Choosing the right tripod can be an overwhelming experience; there are so many choices! Really Right Stuff has built a solid reputation as your camera support experts because we understand how to select the best support system for you from the ground up. Here are a number of things to consider when choosing a new tripod.
Number of Leg Sections
Favor tripods with 3 leg-sections per leg over 4 leg-sections for most applications. Since each leg section has to telescope into the previous section, the fourth and final leg section of a 4 leg-section model has a small diameter and can introduce a point of weakness. So opt for fewer sections to maximize your support. Also, tripods with 3 leg-sections have only two joints per leg. In general terms, the fewer joints, the better the support; the fewer joints, the less hassle to extend and collapse.
But there are times when a tripod with 4 leg-sections is a good choice. If travel and portability are premium considerations for you, tripods with 4 leg-sections always collapse into a shorter closed length. This can often mean the difference between fitting in that carry-on suitcase or leaving your tripod behind.
Carbon Fiber or Aluminum?
Today's best tripods for discriminating photographers are
made from carbon fiber. Their many benefits include:
- Greatest weight to stability ratio.
- Easier to handle in extreme cold since the leg sections do not feel as cold as aluminum when you handle them.
- Dampens vibration faster than aluminum.
- Typically half the weight of a comparable aluminum model.
- Conversely, carbon fiber tripods cost about twice as much as comparable aluminum models.
Height & Center Columns
This addresses both maximum height and minimum height. Want to have your viewfinder at eye level? Choose a tripod that extends to within about 6-inches of eye level (that remaining 6-inches will be taken up by your ballhead and camera). Want to shoot at ground level? Choose a tripod without a center column, or one where the center column is optional (and can be removed or re-installed without the need for tools). All Really Right Stuff Versa® tripods give you the best of both worlds: they come standard without center column but accept a range of accessories, including optional center columns.
The selection of a tripod stems from three inputs: personal preference/budget, load, and surroundings. A well-crafted support system is built with quality components that complement each other and satisfy the genuine needs and preferences of each shooter. Tripod legs, ballhead, quick-release clamping system, camera and optics—a well chosen combination, used properly, will yield the finest results with every use. Buy right the first time, and you will maximize your investment. This concept is the heart of the Really Right Stuff support synergy philosophy.