Benbo tripods have been around for over 35 years and they've got a love 'em or hate 'em reputation. This is mainly down to their unique construction, which enables you to twist and adjust your camera's position in ways you'd never have thought possible with something as cumbersome as a tripod.

The best way to describe the difference between a Benbo and a traditional tripod is to compare a pointand- shoot compact to a DSLR. Although you can pick up and understand instantly how to use the compact, if you put in the time and effort to learn the functions of a DSLR, your photography will progress and become more fulfilling.

At the heart of the Benbo Classic No.1 (and No.2) is a universal joint that enables you to pivot each leg through 360 degrees. This rotation also allows you to twist the legs and head to reach any position you want. When you first use a Benbo, it's similar to trying to assemble a deck chair, with the legs spinning out of control in all directions.

Enjoy the benefits

Once you've mastered the adjustments of the legs and joint, the benefits of this system are immediately apparent, with the 360-degree swing being perfectly suited to macro work. The tubular aluminium construction of the legs and centre column make for a heavy-duty tripod, easily able to support anything from small DSLRs such as the D70 up to a fully weighted 1Ds with 300mm lens.

If you're willing to put in time to understand the way the legs and centre column work, then you're unlikely to return to a standard tripod for plant photography...