"In photography, a tripod is used to stabilise and elevate a camera, a flash unit, or other photographic equipment. All photographic tripods have three legs (except the monopods) and a mounting head to couple with a camera. ...Tripod legs are usually made to telescope, in order to save space when not in use." Wikipedia 

A long focal length magnifies vibration caused by the camera shutter and mirror, wind, or by the photographer. When using a slow shutter speed a tripod is in order. A good tripod will help steady your camera and ensure sharp pictures. 

Always try to use 'live view' because your mirror will be in the up position. Always turn the vibration stabiliser switch off.

There are many brands and types of tripods on the market today. They all serve a purpose and most of them are very well made and will do the job very well for you.


When purchasing a monopod you need to consider the weight, there is no point in buying a light carbon fibre monopod and then sticking a heavy and cumbersome head on it.  

One point to realise is that a monopod is not a complete substitute for a tripod. Areas where you will struggle to get a good image with a monopod include very low light photography, i.e. night time, and shots where you need a 100% stable camera for example shooting light trails or landscapes with extreme depth of field. 

Where a monopod does come into its own is in areas such a wildlife and sports photography where you can dramatically increase the stability.


  • Portability and weight
  • Stabilisation of long, telephoto lenses
  • Speed, a monopod is much quicker and easier to set up


  • Not a substitute for a tripod in very dark conditions
  • You need to practice techniques for stabilising a monopod

A monopod can be a useful, but not necessarily vital addition to a photographer's kit. It can certainly provide extra stabilisation in many situations but, it cannot be seen as a replacement to a tripod, only a complimentary tool. 

Making it easy

Now for the most economical, easy to use, easy to carry tripods on the market.

Pocket Tripod - a length of plaited or knotted cord which you can carry in your pocket for those short shots that need a steady camera. The cord is adjustable to your height. 

  • Place the cord around the back of the lens towards the camera face. 
  • Place the long end under your two feet which are placed at shoulder width.
  • Tuck your elbows into your body. 
  • Hold the underneath of the camera and lens with a supporting hand and push up. The cord forms a triangle. 
  • Now take your shot. 

The Pocket Tripods are particularly good for when you are going anywhere that carrying a full tripod would be too much weight. Landscapes, no problem, just take it slow and do your panorama. 

If you are seated in a vehicle that is driving over rough terrain, simply double the cord and place it under the top of your legs. Again, form the triangle with elbows tucked in. If you want to lengthen or shorten the cord, move your legs or position your feet further apart or bring them in. 

Stabiliser Pillows: small stuffed cushions that can be used to stabilise your camera and lens on any surface (bonnet of the car, a fence post, a table or ground). Easy to stuff into your camera bag. They come in Round, Rectangle or Square.

Purchasing Tip - you get what you pay for:

When purchasing a tripod or a monopod make sure it is demonstrated fully to you before you buy so that you are aware of all the capabilities it has. 

Feel the weight. This plays a significant role in that it may feel ok in the store but after you have been traipsing through the bush or on a long shoot the weight of the tripod, along with your other equipment, will weigh you down and can spoil a good day of photography.

Am I getting a good deal?

If purchasing used tripods from an Opportunity Store, Second-hand, Online or "a good deal" from a friend, ensure that all securing locks are working, screws are not missing, screws are not stripped and all parts are included in the purchase e.g. camera mount.




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