ANATOMY of A Tripod
1) Height: optimum height puts the camera at shoulder level, so you can see all the controls. 130cm- ish suits most people.
2) Minimum height: Apart from reducing the legs, options for low working include setting a wider leg angle, a reversible or articulating centre- column.
3) Leg sections: More sections give extra height and/ or shorter closed length, but more joints can reduce rigidity.
4) Leg angle: standard leg angle is around 22°. slightly wider angles increase stability with a bigger footprint, narrower angles increase height.
5) Leg angle adjusters: Usually two extra angle options, plus standard angle, to get down low, or to help level the tripod on uneven ground.
6) Material: Carbon- fibre is ideal, strong and light, but more expensive than aluminium. it also absorbs vibration better. 7) Monopod conversion: Unscrew one leg, bolt it to the centre- column and you have a nice tall monopod. 8) Foam rubber grip: warmer in winter, and more comfortable for carrying, either in the hand or resting on your shoulder. 9) Centre- column: Convenient for extra height, but reduces stability. Best avoided with a heavy rig. Usually reversible to use camera upside- down. 10) Articulating column: For awkward angles, but at full stretch can unbalance the tripod.
11) Leg locks: Levers are fast and easy, but twist- collars are more robust and less likely to catch on things. Personal choice really. 12) Universal head mount: standard 3/ 8in thread means different tripod heads can be freely interchanged.
13) Ballast hook: For hanging extra weight, like a camera bag, for increased stability.
14) Spirit level: To keep your horizons straight.
15) Feet: standard rubber feet can often be exchanged for spikes. some feet incorporate both options in one.
Leg markings: Usually in centimetre increments, as a handy reference for adjusting height and levelling.
Carry hook: Always handy, to attach a shoulder strap, or cable release etc. Accessory port: A 3/ 8in or 1/ 4in threaded socket to attach an ipad or magic arm.
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