Tripods and Stabilizing Devices

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Black Lab
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Tripods and Stabilizing Devices

Post by Black Lab »

A great topic Steve. You've kicked it off, now I'll run with it.

You can be the greatest editor in the world, but if your footage is shaky, out of focus, out of frame, etc. your finished product will suffer. As the saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out". Therefore, my first rule, especially with video, is whenever possible use a tripod or other stabilizing device.

If you don't have a tripod you can usually find some kind of support to use; a railing, bench, table, etc. If you are in the middle of the desert and have nothing to lean on make sure you keep your elbows tight to your body and breath softly. Seriously. Squatting/kneeling down and putting an elbow on your knee works great too.
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Post by sjj1805 »

Not any old Tripod will do.

You can easily fall into the mistake of just buying a cheap tripod, that is perhaps OK if all you have is a "Point and shoot" digital camera that snugly fits in your pocket. If you have something more substantial - a SLR/DSLR then you need a tripod which is able to handle the weight of the camera - plus of course any zoom lens you might have.

If you are not sure how heavy your camera/lens combination is then you will find a handy weight calculator on this page

With professional quality tripods you can mix and match legs and heads.
You can either get a ready made tripod or purchase the legs separately from the head. You can even purchase the legs from one manufacturer and the head from another.

When choosing a head take into account the type of head.
Ball head - is like a ball and you can move the camera up, down, left right and twist sideways.
Two way head - you can move left-right and up-down but not sideways.
With this head you would need to have the tripod on a level surface otherwise your pictures could come out slanting.
Three way head - rather like the ball head allowing left-right / up-down and sideways movements.

Some Tripods can also double up as a monopod.
A monopod is lighter than a tripod and so more portable if your are going out on a field trip. Obviously not as stable as a tripod because there is just this single pole where you rest the camera on top. It does however take the weight of the camera off you so that you are able to hold the camera more steady. Some tripods allow you to unscrew one of the legs to form a monopod.
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Re: Tripods and Stabilizing Devices

Post by lakulo »

Choosing a tripod can be an overwhelming experience, given how many different types and choices we are presented with. On one hand, a tripod is a very simple tool to keep our cameras steady when we use them in challenging light conditions. I personally use a tripod for one main reason – landscape photography. Shooting sunrises and sunsets can be quite challenging, especially when the light conditions are far from ideal. Thanks to image stabilized lenses and now cameras with excellent built-in image stabilization, the use of a tripod for most types of photography is not necessary when shooting in daylight conditions.