A camera and tripod, while the photographer holds a tray of explosive powder. POOF! There’s a puff of smoke and a picture is taken. Like me, I’m sure you’ve seen that scene in cartoons or old movies. Therefore, the tripod isn’t new. And… despite advancements in camera technology they are still as important as they were back then. There are even cases today where it’s impossible to make a clear picture without one.
Movement of the camera, even slight, can result in an image that’s blurry. Unless you’re doing it on purpose, blurry images are usually not what you want. To be sure the camera doesn’t move, use a tripod. Less camera movement = sharper picture. As stated before, advancements in technology now allow you to handhold a camera and will reduce some of the camera shake. Lenses, (even some newer cameras) have image built-in image stabilization – which works great. But…
As good as the image stabilization is, it still requires you to hold the camera as steady as possible. That’s fine for quick shots. There’s a rule of thumb that says you can handhold at the shutter speed equal to the max focal length of the lens. For example, if you’re shooting with a 100-400mm lens – you can handhold as long as your shutter speed doesn’t exceed 1/400 sec. Again, it’s a guide. Some people have very steady hands, and they are able to debunk that rule.
1/400 of a second is pretty fast shutter speed. Conversely, what if you need a shutter speed that is much slower: 5 seconds or maybe even 1 minute? I don’t know about you, but I can’t hold a camera completely still for one minute. If you can, great. But, I’ll need my tripod. So, long exposures make them a necessity. Even if you don’t have one, you will have to sit the camera on something steady. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a blurry picture.
Don’t Risk It
There are many different sizes and styles of tripods available today. While you don’t have to break the bank on the most expensive one, just make sure you buy one that will support the weight of your camera and lens. You don’t want to risk putting an expensive camera/lens combination on a flimsy tripod.
Somethings never go out of style or lose their usefulness.The camera and tripod are an inseparable combination. At some point, you may find that you need one. With that, just so glad we don’t have to create small explosions every time we take a picture.