11 2015 Aug

Components of a Camera Tripod

Today we’ll talk about the basic components of a camera tripod. If you decided, based upon my last article, that you won’t be using a tripod very often, you will be looking for a tripod in the low cost range. These typically include all of the components – legs, head, and feet (rubber or plastic), in one kit. A separate leg that runs through the middle of the tripod (Centerpost) may also be included to raise the tripod head above the tripod.

A more expensive camera tripod kit will typically include only the legs and a set of removable feet, allowing the user to freely choose an appropriate head and alternate feet from an assortment separate kits. This will allow you to choose the type of head and feet that are best for your type of photography.

Tripod Feet

Beginning with the feet, your easiest decision, the rubber feet that typically come with a camera tripod will work just fine for indoor or most outdoor photography. If you plan to shoot in an icy or rainy environment, you may need to purchase metal spikes to replace your rubber feet. These just screw onto the bottom of the legs, which we will continue with next time. Until then, happy shuttering!

3 2015 Aug

Camera Mounts for Action Videos.

You’ve probably seen action videos shot from people cruising on their skate boards or riding a dirt bike through rugged terrain. These shots were taken with a sports camera mounted to the front of a skateboard, mounted to a head strap, or to handle bars on, for example, a dirt bike.

Camera mounts for action videos are purchased in kits which include a stable camera mount and enough parts to attach the mount itself to various types of moving platforms. The right mounting kit will allow the user to securely mount the camera in a way that presents the best direction and angle for the video to be presented.

Camera mounting kits are available from many camera sites, and in various configurations. The site’s description for the kit will generally give the potential buyer several examples of how the kit is intended to be used for mounting the camera. In general, you will want to choose a kit that will (first) securely mount your camera for the activity you are doing and (second) give you the point of view that you desire. Mounts are also available for helmets. Safety first!

We’ll look at some examples in my next article. Until then, happy shuttering!

3 2015 Aug

Selecting the Perfect Camera Lens.

TelephotoChoosing the right camera lens to buy for your DSLR or interchangeable lens camera can be a confusing and difficult task. If the only lens you currently have is the one that you received with your camera kit, then you will probably be looking for a telephoto zoom lens or a fast normal prime lens. To shop for a lens, you need to understand the information recorded on the barrel of the lens, most importantly the focal length, maximum aperture, image stabilization, lens mount, and format type.

Focal Length

Focal length is expressed in millimeters (mm). A higher number means that an object in your frame can be made to appear much closer (more zoom), while a lower number means that the lens can be used for wider angle shots, appearing farther away.

A range of two numbers (xx-xx mm), means that it is a lens capable of zooming and being used at any point within that range. If the focal length is marked as a single number (50 mm for example), the lens will provide a fixed width of view. So to increase or decrease the width of view you will need to physically move the camera away from or toward the object, respectfully.

In the next post on this topic, I’ll discuss maximum aperture. Until then, happy shuttering.

3 2015 Aug

Selecting a Great Digital Camera.

Digital Cameras come in a huge variety of features and prices. If this is your first digital camera purchase, a mid-range purchase will probably serve you better than to jump right into a high price one. But first think about how you will be using your camera. There are many articles to help you explore this topic, on the web and in photography related magazines.

  • How do you plan to use the camera? (portraits, landscapes, product layouts, sports)
  • Where will you be mostly using your camera? (indoors, low light, outdoors, bright light)
  • What features most interest you? (zoom, wide angle, large LCD display)
  • How much weight are you willing to carry around?

PwerShotThe first choice that comes to mind is do you want a “point and shoot” digital camera or a DSLR (digital, single, lens, reflex) camera. The former will generally be lighter and quicker from camera box to camera shot. If, however, you are more interested in learning the basics of photography and willing to carry a little more weight, a DSLR may be a better choice.

A true DSLR camera will come with a detachable lens, allowing you to choose from alternatives that are compatible with that camera. Thus, it may be possible to zoom in on your subject or take in a panoramic view with a wide angle lens.

Another term that comes up when shopping for digital cameras is “megapixels”. I will delve into that in the next segment. Until then, happy shuttering!

3 2015 Aug

Selecting a Camera Bag.

Camera BagA good camera bag is an important accessory for almost any photographer, whether you are a professional or merely take pictures of places or views that you are fond of during vacation trips. It is important to pick a high quality bag that has room for your camera(s), spare batteries or battery pack, a flash (if you use one), and extra lenses (if you plan to use them for special effects).

Most camera bags are designed with interior compartments specifically for each of these items. And camera bags are designed to carry one or more cameras, as well.

Your camera(s) and camera accessories will usually constitute a significant personal investment. So, first and foremost, you should look for a camera bag that is well constructed and securely fastened together. It should also include a means to SECURELY attach the case to your body or be designed with a comfortable and securely attached shoulder strap. I prefer the latter.

I remember my first experience with an expensive camera. I was young and in the U.S. Navy Reserve on a 2-week annual training cruise to the Mediterranean. I purchased a Pentax camera and inexpensive case, which attached to my belt, at the Company Store and strolled the streets of Naples taking pictures. On my return to the tender, the water taxi bumped and jostled up and down with the waves. When I jumped to the gangway, I watched my Pentax sink to the floor of the Mediterranean! Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

3 2015 Aug

Selecting a Camera Tripod.

Today, I’d like to discuss how to select your first camera tripod. But before we start comparison shopping, let’s take a look at how you plan to use the tripod you want to buy.

For example, you might ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I primarily be using my tripod for indoor picture layouts?
  • Will I be using my tripod for live action (sports) photography?
  • Will I be using the tripod to photograph still nature shots?
  • Will I want to make use of lighting effects and shadows?
  • How often do I expect to use my camera tripod?

These are all very good questions to ask BEFORE you go shopping for a tripod. I’ll discuss aspects of these questions as we discover the answers to them together, while discussing the three components of any camera tripod in later installments of this topic. But first, let’s address the last question.

How often do I expect to use my camera tripod?

Camera tripods come in a wide range of prices from a few dollars to well over $1000. If you typically shop for high quality merchandise, you may be tempted to initially buy a higher end tripod, only to find that you don’t use it very often, and have wasted your money. If there is any chance that this may be the case for you, it may be wise to select an inexpensive tripod to begun with.

I will discuss the components of a camera tripod in the next segment.


28 2015 Jul

Camera bags for hiking.

Coming soon, more about camera bags for hiking!

28 2015 Jul

Choosing the right camera lenses.

Coming soon, more information on choosing the right camera lenses!

28 2015 Jul

Selecting a high quality digital camera.

Coming soon, more information on selecting a high quality digital camera!

28 2015 Jul

High Quality Tripods

Coming soon, more information about high quality tripods!