Equipment Words

Tripods, monopods and bits of string

Digital Photography School have finished their series on tripods and monopods by listing some alternative products and ideas. I have three tripods, two are bulky, one of those is fairly heavy and the other is a small 6 inch high one that fits in my camera bag. The small one gets the most use as the other two are either at home or in the car when I need more stability.

He forgot one alternative, the string tripod which is assembled from a length of string and a bolt small enough to fit the tripod mount socket on a camera. It’s also called a chain tripod. Simply screw the bolt into your camera, stand on the other end of the string and hold the camera to your eye making sure the string is taut. Sources say you’ll get 2 stops extra or shoot at 1/8 sec which is quite impressive. What’s more, it’s a lot more portable than any other tripod or monopod. I really must do some testing and see just how well it works.

Further reading

  • String tripod – extend it with two strings to each foot for extra stability.
  • Close up shots of the nuts and bolts of the string tripod.

The rest of the DPS tripod series is worth a read too:

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

5 replies on “Tripods, monopods and bits of string”

Another useful tool is a clamp with a bolt on it. I have a pipe-clamp which happens to fit around most street sign posts here in the US (think a large spring-loaded vise-grip) that has a bolt on it that’s the right size to fit the hole in the camera. Something like the one at though mine has flat handles, which made it easier to put the bolt into the handle.

When I have a pole that it won’t fit (such as lampposts or trees), I use a couple ball-bungies to strap either the same clamp or one of those mini-tripods to the fixed object.

I’m still looking for the ultimate travel tripod. I’d like one that collapses small enough that it’ll fit into my luggage, but still extends tall enough that I can use it without having to develop a hunchback. And it should be sturdy enough to hold my camera and tele lens stable in windy conditions. There’s a 5-section Gitzo that’s close, and a 4-section that I wish was a 5-section (so it would be those few crucial inches shorter), but the prices… OMG!

Dave – those last two are very nice looking tripods but I wonder how stable they’d be with a heavy DSLR? I’d like to do something with a clamp though, could be really useful!

Well, there’s also the super-sturdy Gitzo which goes to 2.6m tall, but I suspect it’s priced even higher than the other two (the cheaper of which was around €500, if I remember right).

I’m pretty sure the clamp would be the better item to get first. 🙂

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