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Benro MeFoto RoadTrip Pro Carbon Fiber tripod review

This jack-of-all-trades tripod is possibly the most versatile we've ever seen but is it a master of none?

(Image: © Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The 6-in-1 billing of the Benro MeFoto RoadTrip Pro could fool you into thinking that it's all about the versatility, but it's also a very good travel tripod. Even at full height, it's impressively stable for its build, and it packs a few extra features that could come in handy whether you're shooting with a camera or a phone.

Pros

  • +

    6-in-1 versatility

  • +

    Packs down to less than 39cm

  • +

    Impressively stable for its size

Cons

  • -

    No short centre column

  • -

    Some functions seem a bit pointless

  • -

    Quick release plate pan control of limited use

Benro makes two versions of the MeFoto RoadTrip Pro tripod; the first has carbon fibre legs (reviewed here), while the second has aluminum legs (and costs less at around $249.95/£180). Both varieties are available in three color variants, black, silver and blue - it's the color of the metal locks and canopy that changes.

When the five-section legs and two-section centre column are extended fully, this tripod is 152.5cm tall, which puts it in the full-height tripod category. The lowest shooting level, 39.5cm, is achieved by setting the legs to the widest of their three angles and extending the centre column up until its base clears the ground. 

There are a couple of options if you want to shoot at a lower level than this. The first is to unscrew the base of the center column so it can be removed and reversed in the canopy and then shoot with the camera hanging upside-down.

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Removing the base of the centre column reveals a set of small legs that offer an alternative for low-level shooting. These can be attached directly on to the ball head to create a tabletop or mini tripod. The small legs can also be attached to the base of the centre column to create a different type of stand, but it's hard to see why you'd opt for this less stable approach when you have a tripod.

The included ball head is Arca-Swiss compatible, and its quick release plate houses a neat smartphone clamp capable of holding phones from 60mm to 90mm in width. The head has a pan lock at its base and a ball-lock higher up. In addition, the quick release plate has a panorama control.

Like the Vanguard Veo 3T 235CBP (opens in new tab), one of the RoadTrip Pro's legs can be unscrewed and attached to the centre column to create a monopod of up to 158cm in height. A rubberized cover near the top of the leg gives extra grip and denotes which leg can be used to create the monopod.

Alternatively, the removed leg can be turned into a selfie stick, with or without the tripod head. 

Specifications

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Material: Carbon fiber and aluminum

Folded length: 385mm

Maximum height: 152.5cm

No. leg sections: 5

Weight: 1.64kg

Maximum load: 8kg

Build and handling

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

I'm not really a fan of the blue version of the Benro MeFoto RoadTrip Pro Carbon Fibre tripod, but some may like the splash of color. However, the silver version looks very smart and the black version is the most understated. 

Whichever color you opt for, the quality of the build is immediately apparent. The knurling on the leg and column locks is very smart, and while it doesn't give quite as much grip as the rubber of chunkier locks like those on the 3 Legged Thing Leo 2.0, it seems perfectly appropriate to the size and weight of this travel tripod.

Benro supplies the MeFoto RoadTrip Pro in a reasonably smart drawstring bag, and when the legs are folded up over the head, the tripod measures just 38.5cm and slips in neatly.

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

When adjusting the leg angles, you'll discover that the locks aren't sprung, so you have to pull them out, adjust the angle and push the locks home again before clicking the leg into position. 

You might expect to find some spiked feet inside the legs when you remove the standard rubber feet; instead, there's a 3/8-1/4-inch adapter stud for mounting the quick release plate to the removable leg to create a selfie stick, plus a mini screwdriver and a hex key for tightening the leg bolts. 

Performance

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Overall, the Benro MeFoto RoadTrip Pro is a good performer. Even with the centre column fully extended, it's remarkably stable for its weight and build. You need to take care in windy conditions, but it's capable of supporting a full-frame camera and standard zoom lens.

If you want extra stability, Benro provides a hook that can be attached to the bottom of the center column for hanging a weight. 

It takes less than a minute to invert the center column, but if I was planning to shoot at close to ground level, I'd be inclined to use the small legs on the ball head as this keeps the camera the right way up.

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

Benro opted for relatively small lock knobs on the tripod head, but the rubber cover on the ball lock gives sufficient purchase to allow you to lock it tightly. The primary pan lock and quick release plate knobs have a hard slippery finish, but it didn't prove problematic. 

After fiddling with the quick release plate panoramic lock for quite a while and checking the instructions, I'm still none the wiser about what it's supposed to achieve.

Verdict

(Image credit: Angela Nicholson/Digital Camera World)

There's a gimmicky element to the Benro MeFoto RoadTrip Pro Carbon Fiber tripod, but it's an excelled travel tripod and the built-in monopod and mini tripod are genuinely valuable additions. It's great that things like the hex key, small tripod legs and smartphone clamp are contained within or attached to the tripod because you're unlikely to forget or lose them, but it does mean that the tripod is a little heavier than it needs to be.

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Angela has been testing camera gear from all the major manufacturers since January 2004 and has been Amateur Photographer’s Technical Editor and Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography portfolio (Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo (opens in new tab)Practical Photoshop (opens in new tab)Photography Week (opens in new tab) and Professional Photography magazines, as well as the Digital Camera World and TechRadar websites).