Benro Theta tripod automatically levels itself at the push of a button
While a portable tripod is an essential piece of photography gear, adjusting each of its legs to get the camera horizontally level can be a hassle. Benro's Theta tripod addresses that problem, with self-leveling motorized carbon fiber legs.
Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, the Theta can be deployed in just 10 seconds.
The user starts by releasing the locking collars on each of its feet, which causes the collars on all the rest of the leg segments to also release. All of the legs can then be simultaneously raised to the desired height, then locked at that height by tightening the foot collars back down.
Next, the camera gets placed on the ball head – this just takes a second, thanks to a quick-lock mount.
Finally, pressing a button on the tripod's battery module causes the legs to automatically adjust their height in order to horizontally level the ball head (and thus the camera). That said, if that head is set to Free mode, its angle can still be adjusted along any axis desired. If it's set to Roll Lock mode, on the other hand, it can be panned or tilted while staying locked at its horizontal angle.
Of course, if users wish, the Theta can still be used as a fully manual tripod on which each leg segment can be independently adjusted. Should one of the locking collars not be sufficiently tightened back down, however, an integrated anti-slip mechanism within each leg will keep the tripod from falling over.
Along with the 1,800-mAh battery module (which is good for 8,000 leveling cycles per 1.5-hour charge), other attachments include a Camera Control module for remotely adjusting the camera's settings via a Bluetooth- or Wi-Fi-linked app; a Go-Live module for livestreaming from the camera via a wirelessly linked smartphone; and an Optical Matrix sensor which detects ambient light and ramps the exposure accordingly when shooting time-lapse.
The battery module and any two of the others can be mounted on the tripod at one time, with the battery powering all of them.
Another one of the Theta's clever features is its 6061 T6 aluminum center column. Instead of being perfectly cylindrical, its sides are smoothly crimped inwards, giving it a sort of curved-in triangular cross-sectional shape. This allows the legs to be tightly folded in against the sides of the column, resulting in a compact package that still has thick, sturdy legs.
The base version of the Theta has a maximum height of 155 cm (61 in), a packed length of 44 cm (17.3 in) and a total weight of 1.25 kg (2.7 lb). The beefier Theta Max model sports a maximum height of 170 cm (67 in), a packed length of 53 cm (20.8 in) and a weight of 1.65 kg (3.6 lb).
A pledge of US$349 will get you a standard Theta, with $399 required for a Theta Max That's a $250 saving on the Theta and a $300 saving on the Theta Max retail pricing – those backers will also benefit from a 6-year warranty, a doubling of Benro's usual 3-year warranty! The modules are available as optional extras.
You can see the Benro Theta tripod being put through its self-leveling paces, in the following video.