* Prices may differ from that shown
As a professional photographer I have previously shared with you my opinions on many cameras so I thought I would now share with you my opinions of some of the many accessories involved in photography too, starting with the Sony VCT-R640 tripod.
Although this tripod is nowhere near top of the range it does pretty much everything you would expect of it and at a great price. Sony products are always of high quality and this tripod is no different. It can be used for still imaging cameras or video cameras as long as they do not exceed 3Kg in weight which unless you are using top end professional cameras with huge lenses they will not.
It is fully tilt and pan operable which means it will tilt 90 degrees downwards, 65 degrees upwards and will pan a full 365 degrees, thus allowing you to capture images from all angles without dismounting and re-setting the camera. The tripod is virtually silent when tilting and panning which is excellent if being used with video cameras because you do not want the sound of some squeaky tripod in the background of what you are filming.
The Sony VCT-R640 tripod comes with a quick release mounting shoe which means the camera can be removed and replaced on the tripod very quickly without it having to be unscrewed each time, simply screw the camera to the fitting shoe then attach the shoe to the tripod with one click and remove when needed and replace with simple one click motions.
At its lowest height this tripod stands around 21 inches stretching to a massive 57 inches when all extensions are in use. The extensions on this tripod include three stage leg adjustment and also a central elevator to reach that bit further. It will stand eye height to a person around 5 foot 4 or 5 anyone taller will have to stoop a few inches if shooting at eye level.
Using the tripod is simple, just spread the legs and adjust to required then snap over the leg clamps to hold that height securely before shooting. Simply use the pan handle to smoothly search for the perfect shooting angle and the tilt mechanism to perfect your shot.
Why use a tripod?
I am sure most people know the reasons for using tripods but I will explain briefly for those who may not. The use of a tripod in still photography is to acquire that perfect blur free photo, avoiding any hand shake that may occur. Even the latest cameras with anti-blur mechanisms cannot completely eradicate the problem so for those perfect portrait shots or especially tricky outdoor condition shots a tripod is a must for anyone serious about their photography.
For video capture a tripod is somewhat self explanatory, who wants to hold the weight of a video camera for perhaps half an hour to film a wedding or longer to film a child's school play? No one exactly so stick it on the tripod get your preferred angle and start filming and if you need to adjust during filming then do so with the pan and tilt options.
Choosing a tripod.
In choosing a tripod you would firstly look decide if you needed a portable lightweight tripod like this one or a studio based heavier tripod. For me there is no need for big bulky tripods, I have used many different types and find that a good sturdy portable one is all that's ever needed. The next thing you need to decide is how low or high you wish its minimum and maximum height range to stretch. Most tripod usage tends to be for portrait work so between 20 and 60 inches is usually fine. The most important thing in finding a good tripod especially if you are looking for a portable one is sturdiness because after all if its not sturdy at both low and high heights then it defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. this Sony tripod although very lightweight and portable is also very sturdy even when all extensions are out and it is at its full height it holds firm and steady to allow Crystal clear blur free shooting.
In my opinion this tripod is one of the best you can get for the money, priced at between 22 and 35 pounds depending on where you purchase it; it is fairly close to the bottom end of the price range but more mid to high range in quality. You can purchase tripods for as little as £10 these days but they are very limited and when you consider that some tripods will set you back as much as £300 it's no wonder a tripod for a tenner is limited. The Sony VCT-R640 however will compete with much higher priced tripods very well. It has all the functions and stability and matches in size exactly with a Panasonic tripod I have used which cost four times what this little Sony one cost and if pushed to choose one I would probably come out on the side of this Sony one.
I purchased this one from Amazon a few months back for my partner to use as she is just getting into photography herself and it has been a great investment at only £28. I find myself reaching for it as often as I reach for my own much more expensive tripod when I am doing portrait photography on the move as it is lighter and easier to set up. All in al I would highly recommend this tripod to anyone serious about their photography but if you are into massive telescopic or panoramic lenses then you may need one which can handle more weight.
One tip I will give you on the care of this item is to say that if you are using it near the seaside or perhaps its a bit windy and dusty where you are shooting then be sure to wipe the tripod clean using a mild detergent and then dry thoroughly because you do not want the tilt and pan mechanism to become dry due to dust or sand gathering in it because then it will become sticky to manoeuvre and noisy which you want to avoid.