Under certain shooting conditions, having a good tripod can be a factor more important than the level of your camera, especially when it comes to shooting panoramas, landscapes, interiors, macro. Since the cameras are updated much faster than tripods, the choice of a friend on one or three legs must be approached with all seriousness.
When is a tripod needed?
The most common reason for using a tripod is when shooting at slow shutter speeds, from 1/30 to several minutes or even hours. In the absence of a stabilizer, micro-smearing (decrease in sharpness) can occur at fairly short exposures, up to 1/125. The reason can be both uncertain grip of the camera and vibration from the click of the mirror. Such vibrations do not occur when using cameras in which the mirror is motionless or completely absent. They rarely appear in digital SLRs, if we are not talking about miniature versions - after all, this kind of movement is extinguished precisely due to the massiveness of the device.
The higher the focal length, the lower the allowable shutter speed, allowing you to take pictures without shaking. The allowable shutter speed can be roughly determined by using the focal length of the lens as a denominator (for example, for 250 mm - no longer than 1/250 sec.). Often, even in the daytime and under normal lighting, the telephoto aperture does not allow to provide the desired exposure for a short shutter speed. When shooting handheld, the maximum shutter speed is always limited. In many cases, the stabilizer built into the matrix mount or into the lens is also powerless.
According threeleggedtech.com A tripod allows you to firmly fix the camera in a position that is not always achievable when shooting with your hands (for example, high above your head). Another use of a tripod is the camera's inability to shoot handheld due to its size or design. The presence of a tripod suggests any camera that shoots on a sheet of film. Many medium format DSLRs are simply uncomfortable to shoot.
Choosing the right legs
Tripods can be divided into three large groups:
Mini tripods. The simplest options are a clamp, which allows you to attach the camera to a table. Table tripods ("spider legs") are most often made of ordinary plastic and are designed for digital pocket cameras. There are more serious options made of metal and designed for mirror devices (Rekam RT-D1, Kirk Low Pod).
One-legged tripods are monopods. They have a telescopic design and, as a rule, a removable head. Widely used in reportage shooting. Allows to reduce the strain on the hands during shooting and eliminate micro-wiggle that occurs at shutter speeds shorter than 1/8 of a second.
Tripods. The most common and effective type of tripod, found in the widest range. There are even options for tripods in which a central rod with a platform for the camera can be used as a monopod (Cullman 2800, 3430).
The reliability and stability of the tripod depends on many factors. In practice, however, the most important factor is price. Cheap options up to $ 100 from Continent, Rekam, Soligor, Unomat. As a rule, the body of such tripods is made of aluminum, the fixed heads are made of plastic. Typical disadvantages are head instability, low level of production culture. However, with a minimum of funds with compact digital cameras and lightweight DSLRs, such tripods can be used. For $ 150, you can count on a more serious option from Velbon, Manfrotto or Slik, which uses a removable head. A simple head is likely to be included. Professional tripods cost from $ 250 and usually come without a head, the choice of which is entrusted to the photographer himself.
A tripod head is a device that is responsible for the exact position of the camera in space. There are four types of heads: 2D, 3D, ball, panoramic. For quick installation of the camera on a tripod head, there is a Quick Release. The camera is screwed to the platform using a regular thread, and on the head it is fixed with a quick-release fastener. The use of removable platforms is most convenient when there are several cameras, to each of which it can be screwed in advance. But even there is only one camera, such accessories greatly simplify the shooting process (especially for ball heads).
Most modern cameras have a 1/4 ”thread for mounting a tripod. In devices of medium and large format, 3/8 ”thread is more common. Professional tripod heads, as a rule, allow you to install cameras with any thread. The heads themselves are mounted on a tripod with a 3/8 ”thread. Therefore, when it comes to professional products, it is common practice to mount a head from one manufacturer on a tripod from another.