Induro Tripods, Ballheads and Plates

Based on a positive review by Michael Reichmann at Luminous Landscapes I purchased an Induro AX214 tripod to replace my older Manfrotto 190CLB. After a week of shooting I have a few observations about tripods, ballheads and camera plates.

Induro AX214 Tripod

Induro AX214
I went with the aluminum alloy model instead of a carbon fibre model due to cost. I’d love to have a carbon fibre tripod but they’re expensive and my photography is more of a hobby and less of a profession.

In hindsight, it was a mistake to get the compact model with 4 leg sections instead of 3. When you have to extend the legs for the 40th time on a 4 hour hike, you’ll wish the tripod had 3 leg sections, not 4.

When fully extended, the Induro AX214 is 65.8 inches high which puts my Canon 5D right at eye level — great for set up. I would have done better to get a tripod with 3 leg sections that measure the same height for faster setup. 3 leg sections are also sturdier than 4.

Induro gives you a really nice carrying case and strap. Also included is a wrench and replacement feet for different terrain. Nice touch.

A standard bubble level is built into the top plate of the tripod along with a compass. I found the compass to be a useful in terms of predicting exactly where the sun was going to rise and set. For some reason Michael Reichmann thought it was “a real bit of silliness that should be removed on the tripod’s next iteration”. And I thought I sometimes sound a bit elitist. Sheesh!

The rubber grip leg locks are easy to rotate when you need to extend the leg sections. Reviews indicate that the construction here is better than Gitzo’s tripods. Occasionally I found that the smallest leg section was difficult to lock (it just kept turning). This would result in the tripod leg collapsing while framing a photo. Very frustrating. My advice is to stay away from tripods with 4 leg sections.

The adjustable angle leg locks are a breeze to use and nicely designed. The rubber tripod feet are interchangeable with metal spike feet (included). Make sure you use the wrench that is provided and tighten the feet to the legs. I lost one in Lake Ontario. Luckily Vistek replaced it free of charge.

Induro SA12 Ballhead

Induro SA12 Ballhead
This is an entry-level ballhead with a dual locking system that I found frustrating to use. The quick release system hurts your fingers and just feels clumsy.

I also found that the ballhead would move slightly just before it was completed locked into place.I needed something with better ergonomics and more precision which is why I upgraded almost immediately.

Induro DM01 Ballhead

Induro DM01 Ballhead
The Induro DM01 Ballhead has all of the features you’d expect in a pro level ballhead — manual drag control, smooth panning, quick release plates.

Unfortunately there are two things wrong with it:

  1. The Positive Locking Quick Release System becomes loose over time (sometimes a matter of minutes while hiking)
  2. The quick release plate that comes with the ballhead completely sucks

Slippery Camera Plates

camera plate
I had to constantly tighten the quick release plate which was constantly coming loose and causing my camera to move on the tripod when the ballhead was locked in place. This was extremely frustrating and apparently a common problem when your camera plate has a rubber or cork pad.

I’m going to continue using my Induro tripod and resist the urge to switch to an expensive Gitzo tripod. I think that the Induro ballheads could be better if they had a better camera plate that didn’t come loose so easily.

Really Right Stuff

Really Right Stuff
A Really Right Stuff ballhead (BH-55 LR) with a camera body mounting plate would solve my problems with the Induro ballheads. Really Right Stuff make the best ballheads on the market today but they are very expensive. Everyone that owns one says they are worth the money and like many things you get what you pay for.

Posted in Photography at 11:33 PM