Definition: Tripod

Definition: Tripod  | Glossary entry

Tripod

 The tripod provides a portable, steady stand for fixing the camera upon. The three legs provide a consistent, all-round, contact with the ground. The use of three legs ensures that the weight of the mounted equipment is evenly spread. No leg can be off the ground when it’s at rest. This steady position enables the camera to be fixed to the top of the tripod. It is usually mounted with a screw fitting to the platform.

The tripod is usually used to mount a camera in a steady position. A wide range of types exist. Small ones are used on table-tops to simply steady the camera, not significantly elevate it. Others are used to grip onto other objects rather than stand alone (e.g. Gorillapod  External link - opens new tab/page). Up to date designs meet specific needs (harsh environments; travel; macro; and others). For general use a range of requirements can be met including: elevation from nearly ground level up to several meters high, hillside use and unique leg positions.

Tripods are most useful for longer exposures, although nearly all shots will benefit from being mounted. The aim is to hold the camera as steady as possible throughout the shot. It is primarily there to prevent movement of the camera.

In photography tripods of various types are used to mount cameras, lenses, lights, radio triggers and other photographic accessories.

Tripods & Bean Bags

Tripods of various kinds (and a non-tripod camera support)

‘Tripod heads’, are fixed on the top platform. They mount the camera and allow movement for framing the shot. A full article on tripod heads can be found here: Definition: Tripod Head – full details and types of heads.

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