Skip to content

Up for Discussion: Tripods

Recently someone sent me a question about tripods and I thought it was time I wrote something about them.

If you are serious about photography then there is one piece of equipment that is almost as important as your camera and lens; your tripod. There are many different types of photography that you might do where it is essential that you have a tripod. Then there are types where you don’t need it all, and some where it would be better if you used it, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. Some photographers value their tripods and will make sure they get something that is good and sturdy. Others think they aren’t so important and just get something cheap and basic. Today we are going to look at when you should buy a tripod and how to decide what is the best one for you.

Tripods in the Field.

There is no getting around it, there are some types of photography that would be impossible without a tripod. If you want to photograph the Milky Way, it is a definite must and the same with Long Exposures, you can’t do them by simply holding the camera. You can put the camera down on a light-trails-flinders-street-stationsturdy surface, but then you face other obstacles. Using a tripod is best way to go.

On a bright sunny day, you can do without a tripod. If the light is good and you can get a fast shutter speed and low ISO then you should be able to hand hold. I do that as well, if I don’t have to use a tripod then I don’t.

There are times when the light is okay, but your shutter speed is a little slow and you might want to hand hold the camera, so you turn up the ISO so you don’t have to use the tripod. Of course then the problem you get is you start to introduce noise into your images just because you don’t want to use your tripod.

If I am out taking photos and I don’t have my tripod with me, then I will up my Isc-chambers-5hpm7671-4SO to get the shots I want to get. If I have my tripod with me and I know that I will have to put my ISO up to high, then I choose the tripod. The advantage of using the tripod is that you can always use the lowest ISO possible, so you get no noise, or as little as possible. Once the camera is on the tripod the shutter speed is irrelevant.

Tripods

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen and heard from people that have tripods that are cheap, wonky, and just don’t work well. We spend hundreds, even thousands on our cameras and lenses, then go and buy a cheap tripod and hope that we can get good photos with it. It goes back to that old saying, you get what you pay for.

There are so many things that people don’t think about when they are buying a tripod, and we are going to take a look at some of those now.

How often do you think you will use it?

If it is rarely, then something basic, but solid, is all you will need. If, however, you know you will be doing lots of photography where long exposures will be important, then getting yourself a very good tripod is one of the best things you can do.

How much money do you want to spend on it?

This is where many people get stuck. They think, β€œI don’t use a tripod much, I will just buy a cheap one”, then, when they really need it, they find it isn’t stable enough, it wobbles, or the tilt on it won’t hold firm enough and it drops every time they take photos. The worst LeanneCole-webb-6890is when you go to use it and it just breaks so you are stuck with no tripod and can’t do anything.

There are different levels of tripods, but if it doesn’t look sturdy, don’t buy it. Set it up and give it a shake, if it wobbles then don’t buy it.

Do your research, look at tripods that are available and then look at what the internet tells you. I am a big believer of reviews, see what others say about what you want to buy.

Think about how heavy your camera is. A small cheap tripod might not be good enough to carry your camera, it might be too light and not good enough for your camera. You don’t want your camera falling onto the ground because the tripod wasn’t strong enough for your camera.

LeanneCole-citylight-1404054971-4hpmWhat sort of conditions will you be shooting in?

If most of what you do is indoors, occassionally outdoors, but in urban conditions, then the type of tripod you will need will be very different to someone who shoots outdoors in wild windy conditions.

If you are the first type of photographer, then a small lightweight tripod would be fine for you, though that doesn’t mean cheap. Maybe a carbon fibre travel tripod, or something similar. Though how heavy your camera is will always be a factor.

If you follow the second type of photographer, then the biggest most solid tripod that you can afford is the best way to go. Something that is heavy enough that it will cope with strong winds, though also having a hook on it so you can hang your camera bag on it can be great too. It has to be be able to withstand severe weather conditions.

What should the tripod be made of?

This is personal. Most are made of aluminium, but there is also carbon fibre. The latter is stronger and lighter, but it is also more expensive. I guess it all becomes a matter of budget.

What about more than one tripod?sorrento-beach-waves-blurred-colour

This is a question I’ve been asking myself for sometime now. Is there anything wrong with having more than one?

I got my first tripod about 20 years ago. It was an aluminium one, and very basic. It was a good weight, but the legs were done with screws to tighten them and loosen them.

As I got older my hands have found the screws harder and harder to use, so, just over a year ago, I decided to start looking for a new one. I knew I wanted carbon fibre, and I didn’t want screws on the legs, I wanted the lever locks.

I ended up going for a tripod that is much taller than me when it’s all set up. The man in the shop said I shouldn’t get it because it was too big for me, but it has turned out to be great. If I’m on a hill looking down, then the tripod can be put up so I can see through it at my height. I like the extra versatility the height gives me.

The downside to this tripod is that, since it is very big, it can be heavy. Sometimes I wish I had a second one that’s smaller for when I am just going into the city and the wind won’t be a factor.

sorrento-beach-waves-slow-sunset-460I now have a smaller one, not mine, but borrowed from a friend who rarely takes photos so I can pretty much use it whenever I like.

So I have two tripods, three if you count my old one, which cover me for lots of different situations. Just as we have different lenses for different types of photography, why shouldn’t we also have various tripods for different types of photography?

Finally

We tend to get the best cameras we can afford, the best lenses, we take so much care with taking the photos, but then leave it all up to chance with the tripod, an important tool for taking photos. When it comes to getting a tripod, think about what sort of tripod you will need for the photography you are going to do. Do your research, make sure it got good reviews and will be perfect for you, well, as much as anything can be. Finally, if you think you need more than one, then get more than one. I can’t tell you how many you need, that is up to you and how many different situations you shoot in.

In the end, budget will always determine what you get, just get the best possible one you can afford.

Photos today are all ones that I had to use a tripod for.

128 Comments
  1. Oh wow…beautiful photos

    March 6, 2015
  2. Although I often travel with my tripods (one aluminum, very solid, and one carbon fiber, easy to use), I end up seldom using them. Then again, I’m in the good-enough-for-the-narrative camp, and not this-is-gonna-be-admired-by-my-followers camp.

    I tend to most use the tripods at home and out in the garden. One thing that is also very important is the head you mount on it. If I ever get serious, I’ll be getting a gimbal head. Right now, I have two quick adjust heads that while adequate are not the best at positioning for very precise work.

    March 6, 2015
    • It depends on me, and as you just said, if someone is paying me for a job, then I most definitely use it, if it seems appropriate.
      I haven’t used mine in the garden, I should try it. I bought a good ball head, though I might look at getting a gear head one day, but the ball head I got isn’t bad.
      Thanks Disperser.

      March 6, 2015
  3. I almost always use a tripod, especially with all the macro work I do. Ten years ago a pro photographer told me to get the biggest baddest tripod I could afford and I did. Still use it today, it is aluminum and heavy, but so worth have a tripod I can depend on. You are right about doing research, photographers need to read about the weight limit of the tripod and ballhead and then determine the heaviest weight of camera lens they will use. My tripod is quite tall too and great for hills just like you stated. It’s been great at the Grand Canyon for sure!

    On another note, I am so far behind reading fellow bloggers posts and hope to catch up soon! It’s all those wildflowers that are calling my name…haha!

    Tamara

    March 6, 2015
    • That is pretty much what I did with my second one, though I had my first one for 20 years, actually still have it, it is a good back up. Mine new one is carbon fibre, which I love, and the I can hang my bag on it if I need to weight it down more too. Yes, I don’t know if many people think about that when they are buying a tripod or the head for one. I have found it useful too, very.

      That happens Tamara, that will be me this weekend, except I’m off to the beach again. Take care, and thanks.

      March 6, 2015
  4. Leanne, I’m not a lover of tripods because I feel it inhibits my movement. However, this year I’ve decided to embrace the tripod. I bought a BeFree Manfrotto. It’s light and holds my D7100 and 300mm lens easily. It folds up nicely. It wouldn’t be able to withstand strong winds, but then neither can I! At my age, I just won’t be shooting in extreme weather. Because the BeFree is easy to carry, open and use, I’m using it more often.

    March 6, 2015
    • I was looking at getting that one to be my second tripod, but then my friend said I could use hers, so it seemed a better idea than buying one. That is a fair point Anne, if you aren’t going to shoot in those conditions, why get a tripod that will. Thanks for your thoughts here.

      March 6, 2015
  5. I use my tripods so much that I don’t have a strap on my camera because the strap would just get in the way. Yesterday I was shooting in high winds so I used the heavier and more sturdy aluminum tripod. Great topic!

    March 6, 2015
    • I am starting to use mine more and more too. I resisted for a long time, but in the end you just have too I think. My new tripod, carbon fibre, but big, has been fantastic in high winds, and if I think it needs to weighted down more, I just hang my camera bag off it, works great. Thanks for sharing what you do Michael.

      March 6, 2015
  6. Great post on a subject that many people ignore. In addition to the issues you mentioned there is lots of discussion on heads, gimbals, feet, focusing rails etc.

    March 6, 2015
    • Line dropped. But the first order of business to figure out when you want and need to use one and use it.

      March 6, 2015
      • Absolutely, I agree, you need to have some idea as to what type of photography you are likely to do and if it will be good enough for that. Thanks Victor, are you interested in doing a guest blog on the other stuff, what they are and what they are used for?

        March 6, 2015
    • I agree, some people just buy cheap crappy tripods and then wonder why they work properly. Yes you are right there, there are, but I thought I would stick with basics in this one, I just have a basic head and haven’t really gone into anything else much yet.

      March 6, 2015
      • Heads alone is an article. And again significant dollars.

        March 6, 2015
      • I don’t know enough about them, not something I have really looked into.

        March 6, 2015
  7. I don’t like them but they are necessary for low shutter speeds. Make sure the head is sturdy too. I like to use arca Swiss plates. Very convenient.

    March 6, 2015
    • I feel a bit the same way, there are lots of types of photography that I like doing that the tripod is really necessary for, just have to get used to using it. Yes, the head is just as important. Thanks for that Luis.

      March 6, 2015
      • You are welcome. Thanks for the post. Tripods are necessary.

        March 6, 2015
      • they are Luis.

        March 7, 2015
  8. Reblogged this on Santa's Reindeer.

    March 6, 2015
  9. Very valuable information. Thanks! Wishing you a pleasant day, Lisa

    March 6, 2015
  10. I agree with you about spending a decent amount on a tripod and not just going for the cheapest, most basic option. I had a cheap one in my teens and it was always wobbling around on uneven ground as I did not have enough control over each of the legs separately. My current tripod is a mid-range one, probably at the cheaper end of mid-range. It is sturdy and compact enough for my backpack when folded down but extends to above my height and it has the lever locks which mean I can easily set the height for each individual leg to cope with uneven ground. I hardly ever use a tripod these days – it just doesn’t work for my circumstances and context to lug it around with me – so the one I have works perfectly for me.

    March 6, 2015
    • It can be a hard lesson to learn, not having a good tripod, but it sounds like you got the problem sorted now. It sounds bit like mine. I love how mine, when fully extended is taller than most people, so in a crowd my camera can get above everyone. There are many situations where I don’t use a tripod, sometimes it isn’t practical, just have to go without and sometimes it is easier not to use one. Thanks Laura, good to hear your experiences.

      March 6, 2015
      • I think if I didn’t have the kids on tow I would use it more but I am always carrying so much stuff for them and needing my hands free. Then there is the fact that they run off ahead so I have to grab shots rather than set them up. I used to use my tripod a lot when I was a member of a camera club and going on outings with them. In the past 18 months I think I have only used it in order to take photos of all six of us.

        March 6, 2015
      • I remember those days, you are the pack horse. I think it really depends on what you are doing Laura, and it looks like, from I’ve seen of your work that you are more into the candid sort of photography, which is perfect with your kids. Maybe when they get older you will start going out again and doing more photography that needs a tripod, then again you might not. We all do what works for us, I think.

        March 6, 2015
      • That is precisely it. Right now I am really just using the photographic skills I have to document our family life and travels so they are mostly candid shots, snapshots even. There will perhaps come a time in the future when I try to develop my photography skills and then my trusty tripod will come in handy again.

        March 6, 2015
      • Who knows, you might, then again, you might become a street photographer and use those candid photography skills you have picked up from photographing your family. We never know do we. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be photographing birds, I wouldn’t have believed you. LOL

        March 6, 2015
  11. Beautiful photos as ever. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    March 6, 2015
  12. The second part is of course the tripod head! I have 2 tripods in active use, both Gitzo. One light, one heavy. I use a Really Right Stuff 55 ballhead on the big one and a smaller Gitzo head on the light one. A good tripod needs a good head and they don’t come cheap but the RRS is a joy to use.

    March 6, 2015
    • I have a Manfrotto tripod, well the legs and the head. I couldn’t afford the Gitzo, though maybe one day, but I am very happy with my tripod, it is big and a good weight. It has proven itself to be very good in many conditions which is what you want really. I certainly haven’t been disappointed with it at all. Thanks Andrew for sharing what you have.

      March 6, 2015
      • They are from the same group of companies, Gitzo & Manfrotto. Good kit all round.

        March 6, 2015
      • Yeah, I am really happy with my Manfrotto and my last one as one too, still pretty good after 20 years.

        March 6, 2015
  13. Nelson #

    I also find tripod very useful for macro photo, I did not think so until I tried to take my first macro shots …… at very close range every little movement translate into something bigger on your subject

    March 6, 2015
    • I need to do that, use it for macro, I have a couple of times, but not enough, so great point Nelson. That is so true, thank you for pointing that out.

      March 6, 2015
  14. Good discussion.I am using a Gitzo GITZO carbon fiber tripod. It is light, the right height for anyone who travels or backpack. I have my camera set so that when I press shutter button it does not work till 2 secs is up. I purchased a Really Right Stuff ball head to go with this tripod. I have never looked back.
    http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/Shop/Heads-for-Tripods-Monopods/

    March 6, 2015
    • The Gitzo was right out of my budget really, I wanted to go that way, but I just couldn’t afford it. I do love my manfrotto one though. I often use the interval timer thing that is built into my camera, it also has a small delay which is great, and also great for bracketing. I got a manfrotto head for mine, but I’ve thought about getting a gear head so I can do better fine adjustments, but again, money, so maybe one day. Thanks for sharing what you have Ken.

      March 6, 2015
      • My total cost wast about 1000.00 cdn. I need the light weight and the short length of the tripod for travelling and backpacking

        March 7, 2015
      • I went for big, but as light as I could with the size.

        March 7, 2015
  15. And aren’t they all beautiful? πŸ™‚ (the answer’s yes)

    March 6, 2015
  16. Over the years I have owned a number of tripods. For mountain hiking weight is the most important factor, so I had a light weight one. It was too flimsy and didn’t last. Other cheaper tripods also didn’t hack it over time. Two have survived. A sturdy aluminum tripod that was a middle of the road priced one when I bought it over fifty years ago, still works fine, although the tilt head is no longer as tight. It is in my car trunk. My other old-timer is a small, but very sturdy, desk-top unit with a ball-head. That is my take every-where one now, it fits in my camera bag. It works fine pressed against a rock, a car top, a tree, and many other places. Not as convenient to use, I have to press it down, but I have it along!

    I no longer do strenuous hiking, but for walks in the park I have a monopod. My ball-head and a quick-release camera mount work well with that.

    My recommendation is to get the sturdiest that you can use conveniently in your kind of photography. For a take-along-everywhere, consider a sturdy desktop tripod.

    March 6, 2015
    • Great points Ludwig, and I think it is something people really need to consider when they are buying a tripod. I don’t want one that is hard to use or might not work. I want it to be reliable.
      Sounds like you have it all sorted and I totally agree with that last part. Thanks

      March 6, 2015
  17. Very interesting article! … and awesome shots!

    Since I mostly specialize in close-up nature photography, my tripods have dust on them; they are rarely, if ever, used. By the time I set one up and position it… the insect, frog, or whatever… is gone! One thing that I do use now and then, however, is a mono-pod, especially built for cameras. It is adjustable, length-wise of course, and it even has a convenient handle such that it can be used as a walking cane. (Since I had arthroscopic kneed surgery last year, due to a knee injury, the cane aspect has been a bit handy!) Additionally, when walking through the woods and meadows… it is very handy for pushing bushes and stems slightly out of one’s way. It also has a little compass embedded in it… which would help – I suppose – if one were getting lost in the woods; but I never need to use it. Mostly though, I take pictures without even using the mono-pod. Steady hands or leaning on one’s bent knee works just as well… and is much faster!

    March 6, 2015
    • I was looking at those recently, monopods that were walking sticks at well, great concept. It is always faster hand holding the camera, but sometimes not always possible. It sounds like you have it all sorted Thomas. Thanks for sharing that.

      March 6, 2015
  18. The only time I use a Tripod is when I’m using my 500mm Mirror lens – then it is absolutely essential. Otherwise everything is handheld. I used to shoot with .303 and .22 rifles and got used to the techniques for aiming a rifle while standing: hand cradling the barrel of the gun and the elbow of the same arm tight against the chest creating a kind of ‘tripod’. I hold a camera the same way with a long lens. I shoot a lot in places where a tripod is not allowed or would be a hazard (on the streets for example). But the most important reason I don’t use a tripod is that I find it a distraction. I want the total freedom to move freely, to crouch, to change position without having to constantly position and adjust a tripod – for me a tripod is a creative killer. And of course it’s extra weight for when I am climbing or walking.

    March 6, 2015
    • I have to admit when I want to use a low shutter speed I try and do many of those things as well, and most of the time it works. I guess it all comes down to the type of photography you want to do really. If I’m just wandering around the city, then I never use a tripod. If I am photographing the milky way, then I have to. If I am getting paid for a job, then I will use it if I think it might make a difference. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      March 6, 2015
  19. Indeed so very beautiful photos!!!

    March 6, 2015
  20. Reblogged this on Soul mate's – so near, yet so far and commented:
    Beautiful Photos from and expert photographer… Enjoy the beauty πŸ™‚

    March 6, 2015
  21. I would like to get a top quality tripod but the expense is more than I can justify.

    March 6, 2015
  22. Stunning images, so rich on colour. I do a lot of street photography where a tripod is no good but I also do a lot of architecture work both inside and out and use a tripod all the time. I bracket my work when working inside and only use natural ight where possible and that can lead to exposures of up to 30 seconds. I started lift with a Benbo but having discovered Manfrotto I have never looked back and currently own a 055 series which cost me Β£300 UK pounds. Si

    March 6, 2015
    • That is pretty much what I do. Though my street photography is more just taking shots of architecture, but if I am doing serious architecture stuff then definitely a tripod, and I bracket too, so yes, tripod pretty essential then. I have one of those too, the 055, love it. So worth the money. Thank you for sharing that.

      March 6, 2015
  23. Good post Leanne and great gallery! As a few people have commented already, the tripod and head choice go hand in hand. I started with a cheap and nasty Velbon and found the weight and very basic tilt head were a pain to use, so I did not! A couple of years ago I started getting a bit more serious about photography, and wanted to be able to do landscapes and seascapes, I did my research and concluded that I wanted something that was light, easy to adjust, and suited to carrying for long walks. I chose a carbon fibre Gitzo Mountaineer tripod (screw locks) and Gitzo ball head. With 4 tiers on the legs, it is taller than me when fully extended and I like it that way for the reasons you have stated. I haven’t looked back! Bottom line is I use it, and now that I am getting into long exposure images, it works really well for me. It is worth the money and when you look at the many years of usage, a few extra hundred dollars upfront just don’t matter that much. Save a bit longer and get the best you can afford. You are buying for the long term.

    There are many times when I can’t use a tripod, when we are on the boat for instance, or when I am photographing birdlife where I need to be able to pan and catch the beasties where ever they are coming from. In those conditions a tripod just doesn’t work and you have to find other ways to steady yourself! … As you said, think about the type of photography you do, then choose accordingly. But when I have time and my subject is not moving, like in landscapes/seascapes, having something lightweight yet sturdy, and easy to set up has made all the difference.

    March 6, 2015
    • Exactly Chris, just what I was talking about. There are some types of photography that you just need a good sturdy tripod for. I love your tripod, it is probably what I would have got, but was just a little out of my price range, though having said that, I am not unhappy with mine. Sometimes I wish I had got another head for it though.

      Also great points, I find the same, sometimes you just have to go with out and hand hold, but other types you can’t do without it. Thank you for sharing all the Chris.

      March 6, 2015
  24. Amy #

    Wow, takes my breath away! πŸ™‚

    March 6, 2015
    • Which Amy, the post on the tripods or the photos? πŸ˜‰

      March 6, 2015
  25. The cityscapes are absolutely wonderful……I hadnt thought of using a tripod to take images of the sea….I will try :)) thanks again for this blog …it is so useful to me.

    March 6, 2015
    • I am experimenting with slow shutter speeds at the ocean, so you really need a tripod for that, it is fun, you never know what you will get. Thanks Trees.

      March 6, 2015
  26. Good topic, Leanne. Budget permitting, a light but sturdy tripod for travel and a more solid one when weight is not an issue. I do cart a tripod around, but mostly I rely on image stabilization to get sharp images – almost all of my lenses have IS. For long exposures or when shooting with filters the tripod is of course indispensable.

    March 6, 2015
    • I totally agree Freddy, I think two tripods for those that you just spoke about. Thanks for that.

      March 6, 2015
  27. Zyriacus #

    Not willing to buckle down with a real tripod, I bought myself a rather small one (abt. 25cm to 40cm extractable, its three legs are folding into it) which I can carry about easily. Of course I have to be on the lookout for elevated places to put it on when needed but that seldom poses a problem. More often I leve it attached to the camera and use it as a vertical handle.

    March 6, 2015
    • I think I would find that more cumbersome, but we each work differently. I love my tripod and I like having the option of choosing which one to use. Thanks for sharing how you use a tripod.

      March 6, 2015
  28. Totally worth lugging around a tripod to get those shots Leanne. I’ve been through a couple of cheaper ones and now I have one that’s a bit dearer, not too heavy, but worth every kilo when I want to take my slow shutter photography. It may be great to have a light one for travel but you need the sturdiness of a heavier one in different weather. Its a case of sucking it up and having the heavier one and leaving a pair of nice shoes behind when travelling…remind me of this on our adventure! πŸ™‚

    March 6, 2015
    • I think so too Kaz, sometimes you just know it will be worthwhile. My good one is fantastic, and very sturdy in the wind, as I just found out. I also have a lighter one when I don’t have to worry about conditions. I agree, I am really happy at times with the sturdier one, like this afternoon, it was blowing so hard. Thanks for that Kaz. πŸ™‚

      March 6, 2015
  29. Great post! I used to travel everywhere in the world with a heavily loaded camera bag and a sturdy, heavy tripod (not cheap). One day, I said…no more. I missed some shots…fine, some were not tack sharp, fine. Two weeks ago, I found the tripod I had always been looking for. Very light and sturdy enough for my Sony RX-10 (perhaps not sturdy enough for a pro DSLR with a 300mm lens on it). It’s aluminum with no extra pieces to stabilize the camera (so a little insecure, perhaps). BUT, it has a ball head (easy to maneuver the camera in any direction, even vertical to horizontal), and it’s light (1.8lbs/ 81kg). I’m in love with it.

    March 6, 2015
    • Oh, I forgot…it’s made by Manfrotto, so…not exactly cheap.

      March 6, 2015
      • No not cheap, but manfrotto are good, I love mine.

        March 6, 2015
    • I wouldn’t take my really big tripod for travelling, I think it would drive me crazy in the end. I think I would look for a smaller travel one. When I travel to the US in September I’m hoping to take may friends with me. I do have a DSLR so that always has to be a consideration. Not sure it would be 81kg, that is way too heavy, my tripod is 1.8 kilos. sounds like a good weight and just what you need. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      March 6, 2015
  30. Les #

    A good subject to Post. I have a fairly cheap Tripod and one Monopod. Each one has it’s advantage. The Tripod is nice when I want to mount the camera and fiddle with settings till I get it right. The Monopod is much easier to use and carry around with the camera mounted. Monopods I use when I know I don’t have to change settings much. It’s get’s hard to hold the Pod with one hand while making a adjustment with the other. I tend to use the Monopod much more here lately, but will be taking the Tripod just in case I need it. ~ Les

    March 6, 2015
    • I have never really got used to the monopod, not really sure about it. I tried it a couple of times but found it a bit weird. That’s me. I know so many people though that love them. I tend to use the tripod more. I like it more, but I guess we all work differently. This is interesting, thank you for sharing Les.

      March 6, 2015
  31. Last month I was spending a fair amount of time on the side of a ridge, and found myself wanting a tripod that I could anchor to the ground.

    Although I should have googled before posting this comment, I can’t recall seeing a tripod that has anchor points so you can stake it into the ground.

    Is anyone familiar with a particular model that has anchor points?

    March 6, 2015
    • Sorry Chris can’t help, but maybe someone else knows.

      March 6, 2015
      • After I posted that I did find a few big tripods that have anchor points. Something to think about if you are shooting on a windy day.

        March 6, 2015
      • I was shooting today and it was really windy, but my tripod did a great job, I hung my bag off it to make it heavier and it was great. the photos seemed to work too.

        March 6, 2015
    • lensaddiction #

      Some of the top end brands (Manfrotto etc) have options where you can replace the rubber feet with short metal stakes – I have seen it on their website but never met anyone who did it to their tripod.

      March 6, 2015
  32. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    I have to use a tripod because my right hand does not work well. When I have been out taking pictures, before I set up to shoot, the tripod serves as a cane. To get a clear shot I must use a tripod.

    March 6, 2015
    • I have used my tripod like that too, as a cane, especially when it is rocky. I have a special hiking stick for that now. I think tripods are really important sometimes, and as you said if you have any problems very important. Thanks for sharing that Jackie.

      March 6, 2015
  33. I need to get a better tripod..i have been looking the best for the conditions I am usually in..the one I have has a broken head ..much like me and so lately I have been relying on the fenceposts for stability ..they aren’t cheap but I am always in places that are rough and I need to have something that can take the weight of Brutus…urghhh always more toys πŸ™‚ hugs Bev

    March 6, 2015
    • that is a good way to go about it Bev, I knew I needed one that would be able to cope with lots of wind and such. What aren’t cheap, the tripods or the fenceposts Bev? LOL My tripod can take the lens, and my camera, but it cost me just over $800, but you know I think it was worth it. If you want some help. let me know. Thanks Bev, thanks for the laugh. πŸ™‚

      March 6, 2015
      • I will Leanne πŸ™‚ the fence posta are cheaper but the blood sweat and tears from putting them in bedrock here….well they are not moving in a hurry! I know if I have my big lens on and use them ..it is not moving..ever hahaha πŸ™‚ hugs Bev

        March 6, 2015
      • LOL, I can’t stop laughing this it too funny, brilliant stuff Bev. Well looks like you will have to get a new tripod. πŸ˜€

        March 6, 2015
      • I just may have too..until then…I shall be with camera on fence posy with a piece of straw in my mouth..no wonder the roos just stand there watching me..they think I am insane….they may be right πŸ˜‰ hahahaha

        March 6, 2015
      • Haha, yep, the roos have you all worked out. πŸ˜‰

        March 6, 2015
      • Bwahaha smart animals πŸ˜‰

        March 6, 2015
      • You said it. πŸ˜‰

        March 7, 2015
  34. Hi Leanne, I am with you, buy the best tripod you can afford, they are cheap compared to the camera and lenses we buy, and it is most likely that the tripod will live through several cameras given the way they are upgraded regularily!

    March 6, 2015
    • I totally agree, a really good point, the first one I had, I had for over twenty years, I know I will have this one for a long time too. thanks for pointing that out Janice.

      March 6, 2015
  35. Thanks Leanne great post and pics 😊

    March 6, 2015
  36. Thank you for this important info. I think I need to also buy a little red wagon to carry all the equipment. πŸ˜€

    March 6, 2015
    • Haha, that would be good too, husbands can be handy for that sort of thing, until they wise up and won’t come anymore. πŸ˜€

      March 6, 2015
      • My hubby already told me he will not carry any of my big ars’d camera for me. He thinks that all I simply need is a smart phone with a 20 mega pixel camera. πŸ˜€

        March 7, 2015
      • Okay, so maybe best not to take him with your. LOL πŸ˜€

        March 7, 2015
  37. lensaddiction #

    Good topic for discussion. I was lucky when I got my first tripod and got an Induro kit – legs and head – and it was a solid Al tripod with a reasonable head and tall enough! Bent the legs in a car accident and replaced with nice tall Manfrotto click legs, again Al and late last year I spent AGES doing research on heads and finally got myself an Acratech Ball head which is incredibly tiny but also sturdy. As others have mentioned you need to have a good head as well as good legs.

    (side comment for those who wanted to shoot/pan moving subjects there is a specialty head called the Wimberley which is designed for big lenses for bird photographers that gives you the best of both worlds, its a tripod head on a gimbal – expensive but apparently worth it)

    Like you I prefer the clicker legs – kept unscrewing the other kind. I also looked at how much you pay for carbon fibre vs the weight savings and you pay 2 -3 x as much but only save maybe 20-30% – its simply not worth it.

    I hand carry my tripod – it has a couple of padded bits at the top of the legs for that and I find it not too much of a burden. Recently carried it for a 3 1/2 hr walk and got it bit tiring towards the end but not as heavy as my backpack became LOL.

    When I first got my tripod I was afraid of it but when I saw the different it made to the sharpness of my images it was an instant sell. Now I am doing long exposures its an absolute necessity, but where possible I do all of my landscapes via tripod.

    There is one point about shooting with a tripod that I have found has begun to have an appeal, it slows you down, makes you think more about your image and composition. You have to take more time to setup and be in the right place etc and I find that makes me get more involved with the scene, gives me time to linger and consider other options, rather than SNAP SNAP and move on. I have made some of my better images for this reason, and I think its an unappreciated benefit of shooting on tripods πŸ™‚

    March 6, 2015
    • Some great points Stacey, I did a bit the same when I got my tripod, though I did go for Carbon Fibre, it doesn’t bother me the weight thing, because it is an advantage sometimes having a tripod that is heavier. I know I wanted a ball head and got the best one I could for the legs. I am not unhappy with it, though have thought at times I might replace it with a geared head at some point, but no idea when.
      I carry mine, but recently got a new back pack that will take the tripod, which is very nice, I like that.
      I really like your last point and think you are spot on there. It does make you slow down, and I guess it is that thought, well I’m all set up what else can I take.
      Thank you Stacey some really good points there, thanks for sharing them with us. πŸ™‚

      March 6, 2015
  38. It was difficult when I bought my first tripod, so many options. I think this post is great !

    March 6, 2015
    • There are, and it is hard to know what is good and what isn’t. I hope you got a great one. Thank you, glad you think so.

      March 6, 2015
      • I bought one with a ball-head. So far, I’m happy with it, and I’ve been in harsh conditions (lapland, -30Β°c). Was functionning well.

        March 6, 2015
      • That sounds like it was a good test for it.

        March 7, 2015
  39. Ed #

    Excellent topic, in my case its my venerable Manfrotto aluminum tripod with a monopod for backup while hiking. I’m finding the older I get the more I wish I had a carbon fiber tripod for the weight but what I have works so I won’t change.. πŸ™‚

    March 6, 2015
    • I was a bit the same with my old one, but it was the screws for the legs that I was having trouble with, I’ve lost a lot of strength in my hands and I couldn’t do them up tight enough and then one leg would stop collapsing, not ideal. Thanks for sharing Ed.

      March 7, 2015
  40. A very under-rated piece of equipment that is oh so essential and does need to be thought about. I have three different ones plus a monopod – and as you say it depends on what camera you are using and how far you have to haul the thing…my go to for 90% of my work is an old Gitzo with a ball head – it goes low and also very high – downside is it is heavy (but the weight makes it stable).

    March 7, 2015
    • I think so too, if you are serious about your photography, I think it is essential,. I only have two. Sounds great Robert. Thank you for sharing that with us.

      March 7, 2015
  41. An interesting and informative explanation Leanne, thank you. I’ve been using a tripod for some time now. Unless I’m going walking in an urban type setting or something very ad hoc, my camera is on the tripod. In many cases, I am also using a two step remote for making the images. That’s another thing that only makes sense on a tripod. The other time a tripod (or monopod) becomes essential is when using larger lenses that end up supporting the camera.

    March 7, 2015
    • Thank you John, glad you like it. I am the same with the walking around, and often do that sort of thing too. Though for serious images I like to use my tripod, rarely I don’t. I use it and I don’t, it is a judgement call, the thing I had the most is when I don’t have it and really wish I did.

      March 7, 2015
  42. Reblogged this on Tangent.

    March 7, 2015
  43. Great advice Leanne! I don’t use tripod very often (so much light here most days), but when I use it it has to be sturdy. Poor quality ones are worse than no tripod at all, in my humble opinion.

    March 7, 2015
    • So true, the better the tripod the better the photos. I use mine quite a bit at the moment, though who knows what I will be shooting later on. Thanks Tiny for sharing that.

      March 8, 2015
  44. Great discussion on tripods. I have one, but I have only used it for long exposure night photography. I was using a 24mm prime lens on it so I’m not sure how it would be with my heavier zoom lens. My biggest problem is that I’m somewhat of a klutz and I trip over the legs and bump into it! πŸ™‚ thank you for explaining the importance of having a tripod.

    March 8, 2015
    • Thank you Kirsten, LOL I can’t get past the tripping big, though I haven’t tripped over it, I have kicked it by accident a few times.

      March 8, 2015
      • Well, it’s nice to hear that someone has kicked it at least πŸ™‚ lol I do like the photos I capture with a tripod, especially at night.

        March 9, 2015
      • I am sure you aren’t alone, it is especially bad at night for me, I can’t see the thing. πŸ˜‰

        March 9, 2015
  45. I use a carbon fiber tripod. The weight is a factor but for winter shooting in -10C and lower, Aluminum sucks the heat painfully out of your fingers. CF has a much more neutral temperature profile.

    March 9, 2015
    • I would never have thought of that, it doesn’t get that cold here, ever, so not something to think about, wow, that is amazing. Thanks for sharing that.

      March 9, 2015
  46. Quite the discussion here… One thing not really mentioned is that the weight of the tripod varies inversely to the weight of your camera. In English, the heavier the camera the lighter your tripod can be. With a light camera you may need to depend on weights or sandbags to add stability on windy days.
    I currently have three tripods. One lives exclusively in my office/studio and the others are in the back of the van.
    One very light for hiking the other a sturdy aluminium for shorter treks or macro work. Believe it or not two were found at the thrift store… with good quality ball heads! So if you’re on a budget…
    The other is a good generic model with the name of the photo store stamped on it.

    Great post and discussion.

    March 13, 2015
    • Though that doesn’t quite make sense either, if you have a heavy camera on a tripod that is too light, then the tripod may not be able to with stand the weight of the camera and a strong gust of wind could blow it over, I have a friend who will you that as she watched her camera get blown over into a mud puddle.
      I think you should decide on weight of the tripod, according to the type of photography you want to do. I have a heavy camera and a heavy tripod and I feel quite certain in strong windy conditions that my photos will be okay.
      Good to have different tripods for different situations, I like that idea. Thanks for your contribution to the discussion.

      March 13, 2015
  47. This was a timely entry as I am going out to get a new tripod this week! Thanks for the advice.

    March 14, 2015
    • That is wonderful, I hope it helps you when you go to get it.

      March 14, 2015
  48. I use a tripod for nearly everything I do, to the point of having a second smaller one to take on my motorbike travels. One of the hidden benefits of investing in a decent tripod is that the easier it is to use and the more effective it is, the more you’ll use it!

    March 14, 2015
    • That’s a great point Noeline, I use mine a lot, but I also hand hold a lot, I think it depends on what I am trying to get. Thanks for sharing that.

      March 15, 2015

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 3 Things I’ve Read Last Week | Digital Film Revolution
  2. Using ND Filters for the first time | Photographic Jewells

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: