Do you ever take blurry photographs? Do you want to improve the quality of your photographs? Using a quality tripod is often the missing key to better, sharper photographs.
If you like to adjust your exposure settings, use a telephoto lens, or if you just want to experiment with the manual settings on your SLR, then you need a tripod. A tripod is especially important if you enjoy macro photography, landscape photography, night photography, and portraiture photography due to longer exposures.
So how do you find the right tripod?
Not All Tripods Are Created Equal
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of digital SLR tripods available today. With tripods materials ranging from aluminum and plastic to high-end carbon fiber, it’s hard to know where to start.
Once you narrow down your selection to the type of tripod, you still have to select from Canon tripods, Nikon tripods, Bogen Manfrotto tripods, Joby, Velbon, Gorillapod, Davis and Sanford, and more.
One thing is certain–not all tripods are created equal, and it’s easy to buy the wrong tripod. Let’s make sure you ask the right questions and find the right tripod for your needs.
Suggested DSLR Tripod Requirements
Here’s what you should consider when shopping for a tripod for your SLR:
1. Can the tripod support the weight of your camera gear? Make sure the tripod is capable of supporting the weight of your camera and lens system to avoid camera “droop” where your camera drops (or “droops”) after you set up your shot.
2. What lenses might you buy in the future (like a heavy zoom lens for example)? Try to select a tripod strong enough to support your present and future camera kit to avoid buying two tripods.
3. Check the maximum and minimum extended heights to make sure you can get close enough to the subjects you are photographing. Macro nature photography often calls for a tripod that can go very low to the ground.
4. Will you be taking photos outside? Verify that the tripod is heavy enough for windy conditions. Some tripods have a hook where you can hang your camera bag to decrease the likelihood of your tripod and expensive camera gear from blowing over.
5. Verify the setup time meets your requirements. Can you adjust the tripod quickly enough for the subjects you are photographing? Some tripods have a geared center column while others have a rapid center column for shorter setup and adjustment times.
6. Check the weight and dimensions of the tripod. A heavy tripod can make a hike a miserable experience, but a light tripod can shake like a leaf in the wind. If you will be carrying the tripod extensively, consider a carbon fiber tripod.
7. Finally, will the tripod accept the type of tripod heads you want to use? Most higher-end SLR tripods have removable tripod heads. There are both video and photo tripod heads available which are configured for different types of photography.
If you consider each of the above requirements, you will find it much easier to narrow down the list of available tripods to a tripod that meets your specific requirements.
About the Author:
Jason Ayers is a contributor to Best Digital SLR Reviews (site currently down) and uses a Bogen Manfrotto 055XPROB SLR tripod, a heavy-duty, 2.4 kilograms (5.29 lbs), aluminum tripod.
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