Benro Mach3 9X CF Series 3 tripod review

Astrophotography requires a sturdy, reliable tripod in order to keep your camera still enough to capture sharp images. While most tripods will do the job just fine, different tripods have different strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll want to find the best tripods that can handle any vibrations from movement or wind without affecting your final image and can handle payloads to support the best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.

Benro are well-known for producing excellent quality tripods, albeit at a premium price — we loved the Rhino and Tortoise when we reviewed them earlier in the year, and now we’ve managed to get our hands on the Benro Mach3 9X CF Series 3 tripod to test out.

We’ll be looking at its design, performance and functionality to determine whether it’s worth spending your money on, and if you don’t think it fits your needs, keep reading as we will provide some alternatives at the end of the page.

Benro Mach3 9X CF Series 3 tripod review

Benro Mach3 9X CF Series 3: Design

  • Bigger and bulkier than other models
  • Incredibly well-built with high-quality components
  • Stylish blue accents

The Mach3 sports the same high-quality design as we’ve come to know and expect from Benro, with 9x carbon fiber construction, an attractive diamond pattern and extremely well-built components. The Mach3 is the most luxurious Benro tripod we’ve used as of yet, and we were very impressed by how well-constructed it is.

We particularly like the electric blue accents, and the soft foam handle makes it comfortable and easy to carry around. It comes with a choice of either rubber or spiky feet that you can switch out to suit whatever terrain you are shooting on.

Benro Mach3, Benro Rhino and Benro Tortoise tripods in a garden

The Benro Mach3 (middle) is significantly bigger than the Benro Tortoise (left) and the Benro Rhino (right). (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)


Weight: 4.08 lbs / 1.85kg
Folded length: 24.6-inches / 62.5cm
Tallest height (with central column extended: 63.58-inches / 161.5cm
Maximum payload: 35.3 lbs / 16kg
Leg sections: Three or four, model dependent
Material: Carbon Fiber

The most significant thing we noticed, especially when we compared it to the other Benro models we’ve tested, was its size and weight. It is substantially bigger and bulkier than we were expecting, which brings pros and cons depending on what you’re using it for. The extra bulk adds stability in windy weather, which is always a plus, but it was noticeably heavier when compared to the Rhino and Tortoise. We wouldn’t say it’s ‘break-your-back’ heavy, but it could be a bit cumbersome if you’re planning on hiking to remote dark-sky sites for astrophotography. That said, if your chosen shooting spot isn’t far from your car or a path, then there’s no issue.

Benro Mach3 9X CF Series 3: Performance

Benro Mach3 being used on a beach

The Benro Mach3 can be extended to a suitable height for most users. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane, Duncan MacGregor)
  • Large payload is great for long lenses
  • Easy to set up and take down in the dark
  • Large, comfortable twist locks are kind to cold hands

It can support payloads of up to 35.3 lbs / 16kg, which is great if you want to use longer lenses for deep-sky astrophotography or attach one of the best star trackers to it. We also found that the legs are a lot thicker than those of the Rhino, particularly the lower leg sections. With thinner legs, the tripod can sometimes dip when it’s fully extended and you can see a slight bend in the lower leg sections. This design difference between the two makes the Mach3 seem a lot more stable with heavier equipment, even though the Rhino actually has a slightly higher maximum payload capacity on paper.

Benro Mach3 rubber twist locks

The rubber twist locks are large and comfortable on the hands. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

The Mach3 also features large, comfortable rubber twist locks making them not only easy to grip when you’re putting the tripod up or down, but they’re also a lot kinder to the hands if you’re using the tripod out in the cold — sometimes when the components get cold they can feel quite rough on the hands (which is something we noticed on the Rhino and Tortoise). Coupled with the fact that the tripod is a standard configuration (ie. not reverse-folding), it’s incredibly easy to set up and take down in the dark — you just need to attach your camera, extend the legs and away you go.

Benro Mach3 9X CF Series 3: Functionality

Benro Mach3 in carry case

The Benro Mach3 comes with a padded carry case for easy transportation. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)
  • It comes with a padded carry case
  • No monopod conversion
  • Available with either 3 or 4 sections

It comes with a padded carry case with a blue interior to match the tripod and zipped pockets on the outside for storing the extra feet and other accessories. It has two small handles and D-rings to attach a long shoulder strap — we found it comfortable to carry and as the handles were in the middle, the weight distribution was very balanced.

One thing we would like to see is a monopod conversion, which the Series 2 Mach3 has. It adds a level of versatility and opens it up to shooting styles of photography that are more difficult with a tripod, like sports and wildlife. However, if you’re only using the Mach3 for astrophotography, then you won’t want a monopod anyway.

Benro Mach3 shooting low to the ground

The Benro Mach3 can shoot low to the ground, and the central column can be reversed to get even lower. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

It’s available with either three or four leg sections, although the four-section model is currently out of stock — they’re estimating a June restock. The 4-section is more expensive, but it’s also taller (and therefore a bit heavier), so if height is important to you then perhaps consider waiting until that one is back in stock.

Should you buy the Benro Mach3 9X CF Series 3?

Buy it if:

You want it to last: Benro is known for making excellent quality equipment that lasts for years to come.

You shoot a variety of subjects: The Mach3 is suitable for indoor and outdoor environments and can handle large payloads.

Don’t buy it if:

You want something easy to transport: It’s not in their travel range so it wouldn’t be the best option for frequent travel.

You’re on a budget: With high quality comes high cost — there are more affordable options for beginners or anyone on a budget.

The Benro Mach3 isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for your next tripod and want something sturdy, durable, reliable, high quality and easy to use — the Benro Mach3 will suit you perfectly. It might not suit users who only shoot astro due to its weight and size, same goes for users who travel a lot and want something lightweight and easy to transport. But for most general uses, both in indoor and outdoor environments, it’s fantastic.

There is also the cost to consider. It’s not a cheap tripod no matter which way you slice it, especially as you have to buy the head separately. This makes it better suited to professionals or enthusiasts who have outgrown their beginner tripod and want to invest in something a bit better to last them a long time.

If you don’t think the Benro Mach3 is the right fit for you and your needs, check out some alternative options below.

If the Benro Mach3 9X CF Series 3 isn’t for you

There are two main considerations we found when it comes to the Benro Mach3 — the size/weight and price. If you travel a lot and want something lightweight and compact to attach to your camera backpack or pack into your carry-on luggage, we think the Benro Rhino or Benro Tortoise are both much better suited. The Rhino is their ‘official’ travel tripod and is very versatile, folds down small thanks to its reverse folding design and can handle anything you throw at it. The Tortoise is slightly longer (although you can just unscrew the head if you need to put it into your luggage), more compact due to its lack of a central column and it’s more lightweight.

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If you’re a beginner, it makes sense to start with something more affordable to figure out exactly what features you like in a tripod before you invest in a more expensive one. If the price of the Mach3 makes your eyes water, look at the Manfrotto Element MII. We thought it was a great beginner tripod and although it won’t beat the Mach3 in terms of quality, we still think it’s a good option.

For more options, check out our guide to the best tripods to see our favorite models on the market, and best travel tripods to find some great lightweight options.

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