Saturday, 7 September 2013

Induro BHD1 ball head - Not recommended

Having a tripod with a good ball head is a necessity for anyone interested in photography. For a couple of years, I have used the Benro B2 ball head. While it is a cheaper knockoff of the Arca Swiss type ball heads, it still works fine.

However, the big locking knob stuck, so I was looking out for a replacement. The Induro BHD1 looked fine, with a similar layout of knobs, a large ball, and ergonomic grip surfaces on the knobs:

It has some flaws, though, which sadly makes it useless for me. One minor issue is that using the tripod tightening screws locks up the panoramic function. Most tripods have three locking screws that can be tightened when the head is mounted, to avoid accidentally unscrewing the head. You can see the tops of the screws in the picture of the Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod, a very good budget tripod, below:

If these screws are tightened while having the Induro BHD1 ball head mounted, the ball head does no longer rotate when opening the panoramic knob. Now, this is not an uncommon issue: I have noticed the same with other ball heads as well. It can be solved by tightening the screws only very little.

A far bigger issue is that when mounting a camera and framing a subject, tightening one of the locking knobs dislocates the camera slightly. This makes the tripod ball head very frustrating to use. It is pretty much impossible to frame your subject the way you want with a long lens, and it is even problematic with a shorter lens.

I illustrate this problem with the video below. I have mounted the Panasonic GH3 with the Tokina 300mm f/6.3 mirror tele lens on the Induro BHD1 ball head. With the split image below, I show the GH3 video output at the same time as how I operate the locking knob. What you see, is that tightening the knob dislocates the camera, and ruins my framing. This happens with both of the two knobs.

I tried to use the ball head for some months, thinking that the mechanism might need to wear in. But it appears to operate just as faulty as from the beginning. So if you are investigating to buy a ball head from Induro, please try it first and confirm that it operates as you expect.

I am now back to using the old Benro B2 ball head. Even with one of the locking knobs non-functioning, it still works a lot better.


  1. What about the BHD3? I just ordered one.

    1. Don't know, I haven't tried it. It has a ball with a different size, so the locking mechanism is probably different. So it might work well, or it might share the same problems.

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