Wondering how to choose right tripod from vast collection available in the market. Given many choices about choosing a tripod, the major factors for consideration are:
- What kind of gear it should support?
- How light the tripod should be to enable ease of carrying it?
- How tall the tripod should be? How much weight the tripod can support?
- and Tripod construction material
In First Place why would a photographer need a tripod?
- Reduce shake or vibration due to muscle tension by hand holding your heavy gear.
- Do not worry about low light or low shutter speed unless your subject if fast moving.
- Can always choose low ISO thereby increasing the image quality considerably.
- Stellar Photography, Night Photography, Macro Photography, HDRI, Self Portraits, Slow-shutter Photography and what more you name it. All these wouldn’t exist without a tripod.
Weight it Supports
The main key factor in selecting your tripod is its load bearing ability. A light tripod cannot workout for a heavy lens. Ideally the tripod must support twice the weight of camera + heaviest lens of your gear.Also keeping in mind that adding a flash or battery grip, resting hands when shooting with long lenses will also add to the weight.
When the camera is on the tripod, its good that view finder is at your eye level. If its below eye level you have to keep bending always.Its better to choose a tripod without center column or its optional. Also the minimum tripod height must be considered for those who are interested in taking macro shots.
What should be the construction material for your tripod to last long. This is the most significant factor in choosing your tripod since you dont want it to be made up of some cheap fibre or plastic not withstanding the weather conditions or even weight of your camera. The lightest of them all would be something made up of carbon-fibre material but make sure you have quiet an amount of saving since they are very costly. Aluminium does provide stability and comparatively cheaper to carbon-fibre. Whereas Basalt lava stands somewhere between these two in terms of both cost and weight.
Tripod legs are of two forms, tubular and non-tubular. Carbon ones go in as tubular forms provided with a threaded twist-lock system to stay secure those legs but interestingly the other aluminium and basalt type ones comes in different shapes and importantly with a flip-lock. Hence more the sections lesser the stability.
Lets not complicate much on this segment, unless you plan a most exotic trip to shoot somewhere in Iceland, some greasy weather conditions, unbearable rain you would be more than happy to shoot with the normal standard rubber feet that comes with your tripod. If you insist go for the metal one with spikes.
Experts and professional wildlife photographers are arguably against the idea of a tripod with the centerpost. Practically it is most likely to create vibration while using a long telephoto lens. For landscape photographer this may not cause such an issue, but if you still insist on the part of centerpost then it would be better to make sure that it can well fall below the level of tripod legs midpoint.
Now the most important part of your tripod. This is more likely to play the major role in holding your camera equipment and steering your camera movement. A mediocre tripod doesn’t have this additional feature, hence it is better if you could add it to the gear list separately. The available choices are Pan-Tilt head, Gimbal head, Ball head. All these 3 heads are known for great ease and control providing wonderful stability to your camera motion.
Stability doesnt have anything to do with weight, so never confuse between these two. While choosing yours, make sure it can withstand load twice the weight of your camera. This will fix the other if’s and but’s necessarily.
Top 10 Most Selling Tripods
- Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs (Black)
- Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Aluminum Tripod
- Manfrotto BeFree Compact Lightweight Tripod
- Oben AT-3400 4-Section Aluminum Folding Tripod
- Gitzo GT2531 Series 2 6X Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod
- Induro CT-314 8X Carbon Tripod
- Manfrotto 458B Neotec Pro Photo Tripod
- Gitzo GT0531 Series 0 6X Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod
- SLIK PRO 700DX Professional Tripod
- Davis & Sanford VOYAGERLTB Vista Voyager Lite Tripod