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How to pick a tripod - part 1 of 1 2 3 4 5 6

by Mike McNamee Published 01/12/2009

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Image - Paul McMullin

Tripods remind me of handbags. The ladies of our lives assure us that they cannot have too many, they have to be functional, look pretty, carry the right badges, have to be replaced with no expense spared and after all that there is always a feature that is not quite on the nail (but the next one will be!). This feature, then, has been deliberately timed to coincide with the Professional Imagemaker that will be current at the time of the Convention. Tripods have to be bought at either a trade show or from a large professional photography outfit. You cannot judge whether a tripod can be operated in ski mitts by browsing the web - you have to handle the merchandise. The other thing is that expert advice will be on hand to guide you through the minefield of compromises and conflicting requirements so that you choice ends up close to optimum for your intended uses. Typically the balance has to be found between weight and stability. There is no point in carrying a tripod up a mountain if it wobbles in the wind. Conversely if it is too heavy you may never even make it into the remote glen you were heading for! The person who has to make the fewest compromises is the one who can get their car right to the shooting location - you buy the biggest tripod you can afford!

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A snaplink eyelet is provided for attaching a sling strap.

We look in detail at two tripods at the more sturdy end of the spectrum.

Both are, however, made more portable by the use of carbon fibre, one of the lightest but stiffest materials around.

The Giotto MTL 8271B This test was something of a scoop in that Paul Gallagher was provided with the very first model into the UK, one of the prototypes. It is a design compromise for both portability and the ability to carry a 5x4 inch field camera.


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1st Published 01/12/2009
last update 18/07/2022 16:31:47

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There are 164 days to get ready for The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
which starts on Wednesday 15th March 2023



Updated 18/07/2022 16:31:47 Last Modified: Monday, 18 July 2022