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The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Tripod

If you’re looking for a way to improve your photography skills, a tripod might be the answer. Tripods can help you take steadier shots and achieve sharper images. In this article, we will discuss how to buy a tripod and what to consider when making your purchase. We’ll also talk about the pros and cons of using tripods and how they can benefit your photography.

What is a Tripod?

What is a tripod? It is a three-legged stand, typically made of metal or wood, used to support a camera, lantern, or other object in an upright position. A tripod provides stability and prevents camera shake, resulting in clearer images. Many tripods also have adjustable heads, allowing the user to tilt and pan the camera for different angles and perspectives. Some even come with remote controls, making it possible to take photos from a distance. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a amateur taking pictures of your latest vacation, a tripod can help you capture clear, stable images.

Why Do You Need a Tripod?

Many beginning photographers may wonder why you should use a tripod. The answer is simple, using a tripod ensures a sharp photograph.

When your camera is sitting on a table or the ground there is very little chance of it moving, but when you hold it in your hands there is always a possibility that you will move the camera even slightly when you press the shutter release button.

This movement will result in a blurry photograph. So Why Do You Need a Tripod? Holding your camera still with a tripod will allow you to take sharper photographs. Also, many times you will want to use a slow shutter speed to capture Blurry Waterfalls or Fast Moving Clouds and using a tripod will again ensure that your photograph is sharp.

When using a slow shutter speed the least amount of movement will result in a very blurry photograph. In low light situations such as indoors, or at dusk and dawn, you will want to use a higher ISO setting which again can result in slightly blurred photographs if not using a tripod.

Advantages of Using a Tripod

There are many advantages of using a tripod.

One advantage is that you can take your time when setting up a shot. With your camera mounted on a tripod, you don’t have to worry about holding it steady while you compose your shot. This allows you to take your time and get the perfect composition.

Another advantage of using a tripod is that it allows you to capture long exposures. Long exposures can create some stunning effects, such as light trails from cars or stars in the night sky. Without a tripod, these types of shots would be very difficult to achieve.

A tripod also allows you to take advantage of features like HDR and Panoramas. HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is a technique that allows you to capture a greater range of tones and contrast in your photographs.

Panoramas are another type of shot that can be difficult to achieve without a tripod. A panorama is created by stitching together multiple photos to create one wide image. This can be done manually in Photoshop or Lightroom, or many cameras now have a panorama mode that will do it automatically.

Tripods also give you the ability to shoot timelapse videos. Timelapse photography is a technique where you capture images at set intervals over a period of time and then play them back at a normal speed. This can create some beautiful videos, and again, is very difficult to do without a tripod.

Disadvantages of Using a Tripod

There are also some disadvantages of using a tripod.

The biggest disadvantage is that tripods can be very bulky and heavy, making them difficult to travel with.

Another disadvantage of using a tripod is that they can be time-consuming to set up. If you’re trying to capture candid shots or street photography, a tripod can be very cumbersome.

Tripods can also attract attention, which can be a problem if you’re trying to be discreet or capture candid shots.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Tripod

When buying a tripod there are a few things you should consider:

Weight Rating

The weight rating is the maximum weight that the tripod can support. This includes the weight of your camera, lens, and any other accessories you have attached.

Maximum Height

The maximum height is how tall the tripod can extend. This is important to consider if you are tall or plan on using the tripod with large telephoto lenses.

Minimum Height

The minimum height is how short the tripod can collapse. This is important to consider if you plan on using the tripod in tight spaces or want to be able to capture low-angle shots.

Leg Sections

The leg sections are how many pieces the tripod legs are made of. Tripods with more leg sections will be shorter when collapsed, but can be more difficult to set up.

Head Type

The head type is the part of the tripod that holds your camera. The most common types are ball heads and pan-tilt heads. Ball heads allow you to adjust your camera in any direction very easily. Pan-tilt heads have separate controls for panning (left and right) and tilting (up and down).


The material the tripod is made of will affect its weight and durability. Aluminum is the most common material used for tripods, but carbon fiber is becoming more popular because it’s lighter.


Tripods can range in price from around $30 to $1000. The more expensive tripods are usually made of better materials and can support more weight.

Quick-Release System

A quick-release system is a mechanism that allows you to quickly and easily attach or remove your camera from the tripod. Some tripods come with a built-in quick-release system, while others require you to purchase a separate plate.

Built-in Level

A built-in level is a bubble level that is built into the tripod head. This is a handy feature that allows you to quickly check if your tripod is level without having to carry a separate level with you.

Folded Length

The folded length is how long the tripod is when it’s collapsed. This is important to consider if you plan on traveling with the tripod or want to be able to fit it into a smaller bag.

Number of Leg Sections

The number of leg sections is how many pieces the tripod legs are made of. Tripods with more leg sections will be shorter when collapsed, but can be more difficult to set up.

Which Type Of Tripod Should I Buy?

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a tripod, such as height, weight, and material. However, the most important factor to consider is the type of tripod that will best suit your needs. There are three main types of tripods: light-weight, heavy-duty, and folding. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Light-weight tripods are typically made of aluminum or carbon fiber and are designed for easy transport. They are ideal for photographers who travel often or hike to their photo locations. However, light-weight tripods are not as sturdy as heavy-duty tripods and may not be suitable for large cameras or lenses.

Heavy-duty tripods are made of steel or other materials that offer more stability than light-weight tripods. They tend to be more expensive and heavier, making them less convenient for travel. However, they are ideal for photographers who need a sturdy platform for their camera equipment.

Folding tripods are a hybrid of light-weight and heavy-duty tripods. They offer the portability of a light-weight tripod with the stability of a heavy-duty tripod. Folding tripods are ideal for photographers who need a versatile tripod that can be used in a variety of situations.

No matter what type of tripod you choose, be sure to consider the height, weight, and material before making your purchase. With so many options on the market, there is sure to be a tripod that is perfect for your needs.

Best Tripods to Purchase

Below are some of the best tripods available to purchase for photographers with a lower budget, or higher end tripods that are high quality and will last a long time.

Low-Budget Tripods

  • The Slik Pro AL-324DX Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head costs $119.55 on Amazon (price as of April 20, 2019). Although the maximum height is only 57.5 inches (146 cm), it is fairly lightweight at 3.8 pounds (1.72 kg) and can support up to 8 lbs (3.63 kg) of total weight. This would make a wonderful trekking tripod.
  • The Slik Pro 700DX Tripod comes with a 3-way pan/tilt head and is compatible with all Slik ballheads. It has a maximum height of 74.8 inches (190 cm), and it weighs 7 pounds (3.18 kg). nIt can support up to 15 pounds (6.8 kg) of overall weight, and it may be extended to 74.8 inches (190 cm).
  • The Sunpak Ultra 7000 is a light-weight, inexpensive tripod that weighs 4.1 pounds and can hold up to 12.3 pounds of combined weight. This is very comparable to the first tripod I purchased myself from a local camera shop in terms of price, weight, and capacity (12.3 lbs).

High-End Tripods

  • The Arca-Swiss Z1 ball-head is a good option for the budget conscious photographer. It’s very light and capable of holding up to eight pounds. This head has an easier but less stable design than the Gitzo 1227 Carbon Fiber series, allowing it to be used at a more affordable price point. The tripod can also accommodate an additional two heads with quick release systems if you plan on using different telephoto lenses with your camera (for example, if you want to use both lenses simultaneously).
  • The Kirk BH1 costs $385.00, making it a good choice for run and gun photographers. It’s an excellent alternative to the Arca-Swiss Z1.
  • The Really Right Stuff BH-55 Pro – $415.00 is a fantastic ball head with superb build quality, as well as an Arca-Swiss compatible quick release for even more versatility. Another excellent ball head that is superior in quality to the Arca-Swiss Z1 and Kirk BH1.
  • The FLM CB-58 is an excellent ball head that includes a Center Spread Adjustment knob and micro adjustment Locking System. Although it may not have the same features as other high-end ball heads, it does include several useful characteristics. Another great ball head.


Overall, deciding on the right tripod comes down to your specific needs and what type of photography you want to do. If you plan on doing a lot of low-light or night photography, then a solid tripod with stable legs is essential. However, if you’re mostly going to be shooting in daylight or well-lit conditions, then a lighter tripod may be all you need. Ultimately, it’s important to consider your personal preferences and what will work best for your style of photography before making a purchase. With so many great options on the market, you’re sure to find the perfect tripod for your needs.