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Camera Tripod
PhotographyPicking a tripod is like selecting a camera. You must decide what type of photography you are planning to pursue. A studio photographer's needs are different from a natural photographer. An amateur photographer may only need an inexpensive utility tripod whereas a professional may spend a great deal of money on numerous tripods to match his or her needs.
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How much do I want to spend?
What do I want to do with the tripod?
How much weight will it need to support?
Will it be used for video or still photography?
Is weight important to you?
Do I want a basic tripod or one with additional features such as a quick release?*
How high do I want the tripod to go?
Am I planning to spread the legs for ground-level shooting?
* Good idea is to buy an extra quick release.
Buyer Guides: Tripods 
Basic Tripods-$75. or less
Construction: Aluminum Legs with plastic knobs, non-removable heads.
Extension: 55-65 inches
Folds: 22-26 Inches
Camera Support: 5 Lbs
Suitable for most Amateurs
Travelers Tripods-$50-$125.
Construction: Aluminum, Alloys and Plastic Parts.
Weight: 2 lbs
Extension: 60+ Inches
Suitable for Amateurs and Professionals
Heavy Duty Tripods-$100-$500.
Construction: Precision machined spun aluminum legs, metal parts which are sold separately to suit the needs of the photographer. Legs can be adjusted to meet terrain and photographic needs.
Weight: 4-12 lbs.
Extension: 60 to 37 inches.
Camera Support: 11-26 lbs.
Suitable for all professionals and serious amateurs.
Tips on Construction Materials
You generally have a choice of aluminum, spun aluminum and carbon fiber tripod legs while the knobs and attachments can be made of metal or plastic. For stability and durability I recommend the newer carbon fiber tripods.
Tips on Storage
Store your tripod in it's carry bag away from water, sand and dirt.