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Friday, October 1, 2004

Better, Stronger, Sharper

Discover how a tripod produces sharper pictures and better, bigger prints

Beyond stability and sharper pictures, the greatest benefit I've found in using a tripod is that it makes me slow down. It forces me to evaluate a scene more carefully. Rather than snapping a shot and walking away, I observe a scene with much greater care. The slowing down of the picture-taking process has resulted in consistently better photographs. Before I commit to positioning my tripod, I look at varying aspects of a scene—lighting, contrast, tones and composition—without feeling as if I'm rushing.

Better, Stronger, SharperAs I'm increasingly making larger and larger prints using inkjet printers, I have to be certain that my images are as sharp as possible, that highlights and color are clear and well defined. Any weakness in an image becomes more obvious the bigger the print. Although they make acceptable 4x6-inch prints, photographs with such faults become completely unusable when enlarged to 8x10 or more inches. After using a tripod faithfully, my images boast their strengths in 13x19-inch prints and even larger.

Choosing A Tripod
The benefit of choosing a tripod today is that one doesn't have to be burdened with bulk, weight and difficult controls. Instead, lightweight aluminum and carbon-fiber materials make even a large tripod easier to carry. Despite their lighter weights, tripods with advanced designs have retained the stability needed to capture sharp photographs. Thankfully, you don't need to purchase the heaviest, largest and most expensive tripod to improve the quality of your pictures.

There are many different factors to consider when choosing a tripod. The best question to ask is "How do I plan to use it?" This will help you evaluate the various features to determine which is truly the best choice for you.

Weight And Height
How heavy is the equipment that you intend to mount on your tripod? This is an important question to answer because exceeding the weight recommended for a tripod risks the stability you hoped for. If you're using a compact camera or an SLR with a lightweight lens, you can invest in an amazingly portable tripod that will be a useful tool, whether you're traveling, hiking or creating close-up images in your own backyard. With today's high-quality designs, even a very light tripod can support rather substantial weight.


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