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You need tripods and monopods for shake-free shooting

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Arts and Culture

You need tripods and monopods for shake-free shooting

A tripod and monopod perform the same function: they keep the camera stable and shake-free while shooting. The only difference is that the tripod has three legs, and is relatively more stable while the monopod has a single leg.

A tripod is a great accessory to have if you are going for an outdoor shoot. It can be placed firmly on any kind of ground and the camera placed on top of it. Some tripod stands have a bubble level which can be used to make sure that all the three legs of the tripod are at the same level, and there is no tilt.

A tripod is made up of two portions namely the legs and the central column. The legs can be extended or folded depending upon the needs of the photographer. The length of the legs can also be raised up to three levels. These levels are: maximum, minimum and the collapsed state. Each level has its own advantage and should be used according to the topography and the nature of the shoot. Photographers find the maximum level the most comfortable since the camera is at an eye-level. Shooting is relatively easy in such a position.

Each portion of the leg is an extendable part and is held together by clasps. You need to unlock the clasps one at a time to extend the tripod to its full height. Some companies that manufacture tripods use threaded collars to lock the legs. A tripod attains the maximum height when the third section is unlocked.

The most important portion of the tripod stand is the head, which forms the top of the central column. The camera is fitted on to the head by means of a screw.  There are two types of head that are used in a tripod stand. These are the three way pan tilt head and the ball head.

In a three way pan tilt head you can change the position of the camera in three different directions with the help of a lever that is attached to the central column. Most new models come with a ball head fitting. They are more flexible and easier to handle. They weigh much less but are more costly than the three way tilt pan head.

Sometimes a hook can be attached to the central column to hang weight bags. The purpose of this exercise is to ensure extra balance while shooting.

If you want to shoot at a relatively low angle you can go for a tabletop tripod. It is very small and very convenient for shooting. It can be attached to a wall or the table.
Today most models are manufactured using carbon fibers. They are more durable, stable and resistant to wear and tear as compared to the earlier aluminum models. They are also much lighter than the conventional wooden tripods and are easier to set up or pack.

A monopod has a single column and a head to which the camera can be attached. The height of the column can be extended or lowered in the same way as the leg of a tripod. The biggest advantage of using the monopod is the fact that it is lighter and easier to use. Since it is only a single column you can practically swerve it in any direction. The time required to set it up is much less as compared to the tripod.