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Tripods, Monopods, and Heads

by Senior Social Media Specialist Senior Social Media Specialist on ‎06-27-2014 02:05 PM - edited on ‎08-23-2020 04:39 PM by (8,676 Views)

Blurry images are rarely the fault of the camera but are instead caused by what is called camera-shake. Camera-shake is merely the small movements of the camera during image exposure. With fast shutter speeds, camera-shake rarely affects the sharpness of the image, but with slower shutter speeds, your photos will turn out blurry.


In order to prevent this, you will need to mount your camera to a Tripod or Monopod. A Tripod is much more stable than a Monopod, while a Monopod is easier to set up and move around. The two main parts, to all tripods and monopods, are the legs and the head.





As the name implies, a tripod has three legs. Each leg is adjustable to a specified maximum height, and by adjusting each leg to different heights, you can compensate for uneven terrain. Tripods come in a number of different sizes, and they are made with different materials. Depending on your needs, you will need to choose the appropriate size and what material it is made out of.


  • Large Tripods - They are most often used in studio shooting where they don’t need to be moved often or far. They are also used in landscape photography where the equipment is often large and heavy.
  • Medium Tripods - These are the most commonly used tripods. They are good for entry-level DSLRs, Compact System Cameras, and Point-and-Shoot cameras.
  • Portable Tripods - A portable tripod is a compact unit that is small, light, and easy to carry around. These don’t deal well with large heavy cameras but can handle lighter DSLRs if they are a quality unit. 
  • Desktop Tripods - These are very small tripods that merely sit on a flat surface and would really only work with point-and-shoot cameras.
  • Carbon Fiber - Tripods made out of Carbon Fiber are both light and durable. Because of this, they are the most expensive type of tripod.
  • Steel - These are very durable but are much heavier than other types of tripods. Large steel tripods are most often used in photo studios.
  • Aluminum - An aluminum tripod is lighter option than steel, and although less durable than carbon fiber and steel, they are still a decent option.






The name says it all. These are basically one leg (instead of three) that has the ability to expand to a specific height. A monopod is both portable and quick to set up. They are most often used in sports photography where portability and adjusting on the move is a must. Theses are made with the same types of materials used to make a tripod.



Tripod/Monopod Heads


The four basic types of tripod/monopod heads are ball, 3-way, pistol grip, and fluid head. The head attaches to the top of a tripod/monopod, has a threaded top that allows the camera to be attached, and has varying types of adjustments that allow for proper composition.


  • Ball Head-This type of head is basically a ball inside of an adjustable enclosure that allows for adjustments.


Ball Head.jpg


  • 3-way Head- A 3-way head has three different handles to allow for very precise adjustments.


3 Way Head.jpg 


  • Pistol Grip Head-They are basically a ball head that has a pistol grip to allow for adjustments rather than a lever.


Pistol Grip.jpg 


  • Fluid Head-These are primarily used for videography. They are a 3-way head that has fluid added to the panning adjustment allowing a videographer to smoothly follow their subject as it moves.


Fluid Head.jpg