About a year ago I suddenly became in the market for a new tripod when the one I was using was blown off a cliff during a sunrise shoot in Geraldton, Western Australia. I managed to retrieve the tripod but the centre shaft had snapped and it was completely useless. I have been shopping around, looking at prices and working out what tripod would fit the majority of my needs.
Most of the photographers I know own more than one tripod, they usually have something decently heavy for studio and local work and then a travel one that doesn’t weigh a tonne and is easy enough to hike with. When my relatively new tripod broke, I had to revert back to my heavy Manfrotto tripod. It has been my work horse for many, many years now, but it is more suited for work that doesn’t involve sand and sea water.
I was having a hard time deciding between a Really Right Stuff tripod and an Induro, in the end the Induro option suited my budget far more than the Really Right Stuff did. My main considerations when choosing the tripod were weight, extended height, durability and “does it fit in my suitcase”. I travel fairly frequently, so I want the option of not having it strapped to my camera bag the entire time. I checked out quite a few options in the Induro line of tripods, it was quite hard to choose, but in the end I went with what would fit in my suitcase, the Induro CT213 combined with the Induro BHL2 ball head.
The initial impression of the tripod is great, it comes with it’s own padded carry case, a tool kit for cleaning and adjusting the tripod as well as spiked feet that you can change out for the rubber ones on there from factory. The tool kit has already come in handy for getting the head on correctly and locking it in place, I swap out the head for a panoramic head that I use for my photo spheres and virtual tours, this tends to loosen things on the tripod. I’ve not yet used the spiked feet, but they are solid and should do their job just fine.
The overall build quality is quite impressive, I’ve had it for just over a month now, the first week I had it, I flew to the Pilbara region of Western Australia for a commercial job. This was the tripod’s first real test, it fit perfectly into my suitcase, it only weighs 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) so it didn’t add a huge amount of weight to my luggage. I completed the virtual tour project with the tripod, it was perfectly stable with no shake at all, which is essential to creating the 360 degree images, any minor shake between photos and you end up with stitching errors. So it passed it’s first test with flying colours.
On to the next test, a few days after arriving home from the Pilbara, I flew out to Egypt and Jordan via Dubai. The tripod went into my checked in luggage, my stop over in Dubai was overnight and not long enough to warrant leaving the airport for photos. I eventually arrived in Egypt, a little tired, but pretty excited to be there. The tripod made it through all in tact and I did my first shoot with it that very afternoon.
Egypt was an incredible experience, the tripod was strapped to my bag on most of the trip when it wasn’t in use. The bonus of it being light is that it didn’t add all that much weight to my already pretty full backpack. I did manage to break off a small ring while climbing up a minaret (tower) of a Mosque, the spiral stairs were quite tight and the tripod kept bumping against the bricks on the ceiling. I can hardly blame Induro for this, I’ve kept the ring and will glue it back on. This is not a critical piece, more there for aesthetics and dust reduction than any major practical use.
After several days in Egypt I then flew on to Jordan to be part of a team with The Giving Lens, a non-profit photo education organisation. I spent 10 days in Jordan, trekking all over the place with the tripod in tow. It never gave me any trouble at all and has come home relatively undamaged, there area few new scuff marks and a touch of sand inside, but is still working perfectly. I’m really glad I switched to a carbon fibre tripod, as the heavy metal one I usually use would have just been too heavy to hike all through Petra with.
While in Jordan, I had the opportunity to try out a Canon 100-400mm lens, anyone who has seen this lens, knows that it is quite heavy and is quite long when extended. I had no problems with shake with the heavier lens and was able to mount it directly to the tripod, the tripod handled the lens just fine in both landscape and portrait orientations with no slippage or shake. I did use a wireless remote to trigger the camera to reduce the chance of shaking it at all as well.
I decided to strap the tripod to my carry on camera bag for the flights home from Jordan as I was intending to stop in Dubai and take some photos, the tripod was fine to carry on and fit in the overhead compartments perfectly. My checked in luggage went on to Perth while I went out with another photographer and explored a small part of what Dubai has to offer. It was great to have my tripod with me as we photographed sunset on the beach.
I’ve thrown the tripod into some pretty varied conditions from ultra windy to very sandy (and both), the tripod has performed perfectly and come away relatively unscathed, since I’ve arrived home I’ve taken it on a few seascape shoots and it has handled the sea water just fine.
Overall impression: The CT213 & BHL2 are a great combination, it is a step up from the more basic Manfrotto I was previously using and seems far more sturdy than the Gitzo that blew off the cliff. I am going to be looking into getting some L plates for my cameras as the ball head can be a little awkward to use in it’s portrait orientation. The tripod handled every situation I threw it into very well, I’m very happy with my purchase and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a travel and outdoors tripod. I suspect a much heavier tripod would be wanted if you were doing predominately studio work with your own studio and weren’t flying too much.
I purchased my tripod from Team Digital in Perth, Western Australia, they have brilliant customer service and are very reasonably priced. They are also available to purchase directly from Induro’s website.
Technical Specifications: These are taken from Induro’s own website.
Material: Carbon Fibre
Maximum Load: 12 kg (26.4 lbs)
Max Height: 163 cm (64 inches)
Length: 64 cm (25 inches)
Weight: 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)