So, it seems that we are becoming known for our tripod reviews and we have started to see a number of specific requests for reviews of popular tripods on the market. The main tripod that we are seeing monthly requests for right now is the Benro FGP18A so we have decided to review it to help any of our readers who are considering picking the FGP18A up.
Now, we know that our readers time is valuable so we just want to point out that we feel the Zomei Z669C (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is a much better tripod than the Benro FGP18A and will make a much better addition to your camera accessories. We know that this is a strange way to start our review of the Benro FGP18A but we have had some feedback for some of our other articles where we recommend another product at the end of the article so decided to try it this way for a change.
We feel that the Zomei Z669C is without a doubt the dominant tripod in this price point and it is actually cheaper than the FGP18A too. Additionally, the Z669C has one of the best reputations amongst photographers right now. That said though, the Benro FGP18A is still a pretty solid tripod that we feel is a decent primary source of image stabilization for your camera rig so we will still be going over our full Benro FGP18A review.
User Interface And Control System
If you are a seasoned photographer or videographer then you will be familiar with the various systems on the Benro FGP18A allowing you to quickly and easily get to grips with what the tripod has to offer you. Benro’s approach to only using systems that are commonly used rather than trying to innovate helps you save time by allowing you to get right into using the tripod for your image stabilization.
The image above shows the type of leg angle selectors used on the FGP18A as well as the Benro IBO head (Click here to check for product prices and availability) that many people use with the FGP18A. The leg angle selectors use the basic press, adjust, release system that is very easy and straight forward to use while also being a very popular system on modern tripods.
You can operate the lock with one hand while using the other to adjust the tripods leg as required. Once you release the lock at the top of the leg, the mechanism activates and keeps the leg in place at the angle that you have selected. We are yet to see a single report from anyone who is using the FGP18A about the leg angle selector giving way or failing during use and causing them problems.
The image above shows the twist-lock leg locks on the FGP18A that are very easy to use and again allow you to loosen the locks all at once when debuild as a single hand can fit over the top of three locks and release them all at once. You are then free to extend the legs of the tripod however you see fit to get your camera rig into the position you required.
Once locked in place, these twist locks are unlikely to fail and just like the leg angle selectors on the Benro FGP18A, we have not been able to find a single report from anyone using this as their tripod of choice commenting on the leg locks failing. This can offer you as a photographer or videographer using the tripod some confidence that your camera rig is going to be safe once you mount it onto the tripod for your sessions.
As we mentioned earlier, Benro has stuck to commonly used systems for the FGP18A that works to its advantage in our opinion, not only does this allow experiences photographers and videographers to use the tripod but it also ensures anyone picking up their very first tripod is also able to get to grips with the FGP18A without wasting time.
Performance And Functionality
Now, although we are confident that the Benro FGP18A can probably meet your image stabilization needs, we just feel that the Zomei Z669C (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is a much better choice when it comes to the performance that it can offer. We feel that this is the main reason that the FGP18A has seen little to no explosive growth whereas the Z669C just keeps going from strength to strength.
That said, the main advantage of the FGP18A over the Zomei tripod is that it is both smaller and lighter making it ideal for use as a travel tripod as well as a general-purpose tripod if you are tight on space. In addition to this, the central column on the FGP18A also allows you to tweak the performance of the tripod to meet your needs but this has proven to be a double-edged sword.
At the time of writing, it seems the community who use this tripod are split right down the middle with half loving the central column system and half hating it. In all honesty, we are not the biggest fans of it as in our opinion it just adds unneeded faff and wastes time but we can definatley see the argument from both sides. If you like to get creative with your photography and have the spare time to get creative then you will probably love the customization the central column offers.
Build Quality And Design
The build quality of the FGP18A put it right in the middle of the pack in our opinion, it is not excellent and it is not poor but simply gets the job done. The majority of the legs and central column on the tripod are made from a robust aluminum alloy to help keep the costs down while still ensuring it is tough enough to be a trave tripod and take all the bumps coming its way.
Additionally, the aluminum alloy also ensures that the FGP18A is lightweight, another key feature for a travel tripod. Although there are some intermediate tripods that are made from carbon fiber, they tend to be at the upper price range and almost double the price of the FGP18A that is at the lower price range of the intermediate tripod price range.
That brings our review of the Benro FGP18A tripod to an end and as we have mentioned throughout the article, the tripod can hold its own but there are better, cheaper options on the market. The FGP18A is also a little dated now and the newer more modern tripods easily pull ahead of it.
If you are looking to add a budget-friendly intermediate tripod to your collection of camera accessories then we would recommend the Zomei Z669C (Click here to check for product prices and availability) over the Benro FGP18A any day of the week. In our opinion, it beats the FGP18A in too many categories for it to be a “also consider” kind of thing and we would just straight-up recommend the Z669C instead.