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Benefits Of A Tripod

manfrotto 055As I run frequent photographic workshops, one thing that can be noticed time and again is the lack of a proper tripod. What do I mean by "proper"? I mean something that will hold your gear steady and safe, without them landing on the ground on the first blow of the wind. Even people with expensive gear seem to arrive with low priced and basically, useless tripods.

I believe these are some of the reasons:

  1. We buy our new camera kit from the local shop and when we ask for a tripod, they offer their own brand, basically, the cheapest and most profitable to them. Answer? Do not trust them, do your research first.
  2. We believe that a tripod is nothing but a heavy item that will stop us from taking shaken pictures. With high ISO capabilities in new cameras, why do we need a tripod? A tripod is much more than that of course and here are some answers. If you are doing a lot of sunrise/sunset photography, low light means you will use very high ISO for a normal shutter speed and this means, low quality images. If you use a tripod, it means that you will slow down (yes, tripods do that). However, this is a good thing in photography as it makes you think about composition, exposure and all general technicalities, and the result will show on the final product.
  3. We believe that tripods are expensive. Actually, they are not (in comparison to the rest of our gear). Usually we buy a cheap one and when we realise that it is not good enough, we buy the second best, and maybe the third best. By the time we buy a proper one, we have already spent enough money to buy it in the first place.
  4. What would I recommend? Without trying to sell anything through the blog (I do not get any commission anyway) but through own experience, one tripod I would recommend for its stability and good price, would be the Manfrotto 055 aluminium series. Now, I wish Manfrotto would start paying me some commission.

Anyway, my advice is to ask before you buy, do a proper research.

Dimitri Vasiliou


 

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About Author

Dimitri Vasileiou is a highly acclaimed landscape photographer, writer and photographic workshop leader. A professional photographer for several years, he was born in Greece and currently resides in Scotland.

2 Comments

  1. Andy Brown

    Photography, like many hobbies traditionally practiced by predominantly a male audience, is well known for gadgetry. Much of this takes the form of what could perhaps be classed as bells and whistles – however, it can't be denied that a quality tripod should be paramount on any serious landscape photographer's list of essentials.

    It's true of course that good gear does not a good photographer make (more on this later!), however it will certainly give you an advantage over the less well equiped. My own tripod is currently a Slik Pro 400DX with a comparatively basic pan and tilt head – and I reveal this with a certain amount of embarrassment because it does not fit the 'spend at least £100' mantra cited by various sources in the industry. Why have I not upgraded? Simply because it still fits my needs, in that it has sturdy legs with secure locks and a relatively heavy weight that I feel comfortable with when shooting on shifting sands and rocky seashores. I've used this tripod over hundreds of hours and although somewhat battered it has yet to let me down. I'm conscious however, that new technology (particularly with ball heads), means I may not be able to resist an upgrade before much longer. However, like anyone considering a tripod I would add it's advisable to try before you buy. This isn't possible with internet purchases of course, but if you have the option of a well-stocked store near you then don't be afraid to take your camera in and ask to try out some possibilities. There is nothing to stop you making your purchase at a reduced rate online if you find a model that suits you!

    Consideration should be given to the type of surface you typically work on. If beaches, you may decide to plump for spiked legs to allow good purchase on sand for example. Height is something often overlooked – I see so many people extending the central colomn as far as they dare to gain a few extra inches, only to overide the stability provided by those splayed legs. Don't forget weight capacity either. Many of today's SLR's and lens combinations are suprisingly heavy and not all tripods have as high a rated capacity as they might. If you spend a lot of time shooting wintry scenes think about comfort – some come with leg covers to protect your hands from freezing metal, whilst others offer the option to open out the legs and remove the central column entirely so as to allow you a platform fractionally off the ground – a point of view that is so often overlooked.

    Ultimately go with what feels right and remember it's you that makes the shot – no matter what gear you use. If you love and are serious about landscape (and that's why you're here, yes?) then I agree you should look to buy the best and most practical for your needs you can comfortably afford. A cautional anecdote however; a good friend of mine who is an extremely talented, widely-published photographer owns a tripod that would draw withering sneers from the elitists, yet he recently went on a shoot with a guy who had spent well over £1000 on a premium model and head but couldn't take a decent photograph…

  2. Dimitri
    Your right of course, the cheapest way to buy a good quality Tripod is on Ebay. I have bought several professional tipods at a fraction of cost new . I don't care if there are a few scractes on it as long as it can hold a pro camera with a heavy lens it will do. cosmetics on a tripod don't get a better picture but a strong tripod dooes.

    RegardsPaul

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