[Update: See this post for what I ended up buying instead of a tripod – a Gitzo GT1541T Monopod instead!]
Once you own a reasonably high-end digital SLR (like my brand new Canon EOS 5D Mark II), getting a decent tripod to use with it and create those super “sharp” shots is a necessary upgrade.
For example, I headed over to Stanford Memorial Church late yesterday afternoon to try some handheld HDR photography on the new 5D Mark II. Inside, shooting with my Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens, I had to crank the ISO up way too far – resulting in grainy shots. A solid tripod would have made a huge difference in capturing enough light to minimize the sensor noise.
Over breakfast at Cafe Borrone with a couple of good friends this morning, I got a quick education in tripods – and, better yet, a strong “buyer’s guide” recommendation for a specific one (a Gitzo GT1541T Traveler) with a Markins Q-Ball Q3 Emille head. I already have a Manfrotto tripod – unfortunately, I bought the model engineering to steady a Canon Powershot class camera, not a Canon 5D!
I can already tell that the world of camera tripods is way too arcane and confused. It feels like a cottage industry, with guild-like craftsmen in dark factories working their magic to ship the best tripods into the world from small towns in Europe. What kind of name is Manfrotto anyway? Or Gitzo? For example, here’s what Philip Greenspun says:
Gitzo is made in France and reflects Continental Rationalism. … Bogen is made in Italy by Manfrotto and reflects Mediterranean chaos.
Wonderful. Almost sounds like they’re making cheese or wine!
Here’s Amazon’s List of Best Selling Tripods, updated hourly!
As Philip Greenspun says, “the best photographers … talk tripods, tripod heads, and quick releases.” I guess I’m moving up in the world of photographers. At work, I sometimes joke about the “tyranny of the expert.” I now feel I’m about to become at least a bit of a tripod expert – so “look out below!”
And, if you’ve got any tripod advice for a novice like me, please share it with me ASAP!