Benro SupaDupa PRO MSDPL46C Review
Review Manufacturer: Benro
Price when reviewed
$249 Check current price
It’s hard to think of how you could do a monopod differently; after all, it’s just a pole that gives you a little added support without the need for a tripod.
It’s no wonder then that the design of monopods’ doesn’t change a great deal from one-to-another, aside from the occasional appearance of a set of feet, but now that’s all changing with the arrival of the SuperDupa.
Benro has, as with the Rhino tripods, taken design and engineering to another level. The SuperDupa construction shows just how good carbon and CNC machine work can come together to create something that looks great and functions just as well.
As with the Rhino tripods, the SuperDupa is a thing of beauty but backed by two features that make this pod stand out.
The first is the small 360º rotating foot, a small addition that increases panning smoothness, the second is the levelling base. Individually they add small benefits, but together they combine to make one of the most flexible and beautiful monopods on the market.
Decent height Leveling base Lever lock top section
What is Benro SupaDupa PRO MSDPL46C?
My wish list for a monopod is rather small. Simply an adjustable pole that reaches head height and gives me added stability when I can’t be bothered to carry a tripod.
If it can double as a mic boom, even better, a monopod is the one piece of kit I don’t expect much from; I just want it to be uncomplicated, light and simple.
The Benro SuperDupa does away with plain and simple and instead goes for a touch of overly engineered. However, now I’ve seen a monopod with a rotating foot and levelling base; I want one.
Like the Benro Rhino, it pushes the design concept and packs in a few interesting extras that make the SuperDupa stand out.
Firstly, the design materials, the same carbon and CNC’d aluminium, make the Rhino series so appealing and tactile; then, there’s the mechanical design features.
The first of these is the small foot at the monopod’s base; on most monopods, these are fixed, or at least they don’t move but can be swapped for alternatives.
Here the rubber foot is mounted onto a smooth rotating bearing. This means that you can smoothly rotate left and right at full height without any drag or friction created from the ground.
This small refinement makes panning that little bit smoother and has quite an effect when used to shoot wildlife or sport.
The next feature is a levelling base at the top; this is along the same lines as other levelling bases, but here on a monopod, it gives a little more flexibility with composition. OK, it’s not the first time a monopod has sported a levelling base, but it’s still in the minority.
Then there’s the lever lock for the top section, which contrasts with the twist locks used for all other leg sections.
The level locks position makes it ideal for quickly raising and lowering the monopod’s height with the lever giving a decisive lock and release action.
As monopods go, the SuperDupa packs in the features – and for once in a product, these additions all seem to make sense, at least in theory. I’ve put it to the test to see if the SuperDupa really is super-duper.
Weight: 0.9kg Max Height: 158cm Packed length: 48.4cm Pan range : 0-360º Quick release plate: Arca Swiss Leg sections : 6 Leg material : Carbon Fibre Tilt range : 20º Max payload: 32kg
Build and Handling
Benro is pulling out all the stops with their latest range of supports. Beautifully finished carbon fibre combined with CNC machined aluminium all comes together to give the new product lines a high-quality look and feel.
Any worries that this new approach to manufacturer and finish is all for show is quickly dispelled once you have the SuperDupa in your hands. Its clean lines, attention to detail and finish are exceptional.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen products with this level of high-quality finish; there is, of course, Gitzo. But, is it possible that another manufacturer can create a product that both looks incredible and functions just as well.
From the outset, it appears that Benro has done it. A check over the build, constructions and features and everything here looks solid and functional, and it appears that Benro has indeed done it.
The levelling base is released and locked with the small lever, and the rotation and movement are silky smooth. The base’s overall quality and accuracy have been well thought through and manufactured, and with the camera on top, you can instantly feel the benefit the wiggle room of the base gives you.
Likewise, the Lever lock for the top leg section has a clean, decisive lock and release action enabling you to adjust the height quickly.
I was a little dubious about the rotating foot, especially in the UK, where it is inevitably muddy and prone to seeping into everything.
However, the gap between the foot and the bottom leg section’s base seems well sealed, hopefully preventing mud and moisture ingress from affecting the bearings.
Overall the build of the SuperDupa is superb, with nothing in the manufacture that would outwardly give you any concerns.
I like a good monopod and the additional support that it can give you when out and about.
The small size and minimal weight mean that if you’re just popping out for a walk, then it’s a great piece of kit that won’t weigh you down in the same way as a tripod.
A monopod will inevitably also double as a walking stick, poking device and reacher of things out of reach, which can’t be said for any other piece of photographic equipment.
The monopod I use is several years old. It’s carbon, slightly battered and used for the above purposes, as it is a camera support.
A monopod comes into your life as something you think will be a good idea and then justify buying. It then takes a while to strap it and leave it strapped to your bag and then a little more time to actually start to use it.
But then the reason for a monopod becomes apparent; they’re just incredibly useful and simple. You don’t need to think about them.
The SuperDupa, for all its design prowess and features, manages to maintain that simplicity, and when you strap it to your bag, it is just a monopod, single-legged support for your camera.
But then take it off, release the twist locks and raise the final section with the lever lock, and you realise that the SuperDupa is that little bit more that makes a difference.
Firstly, the large legs sections give a quality feel, then placing the camera onto the quick release ARCA Swiss clamp, and you start to feel that this monopod is far more refined than your normal offering.
Camera in place, height adjusted and levelling base giving a just touch of free movement, and you feel ready to capture the action.
That small freedom gained by the base enables you far more give when it comes to the camera’s position and options for composition.
Where you would normally be constrained by mounting a camera to the fixed top of the monopod without a head, here you have freedom.
Likewise, the bearing loaded foot enables simple smooth rotation, a feature I never realised I wanted until I used it.
After a short time, you realise that the function surpasses the looks. What Benro has done is refined the monopod. It’s still simple but removes some of the common limitations created by these single-legged supports.
At first, you may think that the Benro SuperDupa is overly engineered – but once you start to use it, you quickly realise that every design feature is there for a reason. It all comes together with magnificent effect.
A monopod is just a monopod unless it is the SuperDupa which is something more.
By more, I don’t mean that it transforms into a monopod with three small feet or uses some incredibly complex telescopic mechanism to adjust its length.
Instead, Benro has looked at the monopod’s design as a simple single-legged support and address some of the small niggles.
The levelling base just works and makes life easier, OK it’s been done before, but here it’s refined.
Then there’s the rotating foot that you wouldn’t notice until it was pointed out, and again just gives enough to make a difference.
Then there’s the combination of lever and twist locks. Initially, I thought that this was all a bit gimmicky, but then in the field, you realise that, no, it’s just functional.
The Benro SupaDupa PRO MSDPL46C is just a monopod, but one that offers refinements that make it that little bit more.