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National Parks Safety Tips For Photographers
Before heading into the wild, read these tips for planning and enjoying a safe, successful photo adventure.
A Year Photographing The National Parks
Ten highlights from an epic tour photographing all of the U.S. national parks.
Choosing A Tripod For Your Style Of Photography
Contrary to what you might have heard, you do not need a tripod that can’t be moved without a forklift. Here's what to consider when choosing a tripod and head.
The Bridge To Black & White
Creative considerations for making black-and-white images from color files.
Florida Photo Hot Spots
A guide to the variety of stunning locations for nature photography in the Sunshine State.
Surf Photography: Catching The Wave
How to capture epic surf photography on land and in the water.
How An Auto-Leveling Tripod Makes Life Easier For Photographers
Let’s be honest: getting your tripod level can be a tedious, time-consuming process. It can also make or break an outdoor photo.
Missing out on great light as you fumble with a tripod’s legs while trying to get the horizon straight can be extremely frustrating, which is why the new Benro Theta is so innovative. The world’s first auto-leveling travel tripod, Benro Theta is smart, sleek and a real photo saver.
With a traditional tripod, photographers need to manually adjust each leg based on the terrain they’re shooting on. If you’ve ever shot on a snowy or rocky slope this can be a challenge. Furthermore, you need to keep your eye on a sometimes hard-to-see bubble level on the tripod. In dim conditions such as just before sunrise or when shooting astrophotography at night, you might need to break out a flashlight to reference the bubble level, which can disturb a scene or be a distraction to other photographers.
Even when you think you have all your tripod’s legs lined up properly, you might need to further adjust the ball head to get your camera level. All of this takes up valuable time, which is where Benro Theta comes in.
Powered by a removable battery module, auto leveling on the Theta begins with just a touch of a button on the module under the ball head. Once automatic leveling starts, this smart tripod will figure out how many legs and lengths need to be adjusted to reach the fastest leveling position. It’s actually kind of incredible to watch the tripod’s legs automatically adjust themselves as Theta levels itself.
Even more importantly for photographers though is that Theta’s auto-leveling feature frees you up so you can focus on your photography and not fussing around with the tripod’s legs. Where you’ll really see the advantage of auto-leveling is when moving from one location to another. Instead of having to manually adjust everything again, just hit the button on Theta and the tripod will level itself based on the new terrain.
Of course, what’s also critical to capturing a straight shot is getting the camera level on the ball head. Another nice thing about Theta is that it allows you to continually keep the camera level while adjusting the ball head for composition.
Theta’s ball head is designed with a handy locking system that allows the ball head to be aligned with the tripod at all times. To do this, simply switch the ball head from free mode to roll lock mode. In roll lock position, when the tripod is level with the ground, so is the camera.
The Theta has other features that help you quickly set it up so you can start shooting right away. Deploying a traditional tripod requires you to open either the flip or twist locks on the joints of each of the legs, pull out the legs, and then lock them all again. This can be a time-consuming process.
To deploy the Theta just unlock the foot locks on all the sections and pull out the legs. Then simply twist the foot lock back to lock the legs. The result is it only takes seconds to set up the Theta, which helps ensure you never miss a shot.
To speed up camera mounting, Benro has designed the ball head with a Quick Lock mechanism that requires just one easy step to attach your camera. With the quick release plate attached the base of your camera, just press your camera into the ball head and it will lock automatically with a satisfying click. To remove the camera, twist the ring and lift it off the ball head.
Other timesaving features we like include Theta’s anti-slip leg locking mechanism, with redundancy to avoid leg slippage. This will not only help the tripod stand up to conditions such as sand, water, and wind so you don’t need to readjust your shot, it will help protect your camera from falling over and potentially being damaged.
Portable But Tough Design
With all this innovative technology packed into the Theta, you might think this tripod would have to be big and clunky. That’s not the case at all and, in fact, Benro’s done a great job making Theta travel-friendly.
To make it easier to pack up, Theta has a trigonous center column rather than a round column. So, when folded, Theta’s center column and legs merge together snuggly, eliminating the wasted dead space you find in tripods with circular center columns. This makes Theta much easier to carry and to pack in a bag.
Even though Theta is more compact than competing tripods, it’s sturdier. The trigonous center shaft allows the tripod to maintain a supportive round tube design while thickening Theta’s upper leg diameter to 29mm. On average, most competing tripods have thinner leg diameters but with a larger packed size.
And, of course, Theta is made of premium carbon fiber, offering a weight capacity of 44.1 pounds (20 kg) to easily support full-frame cameras with lenses even in open windy locations. At the same time, it weighs only 2.78 pounds (1.25 kg) and has a folded size of just 17.3 inches (44 cm) proving that good things come in small packages.
This is just a small tase of what the Benro Theta tripod offers. To learn more visit Theta’s Kickstarter page. Outdoor Photographer readers can enjoy the highest discount on Theta on Kickstarter and extend their warranty 3 years more, for a total of 6 years warranty.