The Phoblographer’s Guide to Buying a Tripod: And Why You Should

If you think the world of buying cameras is daunting, just wait until you look at the world of purchasing a tripod.

Fact: you’re not as stable as you think, and a tripod will do a much better job than level ground most of the time. There are entire swaths of photographers out there who will tell you they don’t need a tripod. But truth be told, there are loads of times when tripods are handy. If you’re a landscape photographer or an astrophotographer, then you understand how fantastic a tripod can be. Image stabilization can’t do everything, but tripods do something that makes you more prone to creating a better photo. In this post, we’re going to explore the world and ideas behind buying a tripod.

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Who Knew Tripods Could Be Cool? The 3 Legged Thing Ray Tripod Is

Essentials is a series featuring products we’re currently lusting over in quick, easy to digest posts.

Tripods are perhaps one accessory we rely on a lot but give little credit to. I mean, they’re just tripods, right? You plant it on the ground, attach your camera, and it just sits there doing its job. But did you know that tripods can be cool as well as functional? We had a chance to test out the new 3 Legged Thing Ray tripod and the new Airhed VU ball head, which are a part of the 3 Legged Thing’s new Legend range of tripods and accessories. The Ray is an ultra-compact carbon fiber tripod that not only looks great but also functions well too, while the Airhed VU is a precision-engineered ball head with a cool viewing panel. Let’s take a quick, closer look after the break.

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The ALPA TrioPod Pro 75 and Classic Ball 5 II Can Hold Well Over 150 Pounds of Camera Gear

The latest ALPA tripod and ball head seem to be targeted at large format photographers.

ALPA of Switzerland has recently launched two new tripod products to cater to photographers’ ever growing shooting needs in the form of the ALPA TrioPod-Pro 75 Tripod which is built to carry some of the heaviest photography equipment. The ALPA Classic Ball 5 II is an equally sturdy option for those who prefer using ball tilt heads.

The ALPA Classic Ball 5 II can support equipment weighing up to 12 kilograms (around 26 lbs) and can be quickly adjusted to any orientation. It can be mounted with the ball pointing upwards and the panorama plate on the base, or vice versa. The panorama function has a horizontal scaling of 360 degrees, and the pre-milled openings can safely accommodate the spherical neck for use in portrait format.

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Review: Vanguard Abeo Pro 283CGH With GH-300T Pistol Grip Ballhead

Vanguard Abeo Pro

I’ve only owned two tripods my entire life and even though I use one for almost every shoot, each has somehow surpassed its life expectancy. These two weren’t raised in a bad neighborhood but after I’m done with them they wish they had. Needless to say I treat my tools as such and they get worn. Enter my third tripod, the Vanguard Abeo Pro 283CGH kit.

I’ve been interested in a pistol grip styled tripod head for a while because of its perceived convenience. In theory, the grip would also solve my biggest problem with tripods: difficulty using them in the cold. Unfortunately,d I didn’t make it to the snow for this trip but I did put it through some work. Read on to see how the new tripod from Vanguard fairs in our review.

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Vanguards New Pistol Grip Ball Head Says “I’ll Never Let Go Jack!”

Vanguard GH-300T Pistol Grip Ball Head with Shutter Release Trigger

Here is a series of announcements from the photographic company Vanguard. First off is the GH-300T Pistol Grip Ball Head, and at first it looks like a traditional grip except it has the ability to take photos while your finger is still on the trigger. The ability to take photos while you are adjusting gives you the ability to quickly capture subjects without having to move your hand from the grip to your DSLR. The shutter on the grip also has the ability to do bulb — in case you forget your release cable or remote at home. The grip comes with 2 cables, which they say will work with 80% of cameras today. So Nikon and Canon shooters should be fine, but other cables will be sold separately. Continue reading…

Vanguard Offering Mail-In Rebates of Up To $50 on Select Products

Image courtesy of B&H Photo

Here’s a “cheap photo” opportunity for you guys: Vanguard USA is currently offering mail-in rebates of up to $50 on select products. If you just purchased or are about to purchase or fancy one of the products listed below, just send them in the original receipt together with their official rebate form and the UPC barcode from the product packaging, and get up to $50 cash back! The offer is valid through January 13, 2013 on items purchased between October 15 and December 31, 2012, and can be claimed for the following products:

  • Alta Pro tripods — $50 rebate on carbon fiber models and $25 rebate on aluminum models
  • BBH ball heads — $25 rebate
  • UP-Rise backpacks, sling bags and messenger bags — $15 rebate (excluding zoom bags and shoulder bags)

Fancy any of these? You can buy them over at B&H, and then go on an claim your mail-in rebate.

Purchase Vanguard Alta Pro tripods from B&H Photo (also read our first impressions here)

Purchase Vanguard BBH ball heads from B&H Photo

Purchase Vanguard UP-Rise bags from B&H Photo

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Review: Manfrotto 701 HDV


More and more photographers are starting to use their cameras to record video. Before I started shooting video I was like most photographers and bought a normal ball head for my tripod. A ball head works great for still photography as it allows for quick and easy adjustments, but I soon realized that it doesn’t work well for video. The ball head was harder to get level and keep level while panning. As I started recording more videos I looked on the Internet for good video heads that would fit on my tripod. I have a Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod so I started looking at what Manfrotto had to offer.

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