On a night outing with a combination of gusty winds and now a much heavier E-30 SLR proved just how futile using such a toy can be. Below are two crops from shots I took from St Kilda pier. The first is with the camera on my cheap Aldi tripod and the second taken when Peter kindly loaned me the use of his much sturdier Velbon tripod for a few minutes. Neither shot may be particularly noteworthy from an artistic point but I post them to show you the difference a good tripod can make. Pay particular attention to the lights on the city buildings in the background.
|With an exposure time of 2 seconds, the shot is suffering badly from camera shake as the lightweight tripod couldn’t cope with the difficult conditions.|
|On the much more robust tripod, and with an exposure time of 1.3 seconds, the second shot is considerably sharper.|
I do have a slightly better tripod that I purchased some 30 years ago and have carried with me since my 35mm film SLR days. While not incredibly expensive, it is much more solid than the one I took with me that Thursday night. I think in future, I will stick to this one for any future outdoor endeavours.
What to look for when buying a tripod.
|A Manfrotto 7301|
In professional and enthusiast circles, the tripod and head are often sold separately. You can choose just what height you need and what kind of head will suit your purpose.
|The Joby Gorillapod|
Lastly, there is always the option of a monopod. As the name suggests, a monopod has only one leg instead of three. In cramped conditions or when you don’t want to carry the weight of tripod, a monopod will offer some degree of stability. Monopods are mostly used to assist with daylight shots using telephoto lenses. They are not a substitute for a tripod when shooting at night.