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Quick Tip: Try a Tripod Alternative

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Read Time: 3 min

Continuing our look at interesting items to take on a shoot, this week we focus upon alternatives to the tripod. Tripods are necessary for many types of photography, but often are too bulky to take with us everywhere. In this article we took at a few uncommon alternatives to them.

What Does a Tripod Do?

If you do not know what a tripod does, you're might be in the wrong trade (or a complete beginner, in which case our Basix series is a great place to start). A tripod simply holds your camera completely still, this allows for longer exposure times without any camera shake

Tripods come in many shapes and sizes but can be bulky, heavy and expensive. Often as photographers we end up without our tripod in the times we need it most. In this article we look at smaller, cheap and lightweight alternatives which are easy to take everywhere with us.

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Image by unclefuz

The Gorillapod

You might have heard of the Gorillapod but never had the chance to use one. The Joby Gorillapod comes in many different sizes, for compact cameras, SLRs, and SLRs with telephoto lenses.

The main selling point about the Gorillapod is that it can be wrapped around almost any object - lampposts, table edges, you name it. You can get some really amazing angles which a standard tripod might not be able to offer. Joby also have released a magnetic Gorillapod which you attach to metal objects when out on a shoot.

Pricing starts at $24 for the compact camera (and lightweight SLR's) and rises to around $60 for the stronger SLR pods able to hold heavy telephoto lenses. You can find unofficial imitations cheaper, but these might not have the same strength or quality as the official Joby pods. Check out the official website for more details.

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The Pod

The pod is a very simple product. It acts as a glorified bean bag, supporting your camera on top of the soft cushion. It is a lot better than placing your precious camera on top of a hard rock wall when out and about.

The pod has a camera mount, which is the unique selling point. The green pod (SLR version) has the mount at the back so the lens is supported as well as the camera.

Disadvantages of the product include that it doesn't have a firm grip on the surface, it can easily slip and ruin your photos, so is only really suitable on a flat base. It comes in fairly budget friendly at $12 for the compact camera and $20 for the SLR version. More details are available on the official website.

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The Monsterpod

The Monsterpod is amazing, because the designers claim it can stick to over 1,000 surfaces. This means you can stick it on almost anything, without fear of it falling off. The claim is that it can hold a camera for at least a few minutes without slipping - This is perfect for most long exposure photography!

The main disadvantage is that it is only for compact cameras - a shame as almost all serious photographers use larger SLR's. The price of the monsterpod is also a monster at $30, but if you want a small, lightweight and extremely stylish pod, this is the product for you.

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Other Products and Ideas

Here is a list of a few other ideas that might make your life easier:

  • Simply buy a plain bean bag - much cheaper and perfect for landscape photography.
  • Buy a cloth to stop scratching when you rest your camera on a surface.
  • A monopod is like a tripod, but with just one leg.

Or alternatively, you could always use your friends head! (courtesy of redsun81)

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Thanks for Reading

Thanks for taking the time to read this Quick Tip. If you have any other suggestions, ideas, or recommended products to use as tripod replacements, be sure to let us know in the comments!

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