Welcome to our Bonfoto b690a review that we are pleased to find the time to publish. We have seen a ton of people reaching out for advice on the b690a over the last few months so we have wanted to get this article out for a while now.
Our hope is that our review will help anyone who is considering picking the b690a up as it really is a great little tripod and an excellent source of image stabilization. The performance it offers for such a low price point in the market is second to none and it is obvious to see why it has such an excellent reputation within the community too.
As the Bonfoto b690a has been specifically designed to be used as a travel tripod it has proven a popular choice for travel photographers, videographers, and vloggers due to its lightweight and small size. You are able to take it pretty much anywhere you may need it without it taking up much space at all and when you get to your location it provides its excellent image stabilization.
User Interface And Control System
Thankfully, Bonfoto has kept the regular interface systems on the b690a that most people will be familiar with via other camera tripods. If this is the very first tripod that you will ever be using fear, not as the system is extremely easy to pick up and realistically can be learned within a few minutes.
The tripod is based around a Four leg section system to allow the tripod to be very small when debuilt and not in use but offer a maximum height of around 55 inches when fully extended. This is a common system, especially in travel tripods as it performs so well while allowing for smaller storage sizes and taller maximum heights.
All of the various locks and joints on the b690a are great quality considering its price tag too helping it stand out from some of the competing tripods at this price point. The Bonfoto b690a uses flip log leg locks as shown in the image below that are easy to use and firmly lock the legs of the tripod in place to keep your camera rig safe.
We know that some photographers and videographers prefer the twist lock leg lock system and it does tend to be more popular on travel tripods as it is quicker and has less things to get tangled on while in storage between locations.
We really don’t know why Bonfoto chose to go with the flip lock system over the twist locks but in all honesty, for this price tag, we would recommend anyone considering adding the b690a to their camera accessories focus on how well the actual flip locks work. Realistically, what’s more important, having twist locks on the tripod, or a solid set of flip locks that will keep the legs in place and ensure that your camera rig is as safe as possible when in use.
The quick release plate on the included ball head of the Bonfoto b690a is decent considering the more budget-friendly price tag and it gets the job done. You are able to attach it to your camera to allow you to quickly and easily mount or unmount your camera body of choice from the aluminum tripod when needed.
One thing that we would like to point out is that spare quick release plates for the Bonfoto range can be a pain to source from local photography stores at the time of writing. Your best bet is to try sites like Amazon (Click here to check for product prices and availability) but again, supply issues can make this difficult.
In our opinion, this is probably the main weakness of the tripod and if you are planning on using a multi-camera rig with it where you will need to hot-swap between your cameras often, we would actually recommend the Zomei Q666 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) over this Bonfoto tripod. That said though if you are planning on only using one single camera with the tripod, the Bonfoto b690a is a fine choice.
Performance And Functionality
As we touched on earlier in the article, the performance and image stabilization that the Bonfoto b690a provides you is excellent for its price point in the market. This alone lets it stand out from the majority of the competing travel tripods on the market right now and is, in our opinion at least, the main reason the Bonfoto b690a is so popular within the community.
A basic ball head is included with your purchase for the tripod as standard and it should be able to meet the needs of the vast majority of our readers who are considering purchasing the b690a. That said, there are two minor niches where the ball head struggles. These are slow panning videography and panoramic photography where a pan head (Click here to check for product prices and availability) would be better due to it offering better panning than a ball head. As we said though, these are pretty minor niches and we doubt many of our readers will be taking part in them seriously.
The horizontal swivel feature on the Bonfoto b690a allows you to pivot the tripod through a full 360-degree rotation while also moving it vertically through 90 degrees to get some pretty unique angles. Unlike some other tripods at this price point, when the center column of the tripod is rotated off the main axis, there is no effect on the image stabilization provided or the maximum load capacity of 17 pounds allowing you to mount your camera rig and then adjust it as required without worrying.
An excellent feature of the Bonfoto b690a that makes it an ideal portable travel tripod is the 180-degree reversible legs to help reduce the length of the tripod to around 14 inches as shown in the image above. If you prefer the minimalist style of traveling then every spare inch of space matters and although some competing tripods at this price point offer this feature, they usually increase the width of the tripod when folder and take up space that way.
One tip we would like to share is if you are carrying the tripod in your bag with the legs reversed, try to ensure that the flip locks on the legs are facing inwards rather than outwards. Although it only takes you a second in prep time, it can save you a decent amount of time when you get to your destination and it usually prevents other equipment in your back becoming tangled around the flip locks.
Another feature that we feel is essential on a portable tripod is a decent counterweight hook as shown in the image above. Thankfully, the counterweight hook on the Bonfoto b690a is solid and allows you to mount additional weight to the tripod in windy conditions as required to prevent it from blowing over.
As the tripod is very lightweight anyway and the fact that most travel camera rigs are also lightweight, this can actually end up being a real problem if you are out and about in wind. We see no reason to buy the specifically designed sand backs to add the additional weight to the counter hook though. A quick and easy trick that you can do is simply put a few rocks in the carry case for the Bonfoto b690a and then hand that from the counterweight hook to add the increased stability.
We feel that Bonfoto has done an excellent job when it comes to the performance and functionality of the b690a. Relative to its price point in the market, it is without a doubt one of the stronger tripods in its price bracket and can be an excellent little tripod for you.
Build Quality And Design
Now, as the b690a is such a cheap tripod, Bonfoto has had to use a lightweight aluminum alloy for the majority of its construction rather than carbon fiber. This is common in the budget-friendly tripod range due to it being a cheaper way to ensure that the tripod is lightweight while also being robust.
As the b690a could be spending a large amount of time in your luggage or in the hold of a jet while traveling, it is safe to assume that it is likely to take a fair few knocks throughout its lifetime. The robust build quality ensures that the tripod can take these knocks without issue and come out the other side undamaged and still provide you with some excellent quality image stabilization when required.
The leg angle adjusters showed in the image above on the Bonfoto b690a get the job done but at a little clunky in all fairness. They let you adjust the angle of the tripods legs as required at the press of a button and then lock the leg in place when the lock is activated but it can be a bit of a pain to actually unlock the angle selectors, especially if the tripod has any weight on it.
In all fairness though, this is a common issue due to the ratchet mechanisms used at the top of the legs in budget-friendly tripods. We have carried out a little research to see if anyone has reported the leg angle selectors failing on the tripod and were unable to find a single case of this happening. This leads us to believe that although they are a little clunky, they are safe and secure when in use.
Another thing that we want to comment on when it comes to the build quality of the b690a is the feet at the base of the legs as shown in the image above. Although they are made from plastic rather than rubber to help keep costs down, they do grp surfaces well and we feel that they will help the tripod stay upright in wet or slippy conditions.
Although Bonfoto has had to take steps to keep the price tag of the b690a competitive for its bracket, they have not done anything that every other brand have done to their tripods in the entry-level price range. The build quality of the tripod is solid and it is very robust and strong.
Question – What is the mounting thread size for the tripod head?
Answer – The Bonfoto b690a has a 1/4 inch screw thread.
Question – Can you use other heads with the Bonfoto b690a?
Answer – Yes, provided the new head uses a 1/4 inch screw thread it will mount on the b690a. As we mentioned earlier in the article, if you are planning on having to pan your camera while using the b690a many people will opt to swap out the included ball head for a pan head.
Question – Can the Bonfoto b690a be used with a slider?
Answer – Although a slider unit should be able to mount to the tripod, we have not actually tried it ourselves and there are an absolute ton of different slider units available on the market these days so we can’t give a definite answer for this one.
Third Party Reports
In addition to the video above though, you can also click here to read some independent, third-party reviews of how the Bonfoto b690a is performing for people who use it as their go-to tripod of choice.
That brings our Bonfoto b690a review to an end and although we do feel that the b690a does a great job and can make a great addition to your collection of camera accessories, we would recommend that our readers also consider the Zomei Q666 (Click here to check for product prices and availability).
Not only is the Zomei tripod at the same price point in the market but it is much easier to source spare quick release plates for it. Additionally, at the time of writing at least, it also has a better reputation within the community and a larger customer base than the Bonfoto b690a.