My first one was a $30 tripod, which was slowly but surely creeping and I got blurrier shots than had I handheld the camera.
I decided the next time I would get something to last for a lifetime. And thus I bought a Gitzo tripod.
They are by far the best tripods out there, carbon-fibre made and pretty light.
Although if you want to use a ballhead, which pretty much is a must if you use a sturdy tripod, the weight reduction is quickly made up by the heavy iron ballheads 🙂
I will talk about ballheads another time. Today is purely about tripods.
I bought the one you can see on the left. The Gitzo Traveller 2540.
It is a steep investment, but it is the last tripod you will need in your whole life.
You will more than make up for it by never having to replace your tripod again. Eventually it will save you more money in the long run, so do it like me and buy once, not every 2 years.
There are different version and it is a little bit up to you which one to get, I for example prefer the ones that have 3 joints over the ones with 2, because you can collapse them a little bit more, which is valuable if you want to fit it in your luggage. However it is a trade off, because it adds time to set it up.
I usually have to take off the ballhead to make it fit in my luggage but that is ok. The 2 joint version adds a few inches and would have been hard to get into my suitcase, I calculated before purchase. This is an important factor if you ever think about taking your tripod with you overseas.
Here in Paris I see lots of ppl running around with a tripod during the day – in bright daylight. Some ppl swear by shooting every single shot on their tripods. However if you shoot during daylight, you really don’t need it and you will probably regret it. Only take a tripod when you need it, that is my advice. But if you need it, make sure you ALWAYS have it with you. Otherwise just use an R-Strap and enjoy the flexibility you have without having to lug a tripod when you can shoot handheld (i.e. above about 1/60 sec – even slower when you have calm hands).