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Keeping it steady

These days tripods are made from one of two materials - Aluminium or Carbon Fibre, and most professional photographers would choose the latter if asked to do so. However, good carbon fibre tripods are extremely expensive and although they are a little lighter to carry, not significantly so. A cable release is required to fire the shutter and there are numerous products to chose from. Faced with such dilemmas, which should you choose?

Tripod
To ensure stability and thereby reduce the likelihood of camera shake I normally use a tripod, but having started in photography a long time ago, I've never moved over to a carbon fibre model. In my case, I've found size and flexibility to be the deciding factors. You've heard the old saying "Horses for Courses" so, following that principle, I've settled on two tripods each serving a different purpose.

For close-up and Macro photography I need a solid, stable platform on which to mount the camera and lens combination in use. However, the tripod and head combination need to provide enough flexibility to move them into any position without jeopardising stability, which is easier said than done. For landscape photography I need the same solid, stable platform, but the tripod and head combination need to provide just enough flexibility to level the camera at the right height and turn it through 90 degrees when necessary - nothing more.

With the above requirements in mind I use the most appropriate of the following tripods:
  • Benbo No: 1 - Excellent for shooting Close-up and Macro subjects as it can be moved into almost any position by releasing and retightening one bolt.
  • Leitz Tiltall Professional - Which, as far as I'm aware, is no longer in production. It is much lighter to carry than the Benbo but nowhere near as flexible.
Both tripods are fitted with Novoflex QR heads.

Cable Release
Here the choice is more limited. Whereas once upon a time you could choose a cable release from any manufacturer because it was simply a flexible wire with a button on one end and a probe on the other, held in shape by an outer sleeve that terminated in a standard thread, nowadays you must choose a model that is specifically designed for your camera. In my case, although Nikon manufactures a number of cables to suit different purposes, I chose the Nikon MC-36 Remote Cord which also includes an interval timer to enable programmed automatic time-lapse photography.