Benro Theta Announced – Auto-Leveling Smart Travel Tripod

February 10th, 2023 Jump to Comment Section 8
Benro Theta Announced – Auto-Leveling Smart Travel Tripod

Benro, a Chinese manufacturer best known for their tripods, the Polaris smart electric tripod head, and their gimbals, just announced two new tripods to be released via Kickstarter: the smaller Theta for $349 and the slightly larger Theta Max for $399. They announced them as the world’s first auto-leveling tripods and the launch date for the Kickstarter campaign will be around the end of February 2023. So let’s check them out!

But before we look ahead, let’s look back a little bit, because tripods are amongst the oldest tools in the industry and even the early pioneers were already using them. But the characteristics of tripods are and remain contradictory.

On one hand, they should provide as much stability as possible, on the other hand, travel tripods should be small and lightweight. Modern materials like aluminum and carbon fiber help a lot to make tripods more versatile, but now Benro wants to take ordinary tripods even further and turn them into really smart tools!

Benro Theta: tripods that can auto level

Yes, both Benro Theta models can auto-level your camera in a very surprising way. I was actually expecting the tripod head to do the leveling job, but instead, the legs move! Benro doesn’t go into details about how the whole thing actually works from a mechanical point of view, or what’s inside the legs, but you can see from the short video above that all you need to do is push a button, and the legs adjust their length to get the camera leveled. And if you are not happy with the result, there is an app available for any necessary fine-tuning.

Benro Theta Smart Tripod
Benro Theta and Theta Max – the world’s first auto-leveling travel tripods. Image source: Benro

According to their website, Benro has just solved the biggest problem of traditional tripods in decades and finally brought absolute convenience to photographers! Well, that is a bold statement, and for all of us who ever had to level a tripod and a head by hand during a shoot, without pressing just a button or using an app on a smartphone, life could be so much better and easier now.

But was this ever really a problem for you? You might have done it a million times already and it is a natural part of your creative routine to frame exactly your desired shots.

Benro Theta: the smart tripod

But the Benro Theta tripods can do so much more than simply move their legs. Indeed, there are several additional modules available to transform your sticks into a real digital Swiss Army Knife:

Benro Theta Smart Tripod
Benro Theta – a very smart tripod indeed! Image source: Benro

The battery module

The main one is the battery module, which powers the Theta tripod legs and also provides the one-touch leveling function. It also acts as a standard USB power bank, just in case you need to charge your phone or even your camera if 5V would be enough. You could install up to three of these modules on the tripod, depending on your personal needs and how many phones you would like to charge.

The camera control module

The camera control module will give you control over your camera, with remote live view using the Benro Theta app! You get full remote control over the camera settings and even the ability to download photos and videos to your smartphone for previewing or even sending straight to social media. According to Benro’s website, you will get full control of camera parameters like ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and even focal length. Unfortunately, there is no information available if this app will work with every camera on the market.

Benro Theta Smart Tripod Battery Module
Benro Theta smart module. Image source: Benro

The GoLive module

The GoLive module features an HDMI port to transmit your camera’s view to live popular streaming platforms. YouTube and Facebook are both natively supported, while RTMP lets you stream to any other platforms you might want to add. Live streaming is all done over Wi-Fi, so if you are out on location and there is no free Wi-Fi available, you’ll need to tether to your phone as a hotspot, or to any other similar device.

The optical matrix sensor module

The Optical Matrix Sensor Module constantly monitors the ambient light when you’re shooting time lapses. When it sees changes in the brightness of the scene, it instructs the camera in real-time to adjust whatever setting you’ve told it to adjust, based on the light value. For example, you probably want to keep your shutter speed and aperture where they are, to maintain a consistent depth of field and level of motion blur, you will have it adjust your ISO to compensate. Unfortunately, we could not test this promising module, but this one could be the most interesting one of them all. Just keep in mind, you’re still reading an article about a tripod, but at least a very smart one!

Benro Theta Smart Tripod Optical Sensor Module
Bero Theta – optical matrix sensor module. Image source: Benro

Benro Theta and Theta Max: technical details

Apart from all the amazing smart functionalities, there are still some very old-fashioned technical details for both tripods available, so let’s sum it up quickly:

  • one-step deploy mechanism
  • secure leg-lock mechanism
  • 5 section legs – carbon fiber
  • trigonous center column – aluminum alloy
  • center shaft locking knob – aluminum alloy
  • leg angle selector – aluminum alloy
  • stick to cylinder robustness
  • dual multi-function ball head for photography and video filming
    with pan and tilt function
  • auto-lock QR ring – aluminum alloy
  • Arca Swiss compatible standard plate

And here are the technical numbers for the smaller Theta and the larger Theta Max:

Benro Theta Smart Tripod technical details
Technical details of Theta and the Theta Max. Image source: Benro

Lastly, if you should have lost track of all the amazing possibilities offered by the world’s first auto-leveling travel tripods, here is a quick overview to sum it up for you in a more visual way:

Benro Theta Smart Tripod technical overview
Benro Theta and the Theta Max features and modules. Image source: Benro

Price and availability

If you believe that your existing tripod is actually quite boring, because it can only support your camera and has no smart function at all and that you will need a new one right away, please check out the upcoming Kickstarter campaign here! It is not fully confirmed yet, but according to Benro’s Facebook page, the campaign should start around the end of February 2023.

Here is the pricing info for all tripod models and the relative modules:

  • Theta Tripod – 120 cm / 47,2-inch version for $349
  • Theta Max Tripod – 170 cm / 67-inch version for $399
  • Battery Module – Kickstarter Special $50 instead of $149
  • GoLive Module – Kickstarter Special $99 instead of $249
  • Camera Control Module – Kickstarter Special $99 instead of $249
  • Optical Matrix Sensor Module – Kickstarter Special $50 instead of $149

Please remember that Kickstarter is not a shop but a platform for funding projects. Benro has a good amount of experience as a manufacturer, so I’m pretty positive they’ll deliver a solid product in time.

We are saying this at the end of every crowdfunding-related article: Be aware of the risks when backing a project on a crowdfunding platform. Please read the platform’s terms of use and keep in mind that there can be significant delays when delivering the product. Some projects even don’t get delivered at all.

So what do you think? Has Benro finally solved the biggest problem of traditional tripods in decades? Will you dump your old legs and upgrade to a smart tripod that is so much more? Please let me know by leaving a comment in the section below!


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