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  1. #1
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I am a non-tripod user. I used to be a user, in my film days, and just after making the switch to digital. However, ever since I bought my first DSLR, Canon D30, I have not used one regularly. I do have one, a nice Manfroto head on SLIK legs. But I only use it indoors, for self portraits and shooting macro stuff in my light tent.

    I am a photographer. I have almost 9 years of experience, and I know that shooting with a pod is a big deal, but I can't seem to actually pick the damn thing up as I am heading out the door. it's a pain in the hind quarters. I have used a monopod in the past, mine broke just a couple of weeks ago, but I find it to be quite cumbersome as well.

    What I am wondering here is, why do you non-tripodders, like myself, not use one, and do you think your images suffer from not using one? And, how do you tripod users deal with this awkward piece of equipment, yet still manage to get shots that look like you were HH your cameras?
    John Cowan
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Dylan8i's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    the only time i use a tripod is if i know im going to need it, waterfall shots, fireworks etc. if im out in the field shooting salamanders or just what ever i find, i ususally don't use it (although i may have it with me).
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  3. #3
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    totally agree with Dylan here - tripod is a waste of valuable space for a field photographer like me. I have one too - but it's almost exclusively for self portraits, waterfalls, etc. Most of the time it sits behind the front seat of my jeep.

    Two words: image stabilization.

    I can reasonably handhold 1/20s for sharp macros with my 50mm macro, that's 100mm FF equivalent. Indoor shots? portraits are reasonably sharp at 1/10 or even 1/8s.
    Erik Williams

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  4. #4
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    And, how do you tripod users deal with this awkward piece of equipment, yet still manage to get shots that look like you were HH your cameras?
    You mean still blurry even with tripod?


    I've been thinking about this for quite some time. I've been shooting nature and wildlife for about 25 years now (not old mind you, just started young ) and I must say that a tripod was the norm. Now, I can't remember the last time I used it for N&W.

    Like Sushigaijin said: image stabilization is one main factor.

    The other main factor is digital convenience. Film was treated like a rare commodity. But with digital, find a good subject, squeeze off a hundred frames and later pick one sharp one to keep. Is this good technique? No. Is this easy? Yup. Is this right? Dunno.
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

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  5. #5
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    You mean still blurry even with tripod?


    I've been thinking about this for quite some time. I've been shooting nature and wildlife for about 25 years now (not old mind you, just started young ) and I must say that a tripod was the norm. Now, I can't remember the last time I used it for N&W.

    Like Sushigaijin said: image stabilization is one main factor.

    The other main factor is digital convenience. Film was treated like a rare commodity. But with digital, find a good subject, squeeze off a hundred frames and later pick one sharp one to keep. Is this good technique? No. Is this easy? Yup. Is this right? Dunno.
    That is my main technique, though I rarely take enough frames. Mostly because I hate the idea of sifting through 200 images of the same subject, but I guess I will have to deal with that.

    I am still going to try the pod thing, but honestly, I am not convinced it will stick.
    John Cowan
    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

  6. #6
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Not to be confused with a monopod which I do use a majority of the time.

    A monopod can do things a tripod can't. Still, the monopod gets tossed aside when I have to lay flat on the ground with grass and weeds going up my nose.

    That brings up another point. Since going digital and losing the tripod, I've been able to get shots I couldn't dream of before. Awkward angles, wind, extremely jittery subjects - all factors which make using a tripod that much more difficult.
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

    See my website HERE.


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  7. #7
    Senior Member Jimmy B's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I use a tripod when when it warrants it. Mono pod again when I feel it warrants it. most of what I shoot is hand held so..............
    JB

  8. #8
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    The only thing a tripod is good for is self portraits and beating off attackers. Even then, it's a pain in the butt.

    I've got a cheapo from Sears, got it about 8 yrs ago, parts are broken, but like I said, self portraits and a weapon....
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  9. #9
    wannabe
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I think i used mt nice tri pod like twice for the camera, i used it more for my flash and umbrella then anything else. like others said the use of the VR/ stabilization is now our weak link. I use my sigma lens that does not have and rely the use of the tri pod and or mono pod cause of it. I just cant get the crisp photos with out it esp in low light shoots.
    by the way good thread
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  10. #10
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    Not to be confused with a monopod which I do use a majority of the time.

    A monopod can do things a tripod can't. Still, the monopod gets tossed aside when I have to lay flat on the ground with grass and weeds going up my nose.

    That brings up another point. Since going digital and losing the tripod, I've been able to get shots I couldn't dream of before. Awkward angles, wind, extremely jittery subjects - all factors which make using a tripod that much more difficult.
    Loupey, does the IS function properly with the monopod?
    John Cowan
    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

  11. #11
    wannabe
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    Loupey, does the IS function properly with the monopod?
    I know on Nikon you have to turn off the VR or it will mess up the lens
    D700
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  12. #12
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by racedraper
    I know on Nikon you have to turn off the VR or it will mess up the lens
    I just read that Canon IS in mode 2 can be used with monopods.

    Can anyone confirm?
    John Cowan
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  13. #13
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I tend to use a tripod a lot; reducing the shake, even the slightest breath of wind, is important no matter what scenario...that said... not all scenarios. If i can hold a shot at 1/500 chances are I'm not going to use the tripod. If i need to go down to about 1/100 and lower - i'm going to use the tripod where it warrants it. Especially in low light, and especially no-light the tripod makes ALL the difference..a good manfrotto and ballhead is ideal for night photography and low-light photography.

    That said sometimes you just can't GET a tripod that will fit your needs...but it's planning ahead, sometimes for anything that comes your way, that makes a tripod really worth it or not worth it.

  14. #14
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I think the common suggestion of buying the biggest heaviest tripod you can get often leads to people not using their tripod. Compromise on size/weight, learn techniques to keep it steady, and get a bag with a shoulder strap, and you'll find it's not such a hassle to "lug" around.

    A tripod is absolutely necessary for serious landscape photography, but that's all I use it for. A lot of landscape photos (not all, obviously) are taken in low light, stopped-down, at low ISO, and there's no VR/IS that's going to hang with you if you're sitting and waiting for the sun to hit the bottom of the clouds after it has already set...especially if you're using filters. You don't need a big heavy tripod for most things, in most situations, if you're careful about how you use it. There are tricks for stabilizing flimsy tripods, like using some way to pull down on the center post. With my admittedly small and well balanced (why primes are good) manual focus film SLR, I rarely have problems using a 1.9lb Slik Sprint Pro.

    Landscapes are really the only images that I want to be able to make large prints from, so the rest of the time I use higher ISOs, fast lenses, and brace myself against posts, walls, or whatever I can find. I have a full sized tripod too, and it's usually in the trunk of my car for the rare instances when I need it.

    Paul

  15. #15
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I don't get that whole argument of having a hard time lugging around tripods... Maybe It's because I spend so much time in the gym or maybe it's because the photographers saying it in question have a hard time liftin 10-20 lbs and carrying it around? I don't mean to brag or anything but carrying a 10 lb manfrotto around on my back up and down trails, through thick wildernesses and around on my bike has never been a problem for me but to each their own i suppose. Granted they are a bitch to set up when your covered in literally 1000 mosqitous and horseflies but you can't always guarantee you're going to reach your destination with a lot of light so a shoulder strap just doesn't compare to what setting up a tripod would guarantee in terms of quality and clarity.

  16. #16
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    I just read that Canon IS in mode 2 can be used with monopods.

    Can anyone confirm?
    Yes it works.

    If your going to use a tripod or monopod in a public setting you better have really good insutance to cover your gear and liability if someone gets hurt or your gear hits the ground. This is also true for sideline shooters as well, some kid gets speared by your tripod/monopod your going to get sued, which is one of the reasons I don't use one, and if you can't handhold your gear do you really belong on the sidelines to begin with? I don't think so, but that my feelings on it, maybe I just see too many people who shouldn't be on the sidelines, and gotten tangled up in tripods and monopods used by people who have no clue what they are doing or where they are I am a bit biased against their use. Especially one woman who has a tiny P&S and big ole tripod, she tripped mr twice in one half one night

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  17. #17
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    I just read that Canon IS in mode 2 can be used with monopods.

    Can anyone confirm?

    Yes, Canon lenses have 2 modes on their IS lenses. One is your typical IS mode for hand holding shots that helps reduce up and down, and side to side movement. Mode two is designed for panning. In mode 2, the IS works to get rid of the up and down movement, and lets you pan side to side.
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  18. #18
    AutoX Addict Mr Yuck's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I pretty much keep it in my car.

    There are just some shots I can't make without a tripod...here, I will show you:

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    And then of course, there are the shots where you're upside down in front of a window, where a tripod just wouldn't be practical and you can't get the shot with a tripod!
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  19. #19
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I shoot a wide variety of things, for wildlife, most insect macros and general landscape I do hand held, for most of my mushroom, fungi, waterfalls, HDRs, low light landscapes I now try to always use a tripod.

    Though I agree its a major pain to lug it around with you, I go out on long hikes and rarely ever did I bring my full size tripod with me for that very reason. Few months back I picked up a Joby Gorilla SLR and now I always carry that with me in a belt pouch, very light 0.5lb and flexible. I find it better for many things especially doing the low to the ground macro, river or waterfall shots and works great for many landscape if can find a tree/object to attach it to or I use my bike handle bars to mount it when out riding. However it does have its place and cant beat a normal tripod for most landscapes and other situations but when it comes to having nothing and that always with you it can be very handy. Though I do have one grudge with it, the build quality is severely lacking, joints get loose or crack. I would suggest the SLR zoom model with a good head so don't have to keep adjusting the joints as often, which I am sure most of you with heavier SLRs would need anyway.

    So if it wasn't for the awkwardness I would use one far more often other then certain situations like moving wildlife just don't have time, though I would love to be able too.

  20. #20
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I boxed my tripod up this morning and shipped it to Bogen for repairs. I
    feel naked without out! I don't use it all the time, but I do love to use
    it. If I want to use my 170-500mm, the tripod is a must. I don't own any
    lenses with IS yet, but when I rented a couple for my trip to Africa, I
    still used the tripod as much as I could. I wasn't able to use it in the
    back of the trucks while on safari, so I used a monopod instead.

    I have hiked several miles carrying my tripod, and although I was tired, and my
    shoulders were sore, I have never regretted having it. I have regretted NOT
    having it many times. It is a pain in the but to carry, but in the end, the
    image quality is what's important. I find the tripod forces me to slow
    down, and examine what I'm doing. To some, "slowing down" is not a good
    thing. For me, it is.

    There are other times when I choose to leave the tripod behind. If I'm going for a walk, and only plan on taking a wide angle lens, or a short telephoto (100mm), I leave the tripod at home. If I'm shooting senior portraits, the tripod stays at home.

    The bottom line for me is that I use it as much as I can, but there are times when I don't want it.
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  21. #21
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Mine is in my car and its an old Sears that I'll bet is older than Adina's since I bought it at a flea market in the mid 80s for $18. Solid as a rock, but a bit clunky. Two years ago I finally had to replace the head and got a 3 way pan because that's what I was used to but a month ago I decided the 3 way pan was a bit of a hassle so I got a good ball head which I paid $155 for and haven't used yet.
    I use it when necessary and would not be without it.
    Keep Shooting!

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  22. #22
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    Loupey, does the IS function properly with the monopod?
    Oh yeah! When I use it, I only use Mode 1 and I use a monopod routinely with the 70-200mm, 300mm, and 500mm (all on Mode 1). Even with extension tubes or teleconverters, the IS always works with a mono.
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  23. #23
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    I think we all agree that tripods still have their place. Some projects would be close to impossible to do well without it (time lapse, HDR, school portraits, etc.).

    My point is that the with some subjects with modern tools and with certain shooting styles, the tripod just isn't as necessary as it may have been. I have three tripods that I do use when necessary (just not for N&W - and I do shoot other things )

    But I also have two monopods, two hands, and a rather sharp right eye


    BTW, Kajuah - it not just about one's physical ability to carry a tripod. I think it has more to do with the shooting style. When I disappear into the field for 6~8 hours of shooting, I carry no camera bag, no food, no water. Just one lens attached to one body and a fanny pack to hold my extension tubes, 2x TC, one spare battery, and a cell phone. Going light and having more shooting opportunities is better (for me) than packing more, shooting deliberately, and covering less ground.
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

    See my website HERE.


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  24. #24
    Firefighter Tyson L. Sparks's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    99% of the time I hand hold, with my new E510 the need for a tripod has gone down to .01% of the time. With the built in IS, there is not much of a need for the old tripod.

    I am going to keep one around because you never know when you might need one.

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  25. #25
    AutoX Addict Mr Yuck's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod Users Vs. Non-Tripod Users

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    My point is that the with some subjects with modern tools and with certain shooting styles, the tripod just isn't as necessary as it may have been. I have three tripods that I do use when necessary (just not for N&W - and I do shoot other things )
    Well in that case, there's the sharpness factor. Use of a tripod is supposed to allow you to go up one more print size, and the same idea with mirror lockup when using long exposures.

    When using my telephoto, tripod is basically required as I have no IS.

    The modern tools may exist, but to those of us who cannot afford IS lenses, they are not practical and the trusty old tripods are.
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