Next to your camera and lens(es), a tripod is probably your most valuable photographic accessory. It makes all kinds of photography possible that can't be done with a handheld camera.
Tripod short list:
Gitzo G1228 Mountaineer
Tripod head short list:
Manfrotto 3025/3028 3-way-heads
Slik Proball 800 ball head
Kirk BH-3 ball head (Arca-Swiss type quick release)
These tripods are all steady. The Manfrotto 3001 as somewhat short (better for people who want a lighter tripod that is a little shorter), but the other two operate at a good height. They have no center bracing so the legs can be splayed out to get close to the ground. The legs also splay separately for uneven terrain. The Gitzo is made of carbon fiber so it is a lot shorter (and a lot more expensive). All of these tripods allow you to use the head of your choice, and change heads if necessary.
There are other good tripods, many of the made by Manfrotto and Gitzo. Be sure and pick a tripod with the features you need.
The 3-way heads control movements in all three directions (left-right, up-down, horizontal-vertical) with three separate knobs. They give you a lot of control for landscape, architecture, closeup, and similar knids of photography. A bell head controls everything with one knob so they are much better for wildlife and other kninds of photography where quick control in all three directions is important.
For more information, read my recently revised article on Tripods and and Tripod Heads
What is a good place to buy a tripod?
Your local camera store is one option. If you would like to help support this website, and save some money in the process, consider getting your camera at Amazon or Adorama. Just click on a link at the bottom of my home page
and order your camera. Other good sources are in the "CAMERA STORES" section on the top right side of this page
. The BH-3 tripod head is available only from Kirk Enterprises
Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas!
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Kirk Enterprises BH-3 Ball head
(available only from the manufacturer)
Manfrotto Tripods and Heads
Slik Pro Ball 800 Head with Quick Release
GITZO G1228 MK2 Mountaineer Reporter Tripod