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Tripod Or Not Tripod – That Is The Question…

Gilles in the Bazaar of Shiraz, Iran

Gilles in the Bazaar of Shiraz, Iran

To answer this question, you should consider your actual needs. A good tripod can be rather heavy and they are not cheap either. To be honest, until about a year ago we used each others shoulder, a bolder or whatever came in handy to keep the camera from shacking during longer exposures. Now things are different and we almost always have one with us while traveling.

Why use a Tripod? – There are basically four reasons why you should use one:

  1. Low Light
Gilles near View of the World (Malindidzimu), Cecil Rhodes' Grave, Matopos or Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

Gilles near View of the World (Malindidzimu), Cecil Rhodes’ Grave, Matopos or Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa

The rule of thumb is that you can hold your camera in your hand as long as your Shutter Speed is greater the 1 divided by your Focal Length. Sounds complicated? Let’s give an example: if your Focal Length is 105 mm, your Shutter Speed must be greater than 1/105 second to have a sharp picture. So 1/125 will do. 1/80 won’t… Except if you have an exceptionally steady hand. If there is little light, you will need a Tripod.

  1. Long Exposures

Long exposures allow for great effects in your pictures, especially when photographing water (running or not) or moving lights, but also at dusk or dawn. One way to do long exposures in broad daylight is using a Variable Density Filter, to reduce the amount of light getting in your camera (up to 9 Stops, which means dividing the quantity of light by 29 or 512 times).

  1. Film Strips

If you want to do film strips, you have to use a Tripod! Do not forget to select Manual White Balance and Manual Focus.

  1. This is what Pros do!

A professional Photographer will tell you that you never shoot a picture without a Tripod. This is surely exaggerated, but as soon as Light and Shutter Speed are an issue, then a Tripod is a must…

Choose the Right Tripod… There are four main aspects to be taken into account when choosing a Tripod

  1. Easy To Use!
In Shiraz, Iran

In Shiraz, Iran

You should not spend minutes to position your Tripod, but seconds… The easiness to unfold it and especially to redirect the camera is critical! For this, we strongly recommend a Tripod with a Ballhead…

  1. Stability

There are tons of “Alibi Tripods” on the market. Small, light, … and unstable, especially when used with a DSLR camera! A Tripod is not crucial when taking pictures with a shutter speed of 1/10 second, but rather with exposures longer than 10 seconds. For that, you need a good stability.

  1. Weight and especially Size

What good is a tripod that stays at home, because they are too heavy, too bulky? Believe it or not, most tripods move from the store to a shelf… and are almost never used. More important than weight (well, you will carry it, sometimes all day, so this should not be underestimated…) is size! Does your Tripod fit in your daily backpack? If not, how long will you carry it along?

  1. Price

A high-end Tripod will cost more than 1.000 USD, which is serious money. On the other hand, an “Alibi Tripod” may cost you no more than 30 to 50 USD, but will not be of much help. Once again, the truth is in the “Golden Middle”: we paid 400 € (approx. 500 USD) for ours.

Our Tripod? Sirui T-2204X + K-20X – The ideal Travel Photography Tripod

  1. Light weight (1.5 kg) fiber carbon Tripod
  2. Legs fold up 180° for extra compactness (folded no more than 42 cm, unfolded up to 158 cm)
  3. Extremely sturdy ballhead with control knobs for pan, tilt, and tension for high stability and high flexibility
  4. Each leg has an automatic leg angle lock mechanism, for speed and convenience when unfolding or new positioning.
  5. And last but not least price: 400 € is for this level of quality excellent!


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