are essential for serious work and come in all sizes and budget levels.
The best advice is to spend as much on a tripod as you would on a lens. Put it another way, there is no point spending several hundred of your hard earned cash on a brilliant lens and then sticking it onto a cheap, unstable tripod.
Aluminium tripods are cheaper and heavier than the same-size model made from carbon-fibre, but pods made from the latter material are not cheap. Never the less, the investment is worthwhile.
After the tripod, look at the tripod head. Poor heads are not worth using and take care with quick release systems that use plastic plates. Metal ones offer greater stability but regardless of the material, make sure the plate securely fixed on the camera. You only have to go to a dealer and try a few tripods to prove that particular point for yourself.
The only good tripod is the one you have with you. If it is so heavy that it is always left in the car, you have wasted your money. Get one that is stable, yet portable, extends to a comfortable working height but has the option of getting a real low viewpoint.
If you want to travel lighter, take a monopod. There are also walking poles - such as the Leki Sierra Foto system - that have a camera bush built-in so also double up as a monopod.
Names to look out for: Giottos, Gitzo, Hama, Manfrotto, Slik, Vanguard and Velbon.
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for more information.
Take a look at our dedicated Photo Month forum where you can upload pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have.
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