ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

6 Tips on Buying the Best Camera Tripod

Updated on May 22, 2013

What You Must Know Before Buying a Tripod

While tripods can be a tad unwieldy and you may not want to lug one everywhere, they can greatly improve your images. They will increase the sharpness of your shots, allow you to increase depth of field, improve your scenic and landscape shots and they're indispensable for macro photography and night photography. But not all tripods are alike, and not all photographers have the same needs. If you are shopping for one, you need to consider a number of things and ask yourself some questions so you get the best one for your situation.

Sharper Images, Better Scenic, Landscape & Night Shots

I hate when my photos come out blurry, don't you? Out of focus images are a drag, and a big reason for them is because of camera shake, even while using image stabilization. Ironically, the smaller and lighter the camera, the more difficult it becomes to hold it steady while you click the shutter. This is especially a problem when you are using a slower shutter speed. No matter how steady you think your hand is, you run the risk of ruining the shot with camera shake. While digital cameras make it easy to delete the photos we don't want, what do you do when you only have one shot and it's blurry? This is where a camera tripod becomes invaluable.

Using one whenever possible allows you to greatly improve your shots. The best tripods will allow you to get a sharper image and you have the opportunity to increase your depth of field for a more interesting shot. Scenic and landscape shots will benefit, and for close-ups and night scenes a tripod is key.

A tripod will hold the camera steady for a long exposure, i.e. a 5 or 10-minute exposure for low ISO settings and they are also popular for long exposure techniques like blurring moving cars.

Lightweight vs. Flimsy

A Cheap Tripod May Not Be the Answer

All tripods are not created equal, and you want to be careful and not "cheap out" or you could be disappointed. When looking for one, here are some considerations to help you find the best tripod to suit your needs.

Camera weight vs. tripod sturdiness and rigidity - If you have a small point-and-shoot, you can get by with a less expensive tripod, but if you have a Nikon D 3100 or other Digital-SLR with big lenses, a flimsy tripod might just keel over. It will likely not offer the support needed for a weightier camera. And if you are using it outdoors in windy conditions, you want to make sure your tripod doesn't blow over. The most important thing to keep in mind when buying a tripod is to make sure it is sturdy, otherwise you are defeating the purpose. If you have a pocket camera now but are considering an SLR in the future, keep that in mind during your buying process.

Other Considerations

Number of Tripod Sections - the fewer the sections the more solid it is likely to be. You may lose some of the compactness when folded, because the more sections you can fold the smaller it will be to pack away. You can usually find designs in three- and four-section models and again, consider the type and weight of the camera you will be using.

Extension posts - Most tripods come with extension posts, but you should consider whether it has a mounting screw on the bottom so you can mount for low-angle shots. Some have a hook on the bottom so you can put on a weight to make the tripod steadier. This is handy during windy conditions as it will help keep it stable. Some have a removable post so you can take it off and replace it with one of a different size.

Extended Height - What are the minimum and maximum extension heights? In some instances you want it on the highest point, but other times, for macro photography, you sometimes want to get really close to the ground.

Tripod Head - The two main parts of a tripod are the head where the camera mounts and the legs, which extend. The better (and usually more expensive) tripods are sold with the head and legs sold separately so you can choose the style of head you prefer. A popular choice is the ball head because it is easily adjusted in a variety of ways, but there are many different styles. Also, getting a tripod with a quick release camera plate is really helpful. This will allow you to remove the camera quickly, take photos by hand and then easily put it back on the tripod.

Material - Lastly, check out the type of material and construction. The best and priciest tripods are usually made of carbon fiber composites, while the average one is often of aluminum construction and a tad heavier.

By reading this guide and asking yourself a few questions, you will be able to figure out what kind of tripod will best suit your camera and shooting style.

Get the Best Tripod You Can Afford

My best advise is don't cheap out. You want a tripod that will last. Spend a few extra dollars and get one that is sturdy and strong enough to hold a fairly weighty camera. If you just have an inexpensive, lightweight point-and shoot now, think ahead. Maybe you will be in a position to get a nice SLR in the future and that is going to weigh a lot more. You want a tripod that will be able to support your gear and won't fall over if the wind pick up..

New Guestbook Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 

      5 years ago

      I could sure use a tripod. Thanks for the tips!

    • Knuckledown LM profile image

      Knuckledown LM 

      5 years ago

      great lens thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      zauberhut 

      5 years ago

      Great Lense! Such a tripod is on my wishlist!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)