Do I need a tripod?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Markok765, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I don't have a tripod, is it advisable to have one?
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For everything but street shooting, YES.

    This from someone who shoots hand held large formats...
     
  3. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    I always go back to a quote from John Shaw - If the picture is worth taking, it's worth taking on a tripod.
     
  4. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    In what situations would it be good to use a tripod on 35mm?
     
  5. Ralf

    Ralf Member

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    I've got a fancy Gitzo tripod for three years now, and have never used it. Shame on me.

    Markok765, we'd need a little more detail on what kind of pictures you take, what ASA, lens etc. you use to give you more serious answers.
     
  6. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    What are you shooting ? what sort of shutter times do you expect to use ?
     
  7. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Hey, Markok. Good advice might be to not hand hold you camera at a shutter speed less than twice your lens' focal length. Example: 1/125 for a 50mm, 1/500 for a 200mm. I hand hold at an equal or slightly lesser Tv:f ratio occasionally, but I stick to this little rule at least ninety percent of the time. Reason being, about 95% of the time I'm carrying a tripod and I mount the camera for a slower S/S. As Ole suggests, this is not a feasible appendage with fast moving photography such as street photography. But I would have one regardless. You can pick up nice tripods like Manfrotto or Bogen for well under $100 USD.
     
  8. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    It's probably even worth getting a really cheap little one, just to see if it suits your style of photography. You can probably find something for around $35. Then you can always upgrade to bigger and better later.
     
  9. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A tripod, is in general terms, the one piece of equipment that can measurably improve your photography.
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    A tripod can be the functional equivilent of superfast film but without the grain. It is a tool of the trade. A carpenter may not use every tool in his tool box for every job, but he'll do better/faster work in the long run with a complete set of tools.

    Vaughn
     
  11. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Mr. Brunner could not be more right. In addition to removing any camera shake, it also allows you to use the sharpest aperture (f8-ish usually) even in low light or f16 when you need the depth of field in early morning light. It makes for sharper photos and gives you much more creative freedom in choice of depth of field. I think it also forces me to slow down a little to really home in on the best composition. I use a tripod for pretty much everything (35mm and large format) except street/documentry photography.

    I would say, though, make sure you get a decent tripod (Manfrotto, Gitzo, better Sliks, etc). A cheap tripod breaks, isn't all that steady, doesn't go up high enough and is frustrating to use.....I "saved" money by getting 3 cheap tripods before I got a decent one.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Try one, you will probably like it.

    It really adds a lot of options.

    If you buy (or borrow) a cheap one it will give you a taste of what it can deal for you. Most likely the experience will have you saving up for a better one.

    Matt
     
  13. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    Fast shutter speed is not an entirely accurate barometer of when one needs or does not need a tripod. Shots taken at 1/1000 second with a sturdy tripod will be sharper than handheld shots at the same speed.

    Like many here, I think a tripod is the single most important piece of equipment that factors in improving your photography.

    Unless, as others have mentioned, you are doing street photography.
     
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  15. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

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    Definitely worth having. It will force you to slow down and compose more carefully and will also reduce camera shake that causes image blur.
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Definitely buy a tripod, preferably a decent one as they are generally easier to use and more sturdy in windy conditions.

    However even a cheap one can be better than nothing, and my latest was less than $20 new last year, it was all I could find at the time, but it's good enough to hold my 6x17 or Crown Graphic. Buy what you can afford for now, your best bet is probably a second hand tripod.

    Ian
     
  17. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    A tripod was what really improved my pics and made me confident i my shooting. I started out doing 35mm nature photography and closeups. Everything has been said but to me the most important point is the slowing you down and improvement of your composition. It allows you to make alternative exposures of the exact same composition, see and remove litter before you press the button, finetune your shot and really think about how you want it to look.
    Kind regards
     
  18. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Purely technically, the use of a tripod will always give a better result, allowing a slow shutter speed plus small aperture to be selected for best definition and depth of field and also allowing slow fine-grain films to be used in all types of lighting. The BIG downside of tripod use, however, is loss of spontaneity - it's all too easy to produce images of wondrous tonality and sharpness which are as boring as hell! The John Shaw quote is very misleading - it might apply to him, but pros working in sports, reportage, portraiture, fashion and other fields will usually elect to work hand-held. I have had phases of tripod-mounted landscape work - I now prefer to shoot hand-held with 35 mm on a film like Delta 400 simply to gain immediacy. Naturally, I use a tripod 100% of the time for studio still-life.

    If you are shooting 35 mm, be aware that you will need a surprisingly large tripod to get really good sharpness - I personally hesitate to use any 35 mm SLR on a tripod unless it has mirror lock-up.

    Regards,

    David
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I can't remember who said it now (it may have been Roger Hicks) but the phrase I remember is 'a tripod is the sharpest lens you can buy'.



    Steve.
     
  20. Mike Michaelski

    Mike Michaelski Member

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    A quote relating to tripods

    I remember reading a quote about photographers that went something like this:
    "Amateur photographers argue about Canon vs Nikon, Leica vs everybody else, etc. Semi-pro photographers debate film vs digital, etc. Professional photographers discuss tripods and lighting."
    If you don't think you need a tripod, you are not ready the join the last group IMHO.
     
  21. polaski

    polaski Member

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    For all the reasons in all the forums (fora) throughout time, if you have a subject suitable for a tripod, and IFF (if-and-only-if) you want the steadiest, sharpest image you can get, then you use a tripod.

    That said, I usually handhold, because I shoot for my own pleasure and my vision isn't that great anymore.
     
  22. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I do most types of photography, I do street, portraits, general night photography, architecture, documentary, some other stuff occasionally, and I also do some video.
     
  23. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Yes

    And don't forget to get a cable-release to go along with that tripod. :smile:
     
  24. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    In that case, a tripod is the most useful thing you could possibly buy.
     
  25. Doubrovsky

    Doubrovsky Member

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    When I go backpacking with 5x7 or 8x10 I do not take a tripod. It's heavy and clumsy. Use stones, stumps, whatever.
    I also don't use a tripod with my favourite Ihagee 6x9cm from 1920s, which has only 1/25, 1/50 1nd 1/100 shutter speeds. My tripods are primarily for family snapshots. If you really feel your camera well you'll be able to hold it at pretty low shutter speeds. And if you are shooting for selfexpression purposes you do not really care much about sharpness. For most types of professional photography tripod is essential, but if you'd shoot professionally, you'd not have asked your question.
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    marko

    i have one of these tiltall tripods
    it might seem like overkill, but one of
    the legs unscrews and the little nubby screw under
    the center column screws onto it, and the leg becomes a
    monopod. i have used this thing since 1988, with 35mm, 6x6 and 4x5
    so it is somethng you can grow with.
    the cost is the same as i paid for mine, jeez 20 years ago ...

    i also have a slik tripod just like the one pictured on the front page ...
    i like it for traveling, cause it is compact and fits
    in a suitcase/carry on ... its good and all, but
    i always worry i will miss the quick release "bolt" and it costs
    a fist full of dollars to replace it ...
    .. not to mention it doesn't extend as high up as the tiltall ...

    tripods can be worth it ... but sometimes leaning against a tree or a telephone pole
    or building, and doing the "depress the shutter while exhaling" method works well too :wink:


    good luck!

    john