articles for photographers

Which tripod should you choose? Using my tripods as an example

The main requirement for a tripod is that it must be stable. This requirement runs counter to the desire to buy a lighter tripod. The lighter your tripod is, the worse it is for you. Alas, even sturdy carbon tripods are just a compromise. Don't think that taking a light (heaven forbid, cheap plastic) tripod and weighing it down on top with your camera will help it. This is not true.

  • First, you need to understand what type of use you need a tripod for. For photo or video, home or travel.
  • Secondly, you need to understand which camera with which optics you will install on it.
  • Thirdly, you need to understand how much it can cost.
  1. The legs (the base of the tripod) can be the same for both photography and video shooting. But the head will be different. Although here you need to understand what kind of video you want to write. If this is a blog at home at the table, it makes no difference which head to choose at all. If this is reportage shooting of weddings and other events, then you cannot do without a normal video head. For travel, of course, you need to choose lighter models, but for studio / homework, a certain severity should be present.
  2. The weight of the camera and the weight of the lens directly affect the choice of a particular model. Amateur cameras with kit lenses can be put on virtually anything. But if you have a full frame with appropriate optics, you need to be more serious about your choice.
  3. As for the price ... talking about a device that can be called tripod (legs + head) you can start from $ 150-200. Up to $ 100 - this is not a tripod, but a stand for a soap dish.

The tripod should weigh more than your camera.

I'll tell you a short story. About a year ago, I purchased something, which on the seller's website was called the Arsenal ARS 3740 tripod. This is a plastic construction for mounting on top of inexpensive cameras. Fix there Canon EOS it was uncomfortable and creepy. The thing is, I needed a tripod for the second camera when filming the interview. I had enough for a week with the Arsenal ARS 3740, then I sold it. Even the usual Arsenal ARS-2000 light stand seemed to me more stable than that plastic contraption.

tripod legs Slik PRO 400 DXA good tripod should weigh 2 kilograms minimum. I use my legs (base / bottom of the tripod) Manfrotto 055 XB and Slik PRO 400DX. I'd better make a video about their differences, because it's easier to show. In a nutshell, the Slik legs, while slightly smaller and cheaper, are still pretty good.

Overall, Slik has good tripods. And Benro does too. Manfrotto in our market is associated with the premium segment, although in the west it is just a middling one. If you buy a Manfrotto tripod, you definitely can't go wrong. Except that sometimes overpay. By the way, I have all the Manfrotto bags and I'm happy with them. But tripod legs are only half the trouble. You also need to choose a tripod head.

How to choose a tripod head?

There are many different types and models of tripod heads. I will tell you about my tripod heads, these are:

  • Benro S4 video head;
  • 3D-photo head Manfrotto 056 Junior;
  • Arsenal swivel head.

You don't have to choose these particular models. There are a lot of options. I'll tell you what they are for and how they work.

Distinction video heads in that it allows you to smoothly rotate the camera while filming. You can shoot video statically with a 3D head, or with a hinged head. But now, if you need to do wiring / panning, then you will need a liquid video head. Liquid heads have a smoother ride.

3D heads are interesting primarily in subject and interior photographers... Such heads allow precise adjustment of the position of the camera along each axis. 3D means that you can adjust each tilt axis separately. The video head does not allow this.

Articulated head is somewhat similar to a 3D head in terms of use, since allows you to tilt the camera arbitrarily in any plane. The downside is that the accuracy of adjustment provided by the articulated head is not comparable to that provided by the 3D head. The key difference is that the articulated head does not allow for isolation of movement along each individual plane. There is also a subtype of hinge heads - heads with a pistol grip. Which one to choose is a matter of personal preference.

More features of choosing a head for tripods

Most heads are equipped with quick release plates, which also come in various types. The main ones are manfrotto plate and arca swiss plate. The former are popular with videographers and are installed on video heads, the latter are typical for various types of photo heads.

Also, many head heads are equipped with a horizon level (a container with water and a bubble to track the level position of the camera).

Also, protective mechanisms are usually provided for the safe removal of the removable platform. But they are easier to show than to describe in an article.


Perhaps it was worth starting with this, but I want to say that a tripod is an indispensable attribute of any enthusiastic photographer or videographer. No fabulous matrix stub and other marketing gimmicks are no substitute for a good tripod.

I will list the genres of photography and video shooting, where the use of a tripod is directly shown and is irreplaceable:

Serious work is only possible with adequate fixation of your camera to the ground. And for this you need a heavy and durable tripod with a head that suits your tasks.

For travel, I recommend paying attention to this model.