How good is Induro CT-214 Tripod?

Tripods, in my opinion, are the worst piece of equipment for a Landscape Photographer.  The reasons are multiples:  They are too heavy, too cumbersome to carry on and so expensive.2012-10-22-EX-0337_HDR-Edited-Edited-Edited

Moreover, you can’t do without it.  Any nice landscape pictures need a Tripod.  With today’s cameras in the 20+ megapixels, the slightest movement means a blurry picture.  Landscape pictured need a small aperture and lower ISO to look good.  Most of the time, I use a Neutral Density to slow down further the shutter speed and produce this silky effect on moving water.  As such, no tripods means no pictures.

In the search for the perfect tripod, I have made so many errors.  You might not know it but I am cheap.  I try to spend as little money as possible.

  • A small Velbon bought for 50$ at Best Buy (less than 100$);
  • Then the Manfrotto 190 series (less than 300$);
  • Followed by the Sirui travel tripod (less than 300$);

All of them did help keeping my camera steady but where heavy and/or unstable, finicky or just not user-friendly.

A year ago, I decided to bite the bullet.  I started by doing research on the major brands: Feisol, RRS, Gitzo and Induro.  I spent much time on B&W Photo Video web site reading customer review.  Finally, after reading review from Scott Bourne on Photofocus.com , I opted for Indurogear.com Tripod.

My first choice went for the Induro CT-214 Tripod along with the PHQ3 Pan head.

About the Induro CT-214:

This is a great piece of engineering.  One year in the field and this tripod is operating exactly like the day it came out of the box.

  • Locking and unlocking legs extensions is easy, once locked they remains firmly in place;
  • The foam cores at the upper end of the three legs are great;
  • The oversize center column lock is really easy to use;
  • The provided Interchangeable Rubber Feet and Stainless Steel Spikes are convenient and do what’s intended.

Usually I hook-up my f-Stop Camera bag (about 20 pounds loaded) to the center column to increase stability when shooting in the wind and this tripod hold the weight without a flinch.

About the PHQ3 Pan Head

This tripod head was not designed for me.  Although this Pan Head can do about everything you can think of, it was slowing me down because of the many controls.  It made me sick and I sold it back used.  This was a very nice piece of engineering though and should you be in panorama, it is great to have the camera swivel on the top of the head without having to put the tripod in a perfect position.

About the BHD2 Ball Head (replaced the PHQ3)

I love this Ball head, the three knobs enables me to precisely set the tension and then I can freely place the camera exactly as needed, secure the lock and shoot.  This is a simple and quick operation.  Learning to use the tension control is key to enjoy this ball head.  After working with both for a while, I also bought the smaller BHD0 ball head for my smaller traveler tripod.  This means that when I have my eye in the viewfinder, I know which knob to use without looking back at the ball head.

A word of caution:

Ball head are precise mechanism that needs care.  I recommend keeping a protective skin over your ball head to ensure longevity.

Should you be looking for a tripod, I strongly recommend Induro Gear Carbon Fiber Tripod.  The CT-213 and CT-214 would certainly fit any size DSLR and lenses up to 300mm.
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