Ok, so I borrowed the theme of this blog post from Chase Jarvis and his Best Camera idea, but the guy is right on about this. The best thing is always the one that’s with you, whether it’s a camera, a beer, companion of the opposite gender, a bicycle or a pizza. Or a tripod.
Sure, we’d all love to own the Gitzo GT1542 Traveler, which provides rock solid support, even though it weighs as much as a feather and folds up so small that it fits inside a matchbox, or the Manfrotto 161 MK2 Super Pro Tripod, which extends to 17-feet and supports a camera lens combination of 239 lbs.
However it means nothing to having the world’s most bitchin tripod if you don’t have it with you all the time. You can’t shoot steady, sharp landscape photos or nighttime street shots if your tripod is in the car or at home because it’s too heavy, too big or too nice to drag into the dirt.
The reason that Chase’s Best Camera idea is so successful is that we all have our camera-equipped smartphone with us at all times. In this day and age, we’re never without a camera when creative moments strike. Can you say that about your tripod? Probably not. I know you don’t keep one in your pocket but, you can at least get yourself a small, compact set of legs for those moments when you don’t have your bigger tripod with you.
Small = Handy and Handy is Good.
For years, I’ve always had a couple of Bogen 3001’s, (now the Manfrotto 190X Pro) but for running around outside in the mountains or heading off on the bike with minimal camera gear, I take small, lightweight units that I can strap onto the side of a small backpack. They’re not the sturdiest support, but I have them, and that’s what counts.
So, whether you get yourself a Gitzo Mountaineer, the super light, ultra compact Tamrac ZipShot, or a Gorillapod, anything will be better than nothing when it comes to going light and fast, (and here’s the kicker) as long as you have it with you at all times. Even if you already have a good tripod, you should seriously consider getting yourself a second lightweight model. I guarantee, it will pay off.