96 — Tripods for photography (the good stuff)

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #96 is a primer on how to buy a great tri­pod, what to look for in a tri­pod and why you should buy a great tri­pod. (In the lon­grun, if you stick with pho­tog­ra­phy long enough, you will be buy­ing a great tri­pod even­tu­ally anyway)

If you are seri­ous enough about your pho­tog­ra­phy that you save money to buy great lenses, then this pod­cast won’t scare the crap out of you.

If you are into the cheap stuff, and are more con­cerned about over­all price ver­sus over­all qual­ity, be afraid — be very afraid.

Tripods and heads for photography

Tripods and heads for photography

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Tri­pod arti­cle by Thom Hogan — a must read
Gitzo GT2540LLVL tri­pod at B&H
Man­frotto 055 Tri­pod plus 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head w/ Quick Release at B&H
The fol­low­ing com­pa­nies make rec­om­mended ball­heads — Arca Swiss — Acrat­echReally Right Stuff - MarkinsGitzoMan­frotto
Cheaper Car­bon fiber tripods by Induro — Benbo (Remem­ber to research and TRY spe­cific indi­vid­ual mod­els)
April’s reg­u­lar assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum — Geo­met­ric shapes
April’s level 2 assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum — Cre­ative underexposure

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Thanks to forum mem­ber Benny who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

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Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!


  1. keith says:

    Before I’m much pre­ferred on buy­ing cheap stuff but when I found some good tripods like this, I’m very sat­is­fied with the results. All the shots are clear and crisp!

  2. I love my cheapo tri­pod. Its a Sun­pak alu­minum ver­sion and it does all that I need it to do. I’ve done sharp, out­door 30 sec expo­sures and used it daily as a prod­uct pho­tog­ra­pher. Would I like a nicer tri­pod? Of course. But cheap­ies are a great place to start.

  3. Howard J says:

    As promised I did a quick review of the ball head I use on my Benro Tri­pod. It’s the Tri­opo B-3 here’s my write up on it. http://newd7000user.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/triopo-b3-ball-head-review-benro-b3-ball-head-review/

  4. KawarthaBob says:

    Thanks for the poscast on tripods. It was very infor­ma­tive for me. I had been using a cheapo slik for the last few years and have been dis­cour­aged when using it. I mainly use a tri­pod for wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy and when com­pos­ing a shot and tight­en­ing the grip my “frame’ would always shift. Now as of yes­ter­day I went out and forked out some coin on a man­frotto with a ball head. I went into the store look­ing at one with a pis­tol grip but found it to be a toy. I tried out var­i­ous mod­els and bought the 7302YB with remov­able cen­ter col­umn to allow for low angle shots. What a difference!

  5. Won­der­ful arti­cle and I have got lot of infor­ma­tion about tripods for photography.

  6. Howard J says:

    Marko, what a great pod­cast! I really appre­ci­ate your advice, and totally agree with it. that being said I pretty much broke all your rules for choos­ing and buy­ing a tri­pod, I didn’t have the option avail­able to go try before buy­ing, and I just can­not afford a $800 tri­pod, my wife would kill me, and I feel that the prices on those things are inflated too much. So I went with one of the Chi­nese knock-offs a Benro A298M8 with a Tri­opo B3 Ball­head. I’ve done a review of the tri­pod over on my blog, I hope it’s OK to post the link.

    I’ll be review­ing the Ball­head I use soon.I shoot tons of HDR, macro, and land­scapes so a tri­pod is essen­tial to me and I’ve enjoyed using the Benro so far. I’m also plan­ning on get­ting a Goril­la­pod at some time as I found my smaller one to be incred­i­bly use­ful when I shot with my P&S.

  7. NorthStone says:

    Hi Marko,

    No probs. It would be good to have a follow-up and and tips etc. I haven’t got a bean­bag as yet but it’s some­thing I’m think­ing of. Whilst using a tri­pod is good it can be a bit cum­ber­some espe­cially lug­ging it up hills and moun­tains etc. A bean­bag is a sim­ple effec­tive thing to use on walls or places where it’s dif­fi­cult to put a tri­pod. The goril­las as I’m sure you know are good for wrap­ping round branches and poles etc though I’m not sure how they’d han­dle weighty cam­eras. Still a good idea though.


  8. Wicked Dark says:

    Lay­ers of out­ward­ness! Excel­lent. I’m not a huge tri­pod snob, but I will buy another one some­day and it will prob­a­bly be stu­pid money. Prob­a­bly with a RRS ball head and L-frame w/quick release. For now I divide my time between my ancient Bogen (Man­frotto) and my travel Slik.

    On the bean­bag side, I use a cou­ple of bags of bar­ley inside a ziplock bag. Cost about a buck. I use it fairly often even though it’s a bit bulky to carry.

    any­way, good podcast.

  9. NorthStone says:

    Hi Marko,

    Nice advice. Really enjoyed the pod­cast. I have a lit­tle man­frotto tri­pod I’ve found very use­ful up to now but you’ve cer­tainly given me some ideas for the future.

    Would have liked to have seen this pod­cast extended to cover alter­na­tive cam­era sup­ports i.e. gorilla grip tripods and bean­bags etc which are also good.


    • admin says:

      Thx for the com­ment North­Stone!
      There was a lot miss­ing from the pod­cast for sure, it was just a primer — but it (pod­cast) clocked in at 25 min or so which is about right.
      Extended sup­port is another great idea and I already have a review com­ing very shortly for the Stead­e­pod.
      About the bean­bag thing, can I ask what type do you have, and how often you use it?
      Thx! Marko


  1. […] up with my pre­vi­ous post on the Benro A-298 Tri­pod M8 review,which I wrote up inspired by this pod­cast, I wanted to review the ball head I put on top. I was ini­tially look­ing at putting a Benro ball […]

  2. […] So I want to do gear reviews from time to time and although I wanted to even­tu­ally do a  review on tripods,  I felt a need to write one sooner due to this Blog/Podcast post I read/listened to here: http://www.photography.ca/blog/2011/04/26/tripod-photography/ […]

  3. […] if I’m hik­ing I take the lit­tle Slik.  For some help­ful ideas on buy­ing a tri­pod, check out Marko’s lat­est pod­cast on […]

  4. […] ago­niz­ing process.  I was reminded of my past expe­ri­ences in buy­ing a tri­pod when I lis­tened to a pod­cast from Marko Kulik this week.  Unless you’re an absolute begin­ner in pho­tog­ra­phy, you already know how […]

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