I can already here the cries… “But Caleb! Vincent Laforet and Philip bloom told me to spend a lot of money and get a good tripod!” Yep, and I am going to say I disagree to an extent. Yes, tripods are important. Yes, they are the base and root of your camera’s sensor. But I don’t think you “need” a really really nice and expensive tripod. Especially when you are just getting started. So I am going to go against the grain on this one.
All that said, here are 5 reasons you should get a cheap tripod:
1. You’re Broke
Lets be honest here, you aren’t made of money (if you are, you should check this place out). A lot of you probably just got your camera, and don’t have a lot of money to spend on a super nice tripod.
2. You’re Not Shane Hurlbut
You might be like Shane someday, but if you are just starting out you don’t need a super expensive tripod to film flowers, your kids, snow or all those test shots we all shoot when getting started. Don’t spend a ton of money on something you won’t appreciate until you start filming “legit” work. I can feel the hate mail being written…
Like all gear purchases, you should ask yourself WHY. Do you do this for a living (and actually make a living and not just say so on twitter)? Will you be shooting on your tripod for 8+ hours a day? Or are you only filming personal projects on the weekends? Do you need something that can handle a heavy workload? Or are you just looking for something expensive to sit in the corner of your room? Be honest with yourself and Count the cost.
3. You Need Other Stuff
Chances are there are a lot of other things you need. Especially if you are just getting started. Lighting, audio equipment and lenses are important too. Why spend $500-$2000 on a “real tripod” when you can get a decent working one for $70-$200? That way you can use that extra capital on some sexy Nikkor primes, and some other gear.
4. Two is Better than One
Backups are good. Imagine this, you are on a shoot and you just realized you left all of your tripod plates at home and have no way to mount your camera to you’re awesome tripod. Wish you had a backup now eh? I keep a Pearstone VT-2100 with my light stands. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to break that little baby out.
5. It Works
I can’t speak for all cheap tripods, but for $70, the Pearstone VT-2100 is a fantastic little tripod. I use it for my 2nd camera all the time.
My Cheap Tripod Recommendation
- Supports 15 lbs (6.8kg)
- Quick-release Plate
- Extends 25″ to 64″
- Mid-level Spreader
- Carrying Case
What are your thoughts? Think I am wrong?