You’ve just spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on camera equipment, so it’s not a good idea to go cheap with what you’re going to use to support it.I’ve seen more than a few camera that have been destroyed from crappy tripods! The image above is not my camera, one that I found on the net that is a perfect example…
Here is my advice on what to buy.
The brand that I recommend is MANFROTTO. They are well built, sturdy, and easy to use. They are not the cheapest, but are worth the extra money. You will also need to buy a tripod head. These are the models I recommend:
MANFROTTO 055 Series $200-$300
MANFROTTO 190 Series $150-$200
The 055 is sturdier, heavy, and taller than the 190. Both models allow you to remove the middle pole and mount it upside down or horizontally. If money is not a factor, look at the same models made from CARBON(055MF4 or the 190 CF). They are twice as expensive but since they are made from carbon they are lighter weight and just as sturdy.
Manfrotto 484RC2 Quick Release Ball Head $80
Manfrotto 484 Ball Head $65
Manfrotto 222 Joystick(with quick release) $140
Manfrotto 322 Grip Action head $189
If you just want a basic head, for the extra $15, buy the 484RC2, which has a plate that stays on your camera and allows you to quickly attach and detach it from the tripod. The joystick is the coolest head available. To move it, you grip the joystick and let it go when it’s positioned where you want. The 322 is similar but is a bit more compact.
VELBON SHERPA 250 pro $120 (comes with quick release head)
If you decide to go with a cheaper brand, here’s what you should look for:
NO PLASTIC-buy metal or carbon, plastic isn’t heavy enough.
SEPARATE LEGS-if the legs are attached, tripod cannot go very low
PORTABILITY-make sure it’s not too heavy or long to carry easily
HEIGHT-you want it to reach at least eye level without using the middle column
EASE OF USE-it should be easy to set up and adjust
TRIPOD HEAD-don’t get the panning heads, they are made for smooth panning with video cameras and are terrible for photography