If it weren’t for the fact that my former professional photographer grandfather gifted me with a tripod before he passed away, I’m not sure I would have dug into my savings to purchase one. However, my lack of funds should not be misread. I think, nay, I know, that a tripod is an essential photography tool. It’s just that when it comes down to putting food on the table or buying a tripod, typically food wins out in the end.
Personal anecdote aside, investing in a tripod is something you won’t regret. However, if you are planning to spend the money, make sure you get a decent tripod. A ggood tripod should be sturdy and rigid, yet it should also set up and beak down quickly. Most tripods feature quick-release hinged latches that let you open and close the legs rapidly. The latches are valuable assets when you are shooting on the run and need to extend the tripod’s legs in a flash. However, they can’t support as much weight as screw-type leg locks.
If you are really tight on cash, but you absolutely can’t live without a tripod, then consider investing in a miniature version. The following mini tripods sell for less than $50:
Pod Bean Bag Tripod: This colorful unconventional tripod measures 3.75-inches in diameter and has a camera mount screw in the center. The base of it is a beanbag, which can be placed on any number of uneven surfaces to give you a steady foundation for your camera.
JOBY Gorillapod Flexible Tripod: This funky tripod looks more like an alien insect than a photo gadget, but it performs extremely well. It comes equipped with three bendable legs than can be positioned to stand like a tripod, or even wrapped around a tree branch or railing so you can position the camera where you want it.