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I am beginning to learn photography and am buying my first hardware. I have boiled down to Nikon D3300 with Nikkor 55-200mm lens. I am also looking for a tripod because I guess one needs a stable hand to take good shots using a lens. So the question is: Are all tripods suitable for all cameras or there is a specific tripod for each brand?

In any case what tripod should I use? I live at the edge of a forest (I am not allowed to go inside without permission). But wild peacocks and deer do venture out. I wish to capture them (in my camera) but cannot carry the camera the whole day in my hands.

Can I use the same tripod with binoculars?

This question is partly answered in another place but I asking as to how to decide which tripod is more suitable for my requirement of capturing scenery and wild animals. Are there different tripods good for different requirements?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ With respect to "I guess one needs a stable hand to take good shots using a lens", one of the reasons I stuck to a compact rather than buying a DSLR was that I already had problems with blurring from hand-holding, and thought that the greater weight would make them worse. But actually the weight means more inertia, the greater size means that I can use both hands to hold the camera, and the larger lens means that in good light I can take much shorter exposures. You might want to try hand-holding and see how much it limits you before you buy a tripod. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is way too broad. Each individual question asked has already been asked and answered before. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of What should I pay attention to when choosing a tripod?. Also: Finding (and choosing) A Tripod \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 15:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Closely related: What should one consider when choosing a style of tripod head? and Choosing Tripod Based on Load Capacity? \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 15:23

3 Answers 3

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Good tripods and tripod heads are expensive. If you don't want to spend as much money on your tripod as you spent on your camera, you are going to have to live with some compromises.

  1. Get a tripod that has quick release. Thats a plate that semi-permanently mounts on your camera and tripod can be quickly attached or removed
  2. If the budget permits, consider getting a tripod with removable head with standardized mount. If you want to upgrade the tripod in the future, you can start with the head (which is most likely the weakest point of a cheap tripod).
  3. When trying the tripods in store, choose something that will not vibrate in moderate wind. Shake the legs and see.
  4. Probably the most annoying thing when working with tripods and long lenses is if you can't frame your shot properly: you release the lock, frame your picture and then when you tighten the lock, the framing drifts away, because the mechanical parts are flimsy. Test a few tripods in the store with your lens set to 200mm and try to frame something. Choose a tripod/head that does not drift.
  5. Aluminum tripods can be a pain in the winter. Carbon and wood are much easier to handle in freezing temperatures
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  • \$\begingroup\$ On point 5 - this is why some aluminium tripods have rubber grips. \$\endgroup\$
    – K. Minkov
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 22:15
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Not the tripod itself is relevant for your question but the camera mount on the tripod is. However, camera mounts are standardized and you usually can use any tripod with any camera brand. Note that many tripods have exchangeable heads so you can swap them (if tripod mount on your binoculars differs from tripod mount on camera). You can even buy a tripod and a tripod head separately.

Nikon D330 with 55-200 lens has a relatively bulky and heavy construction so make sure that the tripod you buy is suitable for that weight.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't consider D3300 + 55-200 bulky - 430 g for the body and 300-330 g for the lens - this is rather light for a DSLR kit. Even a superzoom camera might be heavier. What I would consider is first the total weight of the kit (to assess whether a given tripod can carry it safely) and second the weight of the lens if it doesn't have a tripod collar (to assess whether the tripod head can hold it in place without creeping). \$\endgroup\$
    – K. Minkov
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 11:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kamenminkov Do you really think that the d3300 and 55-200 are bulky and heavy ? Wait till you see the d5 with the af-s 800 f5.6 ! \$\endgroup\$
    – Janardan S
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 8:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Janas It saddens me that so many people seem not to know the meaning of the word "relatively". Yes, Nikon D330 with 55-200 is bulky and heavy compared to Nikon 1. And there is a lot of tripods which can easily hold up a NIkon 1 but would overturn having a D3300 on top. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zenit
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 8:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @alex.s I do know what relatively means \$\endgroup\$
    – Janardan S
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 7:17
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I have used a number of different tripod designs and brands over the years, and in my experience, Slik makes the best overall tripods on the market. But when it comes to buying one, you can't beat B&H Photo Video or compare to Amazon.

If you're shooting animals that move about quickly, you may want to consider a monopod. However, I often use my Slik tripod both as a monopod and tripod simply by keeping the legs under the camera rather than extending them into the tripod foundation.

Be sure to get one with the quick release leg locks as the rotating ones are often confusing as to which way is loosening vs. tightening.

The quick release head is also a great feature because it makes it a lot easier mounting and removing your camera.

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