• Matthew Brooks

Tripod Problems

Christmas is quickly on its way. Top of my shopping list for Santa this year is a new tripod. I currently have a Gorilla pod. However I didn't check the dimensions when I bought it and it turned out that it was the smallest one they do. It doesn't support much weight so I can't use my larger lens. Ok, it is way better than trying to hold the camera on photos with anything longer than 1/30th of a second and ending up with a shaky, blurry picture. However on the plus side it is magnetic, which is super useful when in nature surrounded by trees, mud and rocks... However I do find it useful taking long exposure on motorways at night. Nearly all the bridges across the motorway have metal handrails and barriers, so that does keep my mind at ease knowing that my camera is less likely to fall to the ground as its stuck there.

So what sort of tripod should I get? Full size or mini/travel? Aluminium, titanium, magnesium or carbon fibre? Ball head, trigger head or fixed? Independently moving legs or even bendable legs. So many things to think of when looking around. Ultimately it all comes down to your budget. They can range from anywhere from £7 anywhere up to £700 plus. Even more if it is for professional studio use.

The costs to consider are thing like material of the tripod. The heavier the material the cheaper it is, so aluminium is the cheapest £7-£130, then magnesium £40-£300, titanium third £100-£500 and finally the carbon fibre ones demand the big bucks anywhere up to the top end and above.

Of course one of the main points of a tripod is stability to get a crisp shot of something like a landscape or do long exposures (covered previously) and avoid any camera shake. There is nothing worse that spending ages composing a shot or getting to a awkward viewpoint to only find when you get home and zoom in on the pictures on the computer during editing that they aren't a crisp as they looked when on the screen of the camera. So you should at least get one that you know will handle the weight of your camera. Usually it tells you how much weight they can take in the listing online or in product info in stores. Personally I think it is beneficial to have a full size tripod plus a light/travel type one like a bigger gorilla pod or other brands which do similar bendy leg small tripods. These are particularly good on uneven terrain. Like on rocks. But again make sure it is sturdy enough and takes weigh of camera.

One of the best things to do is to go down to your local camera shop and speak to someone there as they can show you different features of each tripod and thing like how the legs lock out a many have different locking systems. So you end up spending a minute setting up the tripod instead of fumbling around like a fool not knowing how it set up.

And after spending weeks researching I had an idea of exactly the idea what I wanted. Then Black Friday came. So I bought one based solely on price; £49 instead of £249 normally. BARGAIN. But it is sturdy, will hold the camera perfectly, independently moving legs. So should you listen to me about exactly what tripod to buy..probably not. Guess its down to what is in your budget.

#photography #longexposure #tripod #christmas #equipment

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