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Camera Tripods Buying Guide

It doesn't really matter how high tech and modern your digital or DSLR camera might be, if you have to use a slow shutter speed and you try to do it without a camera tripod, you will get substandard results.

Here is what we mean: You can have all kinds of knowledge about the right settings for the lens, the aperture, and the shutter speed. You can focus in on the subject in a very appealing and attractive way. If, however, you open that shutter and allow the camera to move even a tiny amount, the image is ruined. Camera shake leads to blurriness, and though this might result in a unique look to the image, it eliminates the razor sharp focus you wanted.

The only solution at such times is to use a tripod. Naturally, not all tripods are alike, and this discussion is going to help you choose an ideal tripod for your needs.

The Issues to Consider

When you begin to look at the options for tripods, you are going to get overwhelmed. There are many types of tripods, dozens of manufacturers, and all kinds of materials from which to choose. This is why we suggest the following tips for choosing an optimal model for your needs:

  • Your height - Use your height as one of the major issues in choosing a tripod. Why? Let's just create a simple illustration - you are out on a photographic excursion and you find the ideal place to hide and get images of wildlife. You can keep the camera at eye height to do this, but your tripod is around six inches lower than your actual eye height. Because of this, you must bend at the waist and extend your neck for hours on end as you try to make shots. In the end, you would quit taking pictures long before you should because of the discomfort. Also, holding your eyes at an awkward angle may prevent you from seeing things accurately. So, measure your height to your eyes and then measure the height of the camera and the mount on the tripod and subtract it from your eye height. Whatever figure you reach is the one that your tripod must be able to reach.

  • What will you do? - Few photographers do only one type of photographic work, and this means you have to ask yourself what you intend to do with the tripod. This will help you choose the right materials as well as the right design. After all, if you say you will take the camera and tripod with you on hiking expeditions and days in the city, it means you want a very lightweight unit. The most common choices in materials will be aluminium or carbon fibre. The carbon is pricier but is more durable and lighter, and if you know you will use your tripod in places where you are toting it around, go for the lighter weights.

  • How will it need to work? - In other words, what sort of configuration is needed? Three or four legs? Collapsible to a small size? Easy release locks and extensions?  Really think about this because these are essential factors.

  • The load - How heavy is the camera, flash, and other gear you will mount on the tripod? Not all things weigh the same and not all units are meant to support great weight. Be aware of this or you can face a bit of a disaster!

  • What sort of head is needed? - Tripods have pan and tilt heads, panning heads, ballheads, and more. Explore the ways you intend to use the camera in order to choose appropriately. For instance, if you are doing sports photography, the panning head is a must. If you are doing close up work, you need a head with a lock and adjustability, etc.

The Pricing Issue

Once you have answered all of the questions above, it is safe to say that you are ready to begin narrowing down the options. Just as there are notable names in the field of camera making, there are also famous tripod makers too. Some of the most recognizable names include Manfrotto, Slik, Joby, Cullman, Benro, Vanguard, and many more.

The prices for tripods vary greatly depending upon the maker and the features you choose. Take time to carefully select tripods because they are a serious part of photographic success and are meant to protect the camera even as you take amazing shots.

Popular Camera Tripods Brands

Popular Camera Tripods brands are Vanguard, Manfrotto and Topman.

Find, compare prices and buy from NZ's best online shops.

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