Monopods are widely used in the work of photographers and videographers. Moreover, this stabilization device is quite universal – the same model can be used both in photography and video shooting, and for this it is not even necessary to change the tripod head, although it is desirable. Moreover, the monopod can be used not only for holding the camera in a static position, but also for filming wires, simulating filming from a drone or an arrow, and even in unexpected solutions in the form of holding a light source.
Here there is a place to roam the “unhealthy” fantasy of a creative operator who is always looking for something new. Today we are reviewing a representative of a new line of the famous manufacturer of tripods “Benro Connect MCT28AFS2PRO“. The novelty has some interesting and even unique solutions for videography and photography as well.
This kit consists of a Benro MCT28AF monopod and a Benro S2PRO video head. The S2PRO video head has a flat base that allows you to mount the head on various supports – tripods, monopods, sliders, cranes, etc. On video tripods with a cup, the head can only be mounted using a hemispherical adapter of the appropriate diameter, for example Benro BL75 or BL100. But we’ll get to know the Benro S2PRO a little below, and now let’s see what features the monopod itself has.
Benro MCT38AF monopod is made of aluminum and consists of four sections. By the way, all Benro monopods in our current Connect series and Classic series are made of aluminum. The monopod sections are fixed with clips.
Benro also has monopods with a collet locking principle. However, clips are the most efficient way of clamping, which is important for a videographer. At the base of the clips there is a rubber damper pad that protects against impacts and noise during involuntary or quick folding – a trifle, but nice.
The clips are made of high quality and durable techno-polymer. In several months of practical testing, I have not noticed any problems with the reliability of the fix.
The kit contains two keys. For a more rigid fixation of the sections, you can tighten the clips with their help. Also, the clamps can be loosened if you work with light cameras and do not want to put effort when installing a monopod. And if you often shoot outdoors, where there is rain, mud and snow, and you need to clean the monopod sections, the included keys will help you disassemble the monopod for cleaning and quickly assemble it.
There is a thick rubber cover under the video head, where the cameraman / photographer usually holds the monopod with his hand. It provides not only comfortable work at sub-zero temperatures, but also generally prevents slippage. In just a couple of shots, rubber attracted dust and dirt and began to look not very presentable, but on the other hand, it was like a real working tool. But if appearance is important to you, then you can wipe it with a damp cloth and then for some time the coating will look clean again.
There is a wrist strap, which creates additional safety during work and some convenience.
The maximum height of the monopod is 183 cm – this is taking into account the installed head and tripod. The entire set weighs approximately 2.3 kg, which is generally quite small and allows you to lift the entire structure with the camera installed and take pictures from unexpected angles. The minimum folded height is only 73 cm.
For transportation, the monopod is equipped with a high-quality case. It is not just a bag, but a whole bag with thick walls and an adjustable shoulder strap.
Although the monopod comes with a high-quality case, I still prefer to carry it without a case – in my hand or fastened to a backpack, so it takes up much less space.
One of the main features of this monopod is the tripod or base. In fact, it is a separate mini-tripod with a ball head on which the monopod itself is attached. The ball head can be clamped or loosened to control forces when changing the angle of the monopod. Moreover, if the head is clamped as much as possible, then the monopod with the camera can stand on its own. But I would not advise leaving the monopod in this position not alone, especially if a heavy camera is installed or the monopod is unfolded.
The base is attached to the monopod using a unique mechanism. To detach the tripod, pull the ring down and turn it clockwise just 1/3 of a turn. Thus, accidental disconnection is simply not possible.
For re-installation, it is necessary to align the grooves and tighten the ring counterclockwise also only 1/3 of a turn.
By the way, the video head is attached to the monopod using the same mechanism. As a result, the head and base can be connected and used for shooting from the lowest possible angles. Moreover, due to the fact that the legs have three fixed angles, this structure can be set to the required height. The ball head of the base is made entirely of metal, the assembly is very high quality.
The legs of the tripod are also made of thick metal, and the tips of the legs are made of thick rubber, which prevents slipping or damage to the surface on which the tripod is mounted.
For operational readiness to work (so as not to spread the legs of the base), a rubber spike is installed on the base of the tripod, which can be unscrewed.
And for shooting in difficult conditions – wet ground, rough terrain, etc., the base can be removed altogether, and this rubber support can be screwed in instead.
You can also install a metal spike here, because as a rule these spikes have a standard 3/8” thread, so you can borrow it from another tripod or buy a set of spare spikes for various purposes.
As I wrote above, the head is attached to the monopod using the same mechanism as the base. This solution completely prevents the head from turning if the pan lock is fully tightened and you applied force to turn the head.
An adapter is installed on the base of the video head, which is fixed with a screw, for which there is a shaped key in the kit.
This adapter allows you to mount absolutely any head and even a camera. Additionally, there is a built-in 1 / 4-3 / 8 inch threaded adapter – this is another plus for the manufacturer’s careful attitude towards users.
Benro S2PRO video head is equipped with liquid cartridges and counterbalance. The weight of the head apart from the monopod is about 1.1 kg, which is quite a bit for a video head. At the same time, it is able to withstand a setup with a camera weighing up to 4 kg. The counterbalance has two steps, which allows you to adjust your head to different set-up weights.
The head travel is very smooth both when panning and tilting. This is achieved thanks to the very liquid cartridges. Thus, when shooting a video, jerks, jitters and parasitic movements when you pan / tilt the camera will be completely minimized.
The head is completely made of metal except for a pair of plastic handles and rubber pads. The quality of materials, build quality and attention to detail are of a very high standard.
Pan and tilt clamps are on the same side for quicker operation. The handle is quite long and can be installed under either the right or left hand.
By the way, you can install two handles on both sides at the same time, but there is only one in the kit. At the end of the handle there is a rubberized coating, which I must say is much better than the coating on the monopod. It does not get dirty and has a pleasant texture.
On the left and right there is a 1/4 inch thread for attaching various accessories. Above, I demonstrated a Nikon Z6 II camera with a SmallRig cage – in this way there are no problems for attaching accessories. However, not everyone has a cage, and it is necessary to fix, for example, a video sender and / or a monitor. In this case, these connectors on the head will come to the rescue.
I didn’t really like the location of the tripod pad. When installing a camera with a wide base, it is not easy to reach this clip.
The tripod pad is quite long, equipped with rubber pads for a secure fit and a spring-loaded pin to prevent the camera from turning. Site of 501pl standard.
I was especially pleased with the presence of a 3/8 screw, which is stored directly under the platform and there is also a place for a 1/4 inch screw.
To protect against accidental slipping of the camera, a latch is provided. Its location is convenient and allows you to quickly shoot the camera. Additionally, there is a bubble level at the base of the head. I must say its presence is not so necessary when working with a monopod, nevertheless it is not superfluous.
You may also like to read: Phone Monopod: 9 Best Cell Phone Monopod for Photography and Videos.
For all the time of testing, I tried hard to find the shortcomings of this monopod. As a result, of all the possible minuses, I can name only two – this is a soiled rubber coating on the monopod and the not very convenient location of the tripod pad holder on the head. All! Moreover, these are such minor disadvantages that you quickly cease to notice them.
Pleased with the build quality and materials. The monopod is almost entirely made of metal. Everything fits perfectly, all fasteners are clamped and do not loosen spontaneously. I was especially pleased with the attention to detail – rubber bands, adapters, connectors, additional screws, a high-quality case. All this creates only positive impressions while working.
Get Benro Connect (MCT28AFS2PRO) on Amazon for $249.95 – Purchase Link.
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