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  • Cindy Ellis

Choosing the Right Tripod

First of all why do I need a tripod anyway?

Tripod Benefits

Low Light/Low Shutter Speeds: A tripod allows you to obtain a sharper image in low light situations. Using a tripod with a remote control device or the camera's self timer will eliminate camera shake, the main cause of blurry photos when shutter speeds are low. Shutter speeds often fall low when you try to achieve broad depth of fields like in landscape photography and macro photography or when you use long telephoto lens that require higher shutter speeds for hand holding. Remember if the whole photo is blurry it is caused by camera shake. But if only the subject is blurry, you failed to obtain a high enough shutter speed to stop action.

Video: Tripod or monopod(single leg tripods) are great for video to reduce camera shake and allow you to keep the horizon straight. It also saves your back.

When choosing a tripod consider these features.

Height: How high does the tripod need to extend? How tall are you? Does it need to fit in my camera bag?

Head: There are many options in tripod heads from classic pan tilt heads to ball heads. Pan tilt heads allow you to "pan" or turn horizontally with the moving subject. The "tilt" allows you to tilt the camera vertically. Ball heads allow you to quickly get to any position.

Plate: Quick Release plates are a must if you plan to take the camera off and on your tripod often. The Quick Release plate remains attached to the bottom of your camera and can be quickly taken on and off the tripod.

Weight: Tripods are made of different materials. Some are lighter than others. Carbon fiber tripods are among the lightest.

Load Capacity: How heavy a load can my tripod support? Don't economize and buy a tripod that cannot support your camera's weight.

Tripod examples:

Hitcher is very compact and ideal for mobile phone but also will hold a DLSR or mirrorless camera with a small lens.

XC-M series is super compact and light and folds up to fit in most bags. Some models even convert into a monopod, Unlike the Hitchhiker, it is a tall tripod.

Some tripods are ideal for macro work since the column easily goes vertical. Vertical column also can be a great place to mount a wireless flash. Picture below in the Vanguard Altra Pro (+) series which is available with multiple types of heads.

Want to learn a little more about different tripod head visit the Manfrotto tripod website

Don't forget about the monopod. The single leg wonder that saves the photography back and steadies the camera quite well.. Great for video and sports photography. Some monopods even have collapsible feet.

Coming in to shop for tripod. Bring your camera and know the weight of your largest/heaviest lens so we can insure the tripod will hold your equipment safely.

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