Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I borrowed this image from Adorama because quite frankly I don't have any photographs of just my tripod. I've never thought to take any. Here is the tripod and ball head that I have. With the invention of Vibration Reduction and extremely high ISO cameras, tripods are becoming less and less common for photographers. Sure you will have the macro photographers, or the landscape photographers that still use them religiously but for everyday shooting such as news, sports, and weddings, they're just not needed as much any more. Even with all of these reasons to not have a tripod, there are still times when we need, or want them. Lets talk about how to choose a good quality tripod to hold your equipment.

The first thing you need to determine is what you are going to be using the tripod for. You wouldn't want the tripod I have shown above if you plan on taking it hiking through the Smokey's. If you are going to be doing anything that requires you to walk for any distance with it, you should get a carbon fiber tripod. Yes they cost a bit more than the aluminum versions, but you will be thanking yourself after that 6 hour hike when you can still stand up. Conversely if you are doing mostly studio work and you rarely carry the tripod anywhere you can get away with a large bulky more sturdy tripod similar to what is shown above.

The next thing you need to consider is your equipment weight. How heavy is your body,lens, and other attachments (flash,battery pack,etc..). Some tripods are only good up to 7 or 8 pounds. This is fine for a D40 with the kit lens, but if you have a D3 with a 600mm super telephoto on there, it may get a little dicey if the wind blows. Just make sure when you are researching to buy a tripod, you look at the weight rating.

Height is another important factor. How tall are you? Will a 55inch tripod put the camera at your eye level without extending the center section? This is important. The further up you extend the center section, the less rigid it becomes. If you have to extend the center section all of the way out just to get it to your eye level, then that's probably not the tripod for you. My tripod (shown above) is a 74" max height tripod. It is 54" closed and with the ball head on top, it puts it right at my eye level, just right for me.

Ball heads are like opinions, everyone has one, and they're all different in some way. We could go on for days talking about all of the different styles, uses, designs of ball heads. Do your research before you buy. Go into your local camera store and actually hold the ball head in your hands and see how it will feel to use. These things are usually around $100 so you don't want to get the wrong one.

Good quality tripods like the Bogan, or the Gitzo are very expensive. They cost so much though because they are sturdy, and can stand the test of time. Instead of going to your local Walmart or Bestbuy and picking up a $30 tripod that may or may not be sturdy enough for your heavy DSLR, and it's lens, save your money and buy a nice one like we've talked about above. Buy it once and never have to buy another one ever again. They are completely re-buildable and worth the money.

That's it for todays "technical" post. Keep checking back to read more articles as I post them. Jason

No comments:

Post a Comment