Really Right Stuff: Buying the Right Tripod the First Time

Don’t make the same mistake I did: Buy a great tripod from the start and save your money. A few months ago the I read an article about how cheap people end up spending more money than folks who buy quality the first time. The same goes for your tripod. 

I bought a $100 tripod at B&H photo that immediately started breaking down and falling apart. While the knobs are working fine the panning bracket started wobbling with no way of fixing it.

Your tripod can make or break a shot. A cheap tripod can ruin the shot with a wobble or a loose tripod head. When it comes to big purchases, your grandparents had the right idea: Buy it once and have it forever. That's what you get when you spend the money for the best tripod rather than purchasing several cheaper tripods in your quest to get the best image. To get the best tripod, combine the best material, the tripod head and size for what you want to do with your camera..


When you get the best tripod, you will need to consider the job intended. Will it travel the back country with you, sit in a studio or need to fit snugly in your suitcase? Generally, there are three types -- aluminum, carbon fiber and wood -- of material used to create a tripod. Aluminum is light, durable and inexpensive. It's the most common tripod material. Aluminum does not dampen vibrations like wood and carbon fiber and it reacts to extreme temperatures. Carbon fiber is also light weight, easily fixed and durable, but it's extremely expensive. Wood tripods are too heavy, although wood dims vibrations wonderfully.

Really Right Stuff TV-33 Tripod

I decided to get one of the best. Really Right Stuff makes fantastic legs that are relatively light carbon fiber, and super sturdy. I bought the TVC-33 series

Ball Head and Clamp

You've found a suitable tripod made from the best material. The next part of your quest for the best tripod revolves around the tripod head. Ideally, you'll be in a photography store and be able to handle the tripods before purchase. You want a tight head and clamp. Ball heads are among the best tripods heads.

Again I’m not messing around anymore so I decided to buy this great BH-55 Ball Head and L-series bracket from Really Right Stuff.


Larger tripod legs can stretch out and put the camera a lower height. You may be able put a smaller tripod on a table to gain perspective. Out in the woods you won't find a table unless you bring it. The best size is the size you need to achieve your intended purpose.

Although our modern throw away culture encourages buying an item multiple times, when you get what you really need to succeed and buy the best the first time around, you won't have to buy the it again. In addition, the quality of the tripod translates into quality of the photograph. The best tripod helps create the best photograph. Creating the best photograph is the goal of every photographer. No more wobbling for me!