I am a pragmatic guy. I work with the best tools I can get period. For me, gear is NOT a religion. Gear equals tools to me – nothing more. I shot Canon for 17 years and switched to Nikon. I’d switch back to Canon if it came out with a D3 killer and Nikon didn’t respond. I used Photoshop to manage my photos for 10 years and then switched to Aperture. Three years after switching to Aperture I ADDED Lightroom to my post-processing arsenal. But NEVER, EVER did I think I’d say the following words. I am switching tripods!
For nearly three decades I’ve owned a Gitzo tripod. Granted, I’ve also owned and used Bogen tripods as well as Benbo tripods, etc. But these were always backup tripods or special use tripods. The Gitzo was always my go-to set of sticks. Why? The quality, construction and lightweight carbon fiber materials were tough to beat. Unfortunately, Gitzo tripods are very expensive. I’ve never been shy about paying the money because I thought their product was worth it. Then came the new line of Induro carbon fiber tripods.
I got my hands on one of the first Induro CT214 -8X CT-Series tripod and wow I am very impressed. This is a well-designed, well-thought-out, super strong and stable tripod. Induro makes its own ultra-light 8X layer carbon fiber legs for this tripod. They include an oversized center column lock and enhanced leg angle locks. What’s really impressive is the non-rotating leg sections. This makes set up and tear down a breeze. While this particular model isn’t strong enough to support my longest lenses, for everything else I do, this 3.3 pound unit will more than do the trick. I’ll have to grab a CT414 for use with the big 500, 600 and 800mm lenses.
Back to the CT214 – Induro didn’t forget anything on this tripod. They include a bubble level, spring-loaded bottom hook (for counter weight), triple closed cell comfort grips on all three legs making it very easy to hoist this bad boy over your shoulder. They also provide interchangeable rubber feet and stainless steel spikes, a tool kit and deluxe carrying bag and strap.
What’s most exciting about this tripod is that it packs up to less than 21″ folded and extends to more than 61 inches extended.
The retail price for the tripod is $400 which is about 20% less than a Gitzo product. The tradeoff? Gitzo tripods sold in the USA include a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects. The Induro comes with a five year warranty. I don’t see this as a big deal since MANUFACTURER’S defects are most likely to show up sooner rather than later.
I can highly recommend the new Induro CT line, especially when paired with their new ballhead. Oh yeah – that’s the next piece of unbelievable news. The new BHD-Series, is a stunning dual-action ballhead that offers increased load capacities, large ergonomic locking knobs, adjustable drag and tension control, independent panning control and the cherry on top – it has an Arca-Swiss style quick release plate system. I can’t tell you how huge this is. I firmly believe in the Arca-Swiss style plates and heads. I’ve NEVER seen one fail. Unlike most other solutions that leave your camera swinging around and twisting on the plate, Arca-Swiss style plates (sold by companies like Kirk Photo) offer a totally secure solution. The ability to use these plates with the new Induro BHD2 (Retail price $197) which I paired with the CT214 gives me a very solid, pro-level, stable, strong and dependable solution for less than $600 retail.
This ballhead uses an independent 360-degree pan control knob which means it is set up perfectly for panorama shooters, especially when used in conjunction with the bubble level on the tripod. This knob makes it easy to accomplish full or partial horizontal panoramic adjustments. At an additional 1.3 pounds for the ballhead, the entire rig, CT214 and all weighs less than five pounds.
What can I say? I am fickle. After 30 years, I decided to switch just like that.