Try out some tripods!

The humble tripod can make a huge difference to your images by helping reduce the risk of camera shake. Here’s eight of the best…

The tripod is often overlooked by photographers when it comes to photo accessories, but don’t underestimate how useful these supports can prove. They can make a huge difference to your photography. When the time comes to use a slow shutter speed, we all struggle to keep our arms and hands still enough during the exposure. The movement caused by our shaky arms while the shutter is open records as blur, making the chances of bagging a sharp image virtually zero. With the camera securely locked on to a tripod, the risk of movement and camera shake is significantly reduced and opens up a whole new world of creative images that would otherwise be impossible to achieve –such as capturing traffic trails or blurring water, to name but two. We teamed up with Digital SLR Magazine to pick out eight models worth a closer look. Let’s investigate...

Shoot steady with one of these tripods!

  1. Manfrotto 055XPROB Manfrotto 055XPROB
    This hugely popular aluminium tripod features a clever centre column that can be fixed in a horizontal position – perfect for shooting objects from above. Tripod head is extra. The tripod is priced at £139.95*.
  2. Manfrotto 190CXPRO4Manfrotto 190CXPRO4
    Featuring the same horizontal centre column as the 055XPROB, the 190CXPRO4 weighs in at just 1340g and has a built-in spirit level. The tripod is priced at £239.95*.
  3. Gitzo GT3320BS Series 3 SystematicGitzo GT3320BS Series 3 Systematic Tripod
    This Gitzo is a very short and very strong two-section aluminium tripod that would suit landscape photographers who shoot close to the ground. The Gitzo is so robust, it can hold a whopping 18kg of kit! The tripod is priced at £269*.
  4. Giottos Vitruvian VGRN8255 plus MH5400-652 Ball HeadGiottos Vitruvian VGRN8255 plus MH5400-652
    The Giottos’ three leg sections fold back on themselves, turning the Giottos into a very portable and transportable support. However, when extended, this tripod has an operating height of 165cm! The tripod is priced at £259*.
  5. Velbon Ultra REXi LVelbon Ultra REXi L Tripod
    The Velbon has five leg sections that compress down to create a tripod just 36cm long. When extended the user gets a tripod with a maximum height of 153cm – and it can hold 4kg of kit. The tripod is priced at £99*.
  6. Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom Tripod plus Ball and Socket HeadJoby Gorillapod SLR Zoom Tripod
    The Joby Gorillapod is a unique design comprising of a small ball and socket head and three malleable legs that can be wrapped around tree branches or poles. At 390g, it weighs virtually nothing! The tripod is priced at £64.95*.
  7. Induro CT014 Carbon 8XInduro CT014 Carbon 8X
    The Induro tripod is built for harsh conditions and has rubber leg locks, which are dust and moisture resistant and only require a quick half-turn to release the leg section. The tripod is priced at £269*.
  8. Hama Traveller Compact ProHama Traveller Compact Pro
    You get a lot for your money with the Compact Pro, including aluminium four-piece leg sections that can hold 4kg and give the tripod a maximum operating height of 163cm. The tripod is priced at £35*

Top Tips

  • Leg locks allow the tripod to be extended or folded down. Look out for quality, quick-release locks that are easy to use.
  • Carbon fibre tripods are more expensive than aluminium versions, but are also much lighter, which can be an important consideration.
  • If you are going to be transporting your tripod, consider carrying it in a case, which will help protect your purchase from any knocks.
  • Some models here don’t include a tripod head, which needs to be purchased separately. There are a few styles to choose from, including pan heads, ball and socket heads and trigger heads, which only move when you are squeezing the lever on the head.

* Prices as of today (08/03/2013), and are subject to change.