A Buyers Guide to Camera and Camcorder Tripods

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Tripod Head Type and Height

The type of head you choose for a tripod or monopod is primarily a function of use. What ever your intended use, the quick release head is much easier than attaching a camera, camcorder, or binoculars with a mounting screw. You should consider a detachable head, because if the head malfunctions it is cheaper to replace than the entire tripod. There are several types of tripod and monopod heads:

  • Altazimuth: uses slow motion cables to adjust altitude and azimuth
  • Ball: light, smooth, quick locking, no creep
  • Pan: two adjustments for swivel and tilt, one adjustment at time, typical
  • Fluid: smooth, no jerking, good for film making

Tripods and monopods are available in a wide variety of heights; anywhere from 4.3 inches to 74.8 inches. The rule of thumb is to select one a little higher than your comfort height.

Tripod Features

Things to look for when buying a tripod or monopod include:

  • Construction: avoid plastic; select aluminum, carbon fiber, or titanium alloy
  • Weight: heavier does not mean better and heavy is not suitable when going into the wild
  • Outdoor: ease of setup and take down in all weather conditions
  • Transportability: easy to move from location to location

Best Tripod for You

There are many uses for tripods and monopods, along with the following factors you need to consider. Monopods are good for relocating quickly. Do you intend to use your tripod or monopod for a camera, camcorder, or binoculars? Are intended uses for sports, still life, trick, night, nature, or other photography? All of these factors decide which tripod or monopod is best for you.

Tripod Prices

Prices range from $4 – $2390 and sometimes more.

Buying a Tripod

Once you have narrowed your tripod or monopod selection(s) visit your local store and check out its features:

  • compatibility – ensure compatibility with your camcorder, camera, or binoculars
  • controls – ease of use
  • setup – conduct a setup and take down test
  • options – carrying case
  • movement – ease of use

Purchasing a tripod requires research of conusmer buying guides, along with ensuring the brand and model selected meets current and future uses of the tripod. Cheap tripods are cheap and do not provide the stability necessary for eliminating shakey images.


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