Induro Carbon 8x CT014 Tripod
with Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head
After my Gitzo GT1541 article was released, one of my blog readers (Mark Olwick) suggested that I should take a look at the Induro Carbon 8x CT014 tripod as a cheaper alternative. I was pretty happy with the GT1541 and convinced that I need to buy one, but it cost $700 (at the time this article was written) versus only $299 for the CT014. This got my attention as both art carbon fiber tripods with similar features, so would the Gitzo really be worth an extra $401? Read on to find out!
Comparing the Induro CT014 to the Gitzo GT1541
|Induro Carbon 8x CT014 Tripod||Gitzo GT1541|
I didn’t have both tripods in my possession at the same time, so I couldn’t do an exact side-by-side comparison, but I had the same amount of time where I used both regularly. I also had a lot of photos to reference (only a portion of which are online) to examine quality differences.
Mouse over to see the Gitzo GT1541 max height
and mouse out to see the Induro CT014
At the highest level, let’s start by looking at the specs on these two tripods:
|Induro CT014||Gitzo GT1541|
|Load Capacity||11 lbs (5 kg)||17.6 lbs (8kg)|
|Maximum Height||55.1" (140 cm)||62.6" (159cm)|
|Folded Length||18.1" (46 cm)||21.3" (54cm)|
|Weight||2.1 lbs (1 kg)||2.5 lbs (1.1kg)|
|Short Center Column||Optional||Built-In (2 stage design)|
|Minimum Height||16.6" (42.2 cm) (est. 5” / 12.5cm with optional center column)||6.7" (17cm) (but I got mine down to 4” / 10cm with no problem)|
So on the negative side, there’s a pretty substantial decrease in load capacity, maximum height, and minimum height. However, on the positive side the CT014 is shorter, lighter and includes optional spiked feet (which are a bit lame quality to be honest). Depending on your intended use of a tripod in this class, the differences in folded length and weight could be significant in importance (i.e., mountain climbers where every inch and ounce matters), but for me the load capacity and maximum height are serious negative draw backs as I shoot with heavy gear and I like my tripods to be able to do a minimum of 60 inches.
Out of the Box the Induro CT014 is no match for the GT1541
Hover over to see the Gitzo and mouse out to see the Induro at their minimum height
A Great Value
Lots of extra goodies were included with the CT014 I got from B&H
Overall I was very impressed with the CT014 for including some decent accessories and overall feeling well made for this price point. With the GT1541 you don’t really get any real extras that matter, but you can certain feel the higher build quality of the Gitzo. While the Induro is very nice, it’s no Gitzo in terms of quality. Sure they are both carbon fiber, and from that standpoint they feel the same, but everything else that makes a tripod feels more durable on the Gitzo. There’s definitely a lot more plastic* on the Induro, but about the same amount you’d find on a Bogen Manfrotto these days, so for those doing light duty travel and local usage it’s probably durable enough. It certainly isn’t cheap junk like you see at most of the camera shops or kits that offer a free tripod with purchase. It’s also SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than the Gitzo, so for many the cost savings probably warrants the lower build quality.
* = I use the term plastic, but honestly I don’t know what the scientific name of the material is – it’s the same stuff that can break as shown in the photo below.
I Hate Plastic on Tripods
Now people familiar with the Induro brand will probably be quick to point out that there’s the same amount and quality of plastic bits on the CT014 as you’d find on a similar Bogen Manfrotto (one of the most trusted tripod brands for many years), and I’d agree. The problem is that while these plastics don’t really look like plastic and seem as durable as metal, the reality is that under heavy use (i.e., the goons who handle your luggage when you check it in on a long flight) these bits can’t withstand the hard drops and falls. They’ll do well once or twice, but drop it enough and it’s gonna break. See the head mount above and the clips below on my current tripod for examples of how plastic can eventually give way, and even at $299 you want your tripod to last at least 10 years (at least I do) as photographers enjoyed during the pre-plastic days:
I was happy to see that the CT014 uses a rotating mechanism like the Gitzo’s which should be more durable, and make opening and closing much faster. They are a bit bulky on Induro, so the Gitzo’s can operate faster (including locking and unlocking all three legs and 4 sections at once). However, the leg lock speed different isn’t much of an issue from me as I’m rarely rushing open my tripod that fast (although sometimes closing needs to be done in a hurry). I’d imagine that the leg lock functionality is good enough on the Induro for most and I think it’s well built enough that it should last for many years.
Induro uses a leg angle lock mechanism very similar to Gitzo
The leg angle lock mechanism on the Induro CT014 is functionally identical to most Gitzos. Hover over the image above and then mouse out to see how it locks and unlocks. It’s a three stage system found on most Gitzos.
Practical Usage Observations
In actual field use, I found the Induro to work very well. The legs locked and unlocked very well and were sturdy (never had a slip). The counterweight hook on the bottom of the center column worked well and the size and weight were a pleasure to use in real-world travel (both local and extended).
As mentioned earlier I thought the accessory pack spikes were crap and the whole kit is a bit of a joke, but it’s free so you can’t complain. The case is nice, but it’s a bit on the huge side so that was a bit disappointing. The reality is that I just stick my tripods on the outside of my Think Tank Photo bags, so the case is really only for home storage in my case. It’s a good looking case, so I’d definitely use it and am glad it was included.
The minimum height problem was an issue, but can be easily resolved for $41 (at the time of this article was written0 so the real price differential between the products is $360 – which is still substantial.
As you can see that even with this heavy equipment, and a heavy Really Right Stuff BH-55 head (the only head to buy in my opinion) the video was solid and vibration free. This was on a second floor balcony with people walking around, so even the slightest vibration through the legs would have showed up as significant shake in this video. There wasn’t any, so the CT014 did its job very well.
I’m very impressed with this tripod. It’s very light, compact and works very well. It’s an excellent value for those who may lust for a Gitzo, but who simply can’t justify the expense. For those who fall into this category, I highly recommend this tripod. For those who have the extra funds available (i.e., pros who earn a living with their gear), I’d say the improved build quality, height, and load capacity (important with pro cameras) justifies the higher price.
Now, one could easily argue you could buy two of these Induro tripods for less than the price of one, so just use one until it falls to bits and then buy another Induro at that point. Using this strategy you might be able to match the lifespan of the Gitzo GT1541, so this is a decision you will need to make when deciding if the quality differences don’t justify the higher Gitzo price.
Click here to read my review of the Gitzo GT1541, or click here to learn more or purchase an Induro CT014 from B&H. To learn more about other tripods, I encourage you to check out my tripod recommendations article, and to learn more about Gitzo’s I encourage you to check out my Gitzo Primer.
UPDATE – 6/14/2011
I had some heavy use of this tripod over the last week and noticed a couple new issues that I didn’t discover during my normal usage during the review. The first was that the legs were a little harder to lock securely than the Gitzo. They’d feel locked (i.e., pressure resistance), but under weight they’d drop. This happened about 5 times, so I felt it warranted a mention as I had this happen zero times with all the Gitzo tripods I reviewed.
I also ended up with an issue where the Really Right Stuff BH-55 head seized up and wouldn’t move. It turns out that the mounting screw on this tripod was too high and was hitting the ball on the inside. I ended up damaging my ball head due to this issue, but using the tools included I was able to lower the head enough to avoid this problem moving forward. Again, the default height of all of my Gitzo heads was sufficient to avoid avoid this problem.
Due to the value and the fact that these both can be considered operator errors, I still recommend these tripod legs. However, these were enough to convince me that I definitely would prefer the Gitzo over this one.
B&H has provided me with the tripods featured in this series on a loaner basis. I do not get to keep them and will be returning them back to B&H if I choose not to buy them. I will probably purchase one using my own money with no special discount from B&H or the maker. Gitzo and Induro had nothing to do with this article and as of this point and time I’ve never spoken to anyone from either company.
The selections made from this article were purely based on popularity recommendations from a variety of sources. I make no guarantees of any type, but all products that I am considering to purchase for my own needs. I am simply sharing my shopping experience with you.
If you purchase using the links in the article from B&H, I may get a commission. Thank you for supporting this blog by using my links when you make your purchase.