To tripod or not?

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uhligfd Senior Member • Posts: 2,930
To tripod or not?

This is in reference to https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4326485

where many suggestions were given on what to buy for a  tripod  light enough and sturdy to carry on one's back.

I have had very little use of my own tripods with the A6300 now; they stand revered in my closet or lie abandoned in the back of the car.

Preamble : I understand that certain shots need a steady-held camera, such as reproduction work, macros, star trails etc. I agree, but once out in the world they are needless most of the time now.

Who needs more silky waterfall shots? More streaky smoothed over cloud covers? These are all so cliche and repetitive as those of the Eiffel Tower. For me photography is meant for depicting the world as the visual omnivore that I am. See it, shoot it. Day and night.

But : we need to realize that tripods in general use are old hat today with our sensitive sensors, with wide open sharp lenses and generally in the way when we might think we need them. Preventing us from depicting what is fleeting.

Example :  Yesterday, well after sunset I took this picture handheld:

My car was a few hundred feet downriver, my tripod was safely tucked away in its back.

Yet a tug came along suddenly and I took out the 6300, set ISO to 1600, f stop to 1.4, focused and shot. Wanting to use a tripod here: impossible, no time to set it up; the scene was passing fast.  There were bushes right and left and only a narrow window to shoot was open.

I had just hiked to a higher part of the bank, never anticipating i would find something worth a shot in the dark of the night. I was just scouting for some morning shot locations.

Summary : If we are used to taking night shots via tripod even when our gear allows us to do so handheld, we burden ourselves and do not learn how to do what cameras today can easily do for us.

So I think that tripods are currently most often unnecessary. Tools of the old days when 400 ISO film was tops. Without mastery of my camera, a tripod would not have helped in any way. I could have sat there for a few hours and found no visual prey on the water, just night and darkness. A tripod on my back would have hindered me instead.

Sony a6300
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