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Awesome and Amazing LED Studio Lights!

We all know how helpful and energy efficient our world has become since we have changed over to LED lights. Well, now imagine how efficient our photography world can be with LED studio lights! For some, this is probably a pretty new concept to absorb. Let’s wrap our heads and minds around this again – LED lights for your photography studio!

Benefits:

Yep, this is something that is starting to really happen! There are many great benefits to having LED lights in the photography world. A big bonus is (of course) is a large amount of savings to the pocketbook! We all know that LED lights cost a bit more on the front-end of the purchase; however, we save TONS of money on the back-end of the purchase when it comes to our monthly electric bills.

LED lights stay cooler than traditional studio lights and use a fraction of the energy that traditional studio lights use. Even though they cost more up front, you won’t need to replace them for many years. Yes, many YEARS to come; that benefit alone is worth its weight in gold!

Something to note is that most LED-based photo studio lighting systems are made for video use, but they can also be used for still photography. Many LED lights offer a lower output of light since video work is often done at close range. There are products that offer a higher wattage output; just do your homework and research before you make any type of purchase. It doesn’t hurt to call the manufacturer and ask before spending your hard-earned money. As you know, it’s always “buyer beware” when you are investing in something new and unfamiliar.

More Key Benefits:

There are other key benefits to having LED studio lights. Here are a few:

* Low heat means little or no cool-down period, so you are on the go faster and able to accomplish more in less time. This is great when you are in a time-crunch!

* These lights usually have a high CRI (Color Rendering Index).

* The room and studio tend to stay cooler so your talent or products stay cooler (very beneficial when you have a long photo/video session).

* Easy adaption to multiple voltage power supplies.

* Virtually maintenance free – 25,000 to 1,000,000 hours of lamp life.

* You can clip gels to them without incinerating them or burning your hands.

* Nearly all LED fixtures are fanless and totally quiet on the set and in the studio.

* Efficient – LED lights convert 80% of their energy into light; the standard tungsten fixture only converts 20% of its energy into light.

* Most of the LED photo studio lights are dimmable and remote controllable manually or via DMX (a common method used to control stage lighting).

As you can see from the list above, there are many great benefits to having LED studio lights. These are just a few of the benefits we found; there are plenty of others.
Again, it’s always best to talk to the manufacturer of these lights before you invest a large amount of money that you are not able to afford, especially if you have a specific and detailed question that is not answered in a general article you may be reading. Research, research, research – we can’t say that word enough!

Choosing the Best Studio Lights For You:

In deciding which lights to purchase, there are several different ways to go about getting them. Of course, buying the lights outright is the easiest path; however, you can also purchase do-it-yourself kits and build the LED studio lighting system yourself. There are many kits available through traditional retail stores or you can go online to Amazon or other specialty websites to purchase your kit. Again, be prepared and do your homework and research before you venture on this path.

From what we have seen, these light kits can cost several hundred dollars, and these days most people don’t have that kind of money to casually throw away. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, look at online forums, and see what others have to say about them. This can be a great option in helping you decide the best way to get the studio lights you want and need.

Deciding What Type of LED Studio Lights Are Best for You:

Also, decide what your personal needs are and how you will be using the studio lights. Are they for still photography, video, people, animals, commercial products, etc. These are all things you need to think about as you make educated decisions on your purchase(s). Will your session be long, short, in a darker room, lighter room, what about the colors you are using in your photo/video session? These are all things to think about before making a change.

Most of the questions you would normally ask yourself using traditional studio lights will be the same questions you will ask yourself when purchasing the LED photography lights. Have a checklist and highlight the main concerns and questions you may have. Checklists are very helpful when it comes to getting a task accomplished.

In Summary:

There are tons of different brands when it comes to purchasing LED lights for your photography and video needs. We are not here to tell you which is best/worst. Again, just decide if you want a low-cost or high-end style. Once you make those decisions, you can decide what brand fits the bill for your specific needs. It may be a good idea to also cost compare on several different websites and once again, make phone calls to stores and ask the questions before making the purchase.

The most important thing to remember when you begin this journey is to have F-U-N! Whenever you start something new and uncertain in your life, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to take it too seriously. Just enjoy the process and all that you will learn from it. LED lights have become very popular and will most likely be around for a very long time. Once you have educated yourself, gathered all the necessary information you will need to make an informed decision, just embrace the change and enjoy the ride! Don’t look at it as facing something scary and uncertain that you must do, instead look at it as simply moving forward with the times! Remember, the one thing in life that is always certain is that there is most likely change just up ahead and around the corner. Cheers to LED lights in your photo studio and to a great return on your investment!

Best Tripods Under $100 » Top5 pics

With Photography, taking pictures can be extremely tricky if you have shaky hands. No matter how hard you try to cradle the base and position it in a firm position, you always seem to be at an off angle. Luckily tripods were created! They help steady a camera that doesn’t already have image stabilization built in. However, tripods can be an investment and you always want to make sure you purchase the right one.
The “right” tripod depends on good weight, height, flexibility, head style, and feet style. It’s easy to buy a cheap tripod but it can’t be guaranteed it will improve your pictures. Following this guide will help find you the best tripod under $100 to help improve your photography career.
What To Look for When Choosing a Tripod
Weight: One of the most important features of a tripod to look out for is its weight. You never want to select one that is too light or too heavy. Choosing a tripod that is too light might not be effective in windy environments and tend to fall over which can cause frustration. A tripod that is on the heavier side may be harder to transport during shoots and due to its heavier feet, might not be able to get the best angle.
Height: When choosing your tripod’s height, never overcompensate. The worst thing you can do is buy a tripod that elevates to over 50 feet, especially if you’re shooting something that is only 20 feet. When in doubt go for a shorter option. You can always place the tripod on an elevated object to get a better height.
Flexibility: Flexible or fixed are two different styles for tripod legs. Fixed tripod legs are the cheapest and most popular, you’ll remember seeing them during your school pictures. Flexible tripod legs are self-explanatory, they’re flexible! They can tilt and adjust any which way to give the best picture. I will always go flexible since you never know what kind of picture you’re going to take.

Tripod Head Style: Tripod heads come in 2 different options, pan-tilt and ball. The pan tilt head is more specialized to tilt to and from and the ball head is better to catch a variety of angles. No matter which one you pick, both are great options, it really depends on your photography styles. I, however, always pick the ball head due to its versatile viewing angles.Tripod Feet Style: Tripod feet have much more of a job than you’d think. Not only do they negate vibrations from the ground, but they can also stop a tripod from falling over during the perfect shoot. If you’re on concrete or solid ground, go with rubber feet. If you find yourself in more malleable surfaces, go with spiked feet to stop it from moving as much.

Best Tripod Reviews

1. Dolica AX600B250


For a budget-friendly tripod, you will not get much better than the Dolica AX600B250. It functions as one of the best DSLR tripods, but it is also compatible with a selection of other cameras that weigh below 8 pounds. This tripod is made of a super lightweight aluminum alloy that makes it super easy to transport. It can also be extended up to 60 inches. This tripod also features a removable ball head and panoramic capabilities. For a professional grade product at an affordable price, the Dolica is the way to go.

Pros:
-Lightweight
-Panoramic angles include 360 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically
-Great quality for the price
Cons:
-Less sturdy when legs are fully extended
-Can not support a lot of camera weight

2. Manfrotto MKCOMPACTADV-BK


The Manfrotto MKCOMPACTADV-BK is one of the most user-friendly and best tripods under 100 dollars. This compact tripod weighs only 3 pounds and can support up to 6.6 pounds. The foldable three-way head offers great stability and accuracy when setting up shots. The three-way head also has two ergonomically designed levers. One of them is used to control the pan and tilt movement while the other controls leveling. With these handy levers, taking photos has never been easier. This tripod also comes with a padded storage bag for easy and safe travel.

Pros:
-Compact and lightweight
-Sturdy
-User-friendly design
Cons:
-No hook on center post
-Poor head fluidity

3. Ravelli APGL4


The Ravelli brand is known for producing quality products at affordable prices. The APGL4 is no exception. This lightweight tripod is made of aluminum and has an extended height of 70 inches. Other great features include a quick release camera plate and leg locks, pistol grip tilt adjustment head, rubber and spiked feet, and an invertible quick release center column. If money is tight, this is definitely the tripod for you.

Pros:
-Great for professionals and amateurs alike
-Padded carry bag
-Pistol ball grip head
Cons:
-On the heavier side
-Not good for panning

4. JOBY GorillaPod


The JOBY GorillaPod is the smallest of the best tripods under 100 dollars. It reaches a height of just over 12 inches, weighs under a pound, and can support a camera weight of up to 6.6 pounds. The standout feature of this tripod is its legs. They are super flexible and wrappable so you can secure your camera to almost anywhere. This tripod also offers great stability of any surface, even rough terrain, due to the rubberized ring and grips on the feet.

Pros:
-Super flexible legs
-Lightweight and very portable
-Designed for SLR and Mirrorless Cameras
Cons:
-Low height
-Tripod struggles to hold camera weight when sideways

5. Slik PRO 340 DX


The SLIK PRO 340 DX has a super lightweight aluminum frame and can extend up to 57.9 inches. This tripod features a 3-way pan head with 2 handles used to control the pan and tilt. The legs are multi-position and they are covered by foam grips. This way, you do not need to worry about the aluminum being too hot or cold to touch. The legs also have rubber feet to provide extra stability. As far as DSLR tripods that are under $100 go, the SLIK PRO is a great option.

Pros:
-User friendly
-Lightweight
-Great quality for the price
Cons:
-Maximum height is not tall enough to reach eye level
-No built-in bubble level

Even when you are shopping on a budget, there are plenty of options for high-quality tripods. It is all about finding the right tripod for you and your needs. Now is the time to get out there and start taking those photos!

Why The Heck Would Someone Need A Slow Motion Camera?

In short, there are lots of reasons why someone might need one. Slow motion cameras have many uses for both professional and amateur film producers alike. In fact, slow motion cameras have been used in many Hollywood productions. They allow for amazing shots of action scenes, and you can see details that the human eye is unable to perceive even under the best of circumstances. They are used to shoot the most awe inspiring parts of many actions films, and the Matrix just wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the slow motion shots.

While you don’t come across things like Neo dodging bullets in real life, it can be quite awe inspiring to see slow motion footage of ordinary occurrences slowed down to a crawl. Many artistic filmmakers use slow motion cameras to shoot footage of the ocean, falling snowflakes, insects, animals in motion, and other natural occurrences. For instance, slow motion footage can allow you to see the flickering of a fluorescent light or precisely see the way that water ripples from a stone being thrown in a pond.

In addition, slow motion can be used to film the movements of people. While this sort of footage is of something entirely ordinary, seeing ordinary occurrences in slow motion allows you to see things that are invisible to the eye. It can allow you to notice small facial expressions that likely wouldn’t be noticed by the eye, at least not consciously. For this reason, you can use slow motion even if you aren’t filming an action packed movie like The Matrix.

Slow Motion Cameras In The Industrial Sector:

Not everything filmed with a slow motion camera is likely to be the next box office hit, but these uses can be just as important. For instance, slow motion cameras are used in the crash testing of vehicles. This can allow the car companies to see exactly how the dummy responds to a crash. The fine detail can be used to improve upon vehicles to make them safer.

Furthermore, slow motion cameras are used during experiments of various kinds that involve an object moving at high velocity. Slow motion cameras are able to capture the motion of objects that are moving at hundreds or even thousands of miles an hour, such as a speeding bullet. For that reason, slow motion cameras have important uses in ballistics testing.

Watching Baseball Or The X-Games Just Wouldn’t Be The Same Without Slow Motion:

Slow motion cameras also have uses for people filming sporting events. In fact, slow motion film is used to shoot many professional sporting events. When you use a slow motion camera, it is possible to see every detail of the action. You are able to see the ball entering the glove of the catcher, the baseball bat striking a ball, or the details of a linebacker catching a football in mid-air. You can even see the dust rising and falling as a player slides into a base!

Slow motion cameras are particularly common in sports with particularly fast action, such as archery and range shooting. These cameras allow you to actually see a speeding bullet or arrow hitting the target. Slow motion is also used to film skateboarders and snowboarders doing tricks. A lot of times, it would be impossible to see the details of the tricks and how they are performed without the use of a slow motion camera capturing all the action.

So, How Do Slow Motion Cameras Work?

Film appears the same way that images appear to the eye. However, it actually uses a series of photographs. The photographs are then shown at such a fast pace that it appears to be a flowing image when viewed. The eye is unable to perceive the individual photographs (called frames), but they are used by all cameras.

Ordinary cameras shoot film at 24 frames per second. Television uses a speed of 25 frames per second. These frame rates are enough to keep the image from flickering. The frame rate might seem pretty fast, but it’s not quite fast enough to see a speeding bullet. In fact, it isn’t even close.

Slow motion cameras shoot the frames much faster, which means that they have a higher frame rate. They shoot at 250 frames per second or higher. However, there are some slow motion cameras that are able to shoot a much higher frame rate. In fact, there are some cameras that are able to shoot at thousands of frames per second. The higher the frame rate, the more slow motion detail is captured by the camera. Not only are there slow motion cameras that can see a speeding bullet, but there are slow motion cameras that would be able to actually see it rotate in mid air!

Where Do The Images Go Once They Are Captured?

There are different ways that slow motion cameras can store the images. Some slow motion cameras use film. However, this type of slow mo camera is becoming less common. In the past, film was the only way that any sort of film, slow motion or not, could be captured. However, there is a drawback to the use of film. It has to be developed. Many slow motion film cameras have multiple settings that allowed them to shoot film either in slow motion or for use at full speed.

Waiting for the film to get developed can get boring. You just want to check out the action in slow motion, but you have to wait until your local film developer is done processing the footage. Nowadays, you do not need to wait anymore. Most slow motion cameras use electronic memory. This is similar to the digital cameras that are used to take ordinary photographs. The images are stored electronically instead. These cameras are an extremely popular way to take slow motion footage. You can immediately get the slow motion film on Youtube or other video streaming platforms, and it could go viral!

Some slow mo cameras are high speed streak cameras. These cameras can either use film or electronic means of storing the frames. They work by measuring variation in the intensity of light pulses. They store all of the frames as line sized images, and they can be easily played in slow motion.

Some slow motion cameras are high speed framing cameras. These slow motion cameras can use film, but they can also use electronic methods of storing the image, using a CCD network. They record all the images on to the same image plane, and they can create a quality slow motion film.

What Should I Look For In A Slow Motion Camera?

There are a number of things to consider when you are choosing a slow motion camera. It’s important to consider the frame rate of the camera that you are choosing. This will determine just how slow you will be able to play the footage and whether or not you’ll be able to see the wobbling of a water droplet or whatever it is that you’re shooting.

It is particularly important to choose a camera with a high frame rate, if you are using it for certain industrial purposes, such as crash testing or ballistic testing. However, a high frame rate is also necessary for the filming of some action scenes and certain types of sporting events. If you are simply looking to get a few cool slow mo shots of things in your yard or your pets, you might not need the frame rate to be quite as high.

In addition, it’s important to consider the aperture of the lens of the camera. The higher the aperture, the better the film quality will be in low light conditions. If you are going to be shooting in low light conditions, you will absolutely need a camera that has a high aperture.

Furthermore, you should carefully consider the brand of the camera that you are choosing. While there are smaller brands that produce high quality cameras, it is important to be familiar with the brand prior to purchasing your camera. Make sure that other people have had positive experiences with the specific type of slow motion camera that you are considering buying. You’ll want to be able to shoot slow motion footage for a long time, so it’s important that the camera you choose will last a long time.

It also is important to consider what you intend to do with the slow motion footage. If you intend to show the slow motion footage using electronic means, such as showing the footage on your laptop, you’ll want a camera that stores the film electronically. It would be a difficult process to get slow motion footage from a film camera saved on to your computer. Still, it can be done. When you get slow motion footage on to your computer, it is quite easy to burn the footage on to a DVD. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why film slow motion cameras are less common nowadays.

In addition, you should consider how the footage is stored and how it can be transferred to your computer. You certainly wouldn’t want to get a lot of cool slow motion shots and not be able to show it to people on your iPhone.

However, if you are using the slow motion camera for professional filmmaking, there could potentially be advantages to using a film camera. Many experts feel that slow motion cameras that use film have a better quality than digital camera footage.

 

Casio offers some very good and cheap slow motion cameras:
Casio High Speed Exilim Ex-zr1000 Digital Camera
Casio EX-FH100 10.1MP High Speed 1,000 fps Camera

How Much Should I Spend On A Slow Motion Camera?

Well, that depends entirely on what you are looking for. If you are simply looking to experience creating your own slow motion film for the first time, it’s possible to get a cheap slow motion camera for less than 100 dollars. While this might be a great choice for someone simply starting out with slow motion film, it certainly won’t make the cut for the next Hollywood production. There are higher quality cameras that are available in the range of a couple thousand dollars, but there are even better slow motion cameras that can cost much more.

While it won’t be necessary to spend thousands of dollars on a slow motion camera if you are simply looking to take some slow motion footage at a little league game, you still don’t want to just grab the cheapest slow mo camera that you can find. Many of the cheapest cameras could have unpleasant surprises with the quality.

GoPro Hero5

Running around $400, perhaps the most affordable and popular cheap slow motion camera is the GoPro Hero5. This camera has become synonymous with adventure. Starting at 60fps, this camera captures 2.7K slow-motion all the way up to 120fps. This means that if a surfer rides a strong wave, the speed will be so slow the waves will look still. The dynamic zig zag of someone skiing downhill in slow-motion or the slow-motion movement of a dolphin diving underwater coming towards the videographer are actions that could be captured with the GoPro Hero5.

With technology constantly changing, today slow-motion cameras have become less expensive and more accessible. Aspiring filmmakers no longer have to pay post-production companies to produce slow-motion special effects. The purchase of a cheap slow-motion camera is a great investment. In addition to capturing fast frames per second, providing file conversions and producing professional film.

Why Would You Want a Cute Camera Bag?

Purchasing a new camera can be a daunting task and getting past all the camera lingo can take a lot of time. Still, searching for a cute camera bag can be loads of fun. Probably the first thing to consider is the price. There is a big difference in buying a reasonably priced attractive camera bag and buying a bag that looks like a diaper bag simply because it’s a cheaper price. Taste plays a big part in choosing the right bag to protect a good camera.

The choice of cameras on the market today are practically unlimited. Many high end cameras cost a lot of money. It’s a huge commitment to part with such large sums of money that could put a person on a long-distance flight to a sunny climate on a much needed vacation! If a person is willing to spend that much on a camera, the camera bag should definitely be something worth admiring for more than its functionality.

Why put an expensive camera in any ol’ bag when there are so many cute and stylish choice to choose from? Anyone who wants to use something more than an iPhone for their photos will need a camera bag for lenses, disks, camera, and more. Simply stuffing a camera inside a handbag in bubble wrap is not the best alternative!

Of course, there is no question that all the essentials must be present. Padded pockets, roomy, sturdiness, loads of compartments, and waterproof properties are a must. Fashionable camera bags should be a step or two above the usual humdrum designs are usually found on offer in many brick and mortar and online stores. Thankfully, there are retailers that really get it! They offer a vast range of cute camera bags that will put a smile on the face of both the professional and novice photographer.

What Makes a Camera Bag Cute?

Since time immemorial cute camera bags have been hard to find. Photographers need convenience, practicality, and style when purchasing a decent camera bag. Luckily, the latest and cutest trends among camera bags provide just that. Though certain bags are a matter of taste, there is no need for a person to sacrifice style in order to protect their camera gear. For example, why not invest in a fashionable camera bag to match different outfits? An attractive camera bag should offer practical protection whether the camera is a cheaper model, or one of the more expensive brands.

Here are a few attributes that make well-designed cute camera bags useful and stylish.

 

Kelly Moore Libby Orange Fashionable Camera Bag


A good camera bag should be a two-in-one deal. Who wants to end up carrying a camera bag and a handbag? It’s too cumbersome and it only tends to bog the person down. One camera bag that would be ideal is the Kelly Moore KMB-Orange Libby camera handbag. It’s a magnificent camera bag that will keep the most disorganized photographer organized. The Libby Bag is the premier woman’s bag created to carry a laptop (up to 17″) and camera gear. It also has adjustable straps, a pocket for an iPad, water resistant, shoulder pads, and three zip-front compartments for necessities like wallets, keys, iPhone, and more.

Colorful Cuties Are In


The Cheeky Lime Ava Bag offers a number of popping candy colored camera bags with spectacular linings that will add pizzazz to any outfit. Newer designs merge practicality with vivid colors, striking interior, and an affordable price. Besides additional pockets for all types of essentials, this cute camera bag has an extra purse for added convenience. With protective pockets created to divide gear and keep it safe and stable, there’s no need to worry about keys scratching the camera lens.

The Waterproof Cute Camera Bag
Nature and all types of outdoor photography can be awe-inspiring; however, one must be realistic about the havoc mother-nature can release upon dupable mortals! At times, outdoor photographers will struggle against the elements and any other hostilities that may come their way. All the same, it’s no excuse for not getting their fashion groove on with a stylish waterproof camera bag.

The OverBoard Waterproof Dry Tube Bag comes in candy colors like yummy pink, sunny yellow, sky blue, and basic black. It’s 100% waterproof and lightweight with th capacity to protect camera gear from water and all types of debris. Even a clumsy uncoordinated lensman will find this camera bag a life saver, as it actually floats and suitable for quick submersion.

Chic and Cute
The saying “it’s not about brand, it’s about style,” perfectly suits the idea behind The Bossi quilted faux Chanel camera bag by Theit. The exterior of this stylish bag is chic, practical, and comes in five colors with black being the most attractive and versatile because it works with just about everything! What;s more, it looks closer to the real thing. A bright red faux Chanel bag just won’t cut-it!

The Casual and Cute Camera Bag


Photographers who prefer to remain incognito when carrying their expensive photography equipment will probably opt for casual easy designs. The last thing they want is to carry a bag that screams “I’m carrying expensive photography equipment, here take it!” What’s more, a cute casual camera bag will work with most outfits. The Ona Camera Backpack or Leyden Camera Bag are both casual camera bags that will do a good job protecting precious camera gear.

The Cute and Clever Alternative
There are plenty of innovative designs that make it a lot easier for photographers to lug around their much cherished goods. For example, “camera cubeze” are a new fangled padded accessory shaped like a square. This block shaped accessory can be quickly added to any reasonably sized handbag to separate a camera from other essentials.

What About Cute Camera Bag Straps?

Let’s face it, oftentimes camera bags come with tacky straps. Not only are they unattractive, they are usually large and bulky and mercilessly dig into the wearer’s neck. These uncomfortable straps can be replaced with camera bag accessories like the Tokyo Dreamer Camera Strap. Photographers will be snapping up a storm with this convenient gizmo. Hands remain free as it allows wearers additional storage for film, batteries, or memory card directly on the neck strap. It looks pretty cool with a decent price tag to go along with it. The strap interior is thin, soft, flocked, and designed to hold the heaviest camera.

 

Another superb strap is the Handy Dandy Hand Strap. This strap allows photographers to keep it secure in the palm of their hand. In addition, there is no heavy weight on the neck or shoulders. It’s durable enough to keep precious gear securely attached to the arm and the plushy soft leather looks attractive and snazzy.

Conclusion

It’s an arduous task finding cute bags for cameras. Frequently, there’s just a bunch of heavy boring dull colored nylon bags that are suited more for grocery shopping or carrying bottles for recycling! Thankfully today with a good search, there are plenty of stylish / fashionable camera bags on the market to choose from for the bewildered novice to the self-assured photographer.

What Makes A Travel Tripod The Best Travel Tripod?

 

Manfrotto BeFree Compact

Nothing makes a photograph look worse than an unsteady hand. And here’s the thing about hands – their all unsteady. To alleviate this problem both amateur and professional photographers use tripods. It’s easy enough the use a tripod when you’ve got your own studio . . . the disadvantages to this are, obviously, that not everyone has their own studio and hard to get shots (like wildlife and athletic events) are hard to capture, much less do they come into a studio and pose for a shot. In order to help fix this, a number of online sellers offer the best travel tripods on the market. There isn’t one model of tripod that necessarily better than all the rest. Like any tool, travel tripods have a number of features that make them the best for a specific situation. This article will take a look at a few of the uses and features of some of the best DSLR tripods and describe what makes those features indispensable for anyone who wants to capture great photos using the best tripod for DSLR video or camera.

A Little History

Tripod means, in Greek, three footed. When most people think of a tripod they probably think of three legs or stands but the idea is still the same. Perhaps people also think of the tripods of photography’s antiquity. When a bearded man would have a tall, wooden tripod with a monstrous camera perched on top and a cloth to cover his head for the solar like flash that was about to go off. Tripods were essential in early photography because of the long exposure times necessary to get a good picture. That’s why people didn’t smile in early photos – it wasn’t the cholera, tuberculosis, and bad dental care – people just couldn’t hold a smile for that long. Not much has changed when it comes to long exposure time. If a long exposure going to look right, a photographer still needs to use a good tripod. Actually, tripods go back further than daguerreotypes. Painters used them in abundance to hold their canvasses still, and even then there were tripods made that were specifically meant to be used a traveling tripods. They were smaller, lighter, and easier to adjust and set up. Think of Can Gough standing in a field of tulips, using his thumb to gauge the light.

What’s in It?

It’s worth mention here that most tripods are now made of aluminum or carbon fiber and choosing the right material is necessary to get the desired shots. Generally speaking, those looking for a travelling tripod will go with carbon fiber. Most of the best travelling tripods are made from carbon fiber and though they are the most expensive, their worth it. Carbon fiber is used by the government on various civil engineering projects and is 10 times stronger than steel. It is a grouping a long, crystalline strands that are woven into a grid to create an incredibly strong material.

ISO Info

In terms of taking pictures, the lower the ISO the better. A good tripod can bring your ISO down to 200 and can ensure there’s less noise in the picture and that the light going into your lens is not clouded by changing positions. Good DSLR cameras already have pretty low ISO rating, so if enough money is spent on a camera the need for a tripod is lessened. But, getting the best tripod for DSLR video or camera that’s already state-of-the-art will only enhance any photos it captures. Another feature of DSLR cameras is the ability to leave the lens opened for virtually as long as the environment will allow. This makes it ideal for capturing the nighttime sky and taking photos of star trails and the movement of the moon. This is an area where a travel tripod is absolutely necessary. It’s hard for a person to stand in one place long enough to get good star trails, much less keep the camera steady. So the first two, and probably most important, reasons to use a tripod are a low ISO rating and stillness / long exposure shots.

Also, remember that most DSLR cameras take videos, and having a stable base for video is extremely important. A basic rule of thumb, “The best tripods for DSLR cameras are the best tripods for DSLR video.” The only caveat being that a handle is really helpful in order to freely turn the camera to capture video. It’s important to make sure that a tripod has amount for a handle if it’s going to be one of the best tripods for DSLR video.

The Game is Afoot

Let’s start at the bottom and talk about feet. Just like for people, tripods need shoes. Well, they need different types of feet for different occasions. Higher-end tripods come with different kinds of feet and they can be swapped out for different occasions. You might want to use feet with little spikes in them if you’re shooting in a muddy field and there’s a wind, or if you’re in icy conditions then treaded rubber feet are appropriate. A tripod either begins or ends with its feet, depending on a person’s position. Either way, it’s an important position to be in.

Attached to the feet are the legs. There are really only two types of tripod legs – tubular and non-tubular. This author doesn’t think there’s much a difference between the two, other than their shape. It should be kept in mind that thicker isn’t always better. Remember, part of what makes a tripod one of the best travel tripods is its weight. Having to carry a heavy tripod a great distance can be daunting and cumbersome if some of that distance means crawling through tight spots. The legs have the potential to weight a great deal and thinner legs mean a lighter tripod. The problem with lighter legs is that they are more likely to be blown or knocked over. Consider what and where the tripod will be used.

The Head and Body

Not all tripods come with this next item – a center post. If the body analogy is being continued then the center post acts as the body of the tripod. The problem with the center post is that it isn’t really necessary. Sure, it can help a photographer quickly change the height of the camera, but so will adjusting the legs (almost all tripod legs are telescoping). But that’s really all it does, and it adds weight. Remember that weight is key when thinking about a travel tripod for a DSLR camera. The best DSLR tripods are light weight and stable, which is why tripods made from titanium maybe the best. Titanium is light weight, durable, and sturdy. Regardless of the material, though, it’s advisable to steer clear of tripods with center posts. In fact, the only time a center post may be useful is if video is being taken and the shot requires a quick change of height for an action sequence . . . in this instance it’s possible that the best tripods for DSLR video will come equipped with a center post. But for pictures? It’s a no-go.

What’s on top of the legs (and occasionally) body? The head. There are two main types of tripod heads the ball head and the pan-tilt head. The pan-tilt head is ideal for DSLR video as it has an attachment for the handle (talked about earlier in this article) and provides the extended range of motion often needed for videos. These types of heads usually come on less-expensive tripods and so maybe aren’t the best option when looking at the overall sturdiness and wherewithal of a tripod. The tripods with ball heads don’t have the handle and can only be adjusted for a looser or tighter grip (as opposed to the pan-tilt heads which have both horizontal and vertical adjustments) but ball heads provide greater control and flexibility. Think of a ball joint and how it moves with more fluidity than a lever or hinge joint. Tripods with ball heads are generally the pic of more experienced photographers who are only interested in photographs and not videos. To boil it down: If you’re just out to take some cool picks of your kids soccer game and then shoot a video of a dance recital, then he pan-tilt head is for you. If you’re a serious hobbyist or even further advanced, then you may want to consider a tripod with a ball head.

Lights Out

Another consideration for photographers using a tripod is lighting. Tripod lights are an effective wat to stabilize and position a light source when other types of lighting aren’t possible and natural light isn’t behaving. These are generally used for studio lighting but tripod lights also come in incredibly handy when photographing and night time, outdoor event. Like a wedding or an office party. The styles don’t vary much, but the principle is the same: Stabilization. Tripod lights are considerably cheaper than their camera cousins and so adding them your collection won’t set you back much – you can buy two of them for under a hundred bucks pretty easily.

Looking Good Doing it

So, other than the above mentioned advantages, what else do tripods for DSLR cameras do? They provide the photographer with an air of professionalism. Picture this: A photographer has just booked their first professional gig for the friend of a friend’s wedding. The bride and groom saw the photographer’s portfolio and decided to give the yet untested person a shot. When the photographer shows up on the big day, all they have is a middle of the road DSLR and a camera bag. What does this say about this photographer? Now picture that same person showing up with one of the best traveling tripods and a few tripod lights. That’s all it takes to go from amateur to pro. Not to mention how much better the photos are going to look with a tripod and how many more options the photographer will have because of a lower ISO and different lighting choices.

A photographer doesn’t have to have one of the best traveling tripods, with a ball head, and a few tripod lights to take great picture, but having them in the arsenal doesn’t hurt. In fact, there more times than not when a photographer won’t even have to use a tripod at all.

Putting it All Together

So, let’s review: Buying a great tripods or traveling tripods isn’t necessary, but it helps expand a photographer’s capability. If one is going to buy one a good ripods it behooves them to purchase a tripod that’s made for a DSLR, unless that person is going to use multiple lenses, but that’s another article. Feet that can be swapped out are important and when considering legs one has to decide what’s best for a particular situation (heavy versus light) – remember that these are travelling tripods, and depending on the distance to be travelled, weight maybe an important factor. Unless video is being shot, a ball head tripod generally works best, otherwise it’s okay to go with a pan-tilt tripod. Center posts are almost always unnecessary and should only be used if needed when video is being shot. Carbon fiber is preferable to aluminum because it has better strength, durability, and it’s lighter. It’s a good idea to get a few light tripods as well because they provide more lighting options and create a more professional appearance.

Choosing a tripod isn’t as simple as going to the store and buying one off the rack, all of above details and factors must be thought about if the right tripod is going to be selected for the job. Luckily, the internet has a plethora of sites that deal with photography equipment and the ability to customize and look-up in-depth specs is and easy. And, as is true with most things . . . the most expensive is usually the best. A photographer doesn’t have to buy a great travel tripod to get good shots. But it’s hard to tell what kind of equipment is going to be called on in a given situation and it’s nice to have options.

A photographer with the best travel tripod has a weapon in their arsenal that allows them the freedom to have long exposure times with a low ISO rating. It allows them to photograph the stillness of a blooming flower with pinpoint accuracy or the fast pace action of a hockey game. It allows them to look professional at formal events and to ensure their clients feel like they are being well taken care of. The best DSLR tripods are worth the money and have almost limitless applications.

 

1. Manfrotto Befree Carbon

Manfrotto Befree Carbon

2. Sirui T-025X Carbon

Sirui T-025X Carbon

 

3. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum