Earlier this month, we reported Zion National Park’s decisions to ban tripods from all trails for photography workshops. This caused reactions and even some confusion among photographers. But, Zion National Park has now responded to their concerns. Some trails will allow tripods for photography workshops after all.
The Manfrotto Element series of aluminum travel tripods have become quite popular since their initial release. Now they’ve updated the line with the new Element Carbon. I’ve had one for the last few weeks, so here are some of my thoughts.
I’m not typically one to go for small tripods. Well, with the exception of the Manfrotto Pixi, those things are awesome. But sometimes I need my camera a little higher up. On location, when I need it to clear ground clutter or foliage, the little Pixi just doesn’t always cut it.
I switched over to mostly using fluid head video tripods for stills photography about 8 years ago. I still have a couple of Manfrottos with ball heads. I also use ball heads with sliders. But, my go-to is a Libec video tripod with a fluid bowl head. They just make life so much easier, especially on location.
It seems I’m not the only one who prefers to work with video tripods for photography, either. In this video, photographer Hudson Henry talks about why he likes to use fluid heads for photography. The advantages he lists are some of the reasons why I also like to use them. If you’re shooting a lot of video anyway, it definitely makes a lot of sense to make the switch, even for stills.
Tripod threads in the bottom of cameras and other devices are usually pretty solid. I’ve got cameras that are decades old that still have perfectly functional ones. But, I’ve also had a couple of adapters and gadgets where they haven’t survived so well. Quality control isn’t what it once was, and the number of devices containing 1/4-20″ sockets has soared compared to only a few years ago. So, failures are far more likely these days.
Repairs like this can be a pain. If you can’t connect your camera to your tripod, slider, gimbal or other support system, you’re screwed. Sending to a service centre for repair can be costly and take a few weeks to get your gear back. Fortunately, filmmaker Tom Antos has put up a video to show us how we can repair our own using a readily available DIY tripod screw repair kit.
I am a firm believer in the power of the tripod. Tripods let you do wonderful things. You can easily composite, take long exposures, do light painting, it is just an awesome tool. When it comes to video tripods are even more essential, at least if you want to take a static shot.
But tripods don’t all match. And that would have been ok, only switching from one tripod to another is not as easy as it should be.
Most tripods have a separate head, and that head usually connects to a tripod via something called quick release plate. While there are some standards (RC2 from Manfrotto, Arca Swiss), the need to swap quick plates is not that rare. In fact, I own (and use) 4 tripods (6 if you count Gorilla pods), and almost each and every one of them has a different plate.
And I swap tripods quite a bit. I use one for stills (with an RC2 Rapid Connect compatible head), another for video (with a Manfrotto 501PL Rapid Connect Sliding Plate) and sometimes I just need to mount my DR-70 between the head and the camera.
Tripods are, quite literally, a solid foundation upon which you can create your photography, but have you ever wondered how they’re made? Assuming you’re not using a fancy carbon fiber tripod, it was probably something like this.
Tripods are one of the most inconvenient pieces of equipment to store. Sure, you can try to stand them upright or even buy tripod bags, but the reality is neither of those options are much more convenient than laying them in a pile on the floor.
If you use any gear that connects to a camera via a plate in your workflow (Tripod, Jib, Gimbal, SteadyCam, Slider, …) you will recognize this pain right away. Your Tripod may work with a Manfrotto square plate while your Jib works with an ArcaSwiss plate and your video head takes that weird Manfrotto Penta-plate. Getting the right plate for the right gear is a mess, and it means that you need to change plates on your camera every so-often.
There has been some good attempts at fixing this (The C-SLR M-Plate is one of the better ones that we have had the pleasure of testing), we have yet to see an accessory that is compatible with ALL plate systems.
Enter QuickRelease One from Edelkrone.