Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:00

Tripod Selection

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

I've listed the what I consider to be some of the more important considerations when investigating the purchase of a tripod for large lens support.


The point of the exercise is to find a tripod that affords a stable base for your camera /lens. It needs to be rigid without slack in any of the joints. Stick to quality brands and read the reviews available on the web. Make sure that it is specified to carry the weight of the lens/camera and any likely up-dates.  Find out what the experts are recommending? What have your mates got?

Number of Leg Segments

This could have been considered to be a stability issue, however with the better quality tripods the manufactureres claim that the number of stages makes no differnece in terms of stability. This was not always the case with some early model, so check the reviews. Where the number of segments does become important is the tripods ability to collaspe intoa shorter length. This can be critical if you intend travelling and packing your tripod in your suit case. Another consideration in regards the number of segments is the ease and speed to assemble the tripod.


The weight of the tripod needs to considered if you intend to hiking or travelling with it. Carbon fibre is going to offer the best weight to strength ratio. If possible check to see how comfortable it is the hold the tripod. There was a particular range from a reputable manufacturer that had a rough texture on there carbon fibre legs that made carrying them very uncomfortable.

Tripod Height

Make sure you get a tripod that when extended will be tall enough not to cause you to stoop uncomfortably. Bear in mind the additional height gained when adding a tripod head and camera/Lens. Avoid tripods that rely on a centre column to reach workable heights. These are less stable with addition flex points.

Ease of Assembly

As opposed to the clamping systems it is not readily apparent when the screw locking mechanisms are tight.

Leg Angles

Look for tripod legs with independent multiple angle positioning. These work best in uneven terrain and will also let you go low when photographing. Another reason not to have a centre column let you go very low to get eye level shots of ground dwelling/roosting birds.


I would recommend spending the money to buy a quality tripod that will last a life-time and not require up-grading. Quality  tripods can cost in excess of $1000 AUD, consider looking at some of the reputable overseas suppliers. Postage is expensive.


If you stick with the major brands and choose a tripod matched to your camera and lense the overall quality should not be a issue. Consider availability of spare parts . I lost a foot spike within the first few weeks of use, fortunately spares were available, though expensive.


Read 1417 times Last modified on Friday, 12 December 2014 19:58
More in this category: Using a Bird Hide »