Selecting Manfrotto Tripods
When shopping for Manfrotto tripods, consider your camera's size, the weight of your largest lens, and how you're going to use the tripod. This is essential, because the requirements for video photography are different from those of macro photography or studio work. With the exception of budget models, it's possible to choose tripod legs and heads separately, to form a combination most suited to your needs.
Advantages of a Tripod
While some photographers feel that advances such as image stabilization and high ISO capabilities render tripods redundant, this isn't the case. Apart from situations where tripods are obviously necessary, such as for time-lapse photography, shooting in poor light, taking multiple shots for HDR, and photo stacking, tripods help you take better photos. The most significant benefit is that tripods, such as Manfrotto compact advanced aluminum tripods, help you shoot sharper images because they reduce the camera-shake caused by slow shutter speeds, especially with long lenses. Tripods also help ensure that focusing remains spot on with close-up photography at large apertures.
Selecting Manfrotto Tripod Legs
Tripod legs provide a solid base for the tripod head, but make certain that their load rating exceeds that of your heaviest camera and lens by a reasonable margin. Although tripod legs need not be heavy, sturdy tripods are less likely to move. Aluminum tripods are the most common, but also consider materials such as magnesium and carbon fiber, which are lighter. In addition, carbon fiber Manfrotto tripod legs are very rigid and strong. Check the maximum and minimum height of your tripod legs as this will affect how you can position your camera, especially if you intend to do macro photography or want to have your camera at eye level.
Choosing Tripod Heads
There's a wide range of Manfrotto tripod heads. Three-way heads let you control each axis, and are popular, as are ball heads, which allow for 360-degree movement in any direction. For close-up photography, consider a geared head that allows you to compose your shot precisely. Wildlife photographers appreciate gimbal heads that balance heavy telephoto lenses. Manfrotto video tripods use fluid heads that permit smooth, jerk-free panning. Manfrotto tripod heads have quick release plates for easy removal of the camera. There are several designs, so be careful to standardize if you have more than one tripod. Also, confirm that the tripod head is rated to support the weight of your camera.
Special Purpose Tripods
Travel tripods are a good alternative because they're light, and fold into a compact size. Manfrotto compact action tripods are quick to set up, and have a compact hybrid head that uses a joystick for fast and easy adjustment. Sports photographers enjoy Manfrotto monopods that support the weight of a heavy lens while being easy to reposition for action shots. Professional photographers find that Manfrotto camera stands use less space in a crowded studio, while their heavy base plates keep cameras steady, and optional utility trays support tethered laptops.