 inches with the Theta Max.
- Packed length of 17.3 inches, 20.8 inches in the Theta Max
- Can hold 24.3 lbs.
How Does it Help Photographers?
The Benro Theta was designed originally as a ball head. But then, after careful consideration, they decided to do an entirely new tripod. Here’s a quote from the Kickstarter Campaign:
…the Theta ball head was designed with a locking system that allows the ball head to be aligned with the tripod at all times. This means that the ball head can be switched between free mode and roll lock mode. While in roll lock position, when the tripod is level with the ground, so is the camera.
This can help a large variety of photographers like astrophotographers, landscape photographers, long exposure shooters, architecture photographers, analog photographers, and so much more. The best part of all this is that it allows you to focus more on composition, while Benro Theta focuses on making the camera completely level and flat. Essentially, it’s getting out of the way of creativity.
What’s more, the setup is done very rapidly. Most tripods have had twisting locking mechanisms and flip-locks. But with the Benro Theta, you just twist the foot lock, and all the sections unlock. Then you just need to twist it back to get all of them totally locked and ready to shoot with your camera. Finally, after your camera is set up, you work with the Benro Theta to get it level.
It’s a very revolutionary idea — sometimes, for fun, I’ve raced other photographers to see who can set up their tripod fastest. I, the experienced journalist, typically win. But I’m not quite sure I’d be able to outpace someone using the Benro Theta.
Each of the legs is made of thicker carbon fiber than most other tripods too. So that gives you both a better grip and durability. All of these surround the Benro Theta’s center column, which is made of aluminum.
Even more important is the design of the head. The Benro Theta has a specially designed head that lets you adjust the camera in every single way that any other tripod head does. It’s Arca Swiss compatible and comes with a special plate that lets you quickly snap your camera into the tripod head. They even claim you can do it with something like a 70-200mm lens or with a 200-600mm lens when using the Benro Theta Max. You can make your own manual adjustments the old-school way, or you can use Theta’s app to make those adjustments with a bit more finesse. If you’re in the cold with shaky hands and gloves, the Benro Theta head will still be easy to level yourself with. But the app will make it even easier — you’ll just need gloves that let you tap the screen on your phone.
To speak further to this durability, we’re astonished at the fact that Benro is calling their expansion ports “Waterproof.” Those ports are designed to hold modules. One is for battery power, another is for controlling your camera, and for timelapse photographers, there’s an Optical Matrix Sensor, which can be used with Benro Polaris.
The optical matrix sensor module is the perfect assistant for time-lapse shooting. This module detects ambient light in real time, and enables the camera control module to combine sensor inputs with advanced algorithms to dynamically adjust exposure settings. Smoothly ramp for daylight to night (or vice versa) transitions.
The Benro Theta can totally work with any ball head you want. But if you use another ball head, then you also need to use the battery, optical matrix sensor, and camera control module together. This is the only way that the Benro Theta can know what’s happening and if the camera is ready for you to shoot.
For content creators and streamers, there’s also a GoLive module. We can see how this will work for journalists on a scene, but not necessarily for photographers.
Head over to the Benro Theta Kickstarter to see more. The campaign ends on April 21st, so you have to act soon.