Before there were lightweight metal alloys and super-strong composites, all tripods had wooden legs, but it’s a bit of a rarity these days. Benro has opted for walnut for its special ‘Wood Edition’ of the TablePod tabletop tripod.
It certainly looks pretty smart, especially along with the mini tripod’s bronze-colored aluminum components, but the Wood Edition is a fully functioning piece of equipment.
Traditionally, tabletop tripods were for applications such as still life work or photographing small objects, but now they’re also handy for vloggers or video live streaming, which is why Benro includes an adjustable smartphone adapter bracket in this kit. It all comes in an attractive presentation box that has a timber-look ﬁnish, but is actually just heavy-duty paper board in construction. Inside is the tripod, the smartphone holder, and a custom carry pouch. It would certainly make a handsome present for somebody.
Type: Tabletop tripod.
Materials: Aluminum and walnut.
Max. Working Height: 19.5 cm.
Min. Working Height: 8.6 cm.
Load Capacity: 3.0 kg.
Folded Length: 22.5 cm.
Leg Sections: One.
Head: Ball-type with Arca-Swiss type quick-release plate.
Weight: 280 grams (total with head).
Build & handling
The TablePod looks just like a full-sized tripod that’s been shrunk in the wash. It has a fully-adjustable ball-type head with an Arca-Swiss type quick-release plate that slots into a rotatable base with a full 360º sweep. The single leg sections are turned pieces of solid walnut, tipped with rubber feet, and adjustable for angle just as you’d ﬁnd on a big tripod.
How low can you go? With the legs fully splayed, the working height is a mere 8.6cm. At the standard leg setting, it’s 19.5cm. There’s also an intermediate leg angle setting. Two of the legs have 1/4-inch screwthread mounting points and, when the head is detached completely, a spring-loaded 3/8-inch mounting screw is revealed which is a pretty clever bit of design.
It looks strong and it is… the maximum supportable weight is three kilos, which will cover a lot of mirrorless or DSLR body-and-lens combinations. Two 90º notches allow the ball head to be quickly switched to the vertical orientation, and each of the locking levers have a nicely positive and progressive action.
The quick-release plate – Benro’s PU45 model – has safety end stop pins at either end and a three-way locking screw including a fold-out ring, so you’ll be able to get it pretty tight just by hand. The rotating adjustment is marked with a pan scale from 0º to 45º to 90º and then back to 45º and 0º, which is repeated to give the full 360º rotation. It would be handy to have a bubble level, but given most cameras now have dual-axis level indicators, it’s probably not a big issue.
The rubber feet are nicely grippy and importantly won’t mark the surface… just in case you’re setting up on a valuable lacquered antique table.
The Benro TablePod is possibly a product that you never thought you’d need, but it’s surprisingly useful, especially for macro work where you want to get really close to the subject. You probably wouldn’t have considered the Wood Edition either, but now it’s here, why not? The standard carbon ﬁber model has exactly the same specs and the price difference isn’t very much in return for something a bit different.
There aren’t too many fully-functional tripods that’ll slot easily into a jacket pocket and it can be used wherever there’s something solid to sit it on, so it can double as an ultra-compact travel tripod too. It’s really nicely made, and this special edition does look particularly smart, but don’t be afraid to use it… it’s built for hard work.
So perhaps forget about buying the wooden TablePod for somebody else, treat yourself instead.