Is it really worth lugging around a tripod/monopod?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by james_stevens|5, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. My wife and I are headed to England in a few weeks and of course I will take 1000 photos. I can't decide whether or
    not to hassle with a tripod or even a monopod. We will be spending some time on a small tour bus (actually a 16-
    passenger van) and I don't want to appear too obnoxious. I know it may be wet, so I have purchased a "rain coat" for
    my D60 and short zoom, but at least I can put that in my pocket if it doesn't rain. Suggestions?
  2. Without knowing what kind of photos you like or want to take it is impossible to answer. Night shots? Bring a tripod. Early sunrise/sunset? Bring a tripod. Inside a cathedral? Bring a small table top tripod and brace it against a column. Outside during the day? Leave the tripod at home.
  3. A monopod will fit neatly in your luggage along an edge, but it always draws scrutiny from security people xraying it. I carry a Leitz Tiltall monopod I've owned for a couple of decades that I always take with me. I've got some colleagues that have some sort of strap contraption that they hold with their feet and it attaches to the tripod socket. They seem to like it. It would be compact, but I've never used one nor know where you would find one. Another option is either a carbon fiber or basalt monopod. It would be extremely light.

    I always go back to a great book by Alan Alda (from MASH fame), who wrote the book "Why you don't stuff your dog...", and he talks about how he took a Leica to Europe and spent all of his time looking through the rangefinder and not really experiencing his trip. I've done that numerous times on vacations, and have learned to pack very light and only capture things that capture your attention, not things that simply record your being there.
  4. A good tripod always pays for itself.
  5. I frequently pack a tripod but leave it in my hotel during the day and bring it out at night for a few shots. And I've never regretted having it - those night shots are some of my favorites.
  6. I think the real question is what kind of camera you're shooting with. If you're using a digital SLR, particularly a recently manufactured one, you won't need a tripod. If you're lugging around something old, gigantic, well, you probably will. My opinion, leave the tripod at home, enjoy Europe, and take pictures while you're there.
  7. When I travel in Europe even on a tour, I take my small tripod. I use it in the morning before breakfast and in late afternoon/evening when I am on my on time w/o the group. It helps me compose those shots taken in great light and when I might be using a small aperture to get max depth of field.

    During the day it stays in the room or on the tour bus. I also bring a small tripod I stick in my pocket for inside churches when a regular tripod is not allowed. Only you can decide if it is worth the effort of packing it. Joe Smith
  8. Again, it's hard to say how much you'd miss it not knowing your photographic interests, but I'd definitely take one, particularly if you have or get one that is fairly short when compacted. You can talk hand holding technique all you want, but it's still never as good for me as even a cheap tripod.
  9. To Michael's second paragraph - this is a good point, but one I have gone back and forth on. Where I've settled down is to approach the photography in a way that enhances the experience, rather than controls the experience. In other words, it's not the objective, so I don't subsume the experience to the "necessity" of getting a shot, but take the shots that will help me relive the experience later.

    I'm not old, but believe me, the memory fades. 1st trip, only trip, one of many? If it's one of many, I might skimp, but if, for example, you're at Bath Cathedral, thinking "What an incredible sight - I hope I remember this forever." wouldn't you want to be prepared to take the best shot possible? I've got two books of photos from my honeymoon to England in 1989, full of stuff the memory is dim on.

    But, do what feels right, and I know from experience that the wife is a key component to that equation. ;-)
  10. Yes. To me anyway. The trick is to find one small, sturdy but light. I use a Slik Sprint Pro. It straps to the bottom of my shoulder bag, weighs about a pound, and although I often don't need it and leave it in the room, when I do, I have it.
  11. Thanks so much to everyone for the advice. Someone mentioned a small, lightweight tripod. I think that might work. We are headed to the Highlands of Scotland and although I don't want to appear to "touristy," I don't want to miss a good landscape shot up there. Thanks again.
  12. This falls into the category of "are you traveling to take pictures, or taking pictures while traveling" conundrum.

    Taking pics while traveling, I use a very inexpensive aluminum dime store tripod. Perfect for night shots, long exposures, or when I want to be in a picture. Small enough to get stuffed into a backpack or shoulder bag and weighs nothing.

    With modern DSLRs, you will be amazed at what you can do with a cheap tripod and the shutter set to self timer. The best tripod to take on vacation is the one you are willing to carry all day long and maybe not even use.
  13. England in October/November - are you kidding? Definitely bring one!
    VR can be a partial solution, but there's still no replacement for a tripod.
    That is unless you're planning to shoot wide-open and to use high ISO extensively, of course.
  14. It believe the eleventh commandment is: Always bring your tripod! But be sure to bring along a lightweight AND sturdy
    tripod that folds small, otherwise you won't lug it around or use it. VR is not a substitute for a tripod, especially when light
    gets really dim and you want to use a small aperture.
    I regret all the trips where I left my tripod in the hotel, just because it was too large too lug around.
  15. Just like with justification for buying a piece of photo equipment -- it's worth it if you use it -- or in this case, if you can visualize how you will use it. Going to a new place will give you opportunities you don't anticipate.
    You could bring it and leave it in hotel or car, and when the "i wish i brought my tripod" feeling comes, you can return to the same spot the following day -- or you could do scouting during the day and be there with a tripod when the light is right -- and then the following day it will be raining cats and dogs and you can't go back in time.
    Yes bring the tripod if you plan on taking photos in magical light of twilight or sunrise/sunset or night... if you intend on standing still for a while to capture several elements in a photo, that have to be timed just right... in summary: if you plan on taking memorable photos to capture something special -- and require time and thought.
    <img src="">
    This was a 15second exposure by moonlight
  16. Hello Michael Axel: I use the contraption you mentioned. I made it my self. Used nylon string and the right size screw from hardware
    store. attached the screw on one end of the string and put a loop on the other end. When using I screw the end on to the camera in tripod
    socket and put the loop on the other end in my foot. I have the string size s that when I put the camera to my eye the string is taught. It
    reduces the camera shake but not as much as tripod. I find it very convenient as it is light and fits in my pocket. Also it is easy to set up
    and use. I do not take a tripod through the airports but use the contraption on all my travels. Sandy
  17. It really depends upon you, and the types of photographs that you like and like to take, but for me, almost all of my "good"
    shots were taken with a tripod. This is true even if the tripod wasn't "necessary." Using a tripod makes you stop and think
    for a moment. Maybe you don't need the help, but I do. :)

  18. oooops... now if I had read your whole post, or maybe i read it, i just spaced out....
    then I would say that since this is a babysitting tour... you won't have time for real photography, so most likely you will be happier without a tripod, and even a monopod might be too much on a rush-rush got-to-go tour :)
    <img src="">
  19. Photography can be a hassle. You are on a group tour that moves at a fast pace with you circling the crowd to
    set up a shot. You can't hear the guide while adjusting legs. The pod falls out of the rack
    onto a senior citizen who is a retired barrister with a pit bull scowl. The scenario gets sticky.....

    Au contraire.... You would like to be in at least one or two of the pictures. Now comes the tripod to save the
    situation. Ergo schlepping/ toting/lugging is necessary price we pay.

    On the upside... Girding up loins i.e. thinking positive.. Bring along good camera AND a
    monopod AND a table top tripod. Think of James as Group Photographer. Bottom line. Travel equals typically some
    hassle anymore.

    Carve out one day with a Nikon Coolpix with VR or Canon A--something and just enjoy. Use
    evenings not for shooting but fellowship. Strike a balance that is comfortable. Good luck and good safe
  20. I shoot almost everything from either a tripod or heavy camera stand and would not have it any other way, but this
    may not be the point. There are several threads on Large Format Photography Forum that speak to regs against
    using tripods in very many places all over Europe. I've never been there, so I can't validate those statements, but it
    might be worth doing some searches regarding the allowing of tripod use in the places you are going to e touring.
    Maybe start with your travel agent and the Brittish embassy.
  21. You might want to consider a tripod, or the combination of a tabletop tripod and a monopod. Look for light weight
    (carbon fiber is usually the lightest), fast and easy adjustments, and a quick release mount. You do not
    necessarily have to spend a small fortune on these. There are some reasonably priced and relatively well made
    monopods and tripods that should do a good job. I hike with a monopod, which is useful when there are clouds,
    wind, shade, or other low light situations. At night I use a tripod. One is missing a lot of fantastic
    opportunities by ignoring night photography. Night photographs are often very dramatic, and are unusual in that
    the average photographer doesn't usually bother to learn how to take them. Instead of snapshots, you will get
    very gratifying photos. Tripods are also helpful for macro photography, especially if the mounting pole can be
    reversed so that the camera can be positioned close to ground level. There are also camera mounts that have
    articulated legs that can be used to grasp onto benches, chairs, trees, poles, etc. One example is, I think,
    trade named the Gorilla pod. These are light,
    relatively small, and can be helpful in a pinch, but they may not be sturdy enough for a heavy DSLR outfit. Have
    fun, and have a safe trip!
  22. James, I live in London, England. Light will be pretty much gone by 6pm or so in October. You're talking of a 1000 photos and a D60. Your D60 probably maxes out at iso1600 for a clean foto. That's not enough for the low light conditions in England then.

    Even if you dont take many photos at night/early morning when you *will* need support, you will during the day if inside a cathedral or similar.

    My tip would be to go as light as possible. Try a monopod. If youre fine with it, thats your answer. If not, I am hesitant to recommend a tripod. Speaking from personal experience, a tripod would slow me down because of the size. British towns and streets tend to be smaller than in the US, and working with a tripod on streets, etc is not easy.

    I've seen the Gorilla-pods in stores, but have no experience of them. You may want to check these out, if a monopod is no good.

    Trust this helps, Anil.
  23. I have revised my answer because you wrote "D60" and "short zoom."

    I glanced at a review of a Nikon D60 (I apologize if you like some other brand, I am just a Pentax film guy); I bet it has one of those
    software shake controls like my Pentax K200D. Your camera also has a small on-board flash. If it's like my cam's on-board, it's probably
    so powerful that most of the time it is too powerful.

    You know I am going to tell you that I love tripod shots; slow speed films, longer exposures, a full range of aperture
    choices at your disposal. No tripod means significantly cutting down on shutter speeds or film speeds. Tripods are essential for what I
    like to do; but, you describe doing something else.

    In your case, unless you have to bring back pro-quality location shots, just for snapshots of a trip, I would say, (I can't
    believe I am writing this), leave the tripod. Weight-wise, what I think you will want is a small flash, like the kind that is
    about as powerful as the one on your cam (old flashcube-style power to 16 feet), but that you can hold away from the
    camera. Off-camera strobes look 10X better, even if they are only removed a few feet; angles are the key.

    Weight-wise, what I recommend is a small flash on a coiled 15 foot cord; and, a polarizing filter to deal with glass
    reflections. A cosmetic brush for dust; a small handkerchief in a plastic bag. Your whole kit could fit in your pockets.

    If you are bringing other lenses, don't have some digital shake control, use longer lenses, or absolutely must get the
    highest quality, I would say, Tripod! Monopod at a minimum. But, for what you have outlined above, I would
    recommend a small strobe you can pc cord to your camera, hold out with one hand real quick, and plus-up the
    illumination. If you need to stabilize more, like window shots from the bus, you can always use some fabric bunched up
    as a bean bag, or some other form of improvised brace to help you pull off the shot.

    Less stuff, small stuff, that you can keep in your pockets, means that you can shoot a lot more without worrying about
    being shy. So, bring a couple extra memory cards, because you are probably going to shoot 1500+ if you plan to make
    1,000. Only other thing I would recommend would be a notepad; lists of some critical test times you know work;
    reminders of some data you know you might forget; brainstorm some "photo essay" trend ideas, etc.

    Laptop with you for hotel use; nighttime downloads for the next day, etc. Good luck. Bon voyage. J.
  24. P.S. I hope you recognize that I am not advocating using a strobe inside a motor vehicle, of course. J.
  25. You might check on the bean bag with a tripod screw built in (The Pod?) It might work well on a bus tour, and if you need it, you can borrow a parking meter or automobile fender for a quick shot or two. [No legs to tangle in and off the bus with....]
  26. Mu suggestion is bring a lightweight tripod. When you're with the group leave it in the hotel. On a tour of
    England, Scotland and Wales a few years ago, a number of places we toured wouldn't allow me to bring a tripod.
    Maybe you could get by with something like a Gorrilla Pod, or a Leitz table top tripod. When you're with a group
    (unless it's a group of photographers) I found it difficult to take the time for good shots with a tripod without
    holding other members of the group. I used my tripod a number of times on our last trip with a group in Tuscany,
    but during the early morning and evening hours. If you're flying in the UK you might also want to find out if
    you can bring a tripod as a carry on. On my last trip, I had no problem in the US or Germany, but in Italy I had
    to check my tripod-and it showed up three days later!
  27. Yes it is.

    Something light and not too big is quite useful for low light situations. It saves you the trouble of not having to find a support point when the shutter speed is long.

    And you dont want to be in a situation in which you wished you had a tripod with you. :)
  28. We have traveled a great deal and w/ various camera combinations. The best travel photos we have were from a $20 Konica C 35 rangefinder film camera w/ a 38mm lens and 200 iso film. It was so small and fun to shoot with that taking photos everywhere was a joy, and no one looked twice when we pulled it out. It was on a trip to frisco, and the shots of the Bay and the Golden Gate bridge came out great, along w/ all the quick street shots in the Mission and Haight districts that could never have been made w/ a big camera and tripod.
  29. I'd bring a light tripod, most can readily be used as a monopod, legs extended but together.

    A lot would depend on the type of trip, how much time you would have mornings and evenings compared to rushing about in and around places and on the bus. Don't know if you can predict the type of people you'd have with you. It's just a guess but if you don't know the group, it's probably still a reasonably active group of more mature adults, since if traveling during the school year, kids are usually in school, parents with school age kids are home as well, etc. So probably not up for all day death marches every day. If the tour involves planned evening meals and social events, there may not be a lot of time free?
  30. Every "real photographer" probably will tell you that a sturdy tripod is an invaluable, essential part of a photography outing. He or she, in private, likely will also whisper in your ear that the burden of the tripod is one of the aspects of taking pictures that most strongly sometimes wants to make him or her give it all up. Tripods are great, and there's no perfect substitute for them, but, where they deliver excellent results, they're also royal ass-pains to carry around. As well, if you're planning on being part of a tour group, you probably don't want to risk annoying everyone on the bus to such an extent, with your perennial set-up/tear-down (no matter how efficient you and your tri', the process takes a little time) sessions, that they vote to leave you at the next stop.

    Unless you're going on business — and your business involves taking pictures — I imagine the "point" of your vacation is fun more than it is photography (even if the latter helps build the former), and a tripod, certainly, can get in the way of either. I suggest, then, that — if it is a question in your mind — you opt to relieve yourself and your travelling companion of the three-legged beast, instead perhaps taking along a pillow, bean-bag, or monopod, for those rainy or late-night moments that are full of artistic opportunity but demand the sort of stability just you leaning on a column can't quite afford. Monopods usually aren't very expensive (not compared with their big brothers, at least), and aren't rather more cumbersome than carrying around canes. As well, they're frequently allowed in places (such as museums and monasteries) that expressly forbid tripods and clear "commercial photography."

    If none of this added weight suits you (not even the pillow...), I suppose you could just pump up your digital ISO setting or carry several rolls of Neopan 1600 — whichever applies.
  31. Large Gorilla Pod supports a DSLR - can be wrapped around van doorframe / branches / chairs / Beefeaters / etc.
    Manfrotto makes an aluminum monopod that has foldout base with 3 swivelling legs for more support -
    quite compact, relatively light. Can double as a walking stick

    Have flown with manfrotto 055 carbon & swiss ball head in carryon no probs - heavy though; lugging that, a body and 5 lenses around NYC day & night is great way to lose weight.
  32. Just be aware that many places such as museums in Paris will not allow a tripod as it identifies you as a "professional" (they also don't let you use flashes lest they destroy the art after thousands of shots). The Taos Pueblo, 900 years ago and home to the Taos Indians, allows photography, but my Leica caught attention and a tripod could not be used. I used to carry a table top tripod until (and this was after 9/11) it's folded up shape in a case looked so much like a gun that the TSA had their hands on their guns as I opened it up. I threw it away in front of them, very quickly.

    Tripods are too much trouble for travel on planes and while they would be OK on a car trip I never use one. I have some B&W night shots with my M6 on film taken at 1/15th that are stunning. That's the beauty of the rangefinder with no big mirror clanking out of the way, shaking the camera and scaring any animal. You are not plagued by "Butts of Africa" photos, in other words.

    My opinion? Don't be bothered with one. I have actually placed my M6 on a cafe table in Paris and used a cable release with multi second shots with success. Again, the beauty of the rangefinder.
  33. Bean bag.
  34. You could also purchase one of those gorilla tripods. They're tiny and will fit in a backpack. Just in case you want to get a
    group shot with yourself in it.
  35. Forget the tripod/monopod. This is a vacation and you most memorable photos will likely be of people. No time to set up and catch that moment in time. Keep you eyes open for that moment and catch it fast. Enjoy the trip.
  36. 'Shooting 1000 pictures' and not being 'obnoxious.' Classic. Mom would say what is the least pain choice as
    always when you are a passionate shooter. I love my tripod a good one,but I will travel with my Bogen Carbon One
    monopod that can be used as a walking stick and is not unlike a big trekker pole. Best 125.00 investment there is
    in such situations. (Yes, the Leki photo walking sticks work but not as good as a real monopod.) MY table pod-
    also by Bogen with a Slik compact head can fit in the front pocket of my Tamrac bag. These supports won't break
    the budget I hasten to add.

    What I have discovered last year, on a bus tour of the Las Vegas and Hoover Dam is that I will not go on a group
    and bus tour with anything but my Nikon Coolpix P 5000 henceforth., I am a not- as- nimble- as- a -mountain goat
    senior and not a rabid photographer these days but still OBNOXIOUS as necessary:)). If your wife is amenable to
    help, there is your solution. Scotland and UK are fascinating places from what I know and I envy you. Never been
    to highlands. As far as the restrictions,heck, let them caution you at the time and check the items not allowed
    (like cameras) in some old castle estate or pub... Think fun, and look at some of the books you can find on travel
    digital photography. I have one by Michael Freeman that has good tips. Like separating new and used CF cards in
    little red and blue watertight plastic boxes- stuff I would never think about. See example:

    If you have really good walking shoes and an amiable group, let a paltry 800 photos be your aim :).
  37. I personally would recommend taking the tripod. While bubble levels are probably the photo accessory with the highest profit margin (I mean, $30 for that?! Come on), I would not go anywhere with out one when I take my tripod. I do like the idea of the foot strap mentioned at the beginning of this thread. Sounds like something that should be taken at a minimum.

    But as others have mentioned, doing low light photography does justify the hassle of a tripod.

    I think it really comes down to, what kind of images do you want to capture, and what do you want to do with them.

    My travel/backcountry tripod is a Velbon 640 CF with an Acratech ballhead. Not the tallest tripod, but it is compact and handles most situations and something that takes little space in my luggage.
  38. Why not take a small monpod and leave it behind on the days you are with a group but maybe take it out with you when you are moving at a more relaxed pace?

    Tripods can cause problems when you need them most such as in many cathedrals in UK as well as museums etc etc - They are sometimes not allowed and sometimes an additional charge can be made.

    The point about the light is a good one. Make sure you bring all your IS / VR / fast lenses with you.

    Have a great trip!
  39. I drove around the western Highlands on my honeymoon, and was glad that I had my tripod with me. But, if I was on a bus trip, and did not have any time to drive around on my own, I would take a GorillaPod instead of a tripod. I've been on a bus tour in Ireland, and there certainly would not have been any time to set up a tripod and contemplate some nice shots. If you are restricted to bus tours, I would highly recommend buying a faster lens than the slow kit lenses. On a digital body a 35mm f/2 or 24mm 2.8 would give you the ability to extend your handheld opportunities into the afternoon and evening. If the D60 does not have an autofocus motor, consider an AI 35mm f/2.0 or f/1.4. With ISO 800 and that lens you could take some good handheld shots in most nighttime city locations.
  40. Don't take one. The Pod might be an idea but I haven't used one. I found the Leitz table top fantastic in Italian chuches years ago but would
    not try to get it on a plane now. I also have their mini tripod for P & S and with the 2s self timer I've had some great night and dawn shots.
    It's profile on an airport X-ray is cuddly & innocent. A good P & S is what you need for your trip, along with the D60.
  41. I always bring my tripod on every trip I make. I never use it.

    The ONE time I did use it was to take some shots of the Northern Lights when in Alaska.

    The photos came out okay, nothing spectacular, but it's a memory I never want to forget.

    Yes, I've used the tripod on maybe one shot ever on vacation... and I will take it with me on vacation every time.

    My monopod is another story. With a VR lens, I just don't think I should have bothered buying it. I've used it zero times.
  42. Without reading all the responses my own opinions is to take a tripod. I use it every time either for low light conditions or to take a picture of my self and or family without relaying on someone else compsing the image and moving the camera while shooting.
    That is my 2 cents
    Have fun in your trip
  43. Tell me again why you would need a tripod? This was taken w/ Nikon D50 in pitch black darkness w/ only the street light illumination.
  44. Canon Rebel w/ Crappy Tamron 80 200 Zoom Travel Photo
  45. The last time I checked, they sell tripods in England. Why not just pick up a cheap one when you get there, just for the odd instance you might want to use it? All you need is something very basic for travel photos. You could bequeath it to someone when you get ready to leave. Of course, if you're some sort of macro or wildlife photographer, you might need something more pro-oriented, but I don't get that impression from your post.

    In my instance, I shoot the Sony A700 DSLR, which has stabilization built into the body. Every lens I attach is stabilized, and I can handhold shots down to 1/8th to a 1/10th of a second in low light. I shoot weddings, and I never drag my tripod out of my trunk anymore. You could pick up a VR lens for your Nikon, of course, which would help in your situation.
  46. gorillapod is the way to go for your short hectic trip.
  47. The light in England fades early especially in the north and in Scotland. If you go to the big cities be careful drawing
    attention to yourself as there is a serious low level crime problem as you could easily have your equipment taken. Head to
    Cornwall and Devon and also wales for some great countryside.
  48. Btw Scotland is not in England, the uk is made up of England, Scotland, wales, northern Ireland. It's pretty poor that many
    here don't know that.
  49. My first trip abroad was 20 years ago. Very similar to your situation. My solution was to measure my suitcase and determine the maximum length tripod that would fit. I went to a discount store and bought the cheapest tripod that would fit. I think it cost $20 and it lasted at least 15 years of similar trips before one of the fittings cracked. If nothing else it got used once or twice each trip to record a portrait of my wife and I at some scenic/historic location. I was sure the photo was properly framed, focused and exposed.

    Obviously digital cameras change the equation, but it is still very difficult to give a non-photographer instructions to take a decent portrait - OK now, put the castle on right, and us on the left, be sure the left most little box in viewfinder is on my wife's eyes, press the shutter half way to get focus confirmation on my wife....

    Since you are traveling in a small bus, the group must be quite small? Use the tripod to take a couple group photos and everyone will see the benefit. As the "photo guy" you'll get some good natured kidding about always being the last one back to the bus, etc. But send a few photos to everyone when you get home and you will have new friends for life.
  50. I dont want to sound obnoxious but really James, its not like your carrying medium or large format gear, so why wouldn't you just wrap your tripod with some bubblewrap and stuff it in your bag, gaurenteed if you dont take it you will end up in some unforegiven place wishing you had packed it, and why should you give a stuff what anyone thinks of you, go on our trip and enjoy....
  51. I only carry a tripod when on a vacation when I know I'm going to have some "quality time" to go off and focus on photography rather than being dragged around by the family. Sunrise shots at the Grand Canyon. Birds at Sanibel Island. But I think tour bus is the operative word here. Spending most of your day on a tour bus pretty much says you're going to be playing tourist not playing photographer. Tripod is of no use on the bus and many museums/cathedrals etc don't allow them or make them a hassle. Unless you really know you're going to have some serious photography time in places were you can make use of it I would leave it home.
  52. I've lived in the UK and can say if you want to take outstanding photos', you should take your tripod. The ruins you will visit can be dark on the inside and the British sun does not alway shine. Also, some places will not allow the use of your flash. It may be a bother to bring it along, but the results will be well worth it. Besides, you'll need it to take photos of yourself and your wife.
  53. "John Wilson , Sep 20, 2008; 02:34 a.m.

    This falls into the category of "are you traveling to take pictures, or taking pictures while traveling" conundrum."

    This is the heart of the matter --- what I call travel photography vs. vacation photography. I agree with those who feel that traveling around on a bus with others puts you in the vacation photography="taking pictures while traveling" category. Your decision, picking from the variety of responses and suggestions here, should be driven by this perspective.

    If you cannot get all the wonderful pictures because you opted for less equipment, rely on your eyes and brain to emphasize the direct experience; when your circumstances allow for good pictures, then intensify the experience with your camera. The range of what you shoot may be narrower, but because you are traveling as simply as possible --- mentally as well as physically --- the results may be much better.

    Enjoy the trip.
  54. Michael, that strap contraption you refer to in lieu of a monopod is simply this .. a simple screw-in device with string about 4-5 ft long. I have used this with success in places where tripods don't seem to work and it is a lot easier to carry than a monopod/tripod.

    I now carry an extra Bogen tripod baseplate ($10) and tie bright orange poly braided cord to the D-ring of the baseplate. I then simply screw in the baseplate to the camera, drop the string, step on it and brace the camera with moderate upward pressure until I lock composition and shoot. I make sure the string length is not too long to pose a trip or snap hazard .. I always use the camera with the strap around my neck to prevent the camera from being inadvertantly pulled from my hands .. It tucks away in my shirt pocket when not needed. I'd file this information under work-around solutions as it surely doesn't look professional but it works where tripods or monopods are prohibited.
  55. Forgot to add, this does not replace a tripod for extended exposure/night shots .. and takes a little practice to use.
  56. Look into a Manfrotto Modo. They weigh about 2lbs, will hold a 2-3lb camera and set up to about 5.5ft. I bought one because they are light, easy to pack, and cheap (around $60 US).
  57. david_henderson


    The issue is not whether to take a tripod-you should. The issue is when to carry it. So long as you have it with you and accessible when you want to take photographs in low light , it doesn't matter if it spends most of the time in your hotel room or at the bottom of your luggage.
  58. It's funny that so many people are still responding when the original poster, it seems, made up his mind soon after asking the question.
  59. To Paul Gresham: At first I thought you were calling me a bean bag (I've been called a lot worse):)

    Seriously, another thing is to buy a 1-2lb bag of uncooked rice and when you are done, give it to whomever you are visiting.
  60. Leitz table-top and a Benro monopod/walking stick/dog defender.
  61. Often a small tripod will suffice for many shots outdoors - like the Cullmann 1002 that is small and lightweight and easily strapped to the bottom of a medium sized camera bag. It is fine for a camera with a lens up to the 70-200 or my preferred telephoto, the Sigma 50-150mm f2.8.

    Take a flash though for indoor use and to add punch to outdoor and night shots. Practice in your home town shooting in manual mode at night. The mistake commonly made is to let the camera decide on the exposure and it wants to make the night look like daylight which kills the filling of the moment and the place. With film it was possible to due night photography with ISO 400 film and f2.8 lenses so your D60 is more than up to the task without a tripod.
  62. I took my Cullmann mini tripod to Europe last year but hardly used it. Some of my favorite pics were in low available light with a fast lens,
    Rangefinder let me hand hold down to 1/15. Gitzo (pricey), Velbon, Slik, or Cullmann are best lightweight trip choices. Check extended size
    and weight.
  63. Unless you are there primarily for set shots, a pocket tripod is the most you should carry for travel shooting. Today's image stabilization and high ISO ratings let you get away with a lot.
  64. How about a string tripod? Doesn't replace the Bogen, but I've tried it and it works in a pinch.
  65. I second the suggestion to carry a compact camera and micro table top tripod (bendy wire thingy) as well as your SLR. You can use this in lots of places where you would not be allowed to use a full tripod, compact or otherwise. A monopod is useless for travel etc especially with VR. For that weight/size/bulk you may just carry a lightweight tripod which will allow you to take fantastic shots with your self in them as well. I carry a slik sprint pro that is very lightweight and try not to extend it beyond the first stage to keep a more stable platform, and when I need to travel even lighter I have an old Quantray that I got from Ritz 25 years ago for $10!!! Fits into my coat pocket. I just don't extend the legs at all and it works great on my D200. Just have to bend down or find a wall/car etc!!!
  66. Another option is a bean bag that attaches to the bottom of the camera and lets you rest the camera on the vehicle you are in or some other sturdy surface. I took one of these to Africa, along with a tripod. While I used both, I used the bean bag a lot more. I was mostly shooting with a Canon EOS 20D and a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L lens. In a number of cases at night with reasonably long exposures. It depends on the shooting conditions but you might consider it as an option.
  67. Travel light is essential, it makes your holiday more enjoyable. Most camera offer high ISO for low lights and I've taken quite a lot of night scene without a tripod. Look for some supports like pillars, chairs or lamp posts if you need to shoot at slower speed. All the best!

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