Benro B4 Ball Head Review
Updated: May 22, 2020
Having gone through a few different ball heads in my time I had started to look for something new as my old battered Manfrotto was showing not only its age but also its limits in terms of performance and what I wanted from a ball head.
I have always put and incredible amount of emphasis on the need to have a good stable support system underneath your camera set up ever since my early days when getting home with what I thought were fantastic photographs only to be bitterly disappointed due to the lack of sharp edges due to camera shake in wind.
I was confident in my current tripod system but since I had often been using very heavy long lenses for my landscape photography it had highlighted that my existing ball head was just not up to the task.
With a Canon 100-400mm lens and a Canon 5D MK III it was suffering from the dreaded "sag" or "Lens Creep".
Tightening up the existing levers on the Manfrotto ball head really didn't seem to have much effect when it came to long glass and because of it, carefully framed compositions were soon lost as soon as you tightened up and then watched in horror as the composition shifted a few degrees towards the floor, shooting at 400 mm only emphasised this point even more.
Couple that with the annoying plate system which came loose constantly and I was left with no choice, It had to go.
I had two main requirements that I absolutely wouldn't compromise on for the next ball head, It had to have an Arca style mounting plate as I intended to start using an L bracket type mount for the new Canon EOS R and the vast majority of after market plates and brackets produced them in this style, plus I really like the locking system on them.
The other condition was it must have a pan option separate to the usual ball head action as I had recently found myself shooting a lot more panoramas and I wanted to have precision movement without losing any height of the framing.
Obviously all other requirements were also sought, stable, well made, wouldn't break the bank etc.. but the first two really were a must have.
While looking around at various reviews and trying various ball heads in shops I came across the Benro range.
I was already familiar with Benro as a market leader in the tripod & head field amongst other things but for those of you who aren't I will give you a bit of background on them.
Benro was founded all the way back in 1995 in China with the manufacture of tripods, photographic heads, camera bags & optical filters. What started as a smaller operation quickly grew to a huge empire which now has distributors in over 40 different countries.
Benro are renowned for their ultra strong but exceptionally lightweight carbon fibre tripods which can boast that the carbon fibre tube, QIHM-8X is the world's highest intensity carbon fibre tube (QIHM-8X has eight multi directional composite technologies)
An innovative company that has been recognised within the industry with a seamlessly endless list of accolades and awards that I wont even try and list here, but it was safe to say a company with impeccable pedigree and confidence was assured.
One thing which I actively look for now is a company that is ethical and committed to environmentally friendly products and Benro fits that bill nicely. They use things like natural rubber, green magnesium alloy material and recyclable packaging.
I have a lot of time for companies that help to preserve the environment that we all enjoy walking and photographing so much.
So, after much looking and reading about the product I decided that the Benro B4 ball head met my needs perfectly.
All the features I was after and then some, so an order was placed and I eagerly awaited for it to arrive.
I've decided to do a long term review as initial impressions can change over time so I will split it below into first impressions, initial use, one month review then a 6 months plus update.