Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gear : My Tripod

A bunch of us G+ people descended upon Death Valley for a photo walk of sorts (+Thomas Hawk - thanks!). During the weekend a few people needed a tripod for a shot or two, and I of course loaned mine to their cause. They all said something along the lines of "wow - that's nice..." or "I like that!" when returning it to me. So I thought I would share the details - in case you may be in the market for a new tripod anytime soon.

First, I am in no way affiliated with any gear company, or online store - so you don't have to worry that I am trying to drive traffic anywhere for personal gain :)

Anyway, when researching what to get I looked around a lot, asked peoples advice, tried things - and ultimately ended up with an Induro CT-213 set of legs paired with an Induro BHD2 Ballhead. I won't go into the specs - you may read them yourself here: and

I often take pictures at the ocean, climbing around in the rocks and sand most of the time - so Carbon was a requirement for the legs. Alloy legs will not hold up to the salt water at all (in my experience). I also wanted something tall enough for me to use comfortably (I am 5' 10"). The CT-213 is tall enough for me even without extending the center column. As for the tripod head - the BHD2 is since to operate and easily holds my Canon 5dMKII with my largest lenses (300mm + extenders) in both landscape and vertical positions. Another thing I like about this ballhead is that it is very easy to use the Arca-Swiss compatible quick release!  At least one person commented on how easy it was to operate it.  I have never found the quick-release to come loose on it's own either.

The tripod comes with a locking center column which can limit how _low the tripod will go (in its default configuration).  It does support reversing the column and shooting wth the camera _under_ the tripod, but I chose to pick up an Induro Short Center Column ( for about $48, and I use that.  This allows me to quickly get my camera lower to the ground without having to reconfigure anything - which can be useful when shooting at the shoreline.

So, I can heartily recommend this set-up for functionality - and the price is very reasonable for what you get. I paid abou $190 for the BHD2 and about $390 (US dollars) for the legs (which come with a bag and tools). I purchased them through Amazon.

[7/12/2012 - Update]

It has been quite a while since I wrote this and I am still using this setup.  It has been to Peru, iceland, Death Valley a couple of times, Yosemite in the snow and in the ocean a bunch.  The legs are still holding up beautifully.  I have cleaned and greased the plastic threads a couple of times (it really only takes 10 minutes to do this) when the sand has gotten to be annoying.  Additionally, I have begun rinsing the head off as much as I can after being in the salt water with it. 

While I was in Iceland, I had a chance to try some different tripods and ballheads from others in the group.  I can happily say that none of the other legs I tried made me feel like switching (Gitzo and RRS).  On the other hand, I did try the Really Right Stuff (RRS) BH-55 ballhead, and that is not on my wish list!!  I don't have any really issues with the Induro BHD2 - it is still working as expected.  And for the price you pay, I still think it is a fine ballhead.  The RRS BH-55 is much more expensive, but I really appreciated the ease of adjustment, build quality and stability.


  1. Hello Joe, nice review.
    I got myself a new Induro CT314 and I cannot wait to receive it on the post.
    Like you, I do shoot mostly at the shoreline, and I decided that it was time to go carbon fibre...

  2. I have a CT-314 as well and love it. Rock solid and dependable, easy maintenance.