When do you use a tripod?

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Loose Gravel

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For years, I've been using large format -- 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10. It is standard operation to setting up the tripod. I like tripod work for several reasons: it takes the load off my back and it makes for a nice, relaxed pace, it gives me time for precise composition. Now I'm using some medium format cameras, too. Mamiya 7 and Pentax 67. I like them for their size and speed. Typically, I don't put them on a tripod, unless the exposure is long or I'm using the self-timer. I figure that if I'm going to take the trouble to set up a tripod, I might as well use LF.

What are your habits and thoughts on this? Do you always use a tripod, no matter what? Do you find that your pictures are always sharper with a tripod? If you make a careful exposure at a quick shutter speed do you go without the tripod?

Thanks
 

photomc

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Well, I prefer to use a tripod all of the time - 35mm, MF or LF. Now with the 35mm that does not always happen (bean bag works as a good backup). To find out what difference it makes try to take the same shot - 1 with tripod and 1 without. Now enlarge the same sections of the photograph and well you get the idea. Not saying you can't take a sharp image without a tripod, but it sure does make a difference for me.
 

fingel

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If I am going to use a tripod, I will usually use large format. For medium format I will use a tripod most of the time, but not always, and for 35mm I almost never use a tripod. I feel the whole point of using 35mm is for it's speed of use. A tripod kind of defeats that advantage so I may as well use a bigger camera.
 

Grady O

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I use a tri-pod when ever there is time/space to set up. I dont lik using it with portraits (out door), but for most of my "fine art" I try to usea tri-pod (btw, I'm using a Broncia 6x6). I'm actually going to try shooting some more 4x5 with out a tri-pod. Nothing seriuos of course, but just to see how it looks.
 

Ole

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With MF, practically never. With LF, practically always. I haven't tried any of my MF folders on tripod yet, and I always use a tripod for the monorail LF.

But my Bronica ETRS sometimes goes on the tripod, and my folding LF's (9x12cm and 5x7") are sometimes used hand held.
 

cjarvis

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My MF camera is a Pentax 6x7, which I rarely use with a tripod. I enjoy the Hell out of shooting wide-open hand-held...the biggest advantage of an f/2.4 lens.
 

Annemarieke

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I never go anywhere without my tripod, and always use it, both with 35 mm and MF. Since I only shoot landscapes and details in nature, the extra time needed for using a tripod does not matter. I have found that it slows me down, so I pay better attention to making my images.
 

Donald Miller

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I use a tripod for every shot. If I were doing street photography with med format then I would not even think of going near one of the darned things.
 

BobF

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It kind of depends on what you are shooting doesn't it?

Even with 35mm if I am shooting something static I prefer to use a tripod or a bean bag etc.. If I don't then I will usually shoot at a much higher speed and also take a couple extra shots just in case. It sometimes works but I have often been sorry I didn't take the time to set up the tripod.

If shooting a bike race or kids party I don't usually use a tripod but I am also not expecting big enlargements. I have gotten some great results shooting mountain bike jumps or football games with a 300mm on a monopod, but some movement blurring is to be expected.

When shooting with strobes I often don't as the speed of the strobe will take care of any camera shake and it gives me a little more freedom with 35mm or medium format.

Of course with 4x5 I always use a tripod as I'm not tough enough to do it hand held even if I wanted to.
 

blansky

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I use a tripod with 4x5 and 6x6 but never with 35mm.

I just bought a Mamiya 7 II and would like to use it mainly hand held. We'll see.

With portraits on 6x6 and 35mm it is almost always better with a tripod because at the moment of exposure the mirror goes up and you don't see the expression, blinking etc. However when shooting lifestyle kid stuff a tripod might get in the way.

Michael
 

Leon

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all the time for MF, sometimes for 35mm
 

Thilo Schmid

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Of course, I use a tripod for LF, but rarely with my Mamiya 7. If I would use the Mamiya for shots I usually take LF, I would for sure use it on a tripod as well. However, I usually use the Mamiya when LF is not feasible. In these cases, extreme sharpness is usually not required. But I'm rarely dissatisfied with the sharpness of a hand-held Mamiya 7!

You may perhaps consider a monopod for your Mamiya.
 

jrong

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For 35mm and shooting landscapes, I try to use a tripod 99% of the time. For street scenes, almost never. For MF, I find I have to use a tripod all the time to preserve maximum DOF.

Maybe this has also got to do with me using Velvia 50 a lot..... :D
 

pierre

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I try to use mine whenever it's practical to do so. The 35mm format needs all the help it can get if you want sharp photos.
 

gr82bart

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When I shoot landscapes, I use it all the time. I have a Manfrotto. The total weight of the tripod, accessories and Hassey with a 40mm lens is a lot! I use the remote to trigger as well once I've got everything in focus.

I sometimes do the same thing in studio.

Art.
 

dr bob

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Years ago, when I used 35mm exclusively, we attended a group (non-photographers with children) who hosted slide shows (mostly of their children) a couple of times a year. Folks always ask me how I produced such “good” images – equipment / film / lens, et c. The only difference was that I usually used a tripod – really!

Now of course I use a tripod in every situation possible. There is one great trick for street photography with MF, or in locations prohibiting their use. I keep a short piece of braided twine tied to a ¼-20 eye-bolt, which fits the standard socket, in my pocket. When the situation arises, I attach the cord, step on the bitter end, and stretch it taught. Used with my C330f and the neck strap, I have produced clear images at shutter speeds as slow as ¼ sec. It is quite a steady system and perfect for 35mm.
 

brimc76

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I always use a tripod for large format and medium format, and I try to use it most of the time for 35mm. Sometimes I find a monopod better for 35mm.
 

DrPhil

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With my large format I always use a tripod. For 35mm I often brace the camera against something. However, my 35mm images are mostly just snapshots. If I really want a good image (i.e. make a print) I go back with a LF camera and tripod. However, this might be because I can't enlarge 35mm. But I can enlarge 8x10.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Whenever it's practical, I try to use a tripod, but I also sympathize with the thought that "if I am going to use a tripod, I might as well shoot large format," and often do shoot large format when it's practical.

At the same time, there are certain situations where it's more important to be quick and flexible, and it makes sense to develop good handheld technique and use it.
 

SteveGangi

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I use one whenever I can, no matter what I'm shooting. That does not include "shotgunning" and candids of course. I noticed that for me it helps to keep things level, and makes for sharper pictures.
 
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