Camera gear that claims to be weatherproof or weather resistance deserves to be checked carefully and have those claims put to the test. We’d do the same with every technical and functional feature, right? When I saw that Benro launched the Induro Hydra 2 tripod, I immediately wanted to try out its waterproof claims. Because, when you’re traveling, the last thing you want to deal with is water getting inside your tripod’s legs.
I hate it when I get sand in between my toes, but that’s easy to wash off or brush away. The same, however, can’t be said for most tripods I own or have used. Sand can quickly get in between the leg sections, especially when I’m testing tripods in the desert. It irritates me to no end to deal with cleaning them. I’m always paranoid I won’t be able to screw them back together properly once the legs are disassembled. And it’s even worse with water: forget to wipe down your wet tripod legs in a few hours, and you probably won’t remember for days. Then, one fine day, when you want to clean them, you have to deal with mold.
Benro’s Induro Hydra 2 (not sure what the 2 signifies as I couldn’t find any information on version 1 of this) tripod says it “caters to adventurous outdoor photographers.” So aside from testing the waterproof claims of this model, I also took it across to one of the largest deserts here
The Big Picture
The Induro Hydra 2 lives up to all its weatherproofing claims. Neither water nor sand found its way between or inside the various leg sections during my tests. In this regard, it’s probably better than any other travel tripod you’ve used, but it’s not without some critical shortcomings. It’s not entirely waterproof (the central column isn’t). The central column hook rusted after an evening at the beach (even without sea water coming into contact with it). And you have to wonder why Benro didn’t include any waterproofing or water resistance capabilities in the tripod bag.
I’m giving the Induro Hydra 2 three out of five stars. If you want one, check out the great deal Adorama has now.
- It really does have very well-sealed legs that prevent water and sand from getting in.
- You can submerge the (fully extended tripod when the central column is fully raised) up to a depth of 43.4 inches or a little over 3.5 feet.
- Relatively lightweight tripod at 3.3lb / 1.5kg
- Collapses to 16.69in / 42.4cm (without ballhead)
- 3 year warranty
- 4-leg twist design that extends the tripod to 60.23in / 153.0cm
- Load capacity of 37.47lb / 17.0kg
- Rubber tips on legs can be easily unscrewed and replaced with included metal spikes.
- Water repellant inner drawstring bag
- One accessory mount/port to support add-ons like smartphone clamps
- Central column isn’t waterproof. Does this mean you have to extend it fully each time when using the Induro Hydra 2 above water?
- The tripod is waterproof, but why isn’t the main bag? It seemed to soak water during my tests.
- Central column hook rusted after just using the tripod once by the beach.
- It cannot be converted to a monopod.
I tested the Benro Induro Hydra 2 tripod (which I got to keep) with my Nikon Z6 II and my Sirui ballhead.
It’s not that heavy at 3.3lb/1.5kg, a large part of which has to do with the carbon fiber construction. But it folds to a reasonably compact 18.11in/46.0cm, or just over a foot and a half when you don’t reverse the tripod legs, and an even more compact 16.69in/42.4cm with the legs folded back. If you’re using a ballhead on this, there’s no way to fit it in the provided bag without folding back the legs. But if you don’t use a ballhead or unscrew it for storing separately, the Induro Hydra 2 should fit in the bag without having to fold back the legs.
There are three leg locks to each leg. The uppermost lock enables you to stretch out the legs to keep them almost parallel to the ground.
You can unscrew the central column and reverse it in order to mount the camera underneath the tripod, should you wish to photograph something closer to the ground. Remember that even though your camera may be waterproof, the central column still isn’t.
You get a wrench, an Allen key (which is meant to be attached to one of the rubber feet but isn’t in this picture), and three spiked feet. The Allen Key is attached to one of the rubber feet so that you can grip it easily.
The Induro Hydra 2 does the job almost perfectly regarding its primary USP of being waterproof, as the central column isn’t waterproof for some reason. So, while the tripod (when extended fully) can be submerged up to a depth of 43.3 inches, this doesn’t include the central column. You have to raise the central column fully if you want to submerge the tripod, which is not something I enjoy doing for fear of my tripod and camera tipping over.
I spent more than an hour at the beach with the Induro Hydra 2. During this time, the waves washed over at least half the height of the tripod on occasion. One section was almost entirely submerged beneath wet sand.
Water remained on the surface of the legs and the knobs, but when I fully unscrewed them (after drying), there was no water or sand inside the legs. Every section of the tripod was as dry as it could be, with not even a grain of sand or a drop of water finding its way inside. Those seals keep everything out perfectly.
However, even when it didn’t directly come into contact with water, for some reason the tip of the central column’s hook rusted after just one use at the beach. Strangely, the rest of the hook hasn’t rusted (yet). Adding a weight on this hook is something landscape photographers would often do to steady their tripod, so it’s sad to see it be of such poor quality. Tiny details seem to have been overlooked in the finishing quality of this product.
The main bag doesn’t seem to be waterproof. During my testing, it repelled a bit of water but didn’t seem very resistant and eventually absorbed a fair bit of it. It’s got a heavily padded interior, which should help keep water away from the tripod for a while. I don’t think I’d trust it in a torrential downpour though. I couldn’t find any details on the weatherproofing capabilities of the bag in the provided documentation inside the zipped pocket.
The inner drawstring bag seems more likely to keep away water for longer.
A velcro strap inside the bag helps keep your tripod from slipping around inside.
You can keep small accessories inside the zipped pocket inside the main bag, which also houses a shoulder strap.
The earlier mentioned spikes, Allen key, and wrench were stored in this mini pouch. It comes with a little hook, so you can hang it on the outside of the tripod bag if you’d like.
A word to the wise: be careful of the edges of the box the Induro Hydra 2 tripod comes in. It’s sturdy, but the edges are sharp. I reached out to pull the tripod bag out of the box and stabbed myself on a corner of the box. Yes, stabbed. A sizeable chunk of skin (and very nearly a bit of flesh from my palm) was lost. The corner was unscathed.
Ease Of Use
Unlike most twist-mechanism leg tripods, the legs don’t fall out when you unscrew each section. That’s because the waterproof sealing on the legs maintains a good vacuum. You’ll have to apply a bit of force to extend these legs. This can take a while to get used to. I’m used to twisting the leg screws and having the leg columns fall out of my tripods. That’s not going to happen with this tripod. While it may be frustrating, you’ll be glad in the long run. The rubber grips are easy to twist even if your fingers are wet.
Don’t hesitate to take ultra-long exposures with this tripod. Even without weighing it down with the central column, I could take photos with an exposure time of up to 60 seconds.
Who Should Buy the Benro Induro Hydra 2 Tripod?
If you’re a landscape photographer who shoots a lot in humid, wet, or sandy conditions and wants to save time cleaning, give the Induro Hydra 2 tripod a go. It’s competitively priced (I wish they threw in a ballhead too) and the legs are solidly waterproof. You need to be careful not to get the central column exposed to the elements. Aside from a quick wipe-down when you get it wet (or a more careful one if exposed to salt water), this tripod doesn’t need much care to keep going. Hopefully your central column hooks won’t rust as quickly as mine did.
Tech specs are from the manufacturer’s website:
|Product Height (in/cm):||16.69in / 42.4cm|
|Product Length (in/cm):||3.93in / 10.0cm|
|Product Weight (lb/kg):||3.3lb / 1.5kg|
|Product Width (in/cm):||3.93in / 10.0cm|
|Closed Length (in/cm):||18.11in / 46.0cm|
|Converts to Monopod:||No|
|Foot Size (mm):||Φ26.4*16.5|
|Foot Type:||Threaded Feet|
|Leg Diameter 1 (mm):||15|
|Leg Diameter 2 (mm):||18.4|
|Leg Diameter 3 (mm):||21.8|
|Leg Diameter 4 (mm):||25.2|
|Leg Lock Type:||Twist Lock|
|Leg Material:||Carbon Fiber|
|Maximum Height (in/cm):||60.23in / 153.0cm|
|Maximum Height with Column Retracted (in/cm):||50.0in / 127.0cm|
|Maximum Payload Capacity (lb/kg):||37.47lb / 17.0kg|
|Minimum Height (in/cm):||13.22in / 33.6cm|
|Reverse Folded Length (in/cm):||16.69in / 42.4cm|
|Top Plate Diameter (mm):||56|
|Leg Diameter 5 (mm):||28.6|
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