How to choose a tripod that is right for you
Posted: 30 Nov 2017
On first consideration, tripods are very simple tools but when you’re looking to invest in one and start to do your research, it soon becomes clear that there’s often a lot more to consider than you might have initially thought and it can be hard to gage how much you should be paying for one.
For many photographers, however, a tripod is an essential piece of kit – it can help increase sharpness and depth of field in your images when using slow shutter speeds, as well as allowing you to rest heavy gear when you’re waiting to get that perfect shot. It can help you shoot portraits or HDR images, or help you take a steady video, or get perfect composition. Basically, most photographers can benefit from using a tripod, especially those who shoot landscape or at night.
So, what features and factors should you consider when making a purchase? Here’s our 3 top tips on how to choose a tripod that’s right for you – it’s easy as head, body, and feet!
Body: What are you going to use it for?
You might be tempted to go for the sturdiest tripod you can lay your hands on – after all you don’t want anything to happen to your camera. However, think carefully about where you’re going to be using your tripod. It’s a no brainer that if you’re doing travel photography you should invest in a lighter, travel tripod, but you might want to consider the weight of your tripod even if you’re not going to be straying far from home. Landscape photographers who often traverse across difficult terrains will want to invest in a lighter tripod that they can carry with them, while street photographers might have to think about shifting their tripod through the busy high street.
For those photographers that like to roam or battle through the crowds, the Kaiser Tiltall Travel Tripod 2 Go is an excellently sturdy tripod that’s still lightweight and very compact.
The key to getting the balance between lightweight and sturdiness is to know what your tripod is made from. Aluminum is incredibly lightweight, but it’s not the most reliable of structures, so if you’re shooting out in high winds, it’s unlikely you’ll get a nice sharp image. Carbon fibre is the optimum balance between weight and strength, although they generally don’t come cheap. Tiltall tripods are available in aluminum or carbon, so you can pick the tripod and material that suits you.
Head: What kind of head do you need?
There’s two different types of tripod heads that you need to get to grips with – ball heads and pan/tilt heads (or three way heads).
Pan/tilt heads use separate locks for the pan and tilt axes, meaning that you fix one axis while still moving the other. These are especially great for panoramic photographers. Ball heads are the most common kind – they use a simple ball and socket ball and socket joint giving you more control over where you point your camera, which is great for most photographers.
You might also want to consider a quick release system to make it easier to attach or remove your camera as it means you don’t have to screw the camera onto the tripod. Every modern camera comes with a thread on the botton that allows you to attach it to a tripod or a monopod, and we stock a range of Kaiser ball heads and Tiltall Quick Release Plates to fit.
Feet: Do you need to replace the feet?
Most tripod feet are made with non-slip rubber, as this tends to work well in most indoors and outdoor situations, though some advanced tripods will let you remove the feet to add on new ones. You can choose from plastic feet for indoors, or feet with spikes for rainy and slippery outdoor conditions. When choosing your tripod, you might need to consider whether it’s likely you’ll need to be able to choose the feet. Shooting mostly indoors or on flat ground? Rubber or plastic feet should be just fine. Shooting outdoors or in harsher/wetter conditions? You might want to consider paying more for an advanced tripod with detachable feet.
Click here to view our available tripods, or get in touch today to find out more about what we can offer.
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