Tripod recommendations for newbies

Why do we need a tripod (三只脚 三脚架)? What can we do with a tripod?

Our family needs a tripod, because we love to take family portraits, and Daddy sometimes love to take night shots (Clarke Quay and Marina Bay).

** click the photos below to link to our Fanpage albums.

Family potraits look more complete when the “photographer” is inside :p
(Click for our tripod experiments here and here)

What can we do with tripods? Maybe you love Sunrise or Fireworks?

We have to determine why we need a tripod first. Is it nice-to-have or a must-have?
Daddy heard tripod brands like Manfrotto, Benro, Gitzo, and Sirui. Even the Tripod head comes in all shapes, sizes, and price !

(.. by the way, someone corrected Daddy, Tripod in Mandarin should be 三脚架, not 三只脚 haha )

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This is Daddy’s tripod requirement :
– Our photos are makeup of 60% portrait, 40% landscape (ie we need a portable tripod)

– It would be ideal if tripod is sturdy and less than (1kg). Carbon Fibre is light and more expensive, while Aluminium is cheaper and heavier. Even though tripod weight might be only 200gm difference, it makes a lot of difference over a 5D4N holiday.

No wonder our porter Boon Yi is grumpy.
(Factor in your camera weight, eg Daddy’s D5000 and 18-55 lens is almost 800gm)

– Tripod extended height? Taller people do not wish to hunch. If tripod is too short, we might not be able to take decent firework shots (heads will be blocking our camera). (add 15cm for our DSLR height too)

– Sturdy. When the wind blows, you want the camera to be stable on the tripod, period.

– Traveller’s tripod are designed to be compact, thus height will be limited (below 150cm extended). But traveller’s tripod are light, and can fold down to 30cm ! (example Sirui T025)

– After you know more about tripods, set a budget (Carbon fiber would be $300 and above). A good tripod should last us 3 to 5 years. You do not need to buy a $1000 tripod, instead get one which allows you to learn. Maybe consider second hand tripod? Daddy was using the humble Nikon kit Tripod from day 1, but still manage to take decent photos.

– Ask questions, and hands-on the tripod from your photography buddies, get to know the design benefits of each tripod. Please bring your camera along, for a better feel and assessment. It is quite intimidating to go tripod-shopping, when you are clueless !

– When you go shortlisting for tripods, this chart will always pop up. It describes the Tripod attributes.

– The tripod head is always underrated. The correct Head will allow us to swing the camera to our desire and not buckle under strong wind! (For leisure photographers like Daddy, a ball head will be sufficient)

Daddy’s tripod requirement list is by no means comprehensive, everyone will have their own requirements. Do share with Daddy, if you have more tips. ( thank you Geng Hui for the orientation)

It does not mean only DSLR users need a tripod. Any camera can do with a tripod to improve stability.

Disclaimer .. Because we got a Sirui, so Daddy is bias about Sirui’s six years warranty. Our tripod and head combination is “Sirui N1204 + G10“.

In case you are interested for more Fun, do a time lapse 🙂