Benro GD3WH Geared Head Longish Term Review.

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Richard
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#41
Having been in contact with Benro UK Brand Manger, Mark Hoskins, it seems the new official weight of the GD3WH is 740g so 130 g lighter than the previously specified weight. Apparently the discrepancy is due to the prototype (which weight was quoted) being cast in aluminium whereas the production model uses magnesium. So, less is more
Then that must include the blue camera mounting plate and fitting screw supplied which, given that a lot of heads don't come with one, is again overstating the weight of the head itself. Double-checking my copy carefully on calibrated scales, it weighs exactly 693g, plate/screw 47g.
 
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Adrian
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#42
Thanks for the confirmed weight on your calibrated scales, Richard. Perhaps Benro should now be quoting the weight without the plate to make comparison with competitors easier.
 
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David Williams
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#43
Hi

I've just been to look at one of these (very helpful member of staff at Park Cameras broke the seal on a unopened box for me to have a look) and almost fell in love with it but there was one thing I didn't like the look of.

There was a 2 to 3 mm gap behind the big star shaped unlocking control on all 3 movement axies. I could see the spring that controls the unlocking movement - looks very vulnerable to ingress of dust/dirt??

Are they all like this??

Additionally some of the lubricant had leaked out of the controls (had been in a hot stock room) and I saw comments on here about the controls being a bit sticky and benefitting from some thinner lubricant. If this is a result of the head being at 30 centigrade I suppose that's ok if it works properly on a cold winters day.

Any comments on the gap behind the star shaped control please as I have £200 burning a hole in my pocket
 
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#44
Hi David,

grease seepage seems to have been a minor issue. With the really hot weather I had a little seep out but once wiped off no more has appeared. According to Benro Brand Manager, Mark Hoskins, with whom I've been in touch "the grease seepage. Benro have confirmed that this is due to slightly enthusiastic members of staff applying a little to much grease in the production process and they say that should any grease become visible then just wipe it away and all should be good. If the problem persists then please contact us info@macgroupeu.com with details and our Customer Service team will advise about courses of action.

No problems at all at more usual UK temperatures and all performed faultlessly in the tail end of winter with still some snow and very low temps due to wind chill high in the Cuillin hills.

Has been very dry and dusty and no problems with ingress of dirt/dust. Also been used recently in heavy rain and no problems. I always take care to dry things on return and wipe obvious mud/dust off but I'm not one to mollycoddle gear and it gets given a lot of stick in the hills.
 
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David Williams
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#45
Hi David,

grease seepage seems to have been a minor issue. With the really hot weather I had a little seep out but once wiped off no more has appeared. According to Benro Brand Manager, Mark Hoskins, with whom I've been in touch "the grease seepage. Benro have confirmed that this is due to slightly enthusiastic members of staff applying a little to much grease in the production process and they say that should any grease become visible then just wipe it away and all should be good. If the problem persists then please contact us info@macgroupeu.com with details and our Customer Service team will advise about courses of action.

No problems at all at more usual UK temperatures and all performed faultlessly in the tail end of winter with still some snow and very low temps due to wind chill high in the Cuillin hills.

Has been very dry and dusty and no problems with ingress of dirt/dust. Also been used recently in heavy rain and no problems. I always take care to dry things on return and wipe obvious mud/dust off but I'm not one to mollycoddle gear and it gets given a lot of stick in the hills.
Thanks for the reply - after a bit of research and convincing myself they were all like that I now have one atop my tripod - going to Devon on holiday soon so it will get a good test
 
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Peter
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#46
View attachment 129864


Until the advent of the GD3WH, Manfrotto pretty much had the market sewn up with a variety of models but none seemed ideal and there were lots of reports of design flaws, repairs and replacements. The only alternative was the mega expensive and complex Arca Swiss D4. All bases were covered; light weight, well designed, compact, durable, competitively priced but unfortunately it was impossible to get all these concepts in a single model so priorities had to be made. Then Benro entered the market…….



Cost Weight Max Load

Benro GD3WH £200 870g 6kg


Manfrotto 410 £242 1220g 5kg

Manfrotto 405 £532 1600g 7.5kg

Manfrotto XPRO £195 750g 4kg


Arca Swiss D4 £960 800g


Fortunately I had a client booked for a couple of one to one workshops including an overnight camp for sunset/rise high in the Cuillin. Not only would this allow us some serious testing time but the client has a bad case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) From previous visits, I knew he had a variety of Manfrotto heads so I asked if he could bring the one he thought most closely specced to the Benro GD3WH.
View attachment 129865

Charles loves his gear, has loads of it and never sells a thing. In fact, he has all 3 of the Manfrotto heads listed above. With camping gear and a long walk in from the Sligachan, the 405 was instantly dismissed as “too heavy.” Apparently the XPro although the lightest of all was “too flimsy” so by default the 410 Junior Geared Head was to be matched against the Benro. This was ideal since some initial research by me suggested it was a very popular model with landscape photographers being a reasonable compromise of size/weight/price compared to it’s big brother.


First impressions of the GD3WH were extremely favourable. It arrived exceedingly well packed in a bubble wrap filled box containing the trademark Benro blue box and the head itself was encased in a hefty foam cut out that looked well capable of shaking off anything that the most heavy handed courier could deal out.


Instructions, an allen key and a blue Arca swiss plate were all present alongside the head itself which appeared to be a triumph of engineering, design and aesthetics. 10 out of 10 for eye candy appeal. Now I’m not normally drawn to mechanical things but the combination of it’s utility and the precision engineering compelled me to try it out immediately on the pier outside our house. So here’s a few product shots of the GD3WH looking out towards the Island of Raasay and it’s ferry photobombing the shots!

View attachment 129866

View attachment 129867 View attachment 129868
Excuse my ignorance but what is the blue collar branded Benro in the pictures that sits between the head and the tripod....some sort of clamp? Assume it doesn’t come with the head....?
 
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#49
Ahh! Thought it might be part of the head....just ordering one.....makes sense now Benro tripod....thanks for clarifying....
Have you ordered yet. I have a brand new one still in its box.
I ended up with two but only use one. I’ve been meaning to get rid of it for a while but haven’t had the time.

If you’re interested I’ll setup a classifieds thread.
 
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Danny
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#52
Just got one of these yesterday as it seems like the ideal solution to a 405 owner who wants less weight and Arca Swiss compatibility, the downside is that it won’t fit on my Gitzo tripod!

The 405 head has a large silver base that makes it a bit taller so that the handles don’t hit the large base of the Gitzo, so i’m guessing that some kind of spacer would solve the issue, has anyone found a good solution to this?
 
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#53
The 405 head has a large silver base that makes it a bit taller so that the handles don’t hit the large base of the Gitzo, so i’m guessing that some kind of spacer would solve the issue, has anyone found a good solution to this?
Leveling base? Markins / Manfrotto 120 or whichever thread adapter suits?
 
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#54
Just got one of these yesterday as it seems like the ideal solution to a 405 owner who wants less weight and Arca Swiss compatibility, the downside is that it won’t fit on my Gitzo tripod!

The 405 head has a large silver base that makes it a bit taller so that the handles don’t hit the large base of the Gitzo, so i’m guessing that some kind of spacer would solve the issue, has anyone found a good solution to this?
https://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/tripod_accessories/eckla_tripod_spacer_50_x_30mm/26996_p.html

or

https://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/tripod_accessories/eckla_tripod_spacer_80_x_30mm/26997_p.html

Here you go. I have the same problem when I use the head with my levelling base. This solved the problem.
Luckily I don't have an issue when it's attached directly to my Benro tripod so only need this spacer if using the levelling base.
 
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#56
Last year I was looking for a lightweight geared head, and became very keen on the Sunwayfoto GH-Pro until I found that it’s movements are limited to ±30°on one axis and ±45° on the other. I wanted a geared head particularly for macro (I’m satisfied with my UniqBall for other uses), but I want to be able to align the lens axis with the centre column (90° upward pitch), while using it with my Sunwayfoto MFR-150S macro focusing rail and an “L” plate. I then bought the Manfrotto XPRO Geared head on a “Black Friday” offer, thinking I’d buy a converter to Arca-Swiss. Bad timing! The Benro came out shortly afterwards, and looks to be just what I wanted all along. So I’ll probably buy one of those instead of a converter for the bouncy XPRO.
GH-Pro is a really nice head. It tilts forward/down 90 degrees, and around 40 degrees back. If you want 90 degrees back, just turn the whole head around. You're right about the wobby Manfrotto XPro, but if you're interested in the Benro GD3WH, I've just put mine up for sale in the classfied section, having decided to keep the GH-Pro instead :)
 
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Christopher
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#57
GH-Pro is a really nice head. It tilts forward/down 90 degrees, and around 40 degrees back. If you want 90 degrees back, just turn the whole head around. You're right about the wobby Manfrotto XPro, but if you're interested in the Benro GD3WH, I've just put mine up for sale in the classfied section, having decided to keep the GH-Pro instead :)
I was astonished to read that your Sunwayfoto GH-Pro can tilt 90°. Last autumn I made a detailed internet search for an affordable lightweight geared head. A review of the GH-Pro Mk1 referred to its limited range of movement. I couldn’t find data on the range of the 2017, Mk2 version, so last November I contacted Sunwayfoto, stressing that I was seeking 90° tilt. In response they sent me a series of pictures. One headed ‘Adjustment range’ stated “Left and right direction can be rotated 60 degrees” and “Front and rear direction can be rotated 90 degrees”. Another headed ‘Parameter’ had a table that included “About Activity: ±30°” and “Before and after: ±45°”. 30+30 = 60, and 45+45 = 90, so this seemed to show that the GH-Pro couldn’t tilt 90°!

Since reading your response, I’ve found a video (June 2018) that shows the head tilting about 90°. If Sunwayfoto had given me correct information, I would have ordered their head last winter. Instead, I settled for the non-Arca-Swiss XPRO, and then misled readers of this thread! So I've deleted the response of mine that you responded to. The Sunwayfoto looks to be a great product, but I’ll probably replace my XPRO with the less expensive Benro.

Thanks for letting me know you’re offering a 2nd hand Benro. I only found this forum when searching for reviews of the Benro head, and joined because I thought I should warn readers of the limitations of the Sunwayfoto head that Sunwayfoto had wrongly informed me of. I wasn’t aware of the classified section. But I still want to handle the Benro head before I commit to buying one. (Sadly, it doesn’t seem feasible to try the Sunwayfoto head without placing an order.)
 
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Richard
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#58
I was astonished to read that your Sunwayfoto GH-Pro can tilt 90°. Last autumn I made a detailed internet search for an affordable lightweight geared head. A review of the GH-Pro Mk1 referred to its limited range of movement. I couldn’t find data on the range of the 2017, Mk2 version, so last November I contacted Sunwayfoto, stressing that I was seeking 90° tilt. In response they sent me a series of pictures. One headed ‘Adjustment range’ stated “Left and right direction can be rotated 60 degrees” and “Front and rear direction can be rotated 90 degrees”. Another headed ‘Parameter’ had a table that included “About Activity: ±30°” and “Before and after: ±45°”. 30+30 = 60, and 45+45 = 90, so this seemed to show that the GH-Pro couldn’t tilt 90°!

Since reading your response, I’ve found a video (June 2018) that shows the head tilting about 90°. If Sunwayfoto had given me correct information, I would have ordered their head last winter. Instead, I settled for the non-Arca-Swiss XPRO, and then misled readers of this thread! So I've deleted the response of mine that you responded to. The Sunwayfoto looks to be a great product, but I’ll probably replace my XPRO with the less expensive Benro.

Thanks for letting me know you’re offering a 2nd hand Benro. I only found this forum when searching for reviews of the Benro head, and joined because I thought I should warn readers of the limitations of the Sunwayfoto head that Sunwayfoto had wrongly informed me of. I wasn’t aware of the classified section. But I still want to handle the Benro head before I commit to buying one. (Sadly, it doesn’t seem feasible to try the Sunwayfoto head without placing an order.)
Glad we've cleared that up (y) The Benro is the obvious choice for most people wanting a geared head, with its strong combination of good performance, competitive price and low weight. I prefer the Sunwayfoto GH-Pro, but it's around twice the price.

Unfortunately you won't have access to the classified sections yet - not until you've been a member for 30 days and made at least 25 posts.

Welcome to TP :)
 
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