10 things we learned in this test

A few de­sign flour­ishes or clever tricks can go a long way to­wards mak­ing a tri­pod even more use­ful

NPhoto - - Test Team -

1 Weigh it down

Most tripods fea­ture a weight hook, usu­ally at the bot­tom of the cen­tre col­umn. Hang­ing a weight (for ex­am­ple, your cam­era bag) from this can add sta­bil­ity when shoot­ing out­doors in breezy con­di­tions.

2 From the top

In or­der to en­sure max­i­mum rigid­ity, it’s best to ex­tend the up­per (fat­ter) sec­tions first, and to only ex­tend the lower (thin­ner) sec­tions if nec­es­sary.

3 Exposure de­lay

Many Nikon D-SLRs fea­ture an exposure de­lay mode as a cus­tom func­tion. This helps to avoid mir­ror bounce, and will en­sure sharper shots, es­pe­cially when you’re us­ing macro or tele­photo lenses with your cam­era on a tri­pod.

4 Cen­tre col­umn pivot

Piv­ot­ing cen­tre col­umns locked into hor­i­zon­tal boom mode are es­pe­cially use­ful for macro shoot­ing, and for avoid­ing get­ting the tri­pod feet in frame dur­ing ul­tra-wide-an­gle shoot­ing.

5 On the level

Bub­ble lev­els in the tri­pod help to en­sure that it’s level when set up, but only bub­ble or spirit lev­els in the head’s cam­era plat­form en­able you to level the ac­tual cam­era.

6 In the bag

A padded tri­pod bag is good to have, even if you need to buy one sep­a­rately. This is es­pe­cially true for car­bon fi­bre tripods, which can shat­ter or break on im­pact.

7 Com­fort pad­ding

Spongy pad­ding on one or more of the up­per leg sec­tions en­ables com­fort­able car­ry­ing, es­pe­cially in cold weather, and also helps to pro­tect the tri­pod from dam­ag­ing knocks.

8 Clip or twist?

Twist-action leg locks aren’t any slower to use than the more com­mon clip locks, and they can pro­vide equally firm lock­ing.

9 Cen­tre col­umn ex­ten­sion

We usu­ally rec­om­mend ex­tend­ing the cen­tre col­umn of your tri­pod only as a last re­sort, when you ab­so­lutely need ex­tra height. How­ever, it can be prefer­able to ex­tend­ing the bot­tom leg sec­tions if they’re very thin and you’re in a sit­u­a­tion where the tri­pod might wob­ble or move.

10 What head?

Ball heads tend to be quicker and eas­ier to ad­just than three-way tri­pod heads, whereas the lat­ter can be bet­ter for mak­ing very fine ad­just­ments.

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