I had a meeting this morning with Giotto’s Tripods – they very kindly support me with their excellent products in return for my feedback and demonstrations to clients/potential clients of Freespirit Images. This prompted me to ask the obvious question – why a tripod, especially now with IS/VR/OS etc lenses AND cameras.

Well, my reasons, and therefore recommendations, are as follows:

1. the obvious one– the tripod holds the camera absolutely perfectly steady. This allows you to produce sharp photos at all shutter speeds. No more camera shake!
2. the not so obvious one – “at all shutter speeds” – this means if using narrow apertures and long exposure times (making water look ‘flowy’ for example) a tripod becomes absolutely vital. No matter how good the IS/VR/OS function claims to be it simply will not work for exposures running into seconds or minutes (or even hours if doing star trails)
3. the ‘oh! that’s a good point’ one’ – I often use different filters/apertures/shutter speeds/exposure compensation on a series of shots to see which gives me the optimum result. I defy anyone to repeat a hand held composition EXACTLY for each exposure. Cue Mr Tripod. The compostion is locked in and so all and any comparisons become more meaningful – apples with apples etc.

I really would advise against cheap tripods, too many folk bring them on workshops and really struggle, very often jettisoning them in favour of a better one. A cheap one is always a false economy.

Of course, tripods have a place – landscape, coastal, etc etc. Also for architecture where there is room and it is appropriate. There are times when spontaneity is needed and here the tripod is of little use (e.g. urban ‘people’ photography perhaps). But, for static or fixed subjects, it really makes a substantial difference

Et voila! Le tripod. Moan about having to bring it with you and then purr when you see the results.


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