How to Buy a Photography Tripod: 6 Features to Consider



Are you struggling to select the right images tripod? You’re not alone.

There are tons of of tripods available on the market right this moment, all with totally different options and value factors, so for those who’re new to the world of tripod images, then choosing the best tripod may appear unattainable.

Fortunately, selecting a tripod isn’t as troublesome as you may assume. I’ve spent loads of time buying tripods prior to now, and on this article, I share all my tripod-buying information. More particularly, I spotlight the six tripod options you must think about earlier than hitting that “Buy” button.

By the time you’ve completed studying, you’ll really feel far much less overwhelmed – and also you’ll be prepared to buy a tripod of your very personal.

Let’s do that!

Why do you want a tripod?

Best tripod for beginners

Before you select a tripod, it’s important that you just determine why you want that tripod within the first place – as a result of totally different tripods are designed for various functions, and also you don’t need to find yourself with the flawed product.

For occasion, do you want a tripod for panorama images to use in tough situations (e.g., capturing within the wind and rain)? Do you want a tripod for studio product work? Do you want a tripod for group-portrait selfies? Or do you want a tripod for the occasional journey images shot?

So ask your self:

Why does a tripod matter to me? What will I exploit it for?

And when you’ve answered, proceed with the remainder of the article.

Waterfall tripod photo

1. Payload (or load capability)

The first characteristic to think about when shopping for a images tripod is its payload, also referred to as its most load capability.

In different phrases: How a lot weight can the tripod help?

If you’re capturing with a giant setup – reminiscent of a telephoto lens on a full-frame DSLR – you then’ll want a tripod with a enormous load capability, particularly for those who plan to work in windy situations.

On the opposite hand, for those who plan to shoot with a small prime lens and even a smartphone digicam, then you will get away with a a lot weaker tripod.

To decide the minimal acceptable payload to your wants, think about the heaviest digicam setup that you just plan to use (together with equipment, reminiscent of flashes and wi-fi receivers). Individual tools weights can simply be discovered through a Google search.

For instance, my Sony A7R III physique weighs 23.2 oz (657 g), whereas my heaviest lens, the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8, weighs 52.16 oz (1480 g). So my heaviest digicam setup could be 75.36 oz (2137 g), and any tripod I purchase ought to have a payload of a minimum of that quantity.

It can be vital to think about the payload of the tripod head (or for those who don’t plan to use a separate head, the piece that attaches your digicam to the tripod legs). After all, you don’t need to purchase ultra-strong tripod legs solely to find yourself with a weak head! Note that some tripods include a head included, and whereas it may typically get replaced by a stronger choice, it would add to the associated fee – so ensure to look into heads and their payloads earlier than shopping for.

Best tripod for beginners

2. Tripod minimal and most peak

All tripods have a minimal and most peak, which is expressed of their product specs. The minimal peak is the lowest the tripod will place a digicam, whereas the utmost peak is the highest the tripod will place a digicam.

Now, not all photographers want an ultra-tall tripod (which have a tendency to be heavier and/or price additional). And not all photographers want an ultra-low tripod, which is sweet for getting down into place for panorama and macro work however is mostly ineffective for routine portrait images.

So take into consideration the form of topics you’ll be photographing and ask your self:

What is the optimum peak for my most popular genres of images?

Here are a few genres the place a tall tripod could be helpful:

  • Landscape images
  • Architecture images
  • Sports images
  • Portrait images

And listed below are a few genres the place a low tripod could be helpful:

  • Landscape images
  • Architecture images
  • Wildlife images
  • Macro images

Of course, the specifics will rely in your images fashion and pursuits, so don’t really feel you should comply with the lists I’ve laid out.

Note: If you’re tall, get a tripod that may attain your eye degree, as capturing from a bent place for hours on finish is extraordinarily uncomfortable. And for those who plan to shoot tall portrait topics, a tall tripod is an absolute must-have, as working from beneath your topic’s eye degree gives you unflattering outcomes.

Best tripod for beginners

3. Overall stability

Next, you must think about a tripod’s total stability (and your stability wants).

Yes, this partly entails the payload or weight capability talked about above, which gives you a good concept of whether or not the tripod can help your digicam and lens mixture. But there are different options that may have an effect on tripod stability.

For occasion, some tripods include retractable or detachable spikes within the tripod ft. These present additional stability by sticking into the filth or tender floor and are important for those who plan to shoot outdoors on tough terrain.

Other tripods include a retractable hook on the heart, which helps you to dangle weight to stabilize your setup in windy situations. Attaching a heavy sandbag to the hook is usually the optimum choice, however it’s also possible to get artistic in a pinch (e.g., you possibly can dangle a heavy water bottle and even your digicam bag).

If you propose to do critical panorama images (and even nighttime cityscape images), these extras could be a lifesaver – however for those who largely plan to shoot indoors, such options most likely aren’t value contemplating.


4. Tripod weight and folded size

If you propose to journey along with your tripod or apply it to the go, you’ll want to think about the general weight and folded size of the tripod.

You see, whereas giant, heavy tripods have a tendency to be very secure, they’re additionally troublesome to carry (think about lugging round a five-pound tripod whereas trekking by the mountains; it’s not enjoyable!).

So you want to strike a steadiness between stability and weight.

Now, the simplest approach to cut back weight whereas maintaining optimum stability is by buying a carbon fiber tripod. Most tripods are fabricated from aluminum, which is cheaper however very heavy, and carbon fiber is the pricier however lighter different.

For the frequent traveler or hiker, a carbon fiber tripod is mostly value the additional price – however for those who’ll be capturing nearly solely in a studio, an aluminum tripod shouldn’t be a downside.

Also, for those who plan to journey by aircraft, think about the folded size of your tripod. Some tripods are designed to be moveable, they usually can simply slot in a suitcase; different tripods have a tendency to be lengthy and unwieldy, even when folded utterly, and these fashions are not very best for the frequent flyer.

Finally, think about the general ease of folding the tripod. Most tripod legs are available in three sections, which implies that they get taller with every part you open. Some tripods, nevertheless, can include two leg sections and even 5 leg sections. More leg sections equate to a longer setup and takedown time, which could be a downside for those who’re typically capturing in a rush.

Oh, and have a look at the tripod-locking mechanism, too. Most tripods use a twist-lock mechanism, which might get complicated in regards to the route you want to twist to lock or unlock the legs, whereas different tripods have a easy flip-lock mechanism that’s a lot simpler to use:

Best tripod for beginners

5. Tripod head and plate high quality

As I discussed above, some tripods include heads, whereas different tripods are simply legs (i.e., you’ll want to buy the pinnacle individually). So before you purchase, ensure you know what you’re getting!

Of course, like tripod legs, tripod heads could be mild or heavy, robust or weak. Carefully consider potential tripod heads in accordance to your wants, and be prepared to pay massive bucks for the sturdiest, most rugged heads.

What sort of head is greatest?

That actually will depend on your wants. A ball head is the most typical sort of tripod head, and it permits for 360-degree rotation. While a ball head affords unbelievable flexibility, many ball heads, particularly low-cost or low-quality ones, will slip over time and turn into much less secure. Thus it might be value shopping for a high-end ball head or one other sort of head to use in your tripod. Other choices embody pan-and-tilt heads and pistol-grip tripod heads (the latter are technically ball heads however with a intelligent twist).

Note that just about each giant tripod permits you to exchange the tripod head with considered one of your selecting, so for those who don’t like the primary head you purchase, you do have the choice to swap to one other (although the expense is usually appreciable!).

Best tripod for beginners

And don’t overlook to think about the standard and sort of the tripod plate, which is the piece that mounts immediately to your digicam. Arca-Swiss sort plates are one of the crucial widespread and common choices, however they’re typically tightened with an Allen wrench. On the opposite hand, there are tripod plates that characteristic twist screws, and you’ll safe these with out an additional software.

When shopping for a images tripod, I’d additionally encourage you to think about any helpful additional options; some tripods embody bells and whistles, reminiscent of:

Tripod-to-monopod conversion

Some tripods permit you to simply convert the tripod into a monopod by merely eradicating one leg and attaching it to the middle column. If you shoot sports activities or just like the thought of working with a extra versatile help system, this may be a useful characteristic.

A 90-degree heart column

Some tripods characteristic heart columns that may flip up and sit on the tripod at 90 levels. It’s a good way to shoot flat lay meals or product images, and it’s additionally helpful for macro images.

A built-in bubble degree

These days, many cameras characteristic an digital bubble degree, however it at all times helps to have a bodily bubble degree to guarantee your digicam is straight. Some tripods embody bubble ranges constructed into the middle column or head:

Best tripod for beginners

A carrying case

Some tripods include a carrying case for straightforward transportation. If you propose to journey continuously, that is at all times a good addition, although you do have the choice to buy a carrying case individually.

How to purchase a images tripod: closing phrases

There are loads of tripods to select from, and discovering the precise one can typically appear daunting.

Hopefully, this tripod shopping for information has helped you slender down your choices – so that you could seize sharp, well-supported photographs!

Now over to you:

Which tripod do you propose to purchase? Which options matter to you most? Share your ideas within the feedback beneath!


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