Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I need your advice:

(sticky post)

From everything I read and everything I hear a tripod is an essential piece of equipment for a photographer. I don’t consider myself a photographer however, I do really enjoy taking photos and sometimes I get lucky. I am always critiquing my photos and looking at those of others with the thoughts of finding what I like about the photo and what I don’t. I hope this will help me to focus on the image I want to capture before pressing the shutter button. However, I have found more times than not, I have captured the image but to my dismay the shot is not as sharp or clear as I would like. I decided to take the next step in the procession, of hopefully, taking better photos and purchase a tripod. I have started looking around.
What I know I want is one which is sturdy, light weight, easy to set up, and it must have a quick camera release. Am I asking too much? I question how often I will use it. Do most of you carry a tripod around with you? It seems as if it would be a hassle to lug around. What features should I be looking for? What do you like or dislike about your tripod? Can you recommend a brand or model? I would really appreciate any help in making this decision. Yes, I am asking for your two cents. I plan on purchasing one prior to my trip to the refuge for the spring migration.
Thanks ~ Trish


Rhea said...

I don't have a tripod and have never used one, but I think there are definitely models out there that are very compact and easy to use. sorry can't be more help!

imbeingheldhostage said...

I bought a tripod and it sits home while I'm out shooting photos. I usually stand with my feet a few feet apart, take a deep breath and hold it while I snap the shutter. It only fails me in real low light settings, but even then, balancing against something helps.
I came by way of Vaders Mom :-)

The Empty Nest said...

Well, I am the wrong person to ask. I have a Kodak Easy Share and I don't have a tripod. Your photographs are gorgeous anyway.

L^2 said...

I was discussing this same topic with another blogging friend recently in the comments sections, but I couldn’t find it easily so I’ll just leave you a long comment instead. :-)
Even a cheap tripod is more stable than taking hand-held shots. THIS is the tripod I have, and although it's not the "perfect" tripod, it works great for what I wanted it for. Plus, it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg like “professional” ($150-$1,000+) tripods do. It’s lightweight for moving and yet sturdy enough to hold my camera steadier than I am able to (I wouldn’t trust it outside without holding on to it on a day like today here when the wind is blowing 50mph – though I don’t think I’d completely trust even the most heavy duty professional ones without some kind of anchor in our windy weather).
I didn’t want to spend too much on one because I wasn’t sure how much I would use it, and honestly, I don’t use it all that much (though I am using it a lot more now with my lightbox). I do take it with me when I do special shoots for other people, but otherwise it is pretty much always left at home (where it gets used sometimes when I’m doing up-close things). It folds up to about 2 ft. in length and fits in a carrying bag that came with it, so it’s not too much of a hassle to carry around (except that it IS another thing to keep track of).

You might find some useful info over at Beyond Megapixels about more professional tripods and the features of their various parts (on more expensive models you must buy the tripod legs and the head separately). I seem to recall Jeff and Lisa writing a bit about them at some point.

Also keep in mind that some public events/places do not allow tripods (because clumsy people trip over them). So, if you think you are going to take it everywhere with you, you may want to consider a monopod instead. They’re not free-standing, but they're still more steady than hand-holding. There’s also nothing for anyone to stumble over, and you don't have to be on completely level ground in order to use it easily.

Hope this helps a little.

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

Rhea and Empty Nest ~ I haven't used one either but think I would like try and see if there is a diffence in my images.

Hostage ~ I have a feeling that is exactly what will happen to me. I will purchase one and just leave it in the closet at home. I usually take the same approach as you, hold my breath, say a quick prayer and hope for the best. Thank you.

L^2 ~ I was actually looking at one very similar to the one you use, the Cannon deluxe 200. I have even toyed with the idea of getting a table top tripod. The advantage being it's less expensive, light weight, and easy to carry around. I could try using it at home for macro shots and sit it on top of my car at the refuge, if I like the quality of the photos than consider a larger outdoor tripod. hummm too much to think about. Thank you for your input.

Unknown said...

Well hubby has a Bogen and I have a *can't remember* what mine is but we bought it in a sporting goods store and it's real sturdy and was on sale, about half price, $125. Then we added the ball heads, lovethem!

I only grab mine when I think I might need it. Like if we're off to take nightshots, or macros in possible lowlight, like the botanical.

Brunton, that's what brand I have, I had to cheat and look at one of my old posts. :)

Have you thought about a monopod? I liked using one when we're hiking before I got my IS lenses.

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

Lisa Marie ~ in my local camera shop I spied a monopod which had 3 retractable legs. When the legs were extended it could be used as a tripod. It was a bit pricey @ $175.00. If I knew I would use it, I wouldn't mind paying for it but again, how much will I use it? I am thinking, I it would get the most use when zooming and taking macro shots.
Thank you, I am glad for all advice and input.

Anonymous said...

Great question! I had a very expensive tripod given to me by my hub years ago, and several parts were lost, which rendered it useless.
I bought a cheap, Quantary at BestBuy and have regretted it ever since. The legs slip out of alignment easily, and it's cumbersome, bulky and a pain in the butt to set up. It won't hold my camera steady when I use the zoom lens.

So, i'm saving up again. For quick shots, I'm currently looking for a monopod. You might want to google info on that one. I have a friend who is a professional photographer and he uses it quite often. He carries several types of tripods and monopods in the trunk of his car. Imagine, just ONE leg to deal with!

Here's another option that you might want to consider:

the bean bag option is actually making it's way because of it's flexibility.

Good luck, and happy shooting!

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

Thanks Laura ~ The Pod looks interesting. Yet something else to add to the mix. Great info thanks for your help.

Stacey Olson said...

I now have a tripod, and I am learning to use it. So far it just gets in the way for wildlife photos UNLESS they are a ways off and then It works great. My husband also got me a monopod for Christmas and I DO use it alot. was around $20 at Walmart. looks like a telscoping walking stick and the top unscrew to attach to your camera or it also has a shelf thing(techinical term) that you can screw on the top. I am NO professional, but hope to be some day. I am learning how to use the tripod and I do believe it is neccesary at times, but I don't lug it around in the wood.. might someday though..Plan on taking a blind out, then I would use the tripod..

Thanks for your kind words on my blog.. "Hawk" and I had to laugh because neither of us knew what TMI ment. we had to google it...LOL thank you

Anonymous said...

I use three tripods but on the road I just use a nice monopod. It does the job. Most of my Canon lenses have image stabilization built in so shake and shudder and other minor things are removed automatically.

If I had it to do over I would put the money in the lenses and settle for a nice carbon fiber monopod. Light weight, easy to carry screwed on to the camera and lever released for telescoping elevation.

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

It's looking like the monopod with retractable legs is slowly becoming the winner here.

Thanks Abe for sharing your info.

Quiet Paths said...

Monopods are wonderful. You might be happy with one of those. I just got one about 5 months ago.

Lloyd Irving Bradbury said...

here looking at you

lv2scpbk said...

Tripods are great if you want to do night shots, etc. I don't have one. I used to but not anymore. I guess I want things that are more simple. Right now I use a simple camera but did buy a Canon Rebel XTi. I just can't seem to get it out of the box to play around with it. Anyway, depends on what you're looking for in a camera. If you want simple you can still find a longer lens to take pictures farther away. Not much help here.

Jane Hards Photography said...

I'm going to say what youv'e already read. I bought a small trpod about 3 years ago and who it about 3 times.
But it was really useful when I took the bird on my hand. I would say get a mId price one. I don't really use mine, but it's there for the priceless shot of getting a wild brd on your hand kind of shot.

Dewdrop said...

I got my tripod at walmart for about $30 and carry it with me at all times in my vehicle, just in case. It is critical for nighttime shots for me. The elements you mentioned are important, but you don't have to spend a ton to get those things. I highly recommend one.

Deana said...

I only use my tripod when I am doing portraits and even then I do several "model shoot" type shots at different angles without the tripod. I don't like using it and the way it confines me. I also use it to do any night shots, sunsets, things that take too much time for be to be steady.

I do think it is good to have one but if you are already clear and sharp and focused then you're already clear and focused.

I did just buy those cute little Gorilla pods that in all the photographer magazine to do Macro shots but I have no idea how that is supposed to hold my camera up.