To me, tripods are necessary for some situations. I use them for night shots/ long exposures mainly. Tripods are especially useful for architectural and landscape shoots when getting a straight horizon or adjusting the camera to sit parallel to the object is essential to avoid converging lines. People who uses medium and large format cameras will use them more often because you simply cannot handhold the larger cameras. I also think using the tripod slows you down considerably and force you to be careful when taking a shot, to me at least.
Tripods are white elephants. Most people buy them thinking that it would improve their photography. Yet, lots of them end up not using these white elephants most of the time, perhaps due to the weight, the size, or the hassle to set it up.
For me, I would bring my tripod around, everytime I go out. For I wouldn't know when I would need it, either to shoot some pictures, or to whack some oncoming asssailant! :bsmilie:
bot a tripod but hardly use it since i now shoot mainly street and want to keep gear to a minimum. by the time u set up the tripod, the decisive moment is gone... might try out a monopod sometime in the future though ...