Gear Review: Induro CT414 Carbon Fiber Tripod
When photographers have a couple of bucks burning a hole in their pockets, it's not long before Gear Acquisition Syndrome, lovingly referred to as GAS, kicks into high action. A couple of weeks ago, those hard-earned dollars of mine went into a new set of sticks. This had been a long time coming, and is the first tripod I've actually ever purchased new. Big props to the super-knowledgeable, all-photographer staff from Midwest Photo Exchange in helping me find this. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the Induro CT414.
Okay okay, this isn't the most hot-to-the-market piece of gear. In fact, this tripod has been out for almost four years, with very few reviews to be found. But for the big 'ole camera shooters out there, it isn't often modern manufacturers throw us a bone. And boy oh boy did Induro throw us a nice one! Let's lead off with the specs, then I'll get into some thoughts on this tripod. Specs courtesy of InduroGear.com:
Material: Carbon Fiber
Maximum Load: 55 lb (25 kg)
Max Height: (24° Leg Angle) w/Column Extended: 77.56 in (197 cm)
Max Height: (24° Leg Angle) w/Column Retracted: 66.93 in (170 cm)
Min Height: (24° Leg Angle) w/Column Retracted: 23.12 in (58.74 cm)
Min Height: (80° Leg Angle) w/Short Column: 7.44 in (18.9 cm)
Max Height: 77.6 in
Length: 25.8 in (6.55 cm)
Folded Length: 25.79 in (65.5 cm)
Number of Leg Sections: 4
Leg Lock Type: Moisture and dust-resistant locking grips
Independent Leg Spread: Yes, with three position stops
Center Column: Grooved-Rapid
Spiked Feet: Removable - Included
Head Mount Thread Size: 1/4"-20 & 3/8"-16
Weight: 6.3 lbs (2.9 kg)
With the tech specs out of the way, what did I think of these 21st century tripod legs?
The first thing any photographer thinks when they hear carbon fiber (well, maybe after $$$$) is lightweight. The CT414, while the biggest and bulkiest in their entire lineup, is still quite light, even with my tried and true Bogen 3047 3-way tripod head. The whole setup comes in at 9.5 lbs. / 4.3 kg. as opposed to the old setup at 12 lbs. / 5.4 kg. When hauling around what could be upwards of 50 lbs. of gear, is this a big deal? The longer I work in the field and the older I get, the answer is a resounding "YES!".
In addition to being lightweight, this beast of a carbon fiber tripod, while being lighter than my two other tripods, is actually sturdier! Not only can I mount my 8x10 Tachihara Double Extension field camera to the CT414, I can also mount my behemoth Sinar P2 8x10 monorail camera. Add in the up to 6 lbs. / 2.7 kg. in lenses, shades, and other accessories, and the gear I'm throwing on this is cable of pushing the the CT414 to its 55 lb. limit! I've still yet to experience even the slightest wobble, even when doing close-up with the Sinar P2 at very odd angles, with a monster 360mm f/6.8 Schneider Symmar-S lens.
The next thing the Induro CT414 has going for it is the convenience of its twist-lock legs. I'll admit that up until this tripod I've been a Bogen/Manfrotto user. As such, I've never used a tripod that had anything other than flip-lock legs. The ability to give the legs a quick half twist to lock/unlock is a breath of fresh air. It makes for quicker setup in the field, and allows me to keep my gloves on in the winter months (or in Ohio, until early April) and still have full control of the tripod. In a matter of seconds, I can go from collapsed to fully extended and ready to the mount the camera. A+ for Induro having these oversize, easy to operate twist locks.
Just when you thought this tripod couldn't impress me more, it also comes with an arsenal of accessories, a good warranty, and an attractive price point. Starting with the accessories, the Induro CT414 ships from the factory with a nicely padded carrying case with strap. Inside this case, there's another padded zip-lock case that contains all the tools you'll need to tighten/adjust your tripod in the field, along with a set of ground spikes! Of all the accessories, the ground spikes were the nicest touch, something that not all tripods ship with, but are indispensable when working with varying terrains outdoors. Alongside these accessories, all Induro tripods come with a 5 year warranty, and offer customers an additional 5 years on top of that for registering their product online. The final cost of such a tripod? Less than $700, making the Induro CT414 the most affordable heavy duty carbon fiber tripod on the market!
To quickly sum things up...
- 2lbs. lighter than my 1960's aluminum Bogen tripod!
- Twist-lock leg columns.
- Accessory hook under center column.
- Supports the Tachihara AND Sinar P2 8x10's!
- Comes with carrying case, tool kit, and interchangeable feet/spikes.
- 5 year warranty + Additional 5 years for registering.
- Most inexpensive carbon fiber tripod in its weight-class.
- Tall center column, shorter columns cost extra, no option for column-less.
- Seriously, that's it.
- I struggled to find a darn thing to complain about.
If you're in the market for a very well-built, affordable tripod, the Induro line of tripods should be at the top of your list. Consider the Induro CT 8X series of tripods for lightweight, rigid legs, and the AT 8M series for equally sturdy, slightly heavier-weight legs. Paired with all of the included accessories, 10 year warranty, and incredibly easy use, I can see myself many years from now still being a happy Induro customer!