Anybody interested in photography and with an ambition of doing a little more than point and shoot will need to understand the different types and uses of tripods. Whenever you want to capture an image or scene with more dynamic range, the tripod will be the one tool that you cannot do without.
What is a Tripod?
A tripod is a three-legged device that provides additional support for your camera. Not only do tripods allow better handling of your camera, they also enable you to improve the quality and composition of your images. Keep in mind that tripods are not only for providing support to your camera but they can also be used for supporting other photo-related items such as holding flash units, light modifiers, strobes, reflectors etc. However, the primary use of a tripod is to allow you to hold your camera with more stability and to be able to focus on the scene or image you are trying to capture.
Advantages of a Tripod
There are a few major advantages of using a tripod. Tripods provide support for heavy camera and lens combinations. This is especially true for people who regularly engage in extended photography sessions. Tripods can simply make your life easier. Tripods also help in nighttime photography as well as situations where the light is dim or where you don't want to use the flash or where using the flash may not be appropriate. In addition, tripods can help sharpen images as well as reduce blur in certain situations.
Tripods are also a very interesting tool for people who want to achieve more than just a regular and instant image. Tripods enable you to slow down, think about the scene you're shooting, evaluate how you can make it better, change your settings as per how you visualize that image and then shoot. In other words, tripods allow you to do more than whip out your camera and press click.
Types of Tripods
There are many different types of tripods:
These are generally the most portable as well as the least expensive of all types of tripods. The legs and heads of this type of tripod remain permanently connected. An all-in-one tripod is generally a good choice for beginners and for first-time tripod users. As you become more familiar with the tool, you can choose another type depending on the type of features you require in your field of speciality.
Travel tripods are ideal for those who require portability. They are small and compact and you can easily store them in a bag when you travel. There are different qualities of travel tripods available in the market. The less expensive ones are generally made of plastic while the more expensive ones are made from carbon fiber. The type of travel tripod you decide to purchase obviously depends on your need, skill level, and budget but you do need to keep in mind that a travel tripod may not offer the same functionality as a regular tripod since their main focus is on providing portability.
A studio tripod is generally considered to be the best type of tripod for those interested in serious photography. Most professional photographers opt for a studio tripod when they do not have to worry about difficult commute or long-travel times. However, if you are still new to tripods and your photographic expeditions involve significant travelling, you may want to start off with a travel tripod and progress to a studio tripod for local events and photography sessions.
Pocket tripods offer even more portability than travel tripods. They are usually very small - about 4-8 inches tall and can be used for taking quick self-portraits. Your pocket tripod will not stand on the ground. You will need a stool or table to put it on. In addition, a pocket tripod will not extend vertically so you will have to maneuver the height of your camera according to where you place your tripod. In short, pocket tripods are primarily designed for portability. You should not expect too much from this type of tripod but they are still handy for those using small cameras, point-and-shoot cameras or even those using cameras on their mobile devices.
A monopod tripod only has one leg. The biggest advantage of this type of tripod is that it eliminates camera shake. However, the biggest disadvantage with this type is that you have to stay with your camera and you cannot walk away. Monopods are extremely light and easy to carry and are perfect for photographers interested in capturing wildlife and other natural sceneries. Selecting a monopod is definitely dependent on the kind of photography you are interested in or the type you specialize in.
In addition to the above-mentioned types, there are some specialized tripods that photographers often use. These include suction cup tripods which allow you to mount your camera to a car or glass and tripods with flexible legs which you can bend into any shape you want. There are also other specialized cameras which you can select depending on the situation and the type of photography you plan to engage in.
How to Choose the Right Tripod?
We understand that with so many options available, it may be difficult to decide which type of tripod will be right for you. Here are a few tips that could help you make the right decision:
First and foremost, you need to know your particular situation. If you work in a studio and will not be lugging the tripod all over town, you can opt for a solid studio tripod. They offer the best quality and the best functionality. However, if you are a traveler and do not want to be stuck with dragging a heavy and sturdy tripod, you could simply choose a travel tripod.
The second factor that you should consider when deciding on a tripod is your budget. If you are working with a low budget, you can simply go for an all-in-one tripod, plastic travel tripod or an aluminum tripod, However, if you are not very tight, you could choose carbon fiber as that is ideal for landscape photography and rigorous travels.
If you need more assistance or clarification with respect to the different types of tripods available, you can contact us at Photosavings. One of our associates will be happy to assist you with all your needs.