A tripod supports a camera so that it doesn’t move during an exposure. Height is adjusted by raising or lowering the length of the tripod legs. Often a center column allows you raise the height of the camera still further. Tripods come either as legs only or with a head permanently attached. Buying a tripod and head separately is more costly, but means you can mix and match to suit your needs. The two basic types of head are three-way (also known as pan-and-tilt) and ball (or ball-and-socket).
THREE-WAY HEAD Camera orientation is adjusted by moving the head one of three ways using locking levers. Advantages • One axis can be adjusted at a time • Inexpensive Disadvantages • Relatively bulky
BALL HEAD Camera orientation is adjusted by loosening a ball-and-socket joint. Advantages • Small size and weight • Good weight-tostrength ratio Disadvantages • Can be difficult to make fine adjustments
A tripod center column lets you raise the camera higher than would be possible with the tripod legs alone. However, raising the center column can make the tripod less stable.Photographers often add a UV or skylight filter to their lenses. These don’t affect exposure but can help protect the lens glass from damage.