In this blog we’ll be looking at 6 things you should consider when buying a tripod! The number one thing to consider when buying a tripod is: are you a photographer or a videographer? In other words: What’s your Workflow?
Photographers will often need a strong, heavy tripod with a ball head, a clutch or 3 way head, which can quickly and conveniently be positioned for vertical, horizontal or off-axis photography. A ball head is an excellent piece of gear for anyone who needs to quickly aim the camera and lock it in before getting a shot off. This will make your life all the easier for landscapes, wildlife, macro work, anything really detailed and precise.
Videographers, however, will need what’s called a Fluid Head Tripod. Fluid heads are so-called because they have fluid in the head. What this means is as you move the head it creates a friction or drag against the fluid which makes it easier to pan, tilt, and roam around with your head. This is vital if you want to get smooth, cinematic looks from your tripod shots. Although fluid heads are super for video, it’s a slower process if you use it for photography, and they’re often much bigger heads, which brings us to point number two: Size and Weight.
If you’re anything like me, then every pound counts. Carrying a huge tripod with a massive head alongside a bag full of cameras and lenses can quickly get exhausting. It’s ok if you have a car or you’re a nut for hiking, but if you just like to have a camera to hand and you don’t want to miss those everyday shots, then chances are you’re going to want something more nimble. Make sure you know what you’re going to do with the tripod before buying it. Which brings me to point number three: What’s it for?
When I’m in the studio, I just need a tripod that will stand still and not go anywhere. However, other times I’m doing a food shoot or some macro work, and I need the centre column to come up into position for a great overhead look. At other times I’m attaching a massive lens, so I need the tripod to really take the weight. And other times I’m just going for a walk and want to take something just in case. Your tripod can only do what it can do. You need to know first what you want to do, and then get the tripod, or tripods, that’s going to do the job. Don’t just get any tripod and worry about it later, as it’s definitely going to cost you in the long run. Which brings us to point number four: Pricing.
When it comes to camera gear, it really is a case of buy right, buy once. There are so many cheap tripods out there flooding the market and it’s easy to save a few bucks in the short term, but there’s no point putting an expensive camera on a cheap support. A tripod is an investment in you and your photography, so don’t be afraid to spend a little extra. And for those of you who want small, light, but still good quality, then make sure you go for a carbon fibre model, you’ll feel the benefits on your back and thank yourself later.
The last two points I want to discuss are a little more whimsical. Firstly, does it feel right?
Absolutely you want a tripod that makes sense to you, your life, and your workflow. But if you’re caught between two or three options that are equally as good as the other, then go with the one that feels right. After all, you’ll be using this gear for years, and it’s got to be something you enjoy using. So go with your gut, but only after you’ve done your research.
And the final point when buying a tripod is: Do you technically need a tripod?
There has been an explosion in camera gear the last couple of years and now you can get mini tripod, monopods, Gorillapods, and all manner of pods. Don’t limit yourself by looking at the traditional tripods, have a look and see if there’s an alternative? If you’re going to be shooting in small, tight locations, a monopod can be great. If you need to stick your camera to a tree, then a Gorillapod is going to be your friend. So guys before I finish let’s go over the six things you need to consider when buying a tripod:
1 – What’s your workflow? Do you need a ball head or a fluid head?
2 – Size and Weight, get what works for you.
3 – What’s it for? Don’t get a great tripod that you don’t need.
4 – Pricing. Pay for quality and it will pay you back in the long run.
5 – Does it feel right? Is this a piece of gear you’ll love using?
6 – Do you need a tripod? Have a look at alternative supports to be sure.
There’s a wide open field of camera stabilisation gear, so pop into store, or drop us a message and we’ll find the sticks to fit you.