Choosing tripod

5 years ago10 min

Choosing tripod

There are currently several makers of tripods on the market. They offer tripods, monopods, stand heads. I will not discuss brands. I would like to tell you about how to choosing tripod.

Most tripods fall into categories, depending on their functions and supported camera weight. Roughly, tripods can be divided into two groups: professional and tripods for amateurs. I will take up professional products towards the end of the post and begin with tripods for amateur photographers.

The most important thing about the Pro (professional) stands is that they serve an exact purpose. There are Pro stands for still cameras and stands for video-equipment, while camera tripods for amateurs can be used in combination with both variants.

Each tripod has a few important parameters: maximum shooting height, maximum legs’ height, folded size, weight, maximum supported load, recommended work load, distance between the legs, number of sections, type of head and quick-release platform. Manufacturers list these characteristics in their catalogues. If you want to buy a tripod, you should base your decision on the product description rather than on how the tripod looks to you. If you don’t have it in mind, it will be a waste of money and your photos will lose quality.

Camera tripod with three legs and a centre column are called tripods. The centre column can be used to increase the shooting height. Some tripods have a centre column which can help you transform your tripod into a monopod. Parts of a tripod are legs, lock nuts, braces and the centre post. The most important thing about legs is the number of sections and locks. The majority of tripods have three-section legs. The more sections there are – the better for making the stand secure.

Camera tripod head

compact-ball-tripod-headTypes of tripod heads are ball-heads, 3D heads and custom-built panoramic heads. 3D heads have more control levers allowing for camera to rotate about a number of axes.
Ball-heads have one control handle to lock the camera in place. The camera mount cannot rotate in different planes. This fact gives you one advantage over 3D camera stands. Positioning the camera doesn’t take much time and you can fasten it with one move. But this type of head has its disadvantages, too. You won’t be able to make panoramic images and you can move your camera only in one plane.

Camera mount

Camera mount sits on the stand head and quickly secures the camera in position. Some camera mounts are supplied with bubble levels. They help to even out camera view which is especially useful for shooting panoramas, scenery and architecture.

Panoramic head


If you like to make panoramas, then you need a panoramic head. It will help you escape many typical problems of ‘stitching’ two frames together.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the material from which the tripod is made. Economy tripod are plastic with aluminium legs. Such tripods are light, cheap and offer fair performance.

Professional tripods can be made of magnesium alloy, titan or carbon fiber. These materials are just as good as aluminium. Professional tripods can also have plastic parts. But the plastic of such tripods is top quality.

When choosing a camera tripod, always pay attention to the load parameter. If you are going to use the stand with a big camera and long lens, the stand should be able to support their weight. There are three kinds of camera tripods depending on the maximum load: those supporting less than 3,5 kg equipment weight, tripods supporting from 3,5 kg up to 6 kg and over 6 kg.

If you are planning to use the tripod often, pay attention to how robust it is.

The model of the tripod is chosen, depending on its functions.

The chief purpose of your tripod is to help you shoot night time or panoramic images from a table, a railing or any other surface at hand. The essential quality of the tripod is its portability in terms of size and weight. There are many good camera tripods on the market.

Small-budget tripods

Economical tripods can support SLR cameras and allow photographers to shoot panoramic images. A quick release platform will be a plus. The model is suitable for those who want to have the tripod accessory.

Continent TR-A1

Continent TR-A1

Semi-professional tripod

Light, robust and affordable, semi-professional stands are just perfect for those who wish to turn hobby into profession.

Manfrotto Modo Tripod 785B

Manfrotto Modo Tripod 785B

Benro A-300 EX/BH-0

Benro A-300 EX-BH-0

Professional tripods

Professional tripod are made of high quality materials because they are supposed to be often used.

Manfrotto 190XPROB + ball head 804RC2

Manfrotto 190XPROB + ball head 804RC2

Benro Carbon Fiber C-series tripod C-258

Benro Carbon Fiber C-series tripod C-258

Before paying for the tripod, test it: mount the stand, fold it back up again, check if the clamps and levers work properly and make sure that the legs’ locks move smoothly.
Make the choice right – get guaranteed good pics.

See also: Tripod for camera

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