Home Buyer's Guide Tripods & Supports 2010
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Tripods & Supports

When sharpness is essential, there's nothing more important than camera support

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Capturing sharp photos requires sturdy legs. Yes, that means adding more to your load, but few accessories are as essential as a tripod. Lenses and cameras with image stabilization definitely help, but nothing ensures sharpness like a tripod. Plus, a tripod locks in your composition for careful review before you shoot and prevents you from accidentally changing it as you’re taking the shot.

The key, of course, is finding one that works for you. If space or price is an issue, there are tripod alternatives. A mini-tripod will save you room, but make sure it can handle the weight of the camera and lenses you use. Another option is a monopod, which is lighter but also less steady. Softer supports, like beanbags, also can come in handy.


Benro Carbon Travel Angel
If you do a lot of traveling, the Benro Carbon Travel Angel is a good choice because when folded, the tripod is just 14.6 inches long and fits easily into a backpack or suitcase. Model TRCB269 features a load capacity of 26.4 pounds, weighs 3.5 pounds and lengthens to 61.3 inches with the center column extended. The legs can be independently locked into place

Cullmann Magnesit 532C
at two different angles, making it possible to shoot on uneven terrain or in tight spaces. It also comes with a shoulder strap and carrying case. Estimated Street Price: $482.

The Cullmann Magnesit 532C uses strong, yet lightweight die-cast magnesium parts and vibration-cushioned carbon legs to deliver optimal stability. The legs lock quickly and securely, thanks to a newly developed leg-clamping design. Height ranges from 25 inches to 72 inches, and you can position the camera as low as 12 inches for ground-level exposures. The 532C supports up to 26 pounds while weighing 4.6 pounds. It also comes with adjustable steel spikes, a separable center column and foam casing on the upper legs for protection against bumps and damage. Estimated Street Price: $375.

Davis & Sanford ATPX10
The weather-resistant aluminum and stainless-steel construction of the Davis & Sanford ATPX10 make it an ideal choice if you do a lot of outdoor shooting. Flat, pointed feet that can pivot are able to adjust to any terrain, and the rectangular-shaped legs are designed to work well in muddy conditions. The reversible center column allows you to get low to the ground or as high as 66 inches. Without the column, height ranges from 23 to 61 inches. The

tripod comes with the FX10 three-way head with quick release, can support a 35-pound load capacity and weighs seven pounds. Estimated Street Price: $199.

For a long time, the only choices of leg material were wood or aluminum. Enter carbon fiber. Consisting of multiple layers of crossed-ply carbon fibers, these tripods weigh less, dampen surface vibration and have a solid build. But they’re also more expensive. The affordable Flashpoint F-1328 is a heavy-duty carbon-fiber tripod that extends to 63 inches, yet its four-section legs collapse to a carrying size of 21 inches, making it ideal for travel. Weighing in at just four pounds, the F-1328 supports 24 pounds and has a separable center column for ground-level use. Estimated Street Price: $269.


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