Does a good tripod really matters?


Jul 27, 2011
297
2
18
#1
Hi all,

Just out of curiosity, does a good tripod really matters in general day to day usage? I mean even in Singapore? I'd like to seek some expert advice or rather opinion for the following:

Tripods for

1) Indoor shoot (Commercial interior)

2) Night Photography (Local and oversea, like milkyway photograph?)

I personally don't do much night photography, but I feel that a basic tripod under general circumstances does the job, if there isnt much wind, or earth isn't shaking.
 

Jun 2, 2012
822
17
18
Singapore when back at home
#2
A good strong & well built tripod will definitely provide the firm support for the whole setup & will last for many years of trouble free service. In buying a tripod one can choose to buy a low cost tripod, mid priced tripod or a very a good strong tripod.

More expensive tripods are usually manufactured with better & harder wearing materials versus lower priced tripods. It depends on your set up, budget & how long do you intend to use it. Buying cheaper, less well built tripods is usually a foolhardy exercise.

By the way, I don't see the distinction between a tripod for indoor or outdoor photography use. A tripod is a tripod, it works the same way outdoors & indoors. Unless you meant to say that one can use a smaller / lighter weight tripod for indoor photography & use a beefier / heavier tripod for outdoor photography at windy places?
 

Last edited:
Jul 27, 2011
297
2
18
#3
A good strong & well built tripod will definitely provide the firm support for the whole setup & will last for many years of trouble free service. In buying a tripod one can choose to buy a low cost tripod, mid priced tripod or a very a good strong tripod.

More expensive tripods are usually manufactured with better & harder wearing materials versus lower priced tripods. It depends on your set up, budget & how long do you intend to use it. Buying cheaper, less well built tripods is usually a foolhardy exercise.

By the way, I don't see the distinction between a tripod for indoor or outdoor photography use. A tripod is a tripod, it works the same way outdoors & indoors. Unless you meant to say that one can use a smaller / lighter weight tripod for indoor photography & use a beefier / heavier tripod for outdoor photography at windy places?
Yes I'm refering to when doing indoor photography, there is no need for beefier tripods, but even for outdoors, I suppose a basic tripod is able to sustain some winds?
 

Jun 2, 2012
822
17
18
Singapore when back at home
#4
In that sense, yes a light tripod will do fine indoors & even outdoors (mild breezy days). How light a tripod to select, you'll need to decide from your camera & lens weight.
 

Nikonzen

Senior Member
Nov 3, 2014
2,570
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Oklahoma, USA
#5
Because I dont use one very often I bought an old second hand tripod. It is very heavy duty and very weighty compared to what is out there today but much more economical as well.

Dont risk high dollar equipment on a cheap tripod. My opinion.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,518
32
48
Pasir Ris
#6
Yes, it matters. For several reasons:
1) Flexibility. The $30 kit tripods do not allow you any special setups that you might require in commercial situations. Starting from using the upper column in horizontal setup or 'below', or spreading the legs nearly flat out. Good to have a tripod at hand that allows all this, it might be the deal breaker one day. In addition, a tripod can be used as light stand - but a light stand cannot become a tripod.
2) Compatibility. Cheaper tripods come with cheap heads and their own camera plate. How fast you can change a camera? Higher end models come with Arca Swiss style plates, they fit many different tripods and you can get mounting plates for all your cameras, makes it very fast to change bodies on the tripod.
3) Service and Support. Higher end models can be serviced, you will get spare parts.
4) Professional appearance. A good tripod is not luxury, but it shows you know what the proper tools for the job are.
 

ALFREDC

New Member
Jul 9, 2011
141
0
0
#7
Number 1 rule in photography, get a good tripod. This rule has not change with image stabilization or high iso capability or whatever bull.
 

Oct 29, 2014
113
2
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Clementi
#8
I'd say the two best investments I've made in my photographic journey so far are good lenses and a good sturdy tripod. Don't bother with cheapo tripod kits. If you are on a budget, at least get a half decent sirui tripod. It will save you on a lot of frustration later on. Not sure what your "basic tripod" means, but something from manfrotto's 190 series, sirui's N or R series or mefoto's globetrotter series will do the job of a all purpose tripod well. Personally I have a manfrotto befree for when I need to go light when travelling, and a heavier, sturdier benro tripod for more mission critical situations (such as shooting for clients), if that's what you mean by the differentiation between indoor and travel tripods.

I would say a tripod should be something you want to get right and not cheap out on. Quality matters with the kind of equipment you put on it, as well as expandability in the future (like if you want to put a video head on your tripod in the future, you probably wouldn't want to get something that is a lightweight travel tripod). Do also consider the features that some nicer tripods offer such as horizontal center column positions. Camera weight also matters when picking a suitable tripod, so you have to consider that as well.
 

dennisc

Senior Member
Oct 24, 2002
2,028
2
38
Freezing Upp Thomson/Mandai!
#9
I never use tripod except for curtain sync which are rare, and to hold strobes in and outdoors. But then, I do have my good friend whose a walking adjustable and highly mobile strobe machine! Most of the time.
I admire ladies, aunties, etc who bother to mount tripods on their dlsr+kit to shoot normal stuff in broad daylight... must have stunning pictures.
 

thoongeng

Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
1,260
19
38
#10
All very good advice from the seniors, and it does really matter.

However the tripod must work for you and help you, if not why bring the extra load? When the situation calls for it, either for long exposures, leveling the horizon, bracketing or to give a presence in front of clients, it must be there to help, instead of hindering by being rickety blurring your shots or difficult to set up and you miss your shot.

If your current tripod serves your needs well then do continue using it, no wrong with that. Hopefully you need not learn the hard way as many had.
 

Mar 10, 2007
302
2
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#11
When selecting the tripod, consider the choice of the head as well. I bought a Sirui tripod set for the light weight but found that the ball head performance was not that satisfactory when I first used it. Traded it up for a better Sirui ballhead.
 

kandinsky

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 26, 2008
3,014
24
38
#12
If your current tripod serves your needs well then do continue using it, no wrong with that.
Yeah, agree with this. Upgrade when your needs surpass what the equipment can do, not for the sake of it.

Of course, in some cases it may make sense to pre-empt the need. If I had a critical project where I cannot afford to reshoot, or suffer any equipment failure, I might opt to seek out a more reliable tripod/head (or with the required features) for the job to minimize the risk of failure, and to ensure that I can get the job done within the time available. Just good to have your bases covered. If it was a personal project where I can afford to go back and try again, and no heads will roll if something screws up, by all means, I will be happy to use whatever I already own, even if it's a free tripod. If it doesn't work out, can still try again. For me, it boils down to what is at stake.
 

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soeypixels

Senior Member
Jun 24, 2007
1,477
0
36
#14
I used exactly this setup for interior.
And change to a ball head in studio shoot.

$manfrotto_mk055xpro3_3w_mt055xpro3_3w_aluminum_tripod_with_1393822736000_1034143.jpg

Is heavy but sturdy, also taller than 1.7m. And I should have purchase a carbon fibre one instead!
Manfrotto MT055XPRO3-3W Aluminum Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head

For night photography, i think an eye level height carbon fibre small and compact is good.

For ballhead get markins, RRS or Acratech
My tips is save up for the best. Is a one time purchase.
 

Jan 5, 2010
276
0
0
#15
I personally don't do much night photography, but I feel that a basic tripod under general circumstances does the job, if there isnt much wind, or earth isn't shaking.
I've seen some keeping their lens hood on and/ or camera strap flapping in strong wind. Removing those can actually enhance the stability of the set up, otherwise they'll act like erratic parachutes.
 

Mythmaker

New Member
Oct 8, 2011
1,011
2
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Buangkok MRT
#16
Tripod sturdiness probably doesn't matter for indoor, solong it doesn't topple your lens and body.

It probably doesn't matter for milky way as well, since you are looking at probably 15s of exposure max.

If you are shooting star trails overseas, it does matter though; you never know when an earthquake will hit you.
 

Ah Keong

Senior Member
Dec 3, 2014
591
8
18
North
#17
I've seen some keeping their lens hood on and/ or camera strap flapping in strong wind. Removing those can actually enhance the stability of the set up, otherwise they'll act like erratic parachutes.
agree with this. I detach my strap when shooting long exposure on tripod.
 

DSolZ

New Member
Mar 6, 2010
784
7
0
#18
Personally I have a very strong manfotto tripod. I also have a smaller travel size tripod from sirui. On both of this tripod I have done long exposure of up to 5-6 min with them.

Manfotto tripod confirm get long exposure done properly. As for the sirui I also can get sharp long exposure from it. But the caveat for sirui is that if there is wind stronger then breeze it might cause some issue.

But most of the time I still use the smaller sirui tripod because it is just so much lighter to bring around. If wind come from the side or back I will just use my body to block it.
 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,646
35
48
Singapore
#19
Hi all,

Just out of curiosity, does a good tripod really matters in general day to day usage? I mean even in Singapore? I'd like to seek some expert advice or rather opinion for the following:

Tripods for

1) Indoor shoot (Commercial interior)

2) Night Photography (Local and oversea, like milkyway photograph?)

I personally don't do much night photography, but I feel that a basic tripod under general circumstances does the job, if there isnt much wind, or earth isn't shaking.
Depends on your set up. Those basic tripods can never fulfill my needs. Then again, when a strong wind comes, most tripods aren't good enough. Lol.
 

SkyStrike

Moderator
Staff member
Nov 29, 2010
3,444
11
38
Somewhere
#20
Would like to point out that some of those high quality tripod are very heavy (even the carbon fiber ones), which the weight of the tripod is a turn off for many (myself included). And as such, it might not see much action as compared to some cheaper ones (these may not dissipate the vibration as fast, but good enough for most general use).

For overseas night photography, milky way, very windy places (coasts of Iceland), so far the "cheap" tripod (Sirui, full height tripod, not the travel size one..) is holding up well.
 

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