How to Choose a Tripod

Choosing the right tripod for your setup can be a difficult decision. How do you know which one you need to improve you workflow? Let's find out.

Why Do you need a Tripod?

 

Many of you might be wondering why you need a tripod with your slider system. While there are many reasons why filmmakers and photographers use a tripod, one of the biggest reasons why tripods are used is to bring a slider up off the ground. In other words, when you need a little more height to get that sweet shot, you will need a tripod for that extra lift. A great feature about tripods is that they are fully adjustable in height and many of them have a built in ball heads that allow you to adjust the leveling as well. But there are so many brands and models, which one is right for you? Before we dive into the different types of sliders, we want to mention that Manfrotto makes great gear and we are a huge fan of their products. They do not pay us to promote their gear. We just love it. Our team here at Rhino Camera Gear believe that “the best gear is the gear you always bring with you.” So let’s get started.

 

 

Types of Tripods

 

  1. Lightweight Aluminum with Flat Mount

This is what we would call a basic Manfrotto tripod. It is not super lightweight and compact but it’s also not very large like a studio tripod. This tripod is great for beginners and anyone starting out with photography or videography.

 

Example: Manfrotto MT190X3 Aluminimum

      Manfrotto MT190X3

      Pros

      Cons

      • Light weight
      • Great for amateurs
      • Price
      • No ball head
      • Need to adjust each leg to level
      • Not ultra lightweight
      • Load Capacity

        

       

      1. Lightweight Carbon Fiber with 50mm Built in Ball

      Overall, this is one of our favorite tripods. We bring this tripod to every single shoot and it has performed well each time. The built in ball head allows for easy adjustments such as leveling and for specific shots. Since it is made out of carbon fiber, it is super lightweight and taking it anywhere is nothing but a breeze.

       

      Example: Manfrotto 755CX3 Carbon Fiber

      Manfrotto 755CX3

      Pros

      Cons

      • Ultra lightweight
      • Built in ball head (50mm)
      • Great for angled shots
      • Great for leveling on uneven ground
      • Price
      • Load Capacity

       



      1. Heavy Duty with Built in 75mm Ball

      This tripod is solid and works great if you have a lot of gear. It holds twice the weight of the previous tripod and also has a built in ball head for leveling. It is much heavier than the average tripod though, so it is not the best if you need to pick it up often during the shoot.

       

      Example: Manfrotto MVT535AQ


        Manfrotto MVT535AQ

        Pros

        Cons

        • Heavy duty
        • Higher load capacity
        • Built in ball head (75mm)
        • Heavy
        • Not great for traveling



         

        1. Heavy Duty with Spreader

        The Manfrotto 546B tripod is durable and functional. This tripod also has a built in ball head which makes your workflow much better. However, this tripod is a pain to setup due to the mid-level spreader and it is much heavier than most tripods. Would not recommend bringing this tripod to your shoot and would use it as a studio tripod.

         

        Example: Manfrotto 546B

         

          Manfrotto 546B

          Pros

          Cons

          • Durable
          • Built in ball head
          • Spreader
          • Great for heavy video setups
          • Super heavy
          • Inconvenient
          • Long setup time

           



          1. Ultra Lightweight for Mounting on Both Ends

          The Manfrotto BeFree tripod is one of their best selling tripods and for good reasons. It is super compact and you can bring it with you everywhere. Many people use two tripods of this size for longer slider setups. They can mount one tripod to each end of the Rhino Slider EVO Carbon 42” for good stability and control. If you’re using the PRO, you’ll need to get a larger tripod like the MT190X3. If you plan on doing any sort of time lapse with a longer slider, two BeFree tripods will be a great choice.

           


              Manfrotto MKBFRA4 “BeFree”

              Pros

              Cons

              • Built in ball mount
              • Price
              • Compact and small
              • Great for traveling or backpacking
              • Extremely low load capacity

               

               

              Conclusion

               

              Here at Rhino, we are all about efficiency and work-flow. For us, the winner of this tripod match up is the Manfrotto 755CX3 Carbon Fiber tripod. We bring it with us to every single shoot and it has never failed us. It is easy to carry, setup, and adjust.

               

              Tripods are a great tool to mount your camera along with other accessories such as a slider. With a slider and tripod combination, you can get almost any shot that you envision in your head. Sliders and tripods are an essential for filmmaking and for time lapses. Depending on what you need it for, you can get a lightweight tripod and slider which would be useful for long distance hikes or backpacking. If you plan on using a slider and tripod inside the studio, you can decide on a more heavy duty setup. To see which slider setup will work best for the tripod you decide on, check out these link to learn more.

               

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