Do you need a Tripod?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
bobgeorge
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Re: Do you need a Tripod?
In reply to John Deerfield, 11 months ago

John Deerfield wrote:

Let me suggest that you refrain from anything Ken Rockwell writes as something that makes you think.

In any event, it might help to know what you are taking pictures of. But here is how I use my tripod.

  • For virtually any landscape or cityscape. Many cameras have a level (or even just use the grid display) in the Liveview mode. Guess what, this means I am level when I shoot the image, no post processing.
  • Shooting with the tripod virtually takes the shutter out of the equation (depending on the movement in the scene). I can shoot at my camera's base ISO and not be as concerned with the shutter. One less worry. Shooting hand held means I have to keep an eye on the shutter in relationship to what lens I am using.
  • And what if I want that slow shutter (and I mean slow) to take a silky image of a waterfall or stream bed? Only thing capable of holding the camera steady that long is a decent tripod. 
  • I do the occasional macro shot. Have you ever tried to do a macro shot with a wide aperture hand held? There is an exercise in frustration. The mere pressing of the shutter button throws off the plane of focus and the shot goes to crap.
  • Group weddings shots, or almost any portrait situation, my tripod is my assistant. To be fair, sometimes I shoot portraits with it, sometimes without, but I almost always have the tripod there. It holds my camera without any backtalk.
  • Let me repeat: my tripod is my assistant in almost any situation. I take a walk through the park. My choice is to carry my camera, probably around my neck (google comfortable neck straps) or to simply put my camera on my tripod and throw it over my shoulder. Now lets say want to do anything. If my camera is around my neck, I need to deal with that (work around it, find someplace to put it, etc. If it's on my tripod, I set the tripod down. All done. The tripod literally acts as another appendage. It might seem like it is more to manage, but it my experience, it's less of a worry.
  • Panoramic = tripod. Or maybe I should say better panoramic = tripod.
  • And here is a big one that only those using tripods will know or agree with: it's a compositional tool. I tend to think about the shot more when the camera is on a tripod. Or maybe I should say that I explore the shot more. Or maybe it's both. In any case, it is a different thought process. Without the tripod it's simply bringing up the viewfinder to your eye, click, next With the tripod it's more like "what-if". What if I move a foot to my left or a foot to my right? What if I move it up or down. 99% of all shots are taken from about the 5'8" mark. In other words, where we are when we are standing. Using the tripod gives you a different perspective and composition. It isn't that I couldn't do that without the tripod, it's just that I don't! It is a different thought process.
  • Hey... want to try that bulb shutter and shoot some fireworks... ain't going to do that handheld. Or at least not well!
  • Every use a filter? It's a lot easier rotating a polarizer or GND when I don't have to worry about keeping the camera up to my eye while rotating the filter.
  • And the list goes on.

When don't I use a tripod. When I don't care about the shot. Seriously, that is when I don't use one. I might go for a bike ride on one of the paths. I might take my camera, but leave the tripod. I am willing to get what I get. For most of a wedding I don't use a tripod as events are too fast paced. But I do use one for the formals, the detail shots, and the macro's every time. If I take my nephew to the park it's a 50/50 thing. What else do I need to carry? And I have yet to take the tripod on the boat with me! A lot of indoor, fast paced shots... nope, don't need the tripod.

I think it really boils down to the best advice I was ever given; ask yourself two questions, what are you taking a picture of and how do you want it to look? Then use your knowledge to go about making it happen. IMO, in a great many situations, a tripod helps you achieve your goal.

Since you mostly use a tripod do you buy lenses with stabilization?

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BobGeorge
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