Tripod or no tripod?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Diddy2theJJ, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Diddy2theJJ

    Diddy2theJJ TPF Noob!

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    I like taking macro shots of flowers and I usually don't use a tripod, but when I look at others shots, it seems as though most of them use a tripod.

    I can see what a difference it makes to use one for sharpness and depth of field, but it always feels like such a hinderance to use one....like it takes so much time to get it set up and get the angle right compared to just getting down and taking it handheld. That way I can experiment with many different angles.

    I'm just curious what everyone's thoughts are and what you prefer. Thanks,

    - Diddy
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A lot of people like using a tripod...because it takes longer. This gives us time to think about composition, lighting and exposure etc.

    This seems to be a lot less common now in the digital age...than it was back when we shot with film.

    To me, part of the challenge of 'still life' photos like this, is to get them as sharp as can be. That means using a tripod, mirror lock up and an optimum aperture.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Myself I do most of my macro handheld with camera mounted flash - however I tend to do a lot of macro at the moment which is generally faster shooting so I have to be mobil.
    Earlier in the year I focused on flower photography and used a tripod all the time for that (infact the limitations of my cheap tripod in this area prompted me to invest in far better model). The bonus to sharpness, stability and also the abilty (if I had it) to play more with off camera lighting from different angles is a great bonus. I have certainly not discounted the use of a tripod and even with insects its possible (early mornings when they are warming up from the cold night and are far less flighty)
    For flowers and static objects a tripod, remote cable release and mirror lockup (custom function in many SLR cameras) it really helps. Since the flower is not going anywhere one has the time - in windier conditions its more of a pain, but then chances are you can use ties to hold the flower in place - in the very windy even handheld is almost impossible.

    I recomend a focusing rail and also a geared tripod head though - a focusing rail allows you to move the camera back and forth just like with handheld - so you can get the focus just where you want it; the geared head is something that I am meaning to invest in (Manfrotto junior geared head specifically) and allows for precise positioning of a setup and the assembly should suffer no dipping or creep (ball heads tend to dip just after you realease you hand after applying force to lock the position - its not noticable for normal uses, but in macro the very slight move is very noticable and a pain to work with - also the assembly can creep very slowly downwards - again only a problem at macro scales)

    Clearly the use of a tripod allows for the slower shutter speeds and thus smaller apertures without having to raise ISO
     
  4. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hmmmm.... I get your point, but I think it's the results not the slowness that people are looking for with a tripod--how cumbersome a tripod is not a virtue, it's a liability.
     

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