This Is the Revolutionary Spiderman Tripod: Benro Tablepod Flex Review

2022-05-28 10:21:05 By : Mr. pengfei liu

Flexible tripod legs wrap around objects to hold a camera secure, but traditional legs tend to be easier to use on tabletops. The Benro Tablepod Flex is both. The tabletop tripod’s legs are hollow tubes that store a second set of flexible legs. By swapping the different legs, or using both legs together, the Benro Tablepod Flex offers additional possibilities with six legs instead of three. That makes a tripod that can cling to a number of different objects almost as well as Spiderman.

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With a 6.6 pound capacity, the Benro Tablepod Flex is mostly designed for smartphones and compact cameras, though it can accommodate some mirrorless cameras with lighter lenses. With a real ball head, it feels like a miniature pro tripod. That feel makes it an excellent tool for pros recording behind-the-scenes Reels and Stories on smartphones.

With two types of legs, the Benro Tablepod Flex provides an impressive level of versatility for a tiny tripod. The flexible legs feel sturdy and secure, and the tiny ball head is easy to adjust. It’s pricey, however, and the two modes that use the monopod are limited and not as stable.

I used the Benro Tablepod Flex with the:

Benro lists the following tech specs for the Tablepod Flex:

The Benro Tabletop Flex has two different types of legs: a traditional leg, and a flexible leg. These two types of legs are key to the Flex’s versatility. The stiff legs are actually hollow tubes, which allows the flexible legs to be stored inside. The flexible legs are covered in a grippy, rubber material.

At the bottom of these legs are rubber feet. The tripod actually includes six feet because some set-ups require the use of both feet. The feet have a tripod screw in them, so using both legs together requires all six feet.

Either type of leg can screw into the base. A button at the top of each leg changes the leg angle, with three leg angles plus the closed position. The leg angles can be adjusted independently when working with uneven surfaces. Just above where each leg attaches, there’s a port to add the flex legs as an accessory arm. At the top of the base, the tripod actually has two sizes of tripod screws: one retracts to reveal the larger one. That allows the base to hold the ball head, or one of the tripod legs in one of the several setup options.

The tripod includes a miniature ball head that looks and feels similar to a smaller version of the ball heads included on many pro-level tripods. The lower knob adjusts the position of the ball head. Above that, a lever rotates the camera 360 degrees, with the scale printed on the head itself. On the opposite side, a knob releases the quick release plate. 

The tripod ships with a phone cradle that stretches to accommodate devices from 48-100mm and has a cold shoe at the top.

The combination of all these features allows the flex to be arranged in a number of ways:

Tabletop mode: A traditional tabletop tripod

Flex mode: Swap out the stiff legs for the flexible legs to wrap around an object.

Dual Legs: Use the stiff legs and flex legs together to wrap around something larger, like the back of a dining room chair.

Tabletop Monopod: This isn’t big enough to really be called a monopod (unless my toddler is using it), but with a table or another surface, the three stiff legs can twist together as a monopod.

Monopod with flex legs: If the tabletop isn’t tall enough (like if you want to record yourself standing), twist the flex legs onto the base and attach them to the monopod setup.

Flex arm: In tabletop tripod mode, add the flexible legs to one of three accessory arm ports. Add those to the cold shoe and the set-up will hold up to four different accessories like lights and audio.

Talk about a lot of different ways to use a single tripod!

The Benro Tablepod Flex ships with an auxiliary locking ring, which slips around two legs for a secure hold. The tripod also includes a plastic clip that will hold two legs close together. While the tripod felt secure without these accessories, Benro notes that using them could prolong the life of the stretchy legs. It also includes a soft case, carabiner, and an Arca-Swiss compatible quick-release plate.

While flexible legs are great for wrapping around branches and railings, they don’t always feel the best as a tabletop tripod. The bendy legs are sometimes hard to straighten again, which can add a bit of wobble. With both types of legs, the Benro Tablepod Flex allows photographers to choose the sturdiest option for the task at hand.

The traditional tripod legs feel sturdy. Made of carbon fiber, the legs are hollow to allow the flex legs to fit inside, so they’re a bit lighter, but don’t bend or wobble.

The flex legs are the ideal mix between flexible and rigid. They aren’t difficult to wrap around an object, but, once there, they have a secure hold. While it’s made with smartphones and compact cameras in mind, the 6.6-pound weight limit is within range for some mirrorless camera and lens combos. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous, but the tripod held the Sony a7R IV and PZ 16-35mm f4 G securely around a post in position to shoot a flat lay. The flex legs didn’t slip. I made sure the head was in a position where gravity wouldn’t pull down on the quick release plate and that all the top knobs were secure. That’s a step I would take whenever using this tripod with a camera that can’t survive drops. The auxiliary ring also helps secure heavier equipment.

While the tabletop and flex legs feel excellent, the setup where the flex legs support the monopod upright is a bit wobbly. This mode requires a self-timer, and may not be perfectly steady for video. This isn’t too surprising, considering the structure, but worth noting nonetheless. You can buy more legs to make the monopod set up taller, but I don’t think I would — it’s wobblier, and adding leg sections will make it larger than a traditional monopod.

With so many ways to use the Tablepod Flex, set aside a few minutes to figure out all the tricks. The different options are easy enough to figure out, but there are so many that this tripod begs for a bit of exploration.

The only area that give me a bit of trouble was storing the flex legs. Do not try to twist when pulling them out of the traditional leg — the foot will come off and the flex leg will be stuck inside. Thankfully, Benro thought of this and there’s a hole at the top of the leg. I used a kabob skewer to push the leg out. But, unless you carry around a BBQ skewer, just pull instead of twisting when removing the flex legs from storage.

The other challenge to this tripod is all the little pieces. There’s a spot to store the flex legs, but no good spot for the three extra feet. I wish the included bag had a small pocket to stash the feet so they don’t get lost. As often as I misplace lens caps, I have the feeling I’m going to loose a foot eventually.

The Benro Tablepod Flex is a mini tripod with big versatility, making it an excellent choice for smartphone photographers and travel with compact camera systems. From a tabletop tripod to shooting from fence railings where full-sized tripods aren’t allowed or are too cumbersome, the Tablepod Flex has a lot of shooting options. While it’s a mini tripod, the head feels like a miniaturized version of a pro tripod head.

The mix of pro features with its tiny size makes the Benro Tablepod Flex an ideal option for pros who want to record some behind-the-scenes videos of their work. The flexible legs allow it to wrap on a number of structures to get the right height, yet it won’t add much to a camera bag. The ball head also makes the mini tripod feel more like using a fully-fledged pro tripod. That’s really where I see this tripod getting a lot of use — serving as a behind-the-scenes cameraman for the increasingly popular Reels and Stories.

Of course, it’s hard to talk about flexible tripods without talking about the original Joby Gorillapod. The Flexpod has a bit more versatility with both types of legs and different ways to use them, such as the accessory arm. But, there are much more affordable Gorillapods and, on the flip side, Joby also has high-end options that can hold more than the 6.6 pounds of the Flexpod (which can cost even more).

That brings me to the downside of the Tablepod Flex — it’s about $160. While other flexible tripods don’t have as many options, those other tripods aren’t quite as pricey. There are more affordable options if you just want a tabletop tripod or just a flexible tripod. But, for photographers who will use every applicable mode, the flexibility may just be worth that price. 

I’m giving the Benro Tablepod Flex five out of five stars. Want one? Grab them on Amazon.

Hillary K. Grigonis is a photographer and tech writer based in Michigan. She shoots weddings and portraits at Hillary K Photography. A mother of three, she enjoys hiking, camping, crafting, and reading.