"When choosing a tripod, buy the most expensive one you can afford, and the biggest one your wife can carry." – Chuck from McBain Camera
In the world of photography, the tripod often goes as an unheralded sidekick. It doesn’t command the attention and praise of a camera, but often times plays a huge role in producing photos that are crisp and professional. Buying a tripod will bring notable improvements to most photographers, and drastic improvements to some especially in low light, slow shutter conditions. Here are some things to consider when purchasing a camera tripod.
Knowing what style of photography you gravitate to the most is the first place to start when deciding on a tripod. Tripods, while very versatile, are not a one-size-fits-all solution, which is why most professional photographers have at least two. Are you going to be shooting a lot of nature shots? Do you prefer to take portraits? These are questions you should ask yourself before settling on the best tripod. A table top tripod will work great for close ups, a compact travel tripod is suitable for quick shots when traveling abroad, and a heavy duty tripod work best for photographers with heavy cameras.
The weight rating of a tripod is simply the maximum amount of weight that it can safely hold. This is important because a camera that exceeds the weight rating puts excess pressure on the tripod which can cause it to buckle and damage the camera. It would probably be a good idea to have some breathing room in regards to the weight rating. Cameras can be very expensive, so insuring their safety with the right tripod is paramount.
Few things make the back sorer than slightly bending over for an extended period of time, which is exactly what happens if you buy a tripod that is too short. That is why height is such an important factor to consider when choosing a tripod. Remember that the legs can be shortened if the tripod is too tall, but there is no way to extend the height if the legs are too short. A good way to know that you have the right size tripod is if the viewfinder is at your eyelevel with the camera placed on the tripod.
The build or make up of the tripod really comes down to personal preference. Stronger material last longer and is more durable, but weighs more and is more difficult to carry. Legs that lock with a twist or with a lever? Rubber feet or spikes? These little details should not be overlooked because they are what will allow the tripod to fit your unique style of photography. You should consider all the pros and cons and how they will effect your photos.
Cameras have come a long ways in reducing shake, but nothing really replaces the effectiveness of a tripod. However, a quick search online will pull up dozens and dozens of different type of tripods. Following the tips in this article will keep you from getting overwhelmed and choosing the right tripod that fits your needs.