Fea­tures to look for …

Check out the finer points of tri­pod de­sign be­fore mak­ing your buy­ing de­ci­sion

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Mount­ing plat­form

Full-sized tripods usu­ally have a mount­ing plat­form be­tween 50mm and 60mm in di­am­e­ter. A close match to the di­am­e­ter of your cho­sen tri­pod head’s base will help with sta­bil­ity. See our com­par­i­son table (page 107) for de­tails.

Multi-an­gle legs

Ideal for low-level shoot­ing, or on tricky ter­rain, mul­ti­ple leg an­gles are a real bonus. Most mod­ern tripods have three lock­able po­si­tions, whereas a cou­ple of the Man­frotto tripods on test have four.

Cen­tre col­umn

Piv­ot­ing cen­tre col­umns are great for macro and ul­tra-wide-an­gle shoot­ing (when you want to en­sure tri­pod feet aren’t in shot). With both Ben­ros on test, you can lock the cen­tre col­umn at al­most any po­si­tion through a 180-de­gree arc.

Leg sec­tions

Legs that are made from three sep­a­rate sec­tions (two ex­tend­ing) are the most com­mon. With four or more sec­tions, there’s a risk that the bot­tom ones may be quite thin and spindly. The plus side is that the tri­pod col­lapses down smaller for more compact stowage.

Leg sec­tion locks

Some pho­tog­ra­phers pre­fer clip-style clamps, whereas oth­ers pre­fer twist locks. Ei­ther way, man­u­fac­tur­ing pre­ci­sion is re­quired to en­sure firm lock­ing when closed, as well as smooth ex­ten­sion of leg sec­tions when re­leased.

Feet

Rub­ber pads work well in most con­di­tions. On soft sur­faces like car­pet or dirt, spikes can be bet­ter as they give a more se­cure foot­ing. The Sirui tripods fea­ture re­tractable spikes within rub­ber feet, whereas oth­ers have in­ter­change­able spikes and rub­ber pads.

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