Benro Goplus Classic TGP 17C
TGP IN THE name stands for Transformable Goplus, indicating Benro's tilting and swivelling centre- column mechanism. There's also a detachable monopod feature, making this one of the most versatile designs, promising high performance with Benro's high grade nine- layer carbon- fibre and known build quality.
It's pretty light too at 1.38kg, considering the extra bits and pieces included, and reaches a decent height ( 132cm) before extending the centre- column. With three leg sections ( more rigid than four) it can only close down to 62cm.
The articulating centre- column pop- ups easily, and unlike the Manfrotto that is locked horizontal, the Benro can tilt through 180° degrees from straight up to straight down, and even a little beyond. You can point it pretty much anywhere with ease, even putting the camera on the ground. It's not quite as rigid as the Manfrotto, but more than up to most tasks.
The articulating column also seems to have had a slight impact in the stability tests, with scores of 58% for wind- buffet and 60% for mirror- shock, giving an average of 59%. These are good figures, though judging by the robustness of the legs with their beefy collar locks, the numbers might have been higher without the tiny amount of extra flex introduced.
The monopod feature is equally easy to set up – just unscrew one leg, pull out the centrecolumn and bolt them together. The monopod extends up to a massive 171cm, ideal for overhead shots. Other details include rubber feet than can be swapped for spikes, a carrying hook, 3/ 8in accessory port, spirit level, and a foam rubber warmer on the monopod leg.