What is a tripod!

If you are striving to capture better photos, you may want to consider buying a tripod. 

Adding a tripod to your photography gear arsenal can help you take better photos without a lot of effort. 

A tripod is a portable three-legged frame used as a platform for work, usually photography.

“Tripod” derives from the Latin word “tripus”, which means “three-footed”. This word in turn came from “tri-” (three) + “-pus” (foot). A tripod is, therefore, literally a three-footed stand.

I use it as a platform to support my camera and telephoto lens(es) for some landscape photography. It is the only way to keep heavy telephoto lenses or long exposure times more comfortably.

Although we have seen people using fishing rods (with tiny reels!) and even bamboo sticks!

Types Of Tripod

There are different types of tripods:

Pocket Tripod

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The pocket tripod is tiny and lightweight, usually with three telescoping legs that can be pulled out and adjusted to different angles.

Although designed for portability (e.g., to mount the camera on a wall), they make good walking sticks if you can find one long enough – or even as an additional stand.

Pros

  1. Compact and lightweight.
  2. Can be used as a walking stick – if long enough!
  3. Inexpensive – usually priced between RM10 – RM30 only!

Cons

  1. The legs are not strong enough to hold heavy equipment, so it’s suitable for cameras without interchangeable lenses only! 
  2. Not suitable for long exposures since three tiny legs support do not handle too much weight.

Tabletop Tripod

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A tabletop tripod is a small camera stand with three thin legs, which allows the platform to be placed on a table or other flat surface. 

They can support tiny cameras such as point-and-shoot cameras and compact digital cameras. These tripods are not very versatile and may lack stability at certain angles or positions.

However, they are straightforward to carry around and can be used whenever the opportunity arises.

Pros

  1. Very compact and lightweight.
  2. Inexpensive – usually priced between RM8 – RM20 only!
  3. Can support tiny cameras such as point-and-shoot cameras and some DSLRs as well.

Cons

  1. Cannot hold heavy equipment, so suitable for cameras without interchangeable lenses only!
  2. Not suitable for long exposures since the weight is supported by three tiny legs.

Monopod

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A monopod is like a tripod, but with only one leg (mono- meaning “one”, pod pointing “foot”).

Monopods are faster to set up than tripods since they require more minor assembly; some monopods can be extended and set up in under 10 seconds. However, monopods are not as steady as tripods, but they allow for more mobility than tripods.

Pros

  1. More flexible than tripods.
  2. Fewer chances of camera shaking when shooting handheld (unless it’s windy or if you are using a heavy telephoto lens).

Cons

  1. Can be dangerous if you are not careful.
  2. Cannot support heavy equipment.
  3. Not suitable for long exposures, since the weight is supported by one leg only!

Studio Tripod

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A studio tripod is used by professional photographers in a controlled lighting environment. 

They are typically heavier, more expensive and have sturdier legs than regular tripods. Their height can be extended to many metres high so that the photographer can shoot from a greater height. 

The central hub usually has an attached crank which allows the camera height to be easily adjusted using a handle.

Pros

  1. Can support heavy equipment.
  2. More flexible than tripods, with height extending up to many metres high!
  3. Easy to adjust camera angle using a crank handle at the central hub of the tripod.

Cons

  1. Heavier and more expensive than regular tripods, so it’s suitable for studio use only.
  2. Cannot be used for shots involving moving objects or where a slow shutter speed is required.
  3. Needs a more giant bag to store the tripod in.

Boom-Arm Tripod

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A boom pole, boom arm or crane arm is a telescoping pole with a camera mount on end. Camera can be raised or lowered by adjustable screws, allowing unusual angles and viewpoints.

Pros

  1. Can shoot from different heights – very useful when shooting low-angle shots!
  2. More flexible than tripods, with height extending up to many metres high!
  3. The height can be set at different levels depending on the photographer’s requirements.
  4. Can quickly move from one location to another without too much fuss, as it is a tripod with flexible legs!
  5. There are fewer chances of camera shaking when shooting handheld (unless it is windy or using a heavy telephoto lens).

Cons

  1. Can be dangerous if you are not careful!
  2. Cannot support heavy equipment.
  3. Heavier and more expensive than regular tripods, so it’s suitable for studio use only.
  4. Cannot be used for shots involving moving objects or where a slow shutter speed is required.
  5. Needs a more giant bag to store the tripod in.

Medium Duty

This tripod type is slightly lighter and less bulky than a standard model, yet it offers the same functionality.

Pros

  1. Can support medium-sized equipment.
  2. Cheaper than standard models but offers the same functionality as standard tripods!
  3. Lighter and less bulky; suitable for travelling around conveniently to any location!
  4. Slightly shorter legs allow closer contact with the ground to offer more excellent stability when shooting outdoor shots!
  5. There are fewer chances of camera shaking when shooting handheld (unless it is windy or using a heavy telephoto lens).

Cons

  1. Cannot support heavy equipment.
  2. Cannot be used for shots involving moving objects or where a slow shutter speed is required.
what is a tripod by thevloggingtech.com

Heavy Duty

This tripod type is designed for extreme weather conditions and can support heavy equipment such as semi-professional DSLR cameras, flashes and video lights. 

They also have four leg angles which can be used to increase stability and help create professional-looking shots. 

As its name implies, this type of tripod is designed for cameras that can be quite heavy themselves. They also feature a more significant weight capacity and occasionally extra features such as spiked feet for excellent soft ground stability.

Pros

  1. It can support heavy equipment, suitable for semi-professional DSLR cameras or DSLR cameras with a telephoto lens!
  2. Has four leg angles which can be used to increase stability and add creativity to your shots!
  3. This type of tripod is designed to be weather-resistant and is ideal for outdoor usage!
  4. Very sturdy and creates minimal camera shake when shooting handheld (even in windy conditions or using a telephoto lens).
  5. Legs can be easily folded back to increase the surface area of the tripod’s base, which helps maximise stability.
  6. Can be used to create the much-loved “dutch tilt” effect by adjusting the legs’ angles!
  7. It is heavier and more expensive than medium-duty tripods, so it’s suitable for indoor and outdoor usage!

Cons

  1.  Needs a larger bag to store the tripod in.

Height Adjustable Tripod

This tripod type can be adjusted in height from about 1 foot to 6 or sometimes 8 feet. This type of tripod is the most versatile and offers a good compromise between portability and stability.

what is a tripod by thevloggingtech.com

Pros

  1. Can be used for both indoor and outdoor usage!
  2. Legs can be easily inverted to increase the surface area of the tripod’s base, which helps create stability regardless of where it is placed (e.g. on soft ground or uneven surfaces)!
  3. Height-adjustable legs allow you to capture shots at eye level, which is an ideal height for most routine shots!
  4. Minimum weight and maximum portability make it suitable for travelling around conveniently to any location!
  5. Legs are usually made of foam or rubber, which offers more excellent grip on hard surfaces, so the tripod does not slide!
  6. Cheaper than high-end tripods, so it is suitable for beginners.

Cons

  1. Cannot support heavy equipment or telephoto lenses very well!
  2. Not suitable for windy conditions as the tripod may not remain stable because the legs are not very stiff.
  3. Least sturdy among all tripod types, so it cannot be used for shots involving moving objects or where a slow shutter speed is required.
  4. Cannot be used in extreme weather conditions as the tripod may not remain stable because the legs are not very stiff.

ripod’s base, which helps maximise stability.

Minipod

This is very similar to a pocket tripod but has more muscular telescoping arms and usually has rubber feet to not slide on a smooth surface.

Pros

  1. Ideal for travelling around with or when on the go!
  2. Very lightweight and compact, so it’s excellent for outdoor usage (e.g. camping).
  3. Can be used to support heavy equipment like DSLR cameras with telephoto lenses!
  4. Comes in different colours, so you can easily distinguish your tripod from others at the shooting location!
  5. Legs can be easily folded back to increase the surface area of the tripod’s base, which helps maximise stability.
  6. Comes with a bag that is usually attached to one leg, so when you’re done using it, fold it up and put it in the bag for storage or carry around!
  7. Legs can be inverted to increase the surface area of the tripod’s base, which helps create stability regardless of where it is placed (e.g. on soft ground or uneven surfaces)!

Cons

  1. Legs are not ideal for heavy equipment.

Types Of Tripod Heads

There are many types of tripod heads.

Tripod With Ball Head

A tripod with a ball head has three extendable legs attached to a “central hub”, which holds the camera in place. The two usually connect via a screw-like mechanism.

The ball head allows the camera to be quickly aligned in any direction, essential for landscape photography.

Tripod With Gimbal Head

A tripod with a Gimbal head has three extendable legs attached to a “central hub” that holds the camera in place. The two usually connect via a screw-like mechanism. 

The Gimbal head allows the camera to be quickly and easily aligned in any direction, which is especially important when shooting panoramic landscapes with a super-telephoto lens or with heavy equipment.

3-Way And Title Head

A tripod with a three-way pan-and-tilt head allows the photographer to manipulate the camera’s orientation precisely as desired. When this kind of tripod is combined with a fluid drag system, you can precisely adjust and lock your equipment, even if it is heavy.

Geared Head

A geared head has either one or two knobs that control the pan and tilt movements. This enables precise, repeatable positioning.

Pistol Grip Head

A pistol grip head has a handle and one semi-circular support arm that can be locked in place at any desired angle. When the handle is squeezed, the pan axis tilts from side to side and forward or back.

Types Of Tripod Legs

Aluminium Tripod

An aluminium tripod made of high-grade alloy provides the ideal combination of lightness, rigidity and stability.

Carbon-Fibre Tripod

A carbon fibre tripod is made of fibreglass filaments bonded together with resin under high temperatures. Carbon-fibre tripods are very light but still rigid and sturdy.

What Is The Difference Between A Tripod And A Monopod

what is a tripod by thevloggingtech.com

Modern photographic tripod usually consists of three telescoping legs mounted to a mounting plate, with a head that allows the camera to be held in place. 

One leg is fixed as the load-bearing member in monopods, while two or more telescoping members support the camera. 

A tripod is much sturdier than a monopod so that it can handle heavy cameras and lenses easily. However, in a crowded place, a monopod may be all you need.

Both can improve photographic technique by providing a more stable platform for the camera and reducing the camera shake caused by your hands pressing the shutter release. 

In general, tripods and monopods are also used for keeping the camera steady in low light conditions or at slow shutter speeds.

Top 5 Tripod Brands

  1. Manfrotto
  2. Vanguard
  3. Slik
  4. Benro
  5. Giottos

Top 5 Monopod Brands

  1. Manfrotto
  2. Slik
  3. Giottos
  4. Benro
  5. MeFOTO

FAQ's

What is the difference between carbon fibre and aluminium tripod?

A carbon fibre tripod is made of fibreglass filaments bonded together with resin under high temperatures. 

Carbon-fibre tripods are very light but still rigid and sturdy. An aluminium tripod is made of a high-grade alloy that provides the ideal combination of lightness, rigidity and stability.

What is the difference between Ball Head and Gimbal Head?

A tripod with a ball head has three extendable legs attached to a “central hub”, which holds the camera in place. The two usually connect via a screw-like mechanism. The ball head allows the camera to be quickly and easily aligned in any direction, which is especially important when shooting panoramic landscapes with a super-telephoto lens or with heavy equipment. 

A tripod with a gimbal head has three extendable legs attached to a “central hub”, which holds the camera in place.

The two usually connect via a screw-like mechanism. The Gimbal head allows the camera to be quickly aligned in any direction, which is especially important when shooting panoramic landscapes with a super-telephoto lens or with heavy equipment.

What is the use of a three-way head?

A tripod with a three-way head allows the photographer to precisely manipulate the camera’s orientation. When this kind of tripod is combined with a fluid drag system, you can precisely adjust and lock your equipment, even if it is heavy.

How to choose the best tripod for you?

You must consider three things before buying a tripod. They are sturdiness, height and weight. If you’re looking for a tripod to use with your camera, I suggest that you purchase one that is sturdy and easy to carry. 

Make sure your new tripod is capable of supporting the weight of your equipment securely. Finally, remember that a tripod with a high maximum height may be too bulky for you to use.

Can I use my monopod as a tripod?

Yes, you can use your monopod as a tripod.