Photography News 85 Web

Support matters

A tripod is a photographer’s best friend and probably the most worthwhile accessory you can own. It improves your pictures at a stroke – both aesthetically and technically – but you need a good one, not something that wobbles like a jelly when someone walks by. Here is our selection of standout support acts worth more than their weight in gold


Only carbon is used in the Leofoto product range: Toray 100% ten- layer carbon-fibre to be exact, with a cross-rhombus structure to ensure maximum strength and minimum vibrations. This four-section pod Ranger LS-324C, which is sold with the LH-40 ball head that accepts Arca- Swiss plates, has a 15kg maximum load capability and can extend up to 139.5cm, so you get a good working height. However, if you need a greater shooting height, Leofoto does supply a centre column in the bag and this can be fitted in a very short time. And, thanks to its centre column-free design, obtaining a low shooting height is easy, too – you can get the Ranger LS-324C down to 16.8cm with no fuss at all. Leofoto Ranger LS- 324C + LH-40

three legs, the tripod market is full of variations in height, style, materials and features. Not to mention the huge range of price points, too. It’s worth saying that some of the really cheap models are best avoided if you possibly can. Our buyers’ guide covers a broad selection of leading players we’d happily recommend for stills and movie shooting. There’s carbon fibre and alloy, we have full-sized pods as well as travel and mini models, and expensive tripods and budget models, too. Of course, ideally, there is no substitute for trying before buying, but currently that is not an option. Fingers crossed, that will change for the better soon. Meanwhile, our round-up should get you on the right track and give you an idea of what is on offer from the many tripod brands.

TRIPODS ARE VITAL for a huge number of different creative techniques and subjects in photography. From razor-sharp landscape photographs to carefully composed still lifes; from five-minute long exposures to pin-sharp birds in flight; from light painting to modern miracles like multi-shot high-res modes and focus stacking. They all require a rock-solid platform from which to shoot – and that’s exactly what a tripod should give you. There is also the simple – but significant – benefit that a tripod slows you down, making you consider your compositions much more carefully than when shooting handheld. But not all tripods are created equal and while it is a very personal thing, some are better than others. In fact, aside from them all having



Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CB

Sold by MTF Specialist Broadcast Services, the Sirui SH-25 is a high- spec aluminium tripod, complete with a fluid head, making it ideally suited to video shooting. It’s a three-section tripod with double legs and tripod spider bracing for extra stability and Sirui SH-25

has a maximum working height of 1900cm. The SH-25 ’ s sturdiness is further enhanced by its 4kg weight and it can bear a maximum load of 10kg. MTF offers an extensive range of Sirui supports for movie shooters and the broadcast industry, so it ’ s well worth checking out.

This innovative carbon-fibre tripod is ideal for all sorts of uses, including macro, when you have to get the camera into awkward places. The VEO 3+ 263CB’s flexibility is down to Vanguard’s MACC (Multi-Angle Central Column), a really neat piece of design seen on several Vanguard tripods. Bring MACC into play and you will be able to fix the camera in almost any position you want. The kit includes the VEO+ MA1 multi-mount adapter that lets you attach an additional accessory, such as a light, microphone, monitor or hard drive recording device on the MACC. Portability rates highly too, with this three-section pod weighing in at just 2.1kg and it folds down to 76cm. For price and versatility, the Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CB not only offers real value for money, but is also a very usable product.

Slik PRO CF-834 £299.99

sections rotating inside each other. The four-section PRO CF-834 can extend to 165cm and go as low as 19cm – the sliding centre column features a spring- loaded hook in the base – and folds down to 48cm. The price is for the legs only and Slik offers a variety of head options.

Slik ’ s 800 CF series comprises models

made from carbon fibre produced by interweaving eight layers of carbon strands, which are bonded under pressure to give lightweight and rugged tubes. The legs also feature ARS (Anti- Rotational System) to prevent the individual leg

22 Photography News | Issue 85

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