M8, that’s how Benro calls its carbon manufacturing process for its latest carbon monopod & tripod series. According to a press release, the difference between the older N6 and the new M8 process is:
“Based on Benro’ Generation ll C-series N6 Tripod , the new Generation C-series M8 Tripods use updated QIHM-8X Quasi Isotropic technology, providing 20% greater strength. Magnesium and Carbon materials are used to produce a tripod that’s 10% lighter”.
At least from the outside there’s no visible change between M8 and N6 (I also own an N6 series tripod) but then I am certainly not an expert in carbon fibers. When comparing the MC-96m8 monopod data with the older MC-96n6 model the only difference is that Benro doubled the maximum load capacity from 10kg to 20kg. No difference in weight (shouldn’t it be 10% lighter too?). Anyway, with 740g (26 oz) it’s still a lightweight.
Weight: 740g (26 oz)
Max. load: 20kg (44 lb)
Normal height: 56.5cm (22 inches)
Max. height: 173.5cm (68 inches)
Max. diameter: 3.6cm (1.4 inches)
Benro’s anti-leg-rotation system which is quite similar to Gitzo’s is also present on the MC-96m8 monopod. It sports a nice and comfortable foam grip on the top leg section. Three retractable, aluminum fold-out legs are stowed in the last leg section of the monopod to provide additional stabilization if the situation requires it. The fold-out legs work pretty well for additional stabilization but never leave that monopod standing alone with camera equipment mounted because it will trip over easily. Use a rubber band to tighten the fold-out legs together if you don’t like the rattling noises when moving the monopod around.
I didn’t want to put a ball-head on the monopod because I don’t need most ball-head features on a monopod anyway and it also makes the monopod a lot heavier. Screwing the camera or lenses directly to the mounting plate wasn’t an option too as it’s way to inflexible. The most flexible option was to use a Wimberley C-10 quick release adapter on top of the mounting plate. I’m only using Arca-style plates on my camera equipment so the Wimberely C-10 was a perfect addition to my Benro monopod even though the price tag for that adapter is quite high. The total weight of the MC-96m8 monopod with the Wimberley C-10 clamp mounted is 855g (30 oz).
In short: the Benro MC-96m8 carbon fiber monopod feels good, looks good, works good. It’s a solid monopod with no apparent weaknesses apart from the fold-out leg noise which can be fixed with a rubber band (see below). However, be prepared to shell out some more cash for an adequate mounting system. The quality of the Wimberley C-10 quick release clamp is excellent. I paid around US$ 230 for both items including shipping.
Below are a few images of the monopod in action on various lens and camera combinations.