Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, every photographer should know how to buy a tripod.
After all, a tripod is an essential and versatile tool of any camera kit - and can be used for a variety of photography styles. So, choosing the right tripod for your craft is an important lesson.
Why Do You Need A Tripod?
Let’s start with the basics - why do you need a tripod in your camera kit? A sturdy, reliable tripod is one of the most important pieces you could add to your camera bag.
First and foremost, a tripod provides your camera with support and stability - helping to ensure your images are nice and crisp. Tripods are also a necessity if you’re shooting in darker settings or with a long exposure to capture motion blur effects.
If you’re shooting a series of product images, tripods can also be handy to keep your framing exactly the same - which is something you simply can’t do by hand-held.
Aside from the photography benefits of tripods, these tools can also be great for hanging any lights to properly compose your images.
For all these reasons and more, a good tripod is an essential item in any camera kit.
How To Buy A Tripod
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the good stuff. Learn how to buy a tripod with these 6 must-know tips below.
1. Tripod Height
One of the first things you’ll need to consider when purchasing a tripod is the height. After all, you don’t want to be hunching over your camera when you’re shooting - especially if you intend to be working for a few hours.
For a much more comfortable experience, you’ll need a tall tripod that meets your eye-line.
2. Weight Rating
Weight rating is another important feature to take into consideration when purchasing a tripod.
This measurement will refer to how much weight your tripod can actually support. Many photographers overlook this detail, and end up purchasing a tripod that isn’t designed to support all of their heavier gear. This can be a dangerous game, as it’s only a matter of time until it collapses.
When purchasing a tripod, consider the weight you’re going to be putting on top of it - and make sure it’s designed to support this load.
3. Tripod Materials
The weight of the actual tripod is another essential feature to consider, especially if you intend to do a lot of travelling with your tripod.
After all, you don’t want to be lugging around a heavy tripod on all your trips - it won’t take long for it to become a burden.
The strongest, yet lightest material for a tripod is carbon fibre - though these can be quite expensive. Aluminium and stainless steel is much more affordable, but it’s a little heavier than carbon steel
4. Tripod Heads
Next, you’ll need to take a moment to consider which tripod head you’d like to use. This will largely depend on how you intend to use your tripod.
There are typically 3 styles to choose from, including pan-tilt, ball-heads, and gimbal heads.
Pan-tilt heads are the most common heads you’ll find in low-budget tripods - they often have dual handles for horizontal and vertical movements. Ball-heads have one control that tightens the camera into place and provides a wide range of flexible movement.
Lastly, gimbal heads provide the camera with perfect balance and are designed for heavier gear.
Each style offers different benefits - take some time to consider each of these before making a decision.
5. Additional Features
Aside from your tripod’s height, weight, and head - there will be a variety of additional features to make your user experience more refined and enjoyable.
Some common features include a quick release function, tilting centre posts, built-in levels, and more.
Consider whether any of these specific features are necessary for the type of photography you’re undergoing.
Tripod Ideas For Beginners
Are you on the hunt for a new tripod? Below, we’ve listed two tripod ideas for beginners - take a look!
Vanguard Vesta 203AP Tripod
Firstly, we have the Vanguard Vesta 203AP Tripod - a great, reliable option for anyone looking to buy their first tripod.
This 3-section tripod kit features an ergonomic PH-23 pan head with a smooth operation and a quick-flip leg lock that’s easy to adjust. It’s made from a durable aluminium, and can hold up to 3.5kg.
Not to mention, the anti-slip rubber feet make it a suitable choice for any terrain.
SmallRig Selection Portable Aluminium Camera Tripod
For any photographers looking for a durable, long-lasting tripod - you simply can’t go wrong with the SmallRig Selection Portable Aluminium Camera Tripod.
This particular tripod has a handful of unique features to make your next photoshoot a breeze. Its five-section legs are secured with twist locks and offer a maximum height of 1445mm while the two-section centre post allows for low angle/ macro photography.
The piece has a ball-head designed for panoramic shooting, with a quick release plate for you to switch between handheld and tripod shooting.
The tripod legs are 180° reverse folding and the aluminium material is very lightweight - making this tripod very travel-friendly. Head to the online store for more information.