DigitalArtist’s 10 Good Habits for Tripod Use

There have been so many questions about Tripods from Newbies so here’s a short write up about 10 good habits for Newbies to develop as far as tripods are concerned.

Here they are.

  • Tripods like good lenses, are forever. Buy once & buy the best. Good brands are Gitzo (expensive) & Manfrotto (Cheaper & very Usable with good spare parts support from distributors Eng Tong)
  • Buying considerations – weight, height, sturdiness, heads, parts & cost. Get Carbon Fibre Tripods. They are expensive but they are lighter.
  • When using Tripods, try to avoid extending the center post. Extend the top legs first and spread tripod legs as wide as possible
  • Use a Tripod if your Shutter Speed is lower than Reciprocal of the Focal Length of the lens you are using. For example, with a 300mm lens, your shutter speed for successful hand holding is not less than 1/300th of a sec.
  • Always use a cable release when your camera is on a Tripod. Use mirror lock where possible for even less vibration & especially for macro shots.
  • Hang a weight (eg. your camera bag) below the tripod center post for added stability.
  • When buying a used tripod, check the leg locking mechanism to ensure they lock properly. Check the center post to detect any free play
  • If buying Ballheads – get the hydraulic lock type. 3-ways geared heads are better but bulkier to carry around
  • Use focussing rails for shooting macros.
  • Don’t carry your tripod by the centre post. And raise the center post for additional height only as a last resort. Better to extend available heights from the legs.

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