Supporting the camera can help to reduce camera movement and ensure sharp photos. This applies equally to traditional film cameras and digital cameras.
Camera tripods are almost mandatory for anyone who wants to take the best pictures possible. They are useful for many different situations by helping to minimize camera movement which can cause an image to blur.
Blurring is especially noticeable in photographs taken with slow shutter speeds (eg. under low-light conditions) and becomes more apparent when photographs are enlarged.
Telephoto lenses, because they are essentially enlarging the image before it's recorded by the camera, will also accentuate any camera movement. Even slight motion of the camera, when using either a slow shutter speed or a telephoto lens, can cause unacceptably blurred (fuzzy) photographs.
A tripod provides the best support, but cameras can also be stabilised with objects such as door frames or tree trunks.
Monopods are suitable for outdoor use when tripods are either too heavy or too cumbersome to set up. They provide some support and are much better than no support at all.
Tripods have different types of heads.
- Ball head: The head is build on a type of ball joint that allows for swift shifting of the position of the camera. These are ideal for photographing people and animals where fast movement is required.
- Pan/Tilt: This model is usually found on the more basic systems, with just an up-swing and a down-swing and left/right. Good for general all round use but can be tedious and limiting for more complex situations.
- Three Way: The three way head is more precise than the ball head and the pan/tilt. It is more functional in the fact that it allows for three separate movements independently. They are considerably slower to get the camera in the position you want it but they do allow for finer, more accurate framing. These are great for landscapes, still life, and product photography, where a patiently set up and well composed shot are the key considerations.
When buying a tripod consider how tall your are.
Try it in a shop first - with your camera - if you have to bend to use it - well - that's a pain - literally.
Make sure the whole setup is sturdy and wont wobble in the wind (your landscape photo's) - especially for long exposures and night work.
Read this: http://www.bythom.com/support.htm
before you buy a tripod.