Benro A-197 EX review

A basic, but versatile tripod for those on a budget

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  • Reasonably light
  • Easy to set up
  • Supports spiked feet


  • Crude central column adjustment
  • Flex in legs
  • Poor quality finish

Though the A-197 EX has a pivotable centre column, it's a pretty basic aluminium alloy tripod, with a maximum height of 1. 64m and a maximum load of 6kg. So it's more suited to owners of entry level SLRs with more modest lenses, and this is reflected in the hundred quid price tag.

The A-197 is a three-section tripod and has a traditional clip-lock system rather than the twistlock system that comes on higher-end Benro models.

Benro a 197 ex

Build quality and performance

A 197 ex

What's immediately noticeable about this tripod is the rather crude horizontal to vertical adjustment on the central column. It feels really basic, even on a tripod at this price point.

There's noticeably more flex in the legs too.

A 197 ex

A bigger worry, however, is the finish; even taking this tripod out of the box seems to leave scratches and marks, so what on earth will it look like after a hard weekend's shooting on the coast or out on the moors?

Another problem for the A-197 is that it's up against Manfrotto's excellent 190XPROB tripod, which is a much better entry-level model for very similar money. It's easier to use and built to higher standards, so in this case, Benro is totally outclassed by its Italian rivals.

A 197 ex


There's not much going for this bare-bones tripod; although it's quite light and easy to set up, the flex-tastic legs and woeful finish undermine your confidence in it from the get-go. Definitely one to avoid in favour of the Manfrotto 190XPROB.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTripod
Maximum Height1647 mm
Minimum Height390 mm
Brand NameBenro
Form FactorFloor Standing
Load Capacity6 kg
Product SeriesA
ManufacturerBenro Precision Photography Industry Co. LTD
Product ModelA-197EX
Product NameVersatile A-197EX Floor Standing Tripod
Product LineVersatile
Manufacturer Part NumberA197EX
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Being succeed in the advantages on the N6 and M8 versatile transformer tripod as well as the tooling process, Benro innovate a new versatile transformer tripod which provide the ultimate in strength with light weight 8-layer Carbon Fiber legs and Magnesium Alloy components.. By adopting the updated Magnesium quick locking system, the versatile transformer tripod is exceptional for outdoor shooting. Moreover, you will appreciate with its easy to operate, hand friendly, enduring.

Weight (Approximate)1.86 kg