Choosing the right Tripod
If you have a camera, sooner or later you’re probably going to want a tripod. Obviously, you want a sturdy tripod (especially if you have a DSLR or heavier camera). But what else should you look for in a tripod?
First, think about the device you’ll be using the tripod with. Cell phone tripods are relatively inexpensive. And while the features on the higher-end tripods can be very helpful, they are not needed for every application.
One feature that can be very helpful is the ability to level the head apart from the legs. With higher-end tripods, the head and legs can be purchased separately. This way, if you’d like to use a slider on your tripod legs, you can just take off the head. Also, quick release plates come in handy, like when you want to take your camera off your tripod for some handheld video.
Ball Head vs Fluid Head
The most important part of the tripod is where your camera mounts to it. If you are shooting mainly photos, a ball head is a great choice. They allow you to pan, tilt, and rotate the camera in any direction to achieve the shot you’d like. Fluid heads are better suited for video. Smooth panning and tilting is what fluid heads are known for. Some models have different settings for the speed/resistance of the pan or tilt, called drag; this will smooth out the movements even more so.
Also, think about the portability. A compact tripod can be great for traveling, whereas a heavier, sturdier tripod might be better for use with a slider. Travel tripods can be attached to certain backpacks to carry easily. The larger video tripods normally require their own large bag.
If you’re looking online for tripods, see if you can find one in a local store. You’ll be able to feel how sturdy it is, see if it feels cheap, and find out more clearly if it meets your needs. You’ll be able to make an informed decision on a tripod that can last for a long time.
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