As complementary as peanut butter is to jelly, the camera and tripod are an age-old pairing that still manages to keep up relevance and unmatched functionality in a global dominated by image stabilization and Photoshop tricks. As the form and function of a tripod is far better to understand compared to the scrolling menus of today’s feature-packed DSLRs, it could be a chore to opt for the right setup for your preferences from among a sea of manufacturers and seemingly comparable models. In the following paragraphs, we’ll break down the essential types of tripod kits every photographer should think about and discuss different types of tripod heads and legs for many who desire to assemble a custom setup.

Tabletop Tripods
For some, the easiest and smallest solution can often be the best, and attractive to this crowd may be the tabletop tripod-a compact solution for the everyday shooter. Obtainable in a variety of types and sizes these tripods are generally sold as kits, with a head and legs pre-attached, often inseparable and commonly reaching a maximum height of only a foot. These tripods are suitable for travelers, hikers, or those shooting in areas where full-size camera supports could be prohibited. Those requiring a tabletop support could also want to look at a bendable variation, including the Joby Gorillapod line. These compact and lightweight supports can be utilised on a traditional flat work surface or wrapped around a number of objects (such as for example tree branches, pipes, and handlebars) to stabilize your camera on uneven terrain or achieve a distinctive new photographic perspective.

Magnus MaxiGrip Flexible Tripod (Red)
The Entry-Level Kit
Many tripod manufacturers are well aware that a lot of entry-level and enthusiast photographers need a tripod that’s tall, durable, and relatively economical with no need for customization or interchangeable parts. That is why, manufacturers like Sunpak produce full-size tripod kits which, just like the table-top tripods we discussed before, feature an inseparable legs-and-head combo made to fit the essential needs of all amateur photographers. A number of these kits use a straightforward three-way pan-and-tilt head for quick and accurate adjustments and can be utilised for some photographic applications.

Sunpak 8001 UT Tripod with 3-Way Pan / Tilt Head
The Tripod System
For the enthusiast, advanced, and professional photographer, the most used path to take is purchasing a modular tripod system or, in layman’s terms, a tripod that contains a detachable head and a couple of durable, versatile legs. Whether purchased together within a sophisticated kit, or separately, purchasing a system ensures that an individual is purchasing customizable and quality equipment which can be modified to match the photographers specific needs either now or later on. Below, we’ll review a few of different options for investing in a pre-made advanced tripod kit or assembling your own, predicated on parts selected to fit your individual needs.

Tripod Head Styles
The 3-Way “Pan-Tilt” Head

When many people take into account the functionality of a tripod, they envision the movements and trademark handle-controlled design of the classic three-way head. This design has remained popular, especially among beginners, as a result of its straightforward procedure and relatively precise nature of movement. The top involves three separate arms, controlling the vertical-tilt, horizontal-tilt, and the 360-degree pan. To improve the position of every angle, all you have to do is merely twist the handle for the required angle, move the camera in to the desired position, and twist the handle back again to lock the camera in place-it’s that simple. Three-way heads are generally utilized for landscape, portraiture, still-life, and macro or product photography, nevertheless they can be utilised for practically every photographic application.

Manfrotto MHXPRO-3W 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head
The Ball Head

The ball head may be the modern and, typically, the most famous style of head nowadays, due partly to its compact size (in comparison with three-way heads), high weight capacity, and simple alteration. Unlike the three-way head, ball heads save well on size and weight through the use of your camera as the “handle” and by allowing the camera to be moved into any position using just one single control knob rather than three. Ball heads typically include a dual-control or tri-control design, that allows the photographer to regulate the ball’s movement and friction using separate knobs. Tri-control designs will most likely implement a third knob which controls 360-degree panning separately from the principal ball lock. Because of its size and speed, this head style is popular among sports, action, wildlife, travel, and studio photographers-although, just like the three-way head, it can be utilised for every photographic application.

Induro BHM2S Ball Head
The Gimbal Head

Gimbal heads are practically essential in the advanced sports and wildlife photography world, because of their capability to support the large telephoto lenses that are an undeniable hallmark of the craft. Made to support and balance large lenses and camera bodies, the gimbal head permits an individual to track a moving subject vertically and horizontally and, if properly balanced, maintain steadily its last position even though the photographer’s hand leaves the camera. They are usually the major and heaviest head style but, for all those photographers who require them, their utility is first rate. Additionally it is worth noting that a lot of gimbal heads aren’t sold with a mounting plate; one should be especially selected for the lens being used. For all those looking to choose gimbal system, always be certain to buy a proper lens-mounting plate that delivers enough length to balance your equipment sufficiently.

Oben GH-50 Gimbal Head
The Fluid Head

With practically every stills camera performing advanced video functions, many photographers have began to incorporate video parts to their tripod kits, with essential of the additions being the fluid head. Made to decrease resistance when recording video, the fluid head allows smooth pans and tilts along two axes and its own integrated “fluid” cartridge reduces unnecessary jitters, vibrations, and shakes. Whilst every tripod head includes a maximum load capacity, a fluid head’s declared maximum ought to be seen as a guideline which should never be crossed. Proper weight balance is vital for a fluid check out succeed and resistance from an unbalanced load can negate the head’s video-smoothing properties-especially in the hands of entry-level videographers.