These would be the key aspects I would look for in a tripod:
- Folded Size: To be able to transport it you need a tripod that can be easily carried in a handbag and on carry-on-board lugagge.
Completely deployed size: This is also an important factor, you should be able to position your camera at least as high as your eyes.
Weight: The lighter, the better for carrying. However, weight provides stability, so consider if the tripod has a ballast weight attachment (sand bag).
Ease of locking: Clip design is probably the quickest one, however, they wear out and after time they don't hold as well as new. Turn-tighten design is more forgiving to aging.
Quick-mount shoe design: This is an absolute must. It allows you to go quickly from tripod-mounted to hand-held shooting. The thinner, the better; that way it will not bulk up your camera when off the tripod.
Ball heads: These are quickly adjustable and lock in with a single knob.
Nice to haves:
- Multiple angle lock in settings: It allows for close to the groud shooting as well as various stability options as well as adapting to uneven terrain.
Invertible post: Allows to shoot "under the tripod" for close-up and table work.
"Panning" feature: I mean a head piece that allows to lock-in everything except for the horizontal axis (rotate). This is helpful if you want to do panoramas.
Indicators: Nice to have again, angle indicators on rotating heads, bubble levels both on the head and the body, compass.
Off-center posts: This allows for close-up shooting and getting around objects, etc.
ALL of these features are available in the Induro AX114 (click on the link to check it out and/or purchase) which I particularly like and it is my main tripod. Bear in mind that this tripod comes WITHOUT a head -as most professional tripods- and you will need something like the SA-01 head to complete the kit. Induro also has portable, low cost models that come complete with the head, like the Adventure AB0.
This is a LOW COST alternative, not sure how it will perform over the long run, but looks good for light use.
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