If I had to choose the essential accessory for night photography, without a doubt, I would advise you to do with a very good tripod. It is already highly recommended when working with landscapes in general. To get a good quality image at long exposures follow the article on how to choose a tripod.
That is why today I come to recommend the essential features to take into account when choosing a tripod for night photography. It will also be useful for all kinds of situations in which you need a tripod.
How to choose a tripod?
To choose a tripod you have to follow some recommendations. They are:
Stability is the most important feature on a tripod. It will withstand long outdoor exposures since the most unstable can move and even fall when there is wind. So, over any other feature (such as size or weight), you should look for a tripod with good stability.
While there are tripods that prioritize traveling compactly and lightly to great stability. In this case, you should give up these principles slightly since lightness is at the same time synonymous with less stability. It can work in other areas but not in night photography.
In the search for the stability of a tripod many things influence. One of the most important is the way to “compact” the tripod or specifically its stands. The more extensions these have, the more compact they are (and ideal for traveling), but less stable. The best thing to do is to get a tripod with 3 sections.
In addition to the three sections try to check that they are long enough to get the desired height without having to lengthen the central bar, as this also increases the instability of the tripod.
Another aspect to take into account is that they can move independently to be able to adjust to the morphology of the terrain and that they are individually fastened to the central column.
You have two types of heads for the tripod:
The three-axis (or three-way) head has three levers that allow you to adjust the angle of the camera on the three axes: horizontal, vertical and inclined. It is the most used for landscape or architectural photography since it allows you to align the camera so more accurate.
The ball head is smaller and heavier than the three-axis and allows you to adjust any angle easily, simply unlocking and blocking a single piece. This type of head is ideal for scenes with a certain movement or when we are going to make numerous frames of different scenes.
Although the two heads can be useful to you as long as they are of similar qualities. The truth is that, if yours is night photography, the most recommended is the 3 axes, since it is more accurate
The central bar
Sometimes this includes a hook to put weight on the tripod: it is not a bad option to choose one that has it.
Likewise, some tripods offer the possibility of extracting the bar or central tube to be able to place the tripod in all kinds of angles.
You have them mainly of aluminum and carbon fiber. The latter weigh less but are more expensive and there warn that they attract more rays, so beware of a storm. Everything will depend on your budget.
The high-end tripods allow you to purchase the legs and the head separately. This is always recommended since, for a single tripod, you could even have more than one head. It is always better to have a very good one of the type that is one of each but of lower quality.
Other useful tips
- Make sure that the tripod and the head that you are looking at, support the weight of your camera plus your heavier objective and a little more just in case.
- Pay attention to the maximum height of the tripod so that you can work comfortably according to your own height.
- Test before buying. It is very important that you touch, scopes, mounts, disassemble, move. And ultimately have your own impressions and familiarize yourself before buying.
- I know it may seem that all tripods are the same but it is not true, there is really a lot of difference in terms of qualities. It is better to wait and save a little than to buy a very cheap tripod that you will have to change in 2 months.
Here I leave a couple of recommendations that are safe guesses as an example of what we have discussed in this article. Both tripods are a good base from which to research personally the one that best suits your budget needs.
If you have been fond of night photography or long exposure, you know that we are talking about cold, infinite patience, sleep, emotion, and loneliness at times, other friendships, incredible locations, magical scenarios reserved only for few…
It would be a shame that this passion. The deprivation of voluntary sleep would be nothing because you bought a tripod that was not up to par, do not you think?
A good tripod is a great investment beyond the kind of photography you want to do. If you invest well, you will invest only once. If you do not, believe me, soon you will realize that you need to disburse again.
I hope, as always, that this article has been useful for you. If so, please, share it with whomever you think may be interested in it. Thank you very much and see you next time.