Camera tripods provide stability when shooting still or video photos, helping to eliminate camera shake and reducing the blur often seen in photos, especially those taken with longer, heavier lenses. However, it is important to remember a few tips when purchasing a tripod to be sure that the one you purchase offers the features you need.
Number of Leg Sections
Tripods come with either three or four leg sections, and most professional photographers recommend choosing a device with three leg-sections. Because each leg must telescope to the desired height, the smaller diameter of the fourth section could weaken the support ability of the tripod. However, those who need a tripod that collapses smaller due to travel or other size restrictions, choosing a four leg-section tripod might be advisable as they fold up smaller than three leg-section devices.
Carbon Fiber Instead of Aluminum
Carbon fiber tripods have several benefits over aluminum, including a better weight to stability ratio. In addition, when shooting in cold weather, carbon fiber does not feel as cold as aluminum. There is less vibration in carbon fiber and they weigh half as much as aluminum tripods. However, they are more expensive, so cost must be considered when purchasing a carbon fiber tripod.
Maximum and Minimum Height
For those that want to shoot at eye level, choose a tripod with a maximum height that is about six inches below eye level. The remaining six inches will be compensated for with the camera and ballhead. For shooting at ground level, choose a tripod without a center column, or with a removable center column that can be removed and replaced without the use of tools.
These tips can help even the most inexperienced photographer make the best camera tripod selection and take better quality photos.