How To Choose A Tripod for Your Digital Camera

Are you thinking of getting a digital camera tripod? Well, good for you! I feel that tripods really are a necessity if you’re serious about photography. Yes, they are big, bulky and quite painful to carry around – but they do wonders for the digital photos. They are particularly good for getting rid of that camera shake that creeps into your photos now and then.

In particular, tripods are particularly good for nature shots, macro-photography, long exposure shots, slow shutter speeds or low light situations. That makes it a very versatile accessory which must be in any photographer’s toolbox.

This article will give you some tips for choosing a good tripod for your digital camera. Read on and find out more!

Check the Stability

Always make sure you check stability of the tripod when the legs are fully extended. Adjust the tripod to a proper height, then check if it wobbles after you apply some pressure to the top. If the tripod is made of sturdy material and is of good quality, it should remain firmly in place even with some pressure on it.

Can It Sustain the Camera’s Weight?

Another thing to bear in mind when buying a tripod is the weight of your camera. Remember, if you have a professional digital SLR, the total weight of your camera, lenses and flash unit will make the whole setup pretty hefty. Make sure that tripod can carry the total load.

In general, I’d avoid the plastic models. Yes, they’re lightweight and cheap, but you want to trust it with your camera. A heavy tripod, made of magnesium alloy, titanium or carbon fiber is much better. Though slightly more costly, they will last you a long time and are much suited for rough photographic situations.

Check the Head

Tripods come with a head to which your camera is attached. Some of the tripods come with one that’s removable, which will allow you to just buy whichever type you like. Some come with one that is not removable, and your stuck with it. So shop carefully.

Heads tend to come in two categories – the pan and tilt heads and the ball and socket heads. Both have advantages and disadvantages. The pan and tilt heads move up and down, left to right. The ball and socket type allow you to position the camera in any direction, is nice for moving your camera around while on the tripod.

Check the Height

One more thing – remember to check for the height of the tripod. How does the tripod extend? What are its maximum, minimum and folded heights? And most importantly, do the heights fit you? This can really vary depending on the type of photographs you take.

Brand Name Tripods

There are many brands of tripods out there – many beginner digital photographers end up buying lower quality ones. Remember, a cheaper price doesn’t always mean the tripod is of a better quality. I prefer to go for quality brand names like Sunpak, Slik or Vanguard. One of my favorite tripods for general usage is the I use is the Sunpak 6601UT tripod as shown below.

The Sunpak 6601UT Tripod


Great! Hopefully you’ve now learnt a thing or two about choosing a proper tripod for your digital photography exploits. Trust me, a tripod is a really useful tool – something that you will need sooner or later if you’re serious about photography.

Gary Hendricks