Photography News 69

Photography News | Issue 69 |

39 Buying Technique

7. Left: Pistol grip type types are great for action work Below: Three way head – offers quick adjustment in three axes and stable Right: Gimbal head – specialist head for action and nature workers Far right: Ball-head – good general purpose head, quick to adjust and fine-tune, and stable

7. Head Almost all tripods have the ability to

remove the head and swap it for another. The reason for this is simple. Different heads are suited to different subjects, so while the tripodmight succeed in all sorts of spheres, the headmay not. So always go for tripods where the head is swappable. Youmight have a ball head for general use, but then swap to a gimbal head for some nature work and then switch to a video head for movie shooting. For packing, taking the head off also means it’ll pack smaller. 8. Centre column Most tripods come with a centre column, and this is used to raise the camera above the tripod collar, eking out a littlemore height than the legs alone allow. It’s not a great way of shooting though, as the centre column is the least stable part of the tripod, and should only be used as a last resort. Some tripods come without a centre column at all, and onmost you’ll be able to remove it, invert it, or swing it through 90º for low angle shooting. 9. Leg angles All good tripods have a series of leg positions, usually three or four, letting you set the legs at different angles appropriate to the subject. This can help shooting on uneven ground, or lower the shooting height if the widest angles are all used at once. Leg angles work in different ways, but most have a locking system to hold them in place at the desired setting. 10. Payload Themaximumpayload of the tripod is howmuch gear it can support before it becomes unsteady. Remember, this doesn’t just include your camera and lens, but also the head you add to the tripod. Heads will have their own payload value, too. Payload is important when using larger, heavier gear, so in particular when choosing a tripod on which tomount a big telephoto lens for sports or wildlife shooting. Try to pick a tripodwith a load capacity of at least double what you’remounting and enjoy improved stability. 11. Weight Heavier tripods might not seeman obvious choice when buying – especially if you’re planning to lug your new legs up amountain or two – but when used correctly, weightier models havemore stability than lighter ones. If the tripod comes with a ballast hook, either on the bottomof the centre column, or directly beneath the collar, you’ll also be able to add weight there too.

10. Always check the quoted payload of your prospective tripod

8. Check centre column stability and versatility when shopping for a tripod

11. Many tripods have a ballast hook on the centre column that you hang a weight (your camera bag!) from to enhance the stability of your tripod

9. Different leg positions let you adjust camera position, optimise stability especially when it is windy and help when working in uneven terrain

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