A while ago I searched these forums for a review of this tripod and couldn't find any. I have since bought one and received it so here is my review of base on my initial observations and first use on a nature hike with my daughter. I will be updating this with pictures and possibly a follow up.
First before I begin a brief overview on what led me to choose this tripod. Before buying this tripos my current setup was a Gitzo 1542T Traveler. While it provided me with the lightweight compact setup I desired I felt the need for a little more bulk and stability while still maintaining a compact form and relatively light weight. My search had led me in the direction of the Gitzo 2542T. While searching online the sticker price of the Gitzo is what set me looking for alternatives. One of which was the CT214. At $300 (The price at BH when I bought it. It has since risen to $400) it was less than half the price of the Gitzo which is currently listed at BH for $879. At that price it was a no brainer to go with the Induro. After reading some of the feedback on the BHPhoto site (which was overwhelmingly positive) my only lingering question was how would the build quality compare to my Gitzo?
So here’s my take on the Induro Carbon CT214. Much of this review is going to comparing the Induro to my Gitzo 1542T.
The Induro CT214 out of the box comes in a heavy duty travel bag with spikes and some tools. I had to pay an extra $70 for my Gitzo travel bag which is nicer than the one from Induro but not by a lot.
-The Induro’s legs have a foam grip for added protection and cold weather which is nice
-The Induro is only slightly longer than the Gitzo 1542T
-The Induro is only slightly Slightly Heavier than the Gitzo 1542T
-The carbon fiber legs on the Induro seem to be as well made as the Gitzo. Having been in the mountain bike scene and seeing all the different types of carbon fiber material out there it seems to be up near the top in terms of build quality.
Out of the box the tripod looked and felt like I expected. Heavier and slightly longer than the 1542T it looked it would do the job of adding a bit more stability to my tripod. On initial observation the build quality seemed to be on par with the Gitzo. Nothing about the tripod looked or felt cheap.
After a few minutes getting to know the tripod (ie. opening it up, expanding the legs, unscrewing the center column ect..) I notice a few things.
-The locking mechanism for the legs is not spring loaded.
-When expanding and collapsing the legs I can hear/feel air going into the legs like a billow.
-The hardware that connects the center column head base and weight holder is not as nice or refined as the Gitzo.
3 to be exact.
The first thing I noticed was that the leg locking mechanism (the thing that lets the legs fold up or down) was not spring loaded like the Gitzo (or many other tripods) This isn’t a biggie but it’s one that I think shouldn’t be ignored. To activate the lever you pull a button out which in turn enables the legs to fold up higher and enables the tripod to get lower to the ground. The problem with not having spring activation is that if one carelessly forgets to put the button to the correct setting it is possible to have the legs collapse on you by accident.
The second thing I noticed was the when expanding and collapsing the legs I could hear and feel air going into the leg chambers. This is something I didn’t experience with the Gitzo. It could be that it’s because the Gitzo is a smaller tripod with narrower legs. The problem with this is that this could suck dust, dirt and other debris into the legs and maybe down the road cause something to break.
Lastly the hardware that connects the center column pieces together were not as nice a Gitzo. This is really nitpicking more than anything else. But this was something I noticed when I unscrewed the head base and the weight holder. The spring on the weight holder seemed to be sticky and harder to pull down than the Gitzo. The Gitzo was always as smooth as butter. Also the head base come apart in 3 pieces as opposed to 1 piece from Gitzo. There was the base plate, the tripod head screw and a metal cap that went over the center column. The Gitzo has the base plate and screw integrated as one piece and the metal cap integrated into the center column.
I attached my Acratech GV2 (an amazing tripod head btw highly recommended) to the Induro which was a perfect fit and took the tripod out on a hike with my daughter. With me I had my 5D MKIII and 100-400. We hiked for almost and hour and I took a few shots with the 100-400 and the Induro tripod. The tripod performed as expected it was very stable and as light as I expected. The Induro CT214 has noticeably better stability than the 1542T (as expected) and is a dream to carry. I had no issues at all while using it.
-Performs as expected
-Few minor issues
My conclusion from using the Induro is mostly positive. While it’s not as perfect as I would have liked it serves it’s purpose well and at a great price point. It I were to pick a perfectly made tripod I would have to say it’s hard to beat a Gitzo (Except their customer service which is absolutely trash…which is another topic open for discussion here: Gitzo Customer Service). But for the money the Induro offers a great value at $300 (what I paid at the time from BHPhoto) One other added benefit of the Induro is that I won’t have to worry as much if I somehow damage it while traveling or have it stolen. I could always buy a replacement and still be under what I would have paid for a Gitzo.