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


Giottos MTL9240B-5011SB
Convenience and flexibility combine in the Giottos MTL9240B-5011SB tripod/head system. Each of the four-section, flip-lock legs can be set to three different angles, and neoprene rubber grips ensure a comfortable, secure hold for easy transport. The three-way 5011SB pan/tilt head has a built-in safety-lock quick-release system. A retractable hook at the bottom of the center column adds weight if necessary. Rubber pads on the bottom of

Gitzo Explorer GT2540EX
each leg and a built-in bubble level make setup easier. It extends from 11.3 inches to 60.5 inches, holds 6.6 pounds and weighs three pounds. Estimated Street Price: $141.

If you shoot in tight spaces, close to the ground or at other odd angles, the Gitzo Explorer series offers an innovative solution. Set the legs to any angle and move them independently while the center column tilts and rotates freely to any position. The column can tilt from vertical to beyond horizontal, rotate 360 degrees and lock at any angle in between. Shoot with a Gitzo off-center ballhead for even more freedom to take unconventional shots. It weighs four pounds, supports 26.4 pounds and features the G-Lock leg-locking system. Estimated Street Price: $675.


Induro Carbon Fiber 8X CT-Series
The latest generation of Induro Carbon Fiber 8X CT-Series and Aluminum Alloy 8M AT-Series tripods feature higher load capacities, greater stability and a more rugged build. Ergonomic leg-lock grips and a textured rubber surface provide a better grip. The center column is larger for increased stability, and a threaded accessory mount socket allows attachment of articulated arms, clamps and other mounting devices directly to the tripod. Induro is one of the few manufacturers to make its own

Manfrotto 055CX
carbon-fiber tubing, while the aluminum is made of a high-grade alloy. Estimated Street Price: TBA.

The Manfrotto 055CX series carbon-fiber tripods are built with 100-percent carbon-fiber tubes for optimal rigidity while maintaining a lightweight frame. The innovative Q90° center column can be used horizontally without removing the head or the column. The three-section 055CXPRO3 and four-section 055CXPRO4 models feature legs that adjust to four different angles and an integrated bubble level. The PRO3 ranges from 4.5 inches to 68.9 inches, weighs 3.6 pounds and can support 17.6 pounds. The PRO4 ranges from 4.5 inches to 66.9 inches, weighs 3.7 pounds and also supports 17.6 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $399 (PRO3); $419 (PRO4).

MINI-TRIPODS

Berlebach Mini Leveling Wood Tripod
When space and stability matter equally, a mini-tripod offers an ideal solution. The Berlebach Mini Leveling Wood Tripod is a two-section tabletop tripod that includes a built-in leveling head. Height ranges from four inches to 15 inches, and it weighs two pounds, yet supports 17.6 pounds. A lever under the camera platform allows the top plate to tilt

Joby Gorillapod SLR
±15 degrees in all directions for easy camera leveling. Wood tripods are especially well suited for dampening vibration. Estimated Street Price: $288.

With legs featuring joints that can bend and rotate 360 degrees, the Joby Gorillapod SLR is a versatile compact tripod that attaches to unusual surfaces like tree trunks and railings. Setup is instant, thanks to a quick-release clip with bubble level that keeps the camera connected and level. Rubberized ring and foot grips deliver enhanced stability on

Slik SPRINT MINI II GM
rough terrain. It supports 1.75 pounds. The SLR-Zoom holds heavier cameras up to 6.5 pounds and can be used with a new ballhead that pans 360 degrees with a 90-degree tilt. Estimated Street Price: $39 (SLR); $49 (SLR-Zoom); $44 (ballhead).

The Slik SPRINT MINI II GM has a collapsible height of just 14 inches and weighs a mere 1.6 pounds. The padded legs provide a comfortable grip while carrying. Extending to a height of 43.3 inches, the tripod also is ideal for more general use, and a built-in short center column makes it a good choice for doing macro work with a minimum height of just 6.4 inches from the ground. The main center column also can be reversed for low-angle shooting. The MINI II GM holds up to 3.5 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $75.

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