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What is your attitude to tripods, when do you use one?

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I find when I am trying to shoot landscapes a tripod slows me down and causes me to take more care, this results in my taking a lot fewer images but more of them are keepers.

If my subject is wildlife, portraits, candid people pictures or motorsport, I never use my tripod, there just isn't enough time and trying to use it would just result in a lot of missed shots.

IMG_20190921_190301290_BURS.jpg

I have a Manfrotto 055 aluminium tripod, a bit on the heavy side, but I am used to it now.
It lives in the boot of my car, next to my wellies, always ready!
 

neonwilderness

What would Badgers do?
I find when I am trying to shoot landscapes a tripod slows me down and causes me to take more care, this results in my taking a lot fewer images but more of them are keepers.

If my subject is wildlife, portraits, candid people pictures or motorsport, I never use my tripod, there just isn't enough time and trying to use it would just result in a lot of missed shots.

View attachment 193298

I have a Manfrotto 055 aluminium tripod, a bit on the heavy side, but I am used to it now.
It lives in the boot of my car, next to my wellies, always ready!
I use one for landscape shots where I’m doing a long exposure and/or using filters. As you say, it makes you put a bit more thought into the shot.

I have a Manfrotto 055 too, plus a Manfrotto Elements for when I’m out waking. The latter is lighter, but not quite as sturdy.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I use one for landscape shots where I’m doing a long exposure and/or using filters. As you say, it makes you put a bit more thought into the shot.
It is interesting, I feel as if I haven't been so productive when I have fewer shots, but more of them are good so it is silly.

I have a Manfrotto 055 too, plus a Manfrotto Elements for when I’m out waking. The latter is lighter, but not quite as sturdy.
Never seen an Elements, how high about is it?

My 055 doesn't have a hook for hanging bags onto which is a shame, and I would really like a spirit level built into the tripod head. I never seem to get it very level which can make panos a bit of a slower thing as I have to level the camera at each shot.
 

neonwilderness

What would Badgers do?
It is interesting, I feel as if I haven't been so productive when I have fewer shots, but more of them are good so it is silly.
I prefer to take less shots, but to take more time with them. You end up thinking a bit more about things like composition.

Never seen an Elements, how high about is it?
The elements is about 1.5m high when fully extended, but I usually use it a bit lower so it’s more sturdy.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I prefer to take less shots, but to take more time with them. You end up thinking a bit more about things like composition.
Yes, I agree, taking time is good.

The elements is about 1.5m high when fully extended, but I usually use it a bit lower so it’s more sturdy.
I usually use my 055 fully extended with the centre column up perhaps 4-5 inches also. I like not to have to stoop to see into the VF. It seems stable enough. Perhaps I should vary, because it would give different view points, but well ..
 

editor

hiraethified
I've bought a couple but hardly ever, ever use them. Too much of a pain to lug about and set up, even though they are obviously very useful things.
 

ATOMIC SUPLEX

Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3
Always think of these things first before I think of cameras.
tripod2.png
Even though I work with cameras almost every day in some form.
 

Nikkormat

Well-Known Member
Now I only use a tripod when using my medium format TLR, or when I use my DSLR to photograph negatives. I don't find it necessary for normal digital photography.
 

girasol

Ubuntu
I have a tripod and don't use it all. Then again, I also have a DSLR that barely gets any use :( I blame smartphones and their cameras. Last time I used my DSLR + tripod was to take passport picture at home, but even that can be done reasonably well with smartphones these days.

(although, of course, the passport photo taken with DSLR was of much better quality - but really it makes no difference, given the size of passports :D)
 

pogofish

Testicle Hairstyle
I trained in the era when 5x4 inch view and medium format cameras were the expected tools of the trade for most professional photographers.

As a result, I have a very strong back and an absolutely ambivalent relationship with tripods - Plus half a dozen fuckers of varying degrees of heavyness sitting in the store.

I use them as the job demands but personally I prefer to work handheld or with a monopod where at all possible. Plus I now only rarely do the sort of technical stuff where a rock-solid optical bench is essential.
 
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RoyReed

Must fly!
I use a tripod a lot. I think it's pretty essential if you're doing landscape or architectural photography. And doing 360° panoramas accurately is all but impossible without one.

When I used to do it professionally full-time I used a Manfrotto Triaut which weighed a ton (about 10kg with a 3-way head) but would easily take a Mamiya 6x7. I sold it recently.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I use a tripod a lot. I think it's pretty essential if you're doing landscape or architectural photography. And doing 360° panoramas accurately is all but impossible without one.
RoyReed, do you have spirit levels on the top of your tripod legs? Because I don't and I never seem to be able to set the tripod legs so the mount for the head is dead flat. It has come to quite annoy me. I have a virtual horizon in my camera so I can level the camera in one dimension, but it always seems out in the other one and rotating the camera and trying again doesn't seem to help.
 

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
The only times I've used one have been:

* a gorillapod with a pinhole camera, which is reasonable if you can't find anywhere to prop it up;
* when attempting to get firework shots from my tiny balcony, which I just don't bother with now as they always come out shit anyway;
* doing long exposures of the Thames with an ND filter, and I just got bored of that before I'd even finished the roll.

They just don't fit the sort of photography I like to do. Even when I use longer shutter speeds, it's not in situations where a tripod would be practical. If I can't handhold it or prop it (or myself) up on something or use a higher ISO I don't bother.

With landscapes and architecture, having primes that are optically perfect wide open does help; you don't need to stop down for quality. LEICA lenses cost a bomb but that is kind of the point of them. The 21mm voigtlander that I have is like that too, though only goes down to f4 admittedly (and 21mm is not a good landscape f/l anyway IMO).
 

pogofish

Testicle Hairstyle
RoyReed, do you have spirit levels on the top of your tripod legs? Because I don't and I never seem to be able to set the tripod legs so the mount for the head is dead flat. It has come to quite annoy me. I have a virtual horizon in my camera so I can level the camera in one dimension, but it always seems out in the other one and rotating the camera and trying again doesn't seem to help.
The Triaut configuration I used had a centering spirit level on the tripod itself, with secondary spirit levels covering movement in two planes on the head - but the choices of head varied.

First you leveled the tripod as best you could, then adjusted the head so you had it level at all degrees of rotation.

Then if you were being utterly anal, you checked the levels on the front and back frames of the view camera before applying any amount of tilt!

These days, I am more likely just to use the electronic level/artificial horizon in the DSLR - which works pretty damn well for most things.

The last time I used levels for anything important was to produce consistent images of tight-packed pipework accurate enough to get measurements for making renovation/repair sleeves (somebody specified the wrong alloy grade!) and it was critical I had the camera perpendicular at all stages of the operation between the different bays of the apparatus. Also used the artificial horizon via HDMI output to a monitor as a belt and braces measure.

Took hours and with a team of scaffolders to help me raise the tripod platform up and down the apparatus but it worked and probably saved them a million or two!
 
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RoyReed

Must fly!
Yeah, like pogofish said, spirit levels on the top of the tripod and on the head. Same on my current tripod. I also used to have a spirit level I could plug into the hot shoe, and when I'm doing panoramas I use a small pocket level on the pano head as the one built into the head isn't accurate enough.
 

pogofish

Testicle Hairstyle
Yes, I used to have the hot shoe/pocket level in my bag as well, for different tripods/applications but these days they live on the workbench in my shed.

Agree that for serious architectural/apparatus work they were essentials but again it is less so these days with selectable viewfinder grids and the artificial horizon.

I did a large museum display installation recently with just that and a monopod, plus software correction on the various lenses - it looked as clinically/technically perfect as if I had got the view camera back-out again.

But the shots they published most were the ones where I got the fisheye out and started crawling around on the floor to maximise the graphic/dramatic effect.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I'd say the vast improvement in high ISO performance and image stabilisation has made tripods redundant for many.
For many kinds of photography I agree, but for landscapes it is great to be able to select your lowest ISO and a deep fstop for loads of dof and just not worry about shutter speed at all.

When I am handholding I am always wary of my shutter speed, I don't have IS/VR.

I love how solid my tripod is. I can hear the clunk of my mirror and the shutter but I know my camera is solidly mounted.
 

neonwilderness

What would Badgers do?
It depends on the style of shot, but sometimes you can’t get the same sense of movement/stillness with a handheld shot.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
RoyReed that set of three very nice images you just posted, I thought immediately you had used a tripod because you achieved a very pleasant and wide dof. More than was likely possible handheld.

Am I right in assuming you used your tripod for these?
 

RoyReed

Must fly!
RoyReed that set of three very nice images you just posted, I thought immediately you had used a tripod because you achieved a very pleasant and wide dof. More than was likely possible handheld.

Am I right in assuming you used your tripod for these?
Actually only the first one of the Camel Estuary was done on a tripod. The one of the River Par there wasn't anywhere to place a tripod without having at least one of the legs in a foot of water (although I did have a tripod with me) and the Padstow lights was just a snap I took at 6400 ISO that turned out quite nice. All were shot on a 16mm lens (24mm equiv).
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
If I was feeling profligate I would buy a large carbon fibre tripod. Someone I know has one and I am quite envious. He also has one of those swinging heads and a 600mm f4 lens so I think suffice to say he has invested a lot more into his hobby than I have into mine.
 

shaman75

Well-Known Member
I take a lot of pictures of buildings and use a tripod a lot. This is mainly because I use a tilt shift lens, which has no autofocus, so I originally found it useful to do manual focus, using the screen on the back and zooming in. It also helps getting the camera level, to keep the verticals, vertical and make it simpler to correct any verticals in lightroom, when I have to tilt the camera up to get the top of the building in the picture. I use a 3 way head to get the camera level. It's fiddly with a ball head.

I also prefer to shoot at iso100 whenever possible, as the noise quality is much better. So the tripod allows much slower shutter speeds, which are usually too much for hand held shooting. I often end up taking pictures in evenings too, because of better light and availability of time. Sometimes I stay in one place and combine a few images to combine daylight, sunset, darkness/lights shots, so the tripod is fundamental to keeping everything lined up.

As well as all that, I was always hoping to upload any pictures to stock agencies, so detail, sharpness and focus were important. I was a bit paranoid about getting rejected by quality control.

More recently, on sunny days, I have become better at getting focus on the tilt shift, without the screen and can keep the shutter speed short to hand hold. Although it's pretty hard to keep things straight. But less noticeable if the camera is tilted a bit anyway. The advantages of this are avoiding hassle from security/ workers/ random people that comes with setting up a tripod and getting more images of more buildings in the available time. However the light is obviously different at these times, which affects the final image and the images are often harder to edit than tripod produced ones and sometimes may not be as detailed or well balanced.

I also tried to mix up the tilt-shift with a 50mm, which is quite fast and has autofocus, so can work without a tripod, but more importantly get some closer images of parts of buildings and interesting perspectives.

Overall, I prefer to use a tripod, but I find a tripod attracts attention and makes it difficult to access some locations.
 
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