GB Sports Photographer & The Panasonic LUMIX S1

Top tripod tips number 1

Over the coming Photo Month, we'll be bringing a collection of ten tips for buying and using a tripod. Here's tip number 1.

|  Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
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A tripod is most definitely a good idea and will almost certainly let you take some pictures that you couldn’t without one, but they are not convenient. For example, if you want to do blurred water pictures or shoot with maximum depth-of-field and greatest image quality, a tripod is a must. It will give you the freedom to achieve what you want.

So Tip number 1 is buy a tripod that you will use. This might seem obvious, but it is easy to be carried away when you are in the camera shop and end up buying a tripod that is so heavy or impractical that it never leaves the car boot. It is all very well thinking that the tripod is lovely to use and portable in the shop, but the reality can be very different when it is freezing cold and you have miles to carry the thing, so you need to think about this. Also, some tripod features sounds great in the shop, but in practice you might not use them so save your cash.

Things to look for when buying a tripod.
The legs. Extend them fully and make sure they go to the height you need. And they check stability and rigidity by twisting the shoulder of the tripod. Less good models can twist too much which is not a good thing.

Tripod legs

The head. Not all tripods come with one, but most do. Optional heads are made by Manfrotto. In terms of operation and handling, look at how the camera locks into position. Are the locks positive? Is the head as good shooting vertical-format images as it is with horizontal ones? If you want to shoot movies and stills, you may end up with two heads.

Tripod head

The quick release system. Some tripod heads allow direct attachment of the camera via the screw bush; many tripod heads have a quick release system with a plate that you can leave permanently in position on the camera. Check how solid the quick release system is and how easy it is to use. A poor quick release system can cause more problems than you think.

The leg locks. Legs locks should be comfortable and quick to use as well as secure. There are two main types: twist grip or lever lock. One tripod that uses neither is the innovative Manfrotto Neotec that has its own unique leg-locking system – all you do with the Neotec is pull out the legs to the required extension and the internal mechanism automatically and firmly locks the legs in position.
Both types of leg lock have their pros and cons so do check your prospective purchase. Twist grip locks can be more slightly uncomfortable to use but are very secure. Lever locks are fast to use but may need periodic checking to make sure they lock tight.

Tripod leg locks

The feet. Most tripods have rubber feet, but some offer the option of rubber or spiked feet. Spiked feet might be available as optional accessories or there might be both types in one.

Look at our other Top Tripod Tips
Top tripod Tips - Number 1
Top tripod Tips - Number 2
Top tripod Tips - Number 3
Top tripod Tips - Number 4
Top tripod Tips - Number 5 
Top tripod Tips - Number 6 
Top tripod Tips - Number 7 
Top tripod Tips - Number 8 
Top tripod Tips - Number 9 

Find the tripod to suit your needs at

Don't forget to enter our exclusive competition where you can win one of six Manfrotto 190XPROB tripods!

You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.
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