A good tripod can bring your photography to new levels, yet most people never use one.
Here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you to begin using a tripod and looking at your images in a whole new way.
Tripods give your camera a solid support in just about any situation you can imagine.
A good tripod...
gives you more time to compose your images.
allows you to shoot at slower speeds which in turn, can provide greater depth of field.
allow you to have your hands free for other things like a flash.
allows you to capture identical images with different settings - HDR images? 5.
enables very slow shutter speed images like star trails Most tripods are light-weight and fairly easy to carry.
Some come with foam insulation around the legs which adds bulk, but creates a nice cushion when carrying the tripod on your shoulder.
Look for one that has independent legs that are only connected to the center column only at the top.
These will usually allow you place the tripod almost flat on the ground.
Two popular brands are Gitzo and Bogen, and both can usually be found in your local camera shop.
Tripods are commonly made from either carbon fiber or aluminum.
Carbon fiber tripods offer equal or greater stiffness, and are lighter weight, but more expensive.
Keep in mind that though they are durable, a direct impact could shatter a carbon fiber leg while only denting an aluminum one.
Your tripod also needs to be strong enough to support your largest lens and camera combination.
Tripods are meant to offer you sold support for your camera.
With that in mind, you should find one that rises up to roughly your eye height and skip any with a center column that rises up any further.
Raising the center column negates the advantages of your sturdy tripod, so avoid them whenever possible.
It might be possible to remove the center column and mount your tripod head directly to the legs.
If this isn't an option, make sure to keep the center column as far down as it will go and lock it there.
Most tripods are sold without a tripod head.
There are many options here and personal taste often comes in to play.
Some things to consider: 1.
Most inexpensive tripods come with a pan/tilt head.
These are the ones that have two knobs you turn in order to move the head around.
Avoid these like the plague.
They are awkward to use and if you are learning to use a tripod, these could put you off for good.
Ball heads are, without question, the way to go.
These have a single ball with a spindle on top where you mount your camera.
They provide easy and smooth movement, and the better ones allow you to adjust the tension/resistance of the movement allowing very fine adjustments.
Arca-Swiss and Kirk Enterprises both make excellent ball heads.
It should be noted, that ball heads are not the best for very large lenses i.
400mm and up.
If you are shooting with lenses like these, consider a gimbal-type design, like the ones made by Wimberley.
Use a quick release, which will enable you to quickly mount and un-mount your camera to/from your tripod.
To use these, attach a plate to the bottom of your camera, and then simply click the plate on your camera into the ball head.
Put a plate on every camera body and all lenses that need them.
You don't want to be switching plates each time you change camera bodies.
Keep in mind that the plates must be compatible with your quick release system.
Both Arca-Swiss and Kirk make plates for your camera bodies and lenses.
Really Right Stuff also makes plates for just about every camera and lens.
Theirs are very well designed and manufactured.
Using a tripod gives you time to compose your image and forces you to look at what you are producing.
They can be a bit awkward at the start, but with practice, they become second nature to use.
Use one on your next shoot and see what an improvement a tripod can make to your photography.