Tripods come in various sizes and heights. The head is the most important element, and should be considered first.
Fluid head, or video head tripods, feature an arm that allows the user to pivot the head freely, or tighten the head into a specific position. These pivot heads are generally not ideal for still cameras.
A more suitable head allows each axis of movement to be tightened. This allows the camera to be tilted front to back, and side to side up to 90. Look for easy access to tightening nuts.
Tripod legs provide the stability. Leg sturdiness is often balanced against overall weight of the tripod. Aluminum is best, but graphite legs can also be very sturdy and even lighter. A folding lower brace can also add to the rigidity of the tripod.
Last, check the tripod for vibration. Some sturdy designs may actually amplify vibration.
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