So, what exactly is a “Tripod”. I am sure that many would know what a tripod is. But, going with the definition “A tripod is a portable three-legged frame, used as a platform for supporting the weight and maintaining the stability of some other object. A tripod provides stability against downward forces and horizontal forces and movements about horizontal axes.”
So, here is how a tripod looks
Well, that is a baby looking through a Camera Attached Tripod.
Here is how a Tripod looks in Plain.
With that being said, we will move on with the explanation of what is a tripod.
In photography, a tripod is used to stabilize and elevate a camera, a flash unit, or other photographic equipment. All photographic tripods have three legs and a mounting head to couple with a camera. The mounting head usually includes a thumbscrew that mates to a female threaded receptacle on the camera, as well as a mechanism to be able to rotate and tilt the camera when it is mounted on the tripod. Tripod legs are usually made to telescope, in order to save space when not in use. Tripods are usually made from aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, wood or plastic.(Source:wikipedia.org)
You might have a few questions on a tripod such as “Why is the tripod market so flooded with options when they all look pretty much the same and are designed to do the same exact thing? Isn’t one tripod as good as any other? Why are some so expensive? Why are others comparatively inexpensive? Do some hold cameras more steadily than others? And, why in the world is that one pink?”
The primary purpose of the tripod is to hold a camera completely steady—zero movement and vibration; however, the tripod is very, very far from a one-size-fits-all-photographic accessory. And, although they all look about the same—three legs, a part where the camera attaches, etc., there are many brands, styles, and variations. Some differences are centered on personal preference such as color, others are more purpose-driven.
Tripod parts consists of the following:
- Pan Head
- Center Column Locking collar
- Three angle adjustable locks
- Foam grips
- Center Column
- Counter weight hook
- Flip Locks
- Rubber Feet
Here is an image of where the parts of a tripod are located
Tripods are used for both motion and still photography to prevent camera movement and provide stability. They are especially necessary when slow-speed exposures are being made, or when telephoto lenses are used, as any camera movement while the shutter is open will produce a blurred image. In the same vein, they reduce camera shake, and thus are instrumental in achieving maximum sharpness.
A tripod is also helpful in achieving precise framing of the image, or when more than one image is being made of the same scene, for example when bracketing the exposure. Use of a tripod may also allow for a more thoughtful approach to photography. For these reasons, a tripod of some sort is often necessary for professional photography. In relation to film/video, use of the tripod offers stability within a shot as well as certain desired heights. The use of a tripod within film/video is often a creative choice of the Director.
The tripod is placed in the location where it is needed. The surveyor will press down on the legs’ platforms to securely anchor the legs in soil or to force the feet to a low position on uneven, pock-marked pavement. Leg lengths are adjusted to bring the tripod head to a convenient height and make it roughly level.
Once the tripod is positioned and secure, the instrument is placed on the head. The mounting screw is pushed up under the instrument to engage the instrument’s base and screwed tight when the instrument is in the correct position. The flat surface of the tripod head is called the foot plate and is used to support the adjustable feet of the instrument.
Positioning the tripod and instrument precisely over an indicated mark on the ground or benchmark requires techniques that are beyond the scope of this article.
Many modern tripods are constructed of aluminum, though wood is still used for legs. The feet are either aluminum tipped with a steel point or steel. The mounting screw is often brass or brass and plastic. The mounting screw is hollow to allow the optical plumb to be viewed through the screw. The top is typically threaded with a 5/8″ x 11 tpi screw thread. The mounting screw is held to the underside of the tripod head by a movable arm. This permits the screw to be moved anywhere within the head’s opening. The legs are attached to the head with adjustable screws that are usually kept tight enough to allow the legs to be moved with a bit of resistance. The legs are two part, with the lower part capable of telescoping to adjust the length of the leg to suit the terrain. Aluminum or steel slip joints with a tightening screw are at the bottom of the upper leg to hold the bottom part in place and fix the length. A shoulder strap is often affixed to the tripod to allow for ease of carrying the equipment over areas to be surveyed.
The Variations of a Tripod:-
There are several types of tripods. The least expensive, generally made of aluminum tubing and costing less than US$50, is used primarily for consumer still and video cameras; these generally come with an attached head and rubber feet. The head is very basic, and often not entirely suitable for smooth panning of a camcorder. A common feature, mostly designed for still cameras, allows the head to flip sideways 90 degrees to allow the camera to take pictures in portrait format rather than landscape. Often included is a small pin on the front of the mounting screw that is used to stabilize camcorders. This is not found on the more expensive photographic tripods.
More expensive tripods are sturdier, stronger, and usually come with no integrated head. The separate heads allow a tripod-head combination to be customized to the photographer’s needs. There are expensive carbon fiber tripods, used for applications where the tripod needs to be lightweight. Many tripods, even some relatively inexpensive ones, also include leveling indicators for the legs of the tripod and the head.
Many of the more expensive tripods have additional features, such as a reversible center post so that the camera may be mounted between the legs, allowing for shots from low positions, and legs that can open to several different angles.
Tripod helps you capture the ideal shot in all different circumstances. A tripod only takes seconds to make it stand and adjust, yet it can support your camera in the perfect position for however long you wish, helping you to take great images.
Here are a few reasons why you should use a Tripod and when it has to be used:-
- When taking night time shots and sunsets:- Natural lighting is reduced and so to get more light into the lens, the camera will adjust exposure and shutter speed when set to the Night setting. However, with a slower shutter speed, there is the risk of camera shake which results in unwanted blurring. A tripod will reduce camera movement and improves picture quality, helping you take the perfect sunrise or sunset.
- When you need to be flexible:- Tripods don’t just hold cameras, they can hold camcorders and also serve as a light stand that holds flash units, slaves, and reflectors. Using a tripod when using a camcorder will dramatically help picture quality as it will allow you to pan smoothly making your movies lookmuch more professional.
- When you are taking close up shots L:- Taking photos of small objects close-up can require a lot of skill, and minor movements will be crucial to a perfect image. Using a tripod will noticeably reduce unwanted movement of the camera.
- When you are taking action shots and doing sport photography:- Panning is vital in taking stunning action shots as it allows you to really capture the movement. Having a tripod makes panning much easier and more fluid.
- When you are doing nature photography:- A tripod is key in getting great nature shots as you can be waiting around for hours for animals to make an appearance that might only last a few seconds, so you need to be ready.
- When you are using a telephoto lens:- Telephoto lenses tend to be difficult to steady. Their long focal length magnifies any vibration caused by the camera shutter and mirror, wind, or by the photographer themselves. Their slower maximum aperture also causes a frequent need for slower shutter speeds which exacerbates the problem even more.