If you’re not using a tripod yet…you should be!
But if you’ve never used a tripod before, how do you know what to buy? Think about this: your camera body will be sitting on that tripod. The same camera body you’ve spend hundreds on. So is it worth risking your camera on a flimsy plastic tripod? Saving a few dollars isn’t worth it when you think about it that way.
You don’t need to spend hundreds, but you want a tripod that’s light to carry, and strong and sturdy enough to support your camera. If you shoot in a studio, tripod height isn’t that important. But if you shoot landscapes and travel shots, you’ll need something lightweight and compact enough to fit in your luggage.
If you are buying your first tripod, and won’t be using it in extreme conditions, an aluminum tripod might be your best bet. Aluminum is inexpensive, yet will give your camera good support. If you do landscape photography in rugged settings, consider a carbon fibre tripod. Carbon fibre is a more expensive option, but its very strong in comparison to its weight—ideal when you need to push your tripod to the limit to capture great shots.
You might also want to consider different tripod head types, depending on the type of photos you want to take. Your tripod will no doubt come with a head, but you might want to consider a different type at some point.
Let’s look at the four types of tripod so you can choose the best one for your needs: