Features to look for...
Take a good look around when choosing your next three-legged friend
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 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.