Why do we need a tripod?
As an amateur photographer, I always bring my tripod whenever I travel.
I bought this tripod for $30 and it's very light so it's easy to carry around. But I have to admit that sometimes I'm scared of using it when there was a strong wind. The tripod would be wobbly and we had to run to hold it to prevent it falling down to the ground.
Picture on the left: Our old tripod and on the right is our new Manfrotto tripod
Last December, we bought Nikon D7000 Camera and decided now is the perfect time to start looking for a new tripod which is strong enough to support our camera and is sturdy in windy condition. We also consider the price tag and our budget is between $200 - $300.
So we've looked around and found out the best tripods on the market, are made by Manfrotto. It's strong, tough, reliable, solid, made of aluminum so it's quite light and probably this is one of the best investment we'll ever make.
After going back and forth to many different camera stores, we finally decided on the combo set of Manfrotto 190XPROB leg and Manfrotto 804RC2 tilt head.
Tips before purchasing a tripod
Decide how much you want to spend on a tripod.
If you have a compact camera, $10 - $100 is more than sufficient to purchase a basic tripod.
However, if you have a DSLR camera, particularly with long lenses, I suggest you to spend a minimum of $100.
There is also heaps of used tripod on the market, so look around and you'll get the best deal.
Manfrotto Tripod Set Under $150
2Tripod Height & Weight and Weight Capacity
A strong, sturdy tripod is usually very heavy, because it's made of wooden or steel.
But at the moment, there are tripods which are made of aluminum or titanium which are not as heavy as the wooden one, but still able to hold the camera against windy condition and also uneven surfaces.
I saw so many friends leaving their tripod at home, because it's too heavy for them. So choose your tripod carefully. Bring your camera with you when you want to purchase the tripod so you are aware how heavy the camera & tripod will be and how comfortable are you in carrying them.
Check the maximum height of the tripod with your camera mounted in the tripod, will it reach your eye level or even higher?
I never have any problem with the tripod height, because I'm not a tall person. But if you're tall, make sure you check it out. You don't want to do lots of bending over while using the tripod, right?
Tripod's Weight Capacity
Check the maximum weight the tripod can support. You don't want to mount your 5kg camera & lenses to a tripod which can only support a maximum of 4kg weight, right? The tripod will be bended and broke if you try to do that.
3Tripod Leg & Locking
It's extremely important to check the tripod leg material. Is it safe and secure enough to be used in any surfaces?
Does it have the rubber boots to prevent the tripod leg to slide on smooth surfaces?
The maximum size of the tripod leg.
Tripod Leg Locking Mechanism
How easy is it to lock and release the tripod leg angle?
How secure the tripod leg lock?
And is it possible to set up each tripod leg to different spread angle and lock it securely (if you need to balance the tripod on uneven surface)?
4Tripod Ball Head
Cheap tripod already have the ball head installed as a built-in feature. But if you buy more expensive tripod, you usually will need to purchase the tripod leg and ball head separately. Even though many can be bought as a set: tripod leg and ball head.
Ball head is used to move your camera. There are many varieties of ball head, choose the features that you need the most. If you take many pictures from many different angles, choose the ball head which allows you to do so.