Tag Archives: Tripods

Working from the ground up

On today’s Blog I would like to talk about tripods.

Sirui M3204 M Series Tripod LegsTripods for photographers can be one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment they own. Most people when they are starting out decide that spending over 200 dollars on a tripod is expensive. Well I would have to admit that this is a very true point for most cases and you will realize fast you made a big mistake. In the profession of photography mistakes can lead to very poor financial and/or business decisions. So let’s go over why you should spend a few more dollars then you expected to on that tripod.

For most of us the big issue is the cost of what we are willing to pay as aProducts10137-1300x1300-418683 beginner. Knowing very little about photography at this time of purchase can be overwhelming. Like really you want me to spend 500 dollars on just a tripod and I can’t even put my camera on it until I buy a head?? “Go pound salt buddy!” What’s the difference between this 99 dollar tripod and that 500 dollar one? They both have 3 legs? The 99 dollar one has a head already attached? No brainier here I will spend my hard earned money on this the 99 dollar one! Wrong!
You grab that camera you just spent a thousand dollars on or even more and go out hunting for that great scene to capture. During this time you have some issues trying to set up your camera as the legs are a little wonky and the head wont really stay still or falls forward cause the weight of the camera is to heavy for it. Then you think I must be doing this wrong but I will learn as I go.

Manfrotto-MT190XPRO4-Tripod-Compared-to-MT190CVPRO4Let’s go over a few more scenarios of what you are about to encounter. So your photography starts to advance now and you decide I’m getting better so lets try all this creative stuff people do with filters. So you buy yourself a 10 stop filter or something of that nature and again it likely cost more then your tripod. You take this filter down to the lake so you can get that great glass look like everybody gets. You set your tripod up and the filter on your lens and your camera starts slowly moving down or to the side and you don’t realize it until you get a few pictures into your session. As I would do, just prop it back up and keep going. You start to feel the wind pick up and realize wow I can see the thin legs on my tripod shaking in the wind. Oh well lets keep on shooting! You get back to check out your images and you realize not only did I get this cool glass effect but all my pictures are blurry I wonder why?. If you think that’s bad the most famous that I see on almost every workshop I teach would be the plastic plate that clips into your tripod keeps loosening off your camera. Or even worse and yes I have seen this happen at least 10 times now, the piece that retains that plate loosens off and your camera hits the ground. Now lets think about your camera and lens, what are these pieces made of? A camera is made up circuitry components with a sensitive sensor and a precision aligned mirror. Your tough weather proof lens that is indestructible so they say is made up of concave and convex pieces of precision placed and crafted glass. So tell me something, what are the odds of a camera and lens dropping on the ground and not having any consequences what so ever?

IMG_3420_900px_Border-620x586This is what I would suggest to all of you when looking for that perfect tripod. 1, do I need to travel with this tripod cause weight and size can become a big concern. 2, What will my primary use be for this tripod? Am I just using it for landscapes with small lenses or do I think my wife will let me buy a 600 F4 to put on this one day? Fat chance! 3, Point of view, do I want a tripod that can get me inches off the ground? 4, Do I want to carbon fiber so I don’t have to lug a heavy monster around while hiking hills. 5, Do I want to spend 500 dollars now rather then spending 100-200 dollars now and then spend 500 down the road?

images The tripod to the left and at the top of the page is what I use daily for my world of photography. It’s a Sirui M3204 bought from my local camera store BJ Photo Labs. I bought this tripod for many reasons that catered to lenses and my style of photography. First selling feature is this thing is very strong carbon fiber and is so light to carry around with me. Second is how low it can get to the ground and how high I can put it up to at full extension. Third is a great selling feature to me, one of the legs can screw off and turn into a mono pod within seconds. Fourth is the retractable stainless steel spikes at the bottom of each leg to aid in grip. Fifth is the easy to use twist lock system for the legs to extend and retract. And the last selling feature for me was the price, I got this unit for under 500 tax included. I love this tripod!

Tripods are a personal thing for photographers, kind of like clothes we all like something different. So don’t impulse buy your first or next tripod, ask people what there experiences are. Social media is a powerful tool for consumers so ask around. Search different camera stores or E-bay or Amazon and look at product reviews. Just please make an informed decision rather then some sales guy selling you what makes him the most profit.

Stay tuned for my next blog on heads for tripods

Thanks for viewing today’s Blog!

Posted in Product reviews and testing, Workshops Also tagged , , , , , , , , |