“Traveling”, the name itself sounds so much fun. Traveling is in a lot of rage these days, specially among the youngsters. People just want to ditch their boring and hectic lifestyle and travel to amazing places. A lot of times, they take their families along with them.
Family or not, everyone has the right to cherish their memories afterwards. For that purpose, they get themselves a camera. But if you are really serious about photographing some fleeting moments while you travel the globe, you might wanna consider going in for a lightweight tripod. Having a good travel tripod always comes in handy. If you are looking for one, I’m going to help you pick one among the best lightweight tripods.
TRIPOD FOR TRAVEL – WHY DO YOU NEED ONE ?
Well, let’s see.. why do you need a travel tripod? There is not just one but many reasons why you should have
a tripod specifically to meet your travel needs. At this point, I believe you know why a tripod is indispensable whenever you are out with a camera but if you need some basic information about tripods and why they are so useful, please do read this.
- The most important and obvious reason is for clicking pictures of yourself and your family. You are traveling for the sake of adventure, to find an escape from your boring life so it is natural that you want to photograph some memories of yourself and your dear ones. Instead of having strangers click your pictures who do not know how to frame and stuff, why not do it yourself. All you need to do is set it up on a tripod and put it on a 10 sec timer. That’s it!
- If you are a travel photographer who is always looking for something which no one else does, a tripod is a must. A tripod will essentially stop you and will force you to compose your shots to perfection. That makes you a better photographer because now you will always think before you shoot.
- For shooting clouds or waterfalls, shooting time lapses or light painting at some iconic place, again you will make heavy use of a travel tripod. You cannot imagine shooting long exposures without a tripod. That is one of the reasons why most of the professional landscape photographers carry a lightweight tripod with them always.
- If you want to shoot in the dark or in the marketplaces during evening or night your camera and lens will only support you to some extent when it comes to shooting pictures with less noise. In those cases a tripod is very helpful. You can do some pretty crazy stuff in marketplaces with a tripod, like this.
KEY FEATURES TO LOOK FOR
Before jumping to conclusions, you must have enough knowledge on how to choose the tripod that best meets your needs. For a good travel tripod, there are many factors to consider. These play an important role in determining the price, quality and durability of your tripod. Let’s look at them one by one.
- Size : The size of the overall tripod plays a great role while you are traveling. You might wanna look into something which extends just like a normal tripod yet when collapsed is significantly smaller than a regular tripod. Specifically, look for something that extends to about 5 feet or above and collapses to somewhere around 2 feet. These dimensions are suited for carry on luggage as well.
- Weight : Weight of a tripod has a great significance whether you are traveling or not. It should be minimal but your tripod should be strong enough to hold the gear. Lightweight tripods are great for traveling because they allow you to carry more on flights. A lightweight tripod can weigh from 3lb to a maximum of 4lb.
- Cost : The last thing you wanna consider is price. I agree that most of us are budget conscious which is good. Finding the best deal for your buck is awesome. But you have to see that, travel tripods cost between $50 to all the way upto $1000 and more. It all depends on your needs and your budget. For enthusiasts or hobbyists, $200-$300 is the sweet spot.
SOME TOP NOTCH TRIPODS
Whether a starter or pro, every travel photographer must appreciate the gravity of owning a travel tripod. If cared for these things last for a lifetime. If you are reading this, you probably have bought your first tripod sometime back and you are looking to upgrade or want to start your journey with some quality equipment. As I mentioned price plays a very important role so I won’t recommend just the pricey ones but for all budgets.
- For hobbyists/beginners : For beginners who don’t want to spend a fortune of your first travel tripod, I recommend going in for the Vanguard VEO 2 204AB. It is a perfect choice for beginners. It comes in a range of colors, you can pick a red one if you like. Has twist locks, collapsible central column and can hold a maximum of 8.8lb (4kg). It extends upto 53 inches and folds to just about 15 inches, all in a sweet package of $100.
You can also check out the Manfrotto Element Traveler Big Aluminum Tripod.
- For amateurs/enthusiasts : You guys probably own a tripod and are looking for an upgrade. Check out the Manfrotto Befree Advanced Twist 4-Section Aluminum Travel Tripod with Ball Head. With an overall weight of just 3.3lb and a maximum height of 5 feet it is a great tripod. You can get this for $150. If you are looking for something in the carbon fiber range, get the MeFOTO RoadTrip Classic Carbon Fiber. It costs around $280.
- For professionals : Generally, these are made of carbon fiber and are very light. They offer superior quality and feel extremely premium. Carbon fiber is chosen because it is non-corrosive in many scenarios and is very light as compared to aluminum but at the same time they are more durable than the aluminum ones. If you are looking for one, go for Gitzo Lightweight Series 2 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod with Center Ball Head. It comes with a steep price of $980 but is worth the money. The main attraction is the sheer amount of weight that it can handle, 26lb (11kg)!
Gorillapods/mini pods :These are great travel tripods. They are small,
versatile and durable. You can always carry one of these cute little things with you. Sometimes, you might find yourself, using a. gorillapod more than a regular one. For more information about gorillapods, check this post.
HOW TO USE IT EFFICIENTLY
A travel tripod is just like any other tripod in terms of usability with a few more features. For example the legs of Vanguard VEO 2 204AB can be adjusted for 20 degrees separation. That is great for landscape photographers who need that low angle frames.
You can use a lightweight tripod in a lot of ways. These are specially made for traveling so they are packed with features. Some include metal spikes in their legs which gives a good ground grip when shooting in snow! Some have hooks on their central column to hang your camera bags. This improves stability.
To use it in the most efficient way, you need to be familiar with all the features of your tripod and that needs some research on your part. You must keep shooting with the tripod and try to use all its features to its max potential and since these are so light you shouldn’t mind carrying one everywhere you go, but do a bit of research about the places you want to visit. Some might not allow a tripod, like some museums or temples, etc.
It depends on how much and how innovatively you use your tripod. It is great for landscapes, wildlife or just casual street photography. For more tips on using your camera creatively, read this post.
Light weight tripods are one of the best investments when it comes to purchasing your travel gear. Before buying one, look at the key points which I mentioned earlier and make a well educated choice rather than simply getting what the salesman is telling you.
Traveling with a tripod can be troublesome at times and having a big, heavy tripod adds to the hassle, so the next time you think about upgrading to a good tripod choose from the best lightweight tripods. It will be money spent on quality and for your growth as a travel photographer.
If you have any questions or queries, please leave them below in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to help you out.
Founder of TripodsforAll