Fea­tures to look for...

Take a good look around when choos­ing your next three-legged friend

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

Ball head

For ease and speed of use, ball heads are prefer­able to three-way heads. Some of the ball heads on test in­clude ad­di­tional pan­ning re­lease knobs and ad­justable fric­tion dampers (see Jar­gon Buster).

Pivot fa­cilit y

The Benro and Kenro tripods have piv­ot­ing cen­tre col­umns. Use­ful for wide-an­gle and macro pho­tog­ra­phy, they also en­able ul­tra-low-level shoot­ing with­out in­vert­ing the cen­tre col­umn.

SPIRIT Level

Spirit or bub­ble lev­els are some­times fit­ted on the tri­pod legs and/or the head, to en­able easy lev­el­ling of the tri­pod and cam­era dur­ing set-up. Mul­ti­ple lev­els en­able more pre­cise lev­el­ling.

Leg secti ons

The num­ber of sec­tions within each leg varies be­tween four and six, de­pend­ing on the tri­pod. The more sec­tions there are, the smaller the tri­pod will pack down, but the longer it will take to set up.

Load rati ng

Max­i­mum load rat­ings vary be­tween 4kg and 20kg for the legs on test, and be­tween 3kg and 15kg for the ball heads, so bear this in mind if you use big­ger full-frame bod­ies and long, hefty lenses.

Secti on clamps

Most of the tripods on test use twist­ing clamps for the leg sec­tions, but some use clip-style clamps. The lat­ter can take a longer to op­er­ate, es­pe­cially where there are a lot of leg sec­tions.

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