Choosing Photo Tripods

Photo tripods can mean the difference between an average and a great quality photo. By giving your camera a rock-solid base, you'll open the door to many otherwise-impossible photographic techniques. This includes the ability to photograph in a wider range of conditions, as well as achieving sharper images. The broad variety of travel tripods and tabletop and mini tripods on the market means that with light and versatile options, your photo tripod can accompany you anywhere.


What Camera Tripods Are Used For

Tripods can both elevate and stabilize cameras. Tripod stands each have three legs, as well as mounting heads for the cameras. You can use tripods in either motion or still photography to prevent camera movement. They're particularly necessary for slow-speed exposures, since cameras can shake while the shutters are open, resulting in blurry images.


What Is a Tripod Head?

This part of a camera tripod connects the camera to the support, enabling you to either swivel or lock the device in place. Modular tripod heads are usable with a wide range of tripods. On the other hand, integrated heads are built directly into the tripods, usually at a lower overall cost.

There are three main types of tripod heads for still photography, the most common of which is the pan-tilt head. This typically has two handles, allowing vertical and horizontal movement. In contrast, a ball head only has one control that loosens or tightens the grip, allowing flexibility and smooth operation. The third kind is a gimbal head, used specifically for heavy, long lenses, such as those that are 300mm+.


How to Choose a Camera Tripod

Individual usage needs will determine the best product for your situation. One thing to consider is the ease and speed of ball head adjustment and camera release. These tiny moments of time make all the difference to your photos.

Another key factor is weight. There's always a bit of a trade-off between sturdiness and portability. Easier to transport, lightweight carbon fiber tripods may vibrate with wind. One last vital consideration—the feet of the tripod. Standard rubber feet work well for indoors and out. However, if you're seeking to shoot in harsher conditions, such as rain or ice, definitely consider metal spikes.


Types of Camera Tripods

Photo tripods vary extensively in price, functionality, and features. Professional studio photographers usually prefer heavier standing studio tripods, while nature photographers likely seek light and reliable travel tripods. For those just starting out in photography, monopods are the best fitting options, as they're extremely simple to operate. Mini tripods allow desktop setup for indoor shots with smaller cameras.


Be sure to visit B&H Photo and Video to get all the photography gear you need for your next project, and to find the best tripods and general tripod accessories to fit your situation and ensure you get perfect shots.