This post is a continuation on our Tripods Series (you might like to read our introduction to tripods first).
Head to your local camera store and you’ll be confronted with a massive range of options for tripods. They come in all shapes, sizes, weights and have an array of accessories and options for connecting to your camera. How should you select one? Here are six things to keep in mind:
A tripod’s weight should be considered from two perspectives. Firstly remember that you (or someone else) is going to need to carry it around with you. If you are going to use it for traveling or will carry with you a lot you might want to go for a lighter option. Secondly weight is important as you consider what you’ll be putting on it. If you’re using a small camera with no accessories you’ll not need anything too weighty but if you have a DSLR, use larger lenses and add a flash to it you will probably want to invest in something that will take the weight.
Weight doesn’t always equal stable. Test the tripod out with your camera on it if possible. Test it fully extended to see how stable it is. Will it be sturdy on a windy day? Will it take the knock of someone bumping it on the way past?
3. Leg Locks
There is a lot of variety between manufacturers when it comes to the mechanisms used for locking legs into place. A lot of it comes to personal preference but you will want to ensure that whatever method you choose you pick something that is easy to use and adjust but that will be strong and hold in place with the full weight of your camera on it. I personally like the flip locking that Manfrotto tripods offer (I’m told Bogen also has similar ones).