Induro + Acratech + Fancier = Travel Video Tripod Bliss / by Sohail Mamdani

Carrying around a video tripod is a pain in the ass - especially if, like mine, it has mid-level spreaders. It becomes nigh impossible to tote it around on a day-to-day basis, particularly if you travel via public transit. 

My Induro carbon-fiber tripod, on the other hand, is lightweight and reasonably portable. It fits snuggly into the front "foot" pocket of my Tenba Roadie and has a collar that holds reasonably tightly against the front of the bag. 

Unfortunately, it's not a tripod that will fit a bowl-mount head. I can put a fluid head on it, but if my surface isn't level, it won't be an easy job to get the camera in a nice, level position. 

Recently, however, I came across something that had me smacking my head in a "Duh!" moment. I'd seen it several times in the past, but never put two and two together. 

Here's my new solution.

My current tripod setup

That's one of my favorite cheap video heads, a Fancier 717 (sold by Amazon as a CowboyStudio product on an Acratech Leveling Base (which cost more than the head), on my Induro tripod (which, yes, cost more than both combined.

Now I've got a video setup that's about as portable as I could've wished for. Only downside? it's a bit top-heavy when strapped to my bag.

Despite that, it's still BART-able, and I can snap off the collar and pull the tripod out to slide the bag between my legs in a row seat on the train. I wish that Tenba had a more stable or deeper pocket for the tripod, as it does tend to sway a bit, but it's completely doable. 

One last thing. Acratech makes some solid product, but I've got a small gripe about mine. My leveling base tends to shift just a bit in the final tightening. I can get past this by having a decent about of tension already when adjusting the head, but my GP-S ballhead from Acratech has this too, and that kind of points to a design flaw somewhere in their tightening system. The fact that it's a solid piece of machinery is enough for me to overlook those small gripes - for now, anyway.

UPDATE

I swapped out the Induro tripod for a cheaper, heavier one from Induro's "budget" line, Benro. The new one is aluminum, and is heavier than my carbon-fiber Induro, which proved to be too light for my needs. Video tripods need to have some heft, and a slow pan on the video head would sometimes move the tripod itself. So a cheap, open-box Benro from Samy's here in the city fixed that.