Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Three Legged Thing

For every photographer there comes a time when you decide on purchasing a tripod or upgrading to a newer model.

Tripods come in varying sizes in leg length and of course the varying leg angle that can applied to those legs for specific types of photography, so for instance if you’re filming or if you’re shooting stills than your choice is a very broad one at that.

Many manufacturers of tripods have a low budget end user profile, and offer the budding beginner a chance to start off and get some stable platform landscape shots added to their portfolio. I myself have had owned several Manfrotto Tripods some with independent legs and  a few with the leg struts, which act as a platform to place a camera bag or other equipment to add greater stability to the set up.

However just like higher budget cameras or pro camera set -ups, you have to look at  the equipment being used and ask why am I not spending a decent amount of money on a stable tripod platform for said camera? If your a landscape photographer and your shooting large format then you need to look realistically at what plate to accommodate your camera.

So let's say for instance large format cameras have a big base for a seating platform as do some medium format cameras, then of course you have video cameras and they will need a stable platform to shoot on, with a certain degree of versatility to perform 'tricks'. 

Vinten V3-CP2 Vision 3 Carbon Fibre Tripod is a versatile and very responsive Tripod. Matching that with the design materials being Carbon Fibre. Carbon Fibre is a strong and lightweight material often used for sea and freshwater fishing rods.

So you can imagine what they put them rods through, the Vinten V3-CP2 3 Carbon Fibre Tripod is capable of holdings weight up to 10 kg / 22 lbs. Enough for a field camera or Professional Camcorder such as the Canon XF305 the BBC use these cameras out in the field so next time your watching David Attenboroughs' natural history programme bare a thought for the camera crew and how they're shooting those extraordinary scenes in the Sahara Desert.

They used a unique dolly system and elevated platform to shoot those scenes, so where do you want to take your photography?

For myself I shoot a lot of different subjects I have shot sporting events like the English Half Marathon and I have shot landscapes and moving pictures. My main tripod was an Manfrotto 394-H Tripod which is ideal for a beginner / intermediate photographer or videographer.

Though being honest if you own a heavier camera it is best to invest a little more money, and move from aluminium to carbon fibre. The reason is corrosion I enjoy shooting near the coast and the salt air, sand and seawater can take its toll on the material. So care should be taken I used a decent cloth which I inserted in to the bottom end of the bag, so that when placing the tripod in legs first the cloth would take the excess water from the feet.

That and a trusty aerosol can of WD-40 lubricant spray does exactly what it says on the tin, it protects and lubricates. Ideal for keeping your tripod equipment, in great condition; particularly if you’re like me and shoot in all weathers.

So my latest equipment is an upgrade from a standard three legged thing to one that does much more, and can offer more leg angles for shooting, thus I am much more of a versatile photographer. I purchased a very unique tripod which offers more for your buck than your regular tripod.

The legs invert and fold back 180° onto the centre column, this is perfect for the photographer who is on the go, and much like the Benro Travel Angel features a detachable leg to form a professional monopod. So far so good, I will be field testing this tripod and will discuss these features in more detail.

One great feature is the ball head it comes with dual spirit level bubble on the plate, ideal if you want to perform some 'tricks'. So what tricks can we perform with a tripod?

Well if your into film making a couple of shots which are ideal with this sort of tripod is to raise the front leg of the tripod and using the tilt on the head of a fluid video head or ball head with large plate.

This makes for a smooth dolly type shot and for the budding film maker it's an ideal way to be creative and start being more versatile.

Another trick is to use a rubber band around the operator handle on the video head for smoother panning. Yes, yes of course you can do this using your video software however it's great to know these can be done manually saving you time in editing later.

They're many other aspects with tripods too, you can double up on them if you have the budget and shoot some incredible time-lapse photography and 3D videography / photography.

Obviously with 3D photography two cameras are involved in the process as well as reasonable editing software.

So until the next post get out there and start thinking laterally about your tripod and the special features that some offer for all budgets.

Bye for now