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You are here : Home > Camera-Warehouse Digital Camera News > Tripod Buying Guide

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Tripod Buying Guide

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20/06/2014 5:13:00 AM by Camera-Warehouse

There was once a time that tripod was used by everyone. If you were a pro in terms of photography, you wouldn’t be seen without it even in your deathbed.

But what’s the reason behind the tripod’s diminishing? There were some observations that considered the extinction of these gadgets, even in young photographers. Though no precise conclusion has been made, but the use of tripods has gone from minimal to absence. Maybe one of the best causes of eradicating its use is because of the camera technologies nowadays. Imagine how easy you can take a shot even if you are on the move. Auto exposure, auto focus, and many other automatic features you can imagine are already incorporated in modern cameras. Even a small kid can create an acceptable image using them. This makes the picture production as easy as it can be, and thus dragging people in to a wrong direction of comfort in photography.

But never take chances of the words used, the images made by hi-tech cameras are indeed interesting but not in its excellence. Probably there are minimal chances of creating a technically poor image with a modern cam than old school manual cameras.

Although features like warning lights and vibration reduction are able to help, there are still some other factors that the modern cameras aren’t able to assist especially those sudden movements.

Tripods are actually virtually around since the cameras were born. But instead of using the accessory with ease, it was mistakenly overseen to be used within its advantage. More than expected causes of photo failures is the image fuzz, this issue should not be taken for granted and must always be on top of a photographer’s list.

There are also auto program features in cameras today that would adjust the right combination of the shutter speed and aperture in any instance, but this more likely falls into a failure for the shutter speed is pre-selected at a slower firing rate that may result into a blurry image. You might be confident enough that you are sufficiently holding your camera in its most still position to avoid shake but then you get surprised with the outcome after the shoot.

Some practical tests on cameras has proved that images can experience camera shakes even if it was set to a high 1/1000 sec rate so what more at the photos taken at an average condition at longer speed rates?

The most common thinking about tripods is of course, inconvenience. The terms used to describe such are, good, small, and light. These words seldom go together as a whole package. As a photographer, there are so many tripod variations you can choose from and two of the most important things to remember to obtain quality and stability are weight and size. These are usually your guide to get the best. In case to case basis, there still are exceptions, so before you buy you must first try.

There are so many misconceptions about having a tripod, one of these is: The lighter the camera, the lighter tripod you must have. Although you should not use a lightweight tripod designed for a smaller camera to a big DSLR, well everyone knows that a heavier tripod is actually better and more stable merely due to its weight. This means cameras will be more stable on a larger and heavier tripod than on a smaller one. The design of the tripods also depends on the make and design of the product. There are some heavier and larger ones that are not stable enough to support even a lightweight camera even if it’s of the same manufacturer.

How about the construction quality? Well tripods nowadays are interconnected with the use of rivets rather than bolts and nuts. If these rivets loose even a bit, it cannot be tightened that easy. If it may occur that the rivets break off, worst comes to worst, sometimes it cannot be replaced.

There are some instead of nuts and bolts have leg extensions that locks-in and can be operated easily and firmly locks when extended. If you can, try and extend the legs, lock them in place and push it down. If the tripod slips, don’t buy them. Slippage actually is the start of bigger problems come the age and wear. The important thing for a tripod is that the hinges should be strong, replaceable when damaged, and works smoothly. The life of your camera depends on it and if ignored, your tripod might tumble with your camera attached on it.

Almost all of the tripods have centre column, some of them have the easy height adjustment rack-and-pinion drive. No matter if it is manual or rack-and-pinion type, it should be rigid and very firm without any sign of movement.

There are also tripods with leg braces, it’s like an extra arm attached at one end of each leg up to the tripod top or just a sliding ring through the centre column. Those that are attached to a sliding ring are usually present to force all the legs to spread out equally. The braces atop that are attached to the column are for the legs and the whole tripod to be more stable.

But as far as the stability is concern, some of them work and some of them not. There are some designs that have quality construction. It’s not just because it has a leg brace automatically means it becomes stable.

There is a reason of not having leg braces. Like for example, if the tripod has its leg brace it cannot stick out its legs independently. If you would adjust one, then you’d end up adjusting the three legs. That’s quite fine on a flat ground. But what if you are outdoors where the ground is anything but flat? However if the legs doesn’t have braces, then you can easily adjust each leg independently.

How about the difference of a tripod with head and a tripod plus head? As told, cheaper tripods come complete with already fitted head – and you don’t have a choice. But there are better tripods that can be bought with the head as an add-on. This means you can purchase the tripod itself and you can choose the head that you think fits you.

Are you hoping for a perfect tripod? Well guess what? There is virtually none. All of the tripods are compromised. You may get a robust and rigid type but most probably it is way too heavy for you to carry or maybe you can get a lighter one but not sturdy enough for you to use unless you can get that super strong type titanium, magnesium, or  but of course it’s expensive.

If ever you get to find a head designed for a still camera like most of them, it may not be accurate for panning as when you use a video camera. As to having a video camera head, you may not get your desired range of movements for a still camera. Just always bring your camera along while purchasing a tripod or head so you can try them out.

When you are about to buy your tripod, make sure that you are in the right place. Bulk-stores and big chain-stores seem to have low end stuff and you might not get a semi-pro or pro tripods in them. There are also computer shops that sell cameras and tripods as add-on sale, but are also limited to low end types.

You could visit our store at 689 Princes Highway Tempe or check out our products online and you will see a full range of monopods and tripods. For the brands, you might want to check out for Vanguard Velbon, Slik, Gitzo and Manfrotto for they are already veterans in the business and are handled in Australia by respectable importers. Vanguard and Slik tripods aim to get the prosumer and amateur market while Gitzo and Manfrotto are aiming from prosumers up to top-end professional usage.

For the pricing of tripods and head, that might be depending on what you need and of course your budget. But if you are dead serious about photography and wants your $2000 worth camera to be on its deserving tripod, then you are looking at AU$350 at least.


Lastly, remember that the best existing tripod that you can have won’t really help your photography unless you actually use it.

Store address:
695A Princes Highway
Tempe NSW 2044
(02) 9558 3116
(200m from Tempe IKEA)