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Overall Rating:

5

Benro Supadupa Pro MSDPL46C monopod


Pros:

  • + Arca Swiss compatible
  • + Excellent fit and finish
  • + Clever design
  • + Smart gun metal and matte silver finish
  • + Supports large telephoto lenses extremely well
  • + Rubber feet can be exchanged for a steel spike

Cons:

  • - Premium price
  • - Twist leg locks are a little stiff
  • - Head locking controls aren't captive

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£190.00

Andy Westlake examines an imaginative re-working of the humble monopod

Benro Supadupa Pro MSDPL46C monopod at a glance:

  • Five sections
  • 0.9kg weight
  • 32kg rated load
  • 157cm maximum height
  • 48.2cm closed length

The monopod is perhaps the simplest item of photographic kit. Essentially, it’s just an extendable pole with a camera screw at the top, and I doubt many photographers would see it as ripe for re-imagination. So it would be easy to dismiss a £190 design with a decidedly cheesy name as a triumph of marketing over substance. It would also be wrong.

In fact, Benro has taken a look at every aspect of how monopods are used and re-thought the ideal solution. The most striking example lies with the leg section locks – four are of the twist type, but the top one uses a lever.

Benro Supadupa Pro MSDPL46C monopod

The monopod combines four twist locks with a single lever lock at the top to help adjust the length to set the camera at eye level

This apparently eccentric design actually makes sense; the lever lock lets you quickly adjust the length to set the camera at eye level, while the twist locks are both lighter than levers would be, and waterproofed too. In principle you could safely submerge the monopod by over a meter if you wanted.

Benro Supadupa Pro MSDPL46C monopod key features:

  • Quick release: The integrated quick release clamp accepts Arca Swiss-type plates and even sports a bubble level
  • Bowl head: This allows 20° tilt in any direction, while the camera clamp has a 360° panning base
  • Lever lock: Rapid height adjustment can be made using the large lever lock, through a 15cm range
  • Carry case: The monopod comes with a padded nylon case, with a drawstring closure and a short rope shoulder strap

Another major upgrade is found at the top. Benro has integrated a bowl-type joint of the kind more commonly seen on video tripods, which allows the camera angle to be adjusted freely by 20° in any direction, with a large lever to lock it down when necessary.

Benro Supadupa Pro MSDPL46C monopod

The Arca Swiss clamp with large locking knob. Note the built-in bubble level

Above it is a lockable rotating base, which lets you hold the monopod in your left hand and pan the camera around it. The Arca Swiss-type clamp sports a large locking knob that needs to be unscrewed slightly then pulled outwards to release the camera, which provides extra security.

Benro Supadupa Pro MSDPL46C monopod

The gun metal and matte silver finish gives the monopod a smart appearance

Even the rubber foot has been re-invented. It rotates smoothly on ball bearings, which provides a stable base for panning with your whole body. It can also be swapped out for a steel spike. The monopod comes fitted with a short wrist strap, but a long shoulder strap is supplied in the box that allows it to do double-duty as a boom arm.

Benro Supadupa Pro MSDPL46C monopod

The rubber foot can be exchanged with a metal spike for use on rocky or harmful terrain

As usual for Benro, the fit and finish is excellent, while the gun metal and matte silver finish looks smarter than the usual dull black. The twist leg locks are a little stiff though, and neither of the head locking controls are captive, so you need to take care they don’t fall out and get lost.

Also in the range

If you don’t need this size and complexity, Benro makes two cheaper Supadupa models. The £130 MSD46C forgoes the bowl head, but extends to an impressive 1.83m while weighing just 590g. Meanwhile the basic MSD36C (£110) uses the same mixed clip/twist leg lock design, but without any waterproofing.

Benro Supadupa Pro MSDPL46C monopod: Our Verdict

Ignore the ridiculous name, because the Benro Supadupa Pro is one of the best monopods I’ve ever used. All those little tweaks add up to a genuinely excellent design. It’s a great choice for those who regularly shoot with large telephoto lenses.