Take along a tripod when away from home to ensure sharp photographs
By Ibarionex R. Perello
Many of us look forward to vacation travel for the photo opportunities such journeys provide. Away from our daily routines, visiting a new and visually rich destination makes it easier to come away with great photographs.
However, the process of traveling often results in many photographers leaving behind an important tool—their tripod. This inevitably results in frustration when a photograph presents itself that could only be properly captured with the camera mounted on a stable platform. Thankfully, a tripod and head don’t have to be heavy and bulky.
Innovative designs and lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber and magnesium, provide tripods and heads that deliver stability to ensure sharp photographs, while remaining portable enough to carry and stow away in luggage.
Here are a few of the available tripods and heads that can help you bring home those images you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Lightweight Travel Tripods And Heads
The Davis & Sanford Carbonlite X10 is a carbon-fiber/magnesium tripod that weighs in at only 5.4 pounds and folds down to just 30 inches. The tripod provides built-in bubble levels, a three-way head and adjustable, snap leg locks. It includes multiposition rubber-ball-to-spike feet, and the bottom centerpost has a hook, which allows you to hang your camera bag for additional stability. List Price: $249.
The Giottos MT 8160 is a professional-quality tripod that offers a variety of features in a portable design. Weighing just 5.5 pounds, the tripod includes a three-position leg spread—25-50-75, via dial control—and a reversible center column that can be positioned horizontally or vertically at virtually any angle. It supports a maximum weight of 22 pounds and has a closed length of just 25 inches. Estimated Street Price: $299.
The innovative design of the Gitzo G1155T Traveler provides a full-sized tripod that collapses to a length of only 14 inches. Standing less than five feet when fully extended, the carbon-fiber tripod features a 180-degree folding mechanism that makes it compact enough to store in your hand luggage. The five-section tripod weighs 2.2 pounds and supportsa maximum weight of 9.9 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $625.
Utilizing a combination of carbon fiber and magnesium, the Velbon El Carmagne 640 delivers a lightweight and reliable platform for your camera gear. It provides a maximum height of 59.8 inches and weighs only three pounds. With the center column removed, the tripod delivers a low-angle height of just 5.8 inches. Street Price: $339 (with head).
The Induro Carbon 8X C014 tripod is constructed from eight-layer carbon-fiber tubing that provides stability and strength, while weighing only 1.3 pounds. It extends to 55.2 inches and features leg locks with moisture and anti-dust seals. The feet are designed with removable rubber or stainless-steel spikes for secure footing in a variety of surfaces and terrain. Estimated Street Price: TBA.
For photographers who shoot with supertelephoto lenses, the Jobu Design Black Widow Gimbal—Light Weight is an alternative to a ballhead. Weighing just 2.5 pounds, the rugged gimbal can accommodate lenses as large as a 600mm ƒ/4, while staying compact enough to store in luggage. It features a quick-release clamp and an all-weather design. List Price: $399.
For those who enjoy close-up photography, the Kirk Photo Mighty Low-Boy offers the ideal solution when stability and size matter. Weighing only 2.6 pounds, the minimum height is 1.75 inches. It offers four leg-angle settings: 26, 45, 75 and 90 degrees. The short, centerpost features a spirit level and makes the folded tripod only 11.25 inches in length. List Price: $170.