Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Induro Gear Guide Part 1 - Introduction

Not long ago I posted a photo of my Canon PowerShot D10 mounted on my Induro Tripod/Ballhead. (Link to Previous Post). Below is a similar shot but this is my advanced set up for birding :).

Advanced Tripod Setup
Pictured is the Induro CT314 tripod, BHD3 Ballhead, and GHBA Gimbal head. This is the setup I now use for 99% of my shots taken with a camera mounted on a tripod. Normally I use a 7D and EF 400 lens and not that dinky Powershot D10. Over the next few days I'm planning to post reviews of each of these components.

Prior to buying this Induro gear I had been using a Velbon tripod and Kirk BH-3 ballhead. I liked this combination because it was light but there were a couple of major drawbacks with it. First the Velbon tripod did not extend high enough for me to use it without squatting down. As I have grown to use a tripod more and more this became a major problem. It was possible to get the camera to eye level but I had to extend the center column to do so and extending it just made things unstable. The Kirk BH-3 ballhead is a very nice one but it was rated for a maximum load of 15 pounds. While this may sound like a lot of weight I was experiencing some slippage with the ballhead. Upon returning the ballhead to Kirk they replaced it, no questions asked. Kudos to Kirk for the fine customer service. I'm going to sell the Kirk ballhead on eBay and stick with my current Induro one instead because the new ballhead is rated for a much heavier load and eventually I'm planning to add the Canon EF-500mm monster lens to my collection.

Investing in a tripod setup is something I spent a lot of time researching and fretting over. I knew I wanted something that would extend high enough that I wouldn't have to squat down and I also wanted something that would get down low to the ground. This was an essential requirement because I like shooting stuff up in the sky or trees and Donna likes shooting flowers so I wanted a tripod that would meet both our needs. I wanted it to be relatively light and rock steady. I find it somewhat funny when folks complain about the weight of their gear. If you don't want to lug around an extra 5 pounds then lose 5 pounds from your body :). While the new tripod setup is heavier than my old setup I'm kind of like an old pack mule -- the weight difference between the two isn't great enough that I've noticed any difference. I spent hours reading reviews and forum posts to find out which tripods people liked and didn't like and why. Gitzo was the name I saw most often and so I started leaning heavily towards Gitzo.

While doing my research I found the Photography Minute Blog by Eric Brown. Since he's a fellow Canon 7D and EF 400 shooter I knew his tripod needs were similar to mine. After reading his Induro CT314 Tripod Review I started looking at Induro's gear and it wasn't long before I knew I had found the compnay that I would be buying my tripod gear from.

In my reviews over the next few days I plan to write about the thinks I like and don't like about each of the products I now own. Hopefully this information will help the next person considering such an upgrade have an easier time making a decision that I had when I went through it. If you're reading this and are undecided and don't want to read all of the other posts here's the answer to the $64,000 question -- buy Induro. You'll love it.

As I write the reviews the text below will be turned into links to those reviews.

Induro Gear Guide Part 2 - Induro CT314 Tripod
Induro Gear Guide Part 3 - Induro BHD3 Ballhead
Induro Gear Guide Part 4 - Induro GHBA Gimbal Head
Induro Gear Guide Part 5 - Balancing Your Camera/Lens on the GHBA Gimbal Head
Induro Gear Guide Part 6 - Wrap up


  1. This is excellent timing, as I'm starting to think about getting a new ballhead that will support a gimbal. Up to now I've used basic quick-release plates, so I don't really know anything about the fancier options. Lookin' forward to reading the rest of this series!

  2. Hopefully you'll find it useful, Brent. What gear do you use now?

  3. I have a Manfrotto ballhead that I picked up used a while back - an older discontinued model, but really nice (except for it's lack of independent panning control). It's got the 486RC quick release, which I like for the small size. That's mounted on a new Slik tripod (700DX), which like you I bought because it's working height doesn't make me crouch over (I'm 6'4").

    The tripod is as good as I think I'll ever need, given how little I really use it. But I'd like to get something like the Wimberly Sidekick that will convert a regular ballhead to a gimbal head when needed. And for that, I have to dive into the world of Arca-Swiss style heads and plates, of which I know nothing.

  4. Or like the GHBA gimbal attachment that you have :)