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Tripod Story Part 1 – Decoding The Jargon

A tripod is an accessory that photographers swear by! The three-legged friend of photography professionals and enthusiasts alike, has a lot more to it than just keeping the camera steady. It is an essential photography tool that helps you get the exact shot you have in mind, with the right amount of exposure, precision framing, alignment, crisp image quality and much more.

More than anything else, it eases the burden of having to hold the heavy gear and rescues your captures from turning out as shaky or blurred disasters. But before digging into the nuances of using a tripod, lets talk about what it is made up of and how each component contributes in making your shots incredible!

Head – Fixed atop a center column, it is the most important part of the tripod and is responsible for securely holding your expensive camera in place. While keeping the camera still and stable, it allows the camera to be freely rotated and moved. Tripod heads come in a variety of styles such as the ball head, pan & tilt head, gimble head, pistol grip head, video head and the fluid head.

The ball head is great for versatility of directional movement, pan & tilt heads are known for a high-level of control, gimble heads easily balance heavier lenses, fluid heads come with smooth and accurate maneuverability while the pistol grip head takes the clumsiness, generally related with a tripod, away and lets you work quickly and efficiently.

Whichever tripod head you choose, base your decision on your personal photographic needs. Also see to it that the weight of the head is in accordance with the tripod legs and can be supported well by them.

Tripod

Legs & Feet –Tripod legs, made of either carbon fibre or aluminum, are divided into sections ranging from three to six. Generally sturdier tripods have less leg segments as compared to the lighter ones that have more sections. More sections of a leg enable the tripod to be folded more compactly (known as the collapsed length) and also extend more. The legs also come with either twist locks or flip locks to secure the tripod in a chosen length. Keep in mind to buy a tripod with considerable space between its legs. The stability is directly related to this space; wider the gap, the more stable the tripod will be.

The smallest yet an important part that actually supports the tripod is its feet. Tripod feet are made of different materials depending upon the location they are to be used in. Indoor shooting requires the tripod to have rubber or plastic feet while for outdoor shoots the tripod should be equipped with metal spikes. The rubber or plastic feet work fine in most suitable outdoor conditions but metal spikes are needed to make the tripod stand firmly on rugged, uneven and slippery grounds.

Height & Weight – Ideally a tripod should be of the same height as yours. The idea is to have the viewfinder comfortably at eye level without having to bend.

The weight depends upon the material a tripod is made of (majorly consisting of the legs and center column). It is usually carbon fiber, aluminum or steel. A camera mount made of carbon fiber is light in weight, expensive, durable and easier to carry along for frequent travellers. On the other hand, an aluminum or steel tripod is heavier and inexpensive but much more stable for outdoor conditions. But the one thing that applies irrespective of the material a tripod is made of is buying one which weighs atleast two times more than your shooting gear. Afterall buying a feeble or flimsy tripod will put the expensive camera kit in danger of collapsing to pieces and will not make for a pretty sight!

Now that you are familiar with the basic terms surrounding a tripod, they will no longer elude you. Just head to our online store and purchase the one you need with confidence!

Also, watch out for our upcoming post regarding the different types and which one is best suited for various kinds of photography.

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