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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Debra M. Watkins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/26/2004
 

Simple Rules for Using A Tripod


I have a Nikon D70 and I just purchased a Promaster 6400 tripod. When I put my camera on the tripod with a 70-300mm lens, I am still having problems with camera shake and also getting the camera not to fall forwards due to the weight of the lens. Can anyone help with some basic rules for using tripods ... such as camera stabilization, when to use it, how to set it up, do I have an adequate tripod for my camera equipment, etc.? Any help would be appreciated, as I am a total beginner and trying to soak up anything I can to get better photos. Thanks so much for your help. You guys are great!

11/18/2004 7:22:12 AM

 
Kip T. Berger
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/20/2002
  I'm not aware of that camera model, but you can buy sand bags to hang from the legs to provide added stability.
Also, are you attaching the camera by the base of the camera or by the lens adapter for the tripod? Most fast lenses tend to be bigger and heavier and come with an adapter to use to mount to the tripod with, helping to balance the weight of the camera and lens on the tripod. This helps to relieve stress on your camera's lens mount also.
In addition, try using your remote or a cable release to fire your camera. If your camera offers mirror lockup, then use it to prevent camera shake when the mirror flips up. It will allow the mirror to be flipped up and locked prior to the actual exposure.

11/18/2004 8:15:11 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  A 70-300 shouldn't be heavy enough to be a problem for a tripod. Are you sure you have everything tight?

11/18/2004 4:31:48 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  The above advice is great for eliminating camera-shake. For your "tipping over" problem, just make certain that you position your tripod so that you are standing in a gap between two legs when you shoot. This will place the third leg directly under the lens and make the support system less "top-heavy".
If it still seems a bit unstable, you can shorten the back two legs just a tad, which will off-set the center of gravity and give you more stability.

11/19/2004 3:30:20 PM

 
Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  A travel tripod or a light tripod will not be able to hold an SLR with a zoom on it. The head is not sturdy enough to do it and no mater how much you try it just won't hold still.This is from personal experiance, I couldn't keep the head from drooping. You need to invest in a strudy tripod that will hold your camera. Then use your cable release or the timer.

11/23/2004 4:47:21 AM

 
Paul Illes

member since: 10/23/2003
  You have a good tripod but most beginners don't realize how tight you have to turn the screws to keep the camera from tipping. You didn't say what lens so I don't know how top heavy it is, but the normal lens shouldn't need anything more than tightening ALL the screws. If you need to steady the tripod itself, you can use things like an empty milk jug filled with water and hanging from the center. You can even substitute a Ziploc bag full of water. That way you don't have to lug around a sand bag; just fill it on site or nearby.

11/23/2004 10:47:25 AM

 
Ray Dunn

member since: 8/12/2004
  Debra, It sounds like you may be having a little trouble with the mechanics of the tripod. Make sure you run through all of the tesion settings. In that particular model, I beleive that boom actually is the tension control for the camera platform. In any case, I recommend purchasing a remote controller. Set your shot, then fire the shutter.

11/24/2004 6:44:39 AM

 
Debra M. Watkins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/26/2004
  Hey Guys!
Thanks for your ideas. I do believe my problem lies in tightening the controls enough. They already seem pretty tight, but maybe I just need to tighten them a little more. Do the controls have a "breaking in" period, where they will get easier to tighten and untighten? I was just wondering because they are not easy to work with right now (or maybe I am just a weakling). Anyway, thanks again. I will be shooting quite a bit over the holiday weekend and will try your ideas. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

11/24/2004 7:23:09 AM

 
Victor J. 

member since: 7/29/2003
  Debra,Combine what Kip,Gregory and Bob have said and you should be ok. Oh yes you might want to spray a DAB of Silicone on the thread areas of what screw tighting material you have on that tripod.Be careful not to get that spray on anything else though.And wash your hands afterward to remove any residue from the spray, that you might pass on to your camera. Vic Pizzolato

11/28/2004 11:02:35 AM

 
Paul Illes

member since: 10/23/2003
  If, because you are a normal female, you are a little more delicate in the hands, get a small pair of utility pliers and put them in your accessory bag. They are only about two or three dollars or even less in one of those bins that hardware and drug stores display with many miscellaneous cheapy tools for a dollar or so. I know Long's and Walgreen's have them occasionally, just to get rid of them, but the pliers are perfectly adequate for you.
Paul

11/28/2004 11:50:16 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Ahh, maybe that's it. She's a normal female.

11/28/2004 6:38:36 PM

 
Debra M. Watkins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/26/2004
  You Guys are crazy! Thanks for the thought though Paul, but unfortunately one of the few things I inherited from my Dad are his big, muscular hands, so I'm pretty strong, "for a girl" that is. LOL. Things did seem to go better with the tripod this weekend, thanks to everyone's input, so maybe there was just a "breaking in" period. Hope you all had a nice holiday and thanks again for your ideas.
Debbie

11/28/2004 6:50:33 PM

 

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