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

Verdict

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.