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Camera Equipment

Friday, December 8th, 2006 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography
 
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Q:
What is a tripod used for when using a camera? How about a monopod? Please tell me all about them!

A:
Good question! This actually lands under the category of “Digital Photography,” so this tip will give you all a double dose of photo tips today. You can’t complain about that, can you?! Now, this one may seem a little more basic to some of you, but if you’re just getting started with taking pictures or even if you’re a seasoned photographer, it’s good to know what type of equipment you can use to help you out. Alright, here we go, so listen up!

A tripod is probably the most well known piece of camera equipment. It is a three-legged stand that is used to keep the camera steady and to elevate it in whichever way you need to get your shot. Tripods are used for all sorts of cameras, including regular 35mm cameras, digital cameras, video cameras or camcorders and even television cameras. They can be used for both still and motion pictures as well.

There are several different tripod models available today. The most common (and inexpensive) is one made of aluminum tubing, which usually comes with an attached head and rubber feet. These usually allow the head (which is the area that actually holds the camera) to be flipped sideways on a 90 degree angle, which often helps with still pictures when trying to take a portrait instead of a landscape picture. This type also works well for camcorders.

Now, the more advanced (and expensive) tripods have “swappable” heads for different shot situations. The heads are also known as fluid heads, which make it easier to move the head around on the tripod. They also come with optional spiked feet, which come in handy for rougher ground areas. The more advanced tripods also have several other features, most of which would be helpful for professional photographers of the like.

There are also wooden tripods, which are known for better stability and a smaller tripod called the tablepod. This one sits on a tabletop and it is mostly used for any situations where a regular tripod would be too unrealistic to carry around. Every tripod works in the same general manner, but depending on what type of shots you’re looking to take with your camera, it’s important for you to get the right kind.

On the other hand, some photographers prefer to use a monopod, which is a one-legged stand. This particular type is known for its convenience with the setup and the tearing down process. Obviously, since this one only has one leg, the photographer is required to hold the camera in place while they take their shots. This may remind you of just holding the camera by yourself, but with the monopod in place, it does take some of the weight strain off of the photographer, so it’s a lot easier to take the pictures. In this way, the monopod offers up the same stabilization as a tripod.

Well, there you have it. If someone on your Christmas list this year is an aspiring photographer or even an advanced one, you may want to think about getting them either a tripod or a monopod. They’ll be taking pictures like a pro in no time!

~ Erin

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