OK, every enthusiast photographer has probably already considered or actually bought a tripod. Or several... I surely did, but I think I did it wrong every time until last month.
First of all, there is a large offering. Hundreds if not thousands of models, with so many features that don't make much sense to beginners. The first two I bought were rather cheap and bulky ones. But quite sturdy, which is an important criteria.
So what are the criteria to consider? If you are already well versed into tripods, you already have your ideas, but if you aren't, let me give a few hints (before you create your own priority list):
- Portable! hell yes... you don't want to carry around a large piece of stuff. And when I say portable, I mean light and compact. It has to fit into a shoulder bag or a carry-on piece of luggage.
- Sturdy. Otherwise, why would you even want a tripod? But as natural as it may sound, it is not so common, especially when you factor in the first critieria...
- Tall enough. Here, you set you own acceptable limit...
- With a good head. because you will probably have to adjust the camera all the time to level it and that's were the head pays a big part.
And I have a great piece of news for you: there is at least one trip that excels in all the categories above! The Velbon Ultrek (UT-53Q, for the one I got). If you are fine with the unusual locking system, this tripod is marvelous assistant much smaller, sturdier and taller than most of the competition in this weight category.
Unfortunately the brand is not so well distributed outside of Japan, so you may have some problems to find it, but it's surely worth the search!
Below is a quick video of this very nice piece of hardware.