Tripods, Another Short Rant

Tripods… Not glamorous like a new lens or body.

Tripods… Not cool like remote flash triggers.

Tripods… Absolutely essential if you want your long exposure to be sharp!

OK so that sound pretty good without too much rant… deep breath…. but…

I work part-time in the photography retail sector and the number of times I have the following conversation is astounding:

“Hi Im looking for a tripod for about $150, what do you have?” (all prices are in $NZ just for clarification)

“What kind of camera are you putting on it?” (at this point I’m really really hoping it’s going to be a point and shoot…please…please)

“A Canon 5DmkII” (Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!)


“With a 70-200 f2.8″ (Double Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

“… …”

At this point I usually go into rant mode…

My usual equation for tripods is that the tripod should be worth somewhere between 10 – 15% of the value of the camera equipment that is put on it. Anything less and the very slight movement from the cheaper tripod renders any sharpness of the equipment utterly void.

Now this might seem like a funny thing to get angry about but I guess that’s just me. People usually have a laugh when they see me lugging round my tripod but no-one every laughs at the result and admittedly I use mine for my 4×5 camera as well as my F5 andΒ D70s (which isn’t a particularly large camera).

What I think people are trying to say is that they want a small compact tripod and think that a cheap one will do the trick but once shown the error of their ways can be shown the benefits of sturdy leg materials like carbon and basalt.

And then there is the suspicion that I am just trying to up sell them into something more expensive… No! I just think you should respect your camera and get something you wont hate in 6 months because it gives bad results!

Anyway there are some cases where cheap tripods are good… Usually if you are going to totally trash then in salt water etc… but generally buy something decent!

Rant out

Lubitel 166U, Manfrotto 028 Tripod


13 responses

  1. Very good advice, I will take it to heart. How about adding weight via the hook on the bottom to increase stability?

    BTW, you may enjoy my work at

    20/09/2010 at 08:52

    • Adding weight helps but cheap wobbly tripod becomes cheap wobbly tripod with added weight πŸ™‚ End result soft images.

      21/09/2010 at 07:47

  2. I totally know (& agree) what you mean. Had just such conversation today- and yeah, he had a 5D2. Ps. I wish now i hadnt sold that Lubitel- tho you definately got the best shot out of it- awesome!

    20/09/2010 at 19:02

    • I wish you hadnt sold that Lubitel either… Hope your laptop is working

      21/09/2010 at 07:48

  3. Love the shot, love the rant. Sometimes price is important, and sometimes it isn’t πŸ™‚

    23/09/2010 at 00:13

  4. Couldnt have said it better myself

    23/09/2010 at 21:19

    • Andy - Plumber/Saturday harrasser

      Hey, theirs noting wrong with my 3 cocktail sticks/elastic band tripod with an SLR on top.

      It gives me wicked ‘drunken shots’ πŸ™‚
      Do you sell ball head attachments that will fit it?

      03/12/2010 at 16:45

      • I dont think its the tripod giving the drunken shots πŸ™‚
        Ball head yes but wait for a bit til we get some good ones.

        05/12/2010 at 21:13

  5. Saturday harrasser

    Man each time i look at this picture, i love it more. i keep coming back to it, over and over.

    Q. Aperture F4?

    24/02/2011 at 17:50

    • Ya it was definitely the shot of that camera before Fergus sold it…More like f8 or f11 but with cheap nasty lens πŸ™‚

      25/02/2011 at 20:06

  6. Saturday Harrasser

    Back again to have a squizz at this shot…… Today its looking to me like it is an image of a real life minuture (spelling?). Im almost expecting a strung puppet to ‘walk onto the set’

    04/03/2011 at 16:00

  7. Pingback: Whats Wrong With This Image? « Darkhalide Photography

  8. Pingback: Whats Wrong With This Image? « Darkhalide Photography

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