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Unboxing & Review

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Benro Theta: the Intelligent Modular Travel Tripod

Benro Theta, equipped with intelligent features, is an excellent option for photographers seeking to effortlessly and expertly capture.
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As technology advances, we’re constantly moving toward a future where devices can do more with less. The Benro Theta is no exception to this rule. Theta is a highly innovative product that combines portability, stability, efficiency and intelligence. Theta offers the same stability a regular tripod does, but with many extras to assist photographers in taking the perfect shot with ease. From rapid leg deployment and automatic leveling, to remote camera control, automatic exposure adjustment, and livestreaming – Theta is designed to elevate your photographic journey.

 

With Theta’s level function, you can turn the ball head into a platform that is always level. Instead of having to take care of whether the framing is horizontal during the shoot – it is horizontal at all times. So you can stay focused on your composition.

In fact, we initially wanted to design an electric tripod head with built-in leveling that would be travel-friendly. However, the torque of an electronic tripod head is quite high, and making it smaller would give up its stability. With lots of testing, we redesigned Theta’s legs and ball head to make it a truly portable, self-leveling tripod. All without compromising stability and practicality.

Auto-leveling helps us save time by eliminating the need to manually adjust the legs. However, what we ultimately need is to get the camera level on the ball head. Can Theta continually keep the camera level while we adjust the ball head for composition?

With this in mind, the Theta ball head was designed with a locking system that allows the ball head to be aligned with the tripod at all times. This means that the ball head can be switched between free mode and roll lock mode. While in roll lock position, when the tripod is level with the ground, so is the camera.

Step 1
– Twist the knob to lock movement on the roll axis.
– Move the ballhead untill you hear a “click”.
– When locked – the roll axis is fixed and will always be aligned horizontally with the tripod.

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Step 2

All three of Theta’s legs can be leveled automatically. When auto-leveling is activated, Theta determines how many legs need to be adjusted simultaneously to reach level as quickly as possible, based on its current leveling status.

– Mount the battery module (add-ons).
– Press the button and the leg between the first and second section will automatically adjust its length.
– The tripod is leveled with the ground.


Once the automatic leveling is complete, no more power is consumed.

When automatic leveling begins, Theta will detect the current leveling status to determine how many legs and lengths need to be adjusted to reach the fastest leveling status.

Theta’s ball head can quickly switch between full range of free motion and pan & tilt motion. If you tighten the retractable knob on the side of the ball head, the ball head can then only move in the pan and tilt direction, while the roll axis is locked and always remains level with the tripod. In this mode – you can adjust the composition and framing more accurately, while not affecting the original tuned horizontal state.


Pan & tilt movement only

For photographers, the most important factors when selecting a tripod are size and weight. Most travel tripods on the market compromise on size in order to be lightweight and sturdy. Or perhaps they compromise on sturdiness in order to be light and compact. That’s not the kind of innovation we’re looking for.

Theta is a travel tripod that takes all three of these factors into account. We used structural optimization of the central shaft in order to have zero wasted space while maintaining a round tube design. With the unique center column design and by thickening Theta’s upper leg diameter to 29mm – the stability and capacity of Theta’s legs was greatly increased.

A circular or round leg design distributes force points evenly along the tripod’s legs and achieves better stability. We designed the center column of Theta to be trigonous. Trigonous means the contour of a round tube is divided into three equal concave parts – forming three inner arcs.

Theta’s center column still retains the strength of a round tube, which is shaped just right for a seamless fit. Also, the center column is made of 6061-T6 Aluminum and is used to further strengthen it.

The difference between Theta and Theta Max center shaft: 

Theta Max and Theta have the same central shaft design. 

As the max height of Theta Max is 170 cm, we do not recommend raising its central shaft during the shoot, which will affect its stability. Therefore, when describing it, we used the word non-expandable to introduce it. Therefore, when describing the central shaft of Theta Max, we introduce it with the term non-deployable.

If you need to take a low-angle shot, you can easily remove the lower half of the Theta or Theta Max center column.


It‘s detachable and adjustable.

The trigonous center shaft design allows us to keep the leg tubes round without compromising on size. However, simply keeping the round tube design isn’t the only factor that makes a tripod stable and sturdy.

We thought of many ways to accomplish greater stability. We finally decided to improve the stability of Theta by increasing the diameter of the legs. This was an optimal solution to ensure that Theta’s light weight and compactness would not be compromised, while also improving its sturdiness.

With thicker rounded legs and premium carbon fiber, Theta can easily support your full-frame DSRL plus lens, even in open, windy places.

From leg deployment to storage, camera mounting to dismounting, and precise control of camera movement – you can enjoy a supremely fast and smooth experience with Theta. However, being fast and smooth isn’t enough – we love our cameras and lenses as much as you do, and we’ve designed Theta to keep them safe.

We’ve engineered an anti-slip mechanism for Theta’s legs. If you forget to lock the foot completely, or if the leg slides accidentally, Theta’s built-in safety automatically locks the leg and prevents it from continuing to skid. It’s a very subtle design. But we think you will love it. We know your gear will!

Flip locks and twist locks are the two most common types of leg locks. When shooting on sand, twist-locks are fairly susceptible to sand getting inside, and become difficult to clean. Flip locks struggle to lock in warm or cold weather due to expansion and slip easily.

After years of design – Theta’s legs have been made sandproof, easy to clean. Sand will be scraped off when we retract the legs to prevent it slips into the gap of the leg tube.


Disassemble without tools, easy to clean
  • Sand and Dust Resistant

The collars on each leg are designed to keep out dust and sand, and they are incredibly easy to disassemble.

  • Rapid deployment and retraction

Theta’s leg lock construction not only makes them sand-proof, but also makes them faster than ever to deploy and store. To deploy the Theta, just twist the foot lock to unlock all sections, and pull. Rotate the foot lock back to lock the leg.

If you need to adjust a leg section, rather than the traditional multiple micro-adjustments and the twisting or flipping of locks that goes with them to achiece the correct lenght – you simply choose any section of Theta’s leg, twist it, adjust the length of the leg, and then rotate back. This can even be done with winter gloves on. Theta is much smoother and easier to handle – even in less that ideal conditions.

  • Keep your gear safe

When the legs of a regular tripod are not fully locked – it’s legs may slip when heavy cameras or lenses are mounted on them. This typically doesn’t end well, causing the tripod and equipment to tip over.

We made a small but major adjustment when we designed Theta’s legs. When Theta is placed on a surface without being fully locked, its legs will detect it slipping, and the legs will automatically lock, ensuring the tripod does not fall over in the process. Like we said, it’s a very subtle design, but we think you and your gear will love it.

We designed an automatic snap-lock mechanism on Theta’s ball head to make camera installation faster and safer. Once the quick release plate is installed on your camera, simply press the camera onto the ball head and the plate will automatically lock. No further operation is required. When removing the camera, twist the locking ring to unlock and remove.


One hand operation & Press and plate auto locks

Twist & remove the camera

Every detail of the Theta Ball Head has been meticulously designed to fit within a photographer’s working routine. From being the ideal head for landscapes and portraits, incorporating roll lock to enhance pan and tilt movements, or having the ability to precisely fine-tune the composition of your shots via the app are all things you can enjoy with the ball head that is included with Theta.


All range movements & Locked roll axis separately & Twist and full locked

Instantly switch to portrait mode
  • Fine-Tune The Leveling Angle

A good ball head or 3-way head provides stable support for shake-free shooting, but it might be difficult to make fine adjustments. A geared head could be an option. Or you can use Theta’s app to fine-tune the camera’s level state without switching out heads or bringing extra leveling equipment – aka more weight. It’s very practical when you’re doing extreme close-ups that need precise adjustments, enabling you to make the finest of adjustments with ease.


Accurately fine tune camera composition from a distance

***A  battery module and a camera control module are must have for the leveling fine tune feature.⬆️

There are three waterproof expansion ports on the top of Theta’s legs. With these ports, we were able to develop swappable smart modules to expand functionality.

You will love these module in certain photography scenarios. When you’re not using them, you can either leave them on Theta or remove them. If you leave them on – they won’t take up any extra space in your backpack. They’ll be there when you need them, and Theta will step-up and become your intelligent assistant.


All Theta ports come with a protective shell.

With a separate battery module design, Theta maintains normal tripod characteristics, even with built-in motors and gyroscopes. Theta also gives users the ability to place the full tripod body into water while allowing for manual leg adjustment.

When other Theta modules are attached to ports, the battery module will supply power to them automatically. No cables required.


With the battery module removed – Theta will remain level. It can also be manually adjusted.

When the other modules of Theta are attached to Theta ports, the battery module will supply power to them automatically without any cables.

All modules need to be attached to an available Theta port and powered by the battery module. It can also power your camera (requires USB connection)

Theta’s Camera Control Module allows control of your camera from up to 150 feet away. Set shutter speed, aperture, ISO – access live preview, and trigger the shutter from your smartphone to capture video or take photos.

Theta camera control module fully supports dozens of popular DSLR and mirrorless camera models made by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, and Fuji. To see if your camera will be supported when we launch, visit Benro Theta Camera Compatibility List.

The optical matrix sensor module is the perfect assistant for time-lapse shooting. This module detects ambient light in real time, and enables the camera control module to combine sensor inputs with advanced algorithms to dynamically adjust exposure settings. Smoothly ramp for daylight to night (or vice versa) transitions.

Theta’s built-in algorithm is capable of accumulating the brightness histogram of the photo sequence hence auto-controlling the shutter speed in manual bulb mode to create a smoother brightness transition during timelapse. The extreme brightness or darkness spots will be eliminated through the application of the optical matrix sensor module or in the histogram – to avoid sudden changes in the light sources.

 

If you swap the included ball head for your own, you can still use the Theta auto-level feature. However, you will need to combine the battery, camera control, and optical sensor modules together for this feature to work. This will let Theta know the level status of the camera and adjust its leg’s length based on this data – even if you don’t use Theta’s standard ball head.

The Optical Matrix Sensor module has a built-in battery. It can be charged separately with a USB cable. You can also attach it to a Theta port and allow it to charge via the battery module.


Recharge with USB cable or Mount on Theta port for wireless charging

Your DSLR or mirrorless camera has much better image quality and performs better in low light than simply streaming with the camera on your phone. If you want to get a clear, professional image – live streaming through the camera is a best option.


Use cellular data to livesteam on Youtube/Facebook or via RTMP url to other platforms.

Inverted center column: perfect for macro work and low angle shooting.

170cm Height (Theta Max): Maintain stability while shooting over obstacles, or extend to your eye-level and shoot without having to hunch over.

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