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Considerations in Selecting a Tripod

Shooting in a studio or near a vehicle places few limitations on the size or weight of equipment that can be used. With that convenience, it is advisable to choose a sturdy tripod and appropriately-matched head that you really enjoy using.

By comparison, shooting in the back-country with everything carried up 1000 meters vertically places strict limitations on the choice of gear. A light tripod with a remote release will do just fine if mirror lockup is available, and there are no disturbing factors such as wind. Carbon-fiber tripods are an excellent choice in this case for their lighter weight, and also their greater skin-friendliness in cold temperatures

There are many excellent tripods on the market, but I have used Gitzo for many years with no trouble. Other brands might suit your particular needs when considering such variables as cost, weight, compactness when collapsed, etc. But be aware that there is a huge amount of garbage on the market, exploiting the reluctance of newcomers to invest in a quality tripod. Better to skip the junk tripods you’ll hate using anyway, and shoot handheld, honing your skills instead.

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  • Eases into photographic challenges with an introductory section.
  • Covers aspects of digital sensor technology that relate to getting the best image quality.
  • Technique section discusses every aspect of making a sharp image handheld or on a tripod.
  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • MTF, field curvature, focus shift: insight into the limitations of lab tests and why imaging performance is far more complex than it appears.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • How to test a lens for a “bad sample”.

Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

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