View Full Version : Should I be using a tripod?
21st of March 2009 (Sat), 15:52
I do backyard/feeder bird photography and have a Velbon Sherpa 200R which I find to be a fine tripod. Should I be using this? I only have a 30D with a 55-250mm for birding and hopefully a 430EX in the coming days... This lens is extremely light but is the tripod for the IQ or the support? Thanks
21st of March 2009 (Sat), 18:22
Keeping the camera steady is the key to nice sharp shots, that is the principal reason for a tripod not the avoidence of weight training.
22nd of March 2009 (Sun), 04:01
Just an FYI: not sure of the IS system on your lens but on my 300 f4 IS I need to turn off the IS to get nice shots. Just something to think about.
Also if you keep your shutter speed up and I would say in your case 1/500 and above (on the long end of the zoom), which should be relatively easy, you should be able to get clean shots which more times than not are really nice. Practice, Practice, Practice is how I've been able to improve my handholding technique. Also, take more than a few shots to ensure you capture at least one or two good ones.
I have my tripod setup in my smaller bedroom/office aimed out the window. I remove the screen and shoot from there. I handhold or use the monopod when I shoot from my bathroom window though, inwhich I have to stand in the tub. If I am on the back porch or deck, I mostly handhold the shots. Now, I am setting up several perches using some big branches and food of course to lure the birdies onto the perches. I will set them up just outside my shed and use the shed as a blind. I will mainly use the tripod while getting shots from the shed but will handhold also to continue to improve my handholding technique though.
Just One Man's Opinion
Edit: I've been using my new tripod and gimbal head and I am beginning to become very comfortable using the tripod in the field. I am finding it easy to set up while out birding. I lock the gimbal head, walk with the camera and tripod and when I see an opportunity, I spread the tripod legs, set it down and shoot. The tripod legs opens easily which allows me to stop and set up to get the shots.
24th of March 2009 (Tue), 15:15
Yes and No.
On a good sunny day I keep the camera off the tripod because sometimes I need to slip into the kitchen to get a better angle. With a lot of practice I haven't had a whole shot blurred for a while now whereas when I started I was mr blurry.
On a cooler day I just get up the tripod next to me on the sofa so all I have to do is lean forward and shoot.
24th of March 2009 (Tue), 22:04
A tripod always provides sharper photos if the target is willing. I frequently use a tripod in my backyard because I know where the birds will perch and feed. Another aid is a remote shutter cable. If your target is unpredictable, then a tripod becomes a burden and a monopod might be a better alternative. Otherwise, handholding is the best option with the assistance of IS, high ISO and shutter speed. Also, a flash can provide better sharpness where practical.
25th of March 2009 (Wed), 05:14
I shoot into my back yard from my desk. I have taken the screens out of the windows and when it's warm, I open the glass and when it's not warm, I just clean it good. A tripod will always give you sharper shots. That being said, just slapping the camera and lens on the tripod is not enough. Like anything else, there is a learning curve to using a tripod properly. I bet that's a surprise to some. :)
If your shaky, and some of us are, use a remote cord, if your not, it depends on the head your using. I use one of those grip action ballheads and instead of the death grip, I use fingertips to control it, lightly touching it once it's aimed. Also the same for the camera grip and shutter button. Sometimes I use the remote cord here too. If you have never noticed any shake when you use your tripod, go ahead and test your technique again, right now. I bet you will find the same thing I did.
Bottom line is, run through the technique you have been using and really pay attention to what the image in your viewfinder is doing. When you see a little shake, and all it takes is a tiny bit of shake to ruin a perfect shot, pay attention and track down what the cause is of the shake and experiment until you find out how to stop it. Your keeper rate will climb right away. ;)
I do have a very solid desk I made myself from solid walnut. It's very heavy and extremely stable. Sometimes I do not want to use the tripod, and have saved a large empty bottle of Tums which sits on the corner of my desk. The cap is large enough to hold the foot of the lens tripod mount and I grab that and the top of the bottle and aim the lens out the window. This also works very well. Nice and stable with a little practice. :)
25th of March 2009 (Wed), 07:34
I don't use a tripod very often although I definitely should. I don't use it because in the field it takes me too long to get set up and focused on the bird. Often I regret not using having use it but know that I probably would have missed my shot entirely if i had tried to get set up. I sometimes use a monopod, sometimes just as a walking stick. If a bird is much above head height, then hand holding is the only way, I'm afraid. In my nylon blind I use a tripod or monopod. In my wooden blind I tend to just brace against the side.
12th of April 2009 (Sun), 08:02
I shoot full frame w/400mm...all hand held. It provides me the speed to get the shot and the agility to compose.
13th of April 2009 (Mon), 14:43
I do all of my BIF without a tripod. It's surprising how sharp & clear an image you can get handheld when tracking BIF. When there's enough light, I shoot a 400 2.8 with a 2x tc on a 1D mark2. That's 1040mm effective focal length! And at the higher shutter speeds (1/1600 and faster), handheld results can be very good.
13th of April 2009 (Mon), 16:16
Yes any time you can.
When shooting fast action, often a tripod is a hindrance, so there are times you don;t, but when you can, you should.
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