My awesome friend gave me a tripod to encourage me to take photos during my upcoming solo travels. Though I want to bring it, I'm a little hesitant. I'm wondering if it will just take up valuable space, the most efficient means of carrying it (it's a bit larger than my backpack, but the tripod does come with it's own bag), and if anybody has any opinions/experience with this? Pros/Cons?
Hi there Auspicious!
I assume you have a DSLR of some sort and that, as the tripod was given by way of encouragement, you don't use it as much as you might?
I am off for eight months in two days and I will be packing my tripod which, like yours, is just a little too big for the main compartment of my bag. This will be the first large trip I take one on (I took it to Egypt for two weeks last year) and I am very excited. I am an avid photographer and now believe a tripod is an absolute neccesity, along with filters, remote shutter release and other gubbins and whatnot. This is now, previously I had just my camera and, at the time, was more than happy with my kit. I could still take long exposure shots by placing the camera on a bag or wall and using the countdown timer. My trip was in no way photographically compromised and, of course, I had less to carry.
I think your level of competence, and love of the medium, will dictate to you how neccesary a tripod will be for you. I have reached a level of moderate competence and have a real love of photography, it is an integral part of my travelling experience, and therefore I now travel with extra gear, including a tripod. If you are just a casual snapper who likes to take pretty pics to record your trip for posterity then I'd advise against one, if you enjoy getting more creative then youn could consider taking one.
Thanks for your reply scottanddanny!
I have a Canon Powershot G9 (I hope to get a DSLR down the line), which I love. You make some really good points. I'm an amateur trying to improve my skills in order to capture those poignant moments in life and travels. Reading your reply and seeing your beautiful photographs makes me think that I will leave the tripod this time around and strengthen my foundation. Thanks a lot for your help!
How about a monopod?
I just saw an interesting discussion of tripod v. monopod here
Thanks for the article, MarcusW. ^^
My tripod was as important to me as my camera. When I had a smaller (non DSLR) I used a small, collapsable tripod that worked well for me and could fit into a small day bag. I love taking nighttime photos and photos inside of caves and ruins and I never liked the results I got using a flash, so the tripod made it to where I could easily do so. You could also look into one of those flexible leg tripods that are pocket sized, but still hold a small camera still. The big tripod would probably be overkill unless it is a light weight one.
I second Keith's comments. Your Powershot G9 is a lightweight camera and, with only 6x optical zoom and an image stabilizer, you're unlikely to need a tripod very often unless you suffer from very shaky hands.
I've used one of the smallest monopods (a Velbon UP-40) but even that's cumbersome to take along on the off-chance that you'll need it and, anyway, it would look a bit like a weapon attached to a backpack! Monopods are not wonderful for telephoto or night shots as the camera can still wave around on a single axis, unless they're the equally awkward type you wear around your neck (which I also own but have only used for video work).
My advice would be to take a Gorillapod
. They're small, lightweight and don't extend - they stand up like a mini table-top tripod but can also be wrapped around any handy pole, chair or tree and at any height. They come in various sizes - just make sure you buy one that will take the weight of your camera because they're designed to be flexible and can sag once you put the camera on it!
Enjoy your travels and take lots of great photos.
Thanks for the feedback, guys~ I think I will drop by a camera store and see what they have available over here. The Gorillapod sounds so appealing as a future investment (maybe with a DSLR), but I'll probably have to pass for now since I'm trying to save for traveling.
I have a gorillapod and it is certainly handy, and for the price it can't really be beat.
If you have your heart set on a tripod though take a look at this review of the Trek-Tech TrekPod
. I haven't got one but it looks to be pretty handy as it can collapse down quite small.
I hope that helps a little.
I wouldn't suggest bringing it. Concentrate on mastering your camera settings and different lenses, and you probably won't need it ever unless you like to take like cityscapes at night or something. When you find a specific need for it and have decided those are the kind of photos you like to take, then bring it.
I opted to leave mine at home to save space in my bag. I regret it at least twice a week. For one, traveling alone it allows you to take pictures of yourself in places if nobody is around to do so. More importantly is when you want to take a picture of a dark room, cave, tomb, whatever. The tripod gives you freedom of choice of perspective. Without one you're forced to use whatever ledges or tables are available to you for long exposures. And they're almost never optimal. You may not use it every day, but for the situations you need it it's totally worth lugging it around.
I've decided to take the easy way out. If it fits, it'll go. If it doesn't, it won't. 😊 I'm too torn on the subject, haha.
I find that it is too difficult to carry.
Please help with your suggestions here :
You could try our tripod. The one in the picture travels well. We also have one with a better tripod to it.
I have never carried and tripod an never missed one. For the few shots that you do need it, you can always improvise by resting the camera on stones, a wall or whatever else is available. In my opinion, you need a tripod in maybe 5% of all shots, so that would be a definite no to the question of if you should carry one.