An Overview of the Best Tripods and Heads for Nature Photographers
Pro wildlife photographer Peter A. Dettling sets up his tripod in front of Spirit Island, Jasper National Park before sunrise - a portable lightweight tripod was essential in this situation
Choosing a tripod and tripod head is a bit like choosing a spouse - you need to take your time, do your research and if possible try them out before you commit to one. If you are an avid nature photographer sooner or later you will want to own a tripod. I believe that any tripod is better then no tripod because even a cheap tripod will permit you to shoot certain subjects that are impossible without one. However, I also recommend you buy the best tripod you can afford. If you buy a good one it could last you 20 years or more and will be more enjoyable to use. How much you need to spend depends on how much gear you own, how heavy a lens you need to support, how much weight you are willing to carry.
A tripod can improve the quality of your pictures and allow you to photograph subjects closeup or under low light conditions which are not possible by hand holding your camera. Tripods are also routinely used to shoot video which many of the newer Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras are capable of. Below I describe various tripod features, monopods, and tripod heads that will help you choose the best tripod for your needs and budget.