How to Select a Camera Tripod

How to Select a Camera Tripod
Tripods are used to decrease equipment movement when in use. A tripod can be very useful if you are a photographer, videographer, hunter, or birdwatcher. Choose a tripod specifically for the task you will use it for based on the size, movement, and maximum weight the tripod is designed to perform with.


Difficulty: Easy

Choosing a tripod

Step 1
Locate an optics, camera shop, or department store that carries tripods. If you are shopping online, make sure that the product description includes full product specifications.
Step 2
Find the weight of your product and ensure that it will not exceed the maximum carrying capacity of the tripod. Also examine your equipment for special mounting systems---most equipment on optic and camera tripods will use a standard mounting screw on a quick release plate.
Step 3
Decide what kind of tripod head you want. The head is the mobile part of the tripod to allow you to pan your equipment. Handled and handle-free heads exist---in general handled will give you more stability, while handle-free heads allow more versatility and freedom of movement.
Step 4
Check the weight of the tripod. If you are setting up a home studio a heavy, durable tripod will be necessary; if you are a birdwatcher, something lighter will suit your needs to a more satisfactory extent.
Step 5
Get a tripod with materials made for your desired use. Wooden tripods dampen movement from shutters and wind. Metal and composite tripods are lighter and easier to move, but are not proficient in their ability to reduce shake and vibration.
Step 6
Check the dimensions of the tripod. Tripods have an "extendable range," the smallest possible size up to the largest possible size. Also check the footprint diameter. If you are working in a smaller space, a smaller tripod will be necessary; larger working spaces will necessitate a tripod based on preference rather than functionality.

Tips & Warnings

Most components on tripods are completely replaceable and interchangeable. If necessary, you can buy a tripod and replace standard components with more desirable ones.
Never mount your equipment on a tripod without the legs fully opened and locked.

Article Written By Justin Chen

Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.

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