A photographer needs a steady hand while shooting as camera shake can produce blurry images. While this is important, the fact remains that it is difficult to steady your hands for a longer period of time while holding a camera. While panning or moving the camera, achieving a horizontal or vertical movement on the same plane axes is also not possible using our hands. To avoid camera shake during these moments, a photographer needs a stand on which the camera can be mounted with the facility and flexibility of moving it around. There are several different equipment on which a camera can be mounted to ease the process of photo-shoot. Such equipment are called Grip equipment.
Grip equipment gives a photographer the freedom of camera movement, camera stillness as well as the camera balance. It also reduces the effort which a photographer puts in to lift a heavy camera. A typical grip equipment consists of a stand, a head on which the camera is placed and in some cases moving axes which can be controlled for tilt or pan movements. There are several diverse grip equipment available in the market and mentioned below are some of those equipment discussed in detail:
Tripod is the most used and most sturdy of all the grip equipment. It consists of a three legged stand and a head on which the camera can be placed. It also has rotating axes for tilt and pan movements of the head. ‘Tilt’ refers to the movement in which the camera can be moved in semi-circular way to shoot from top to bottom whereas; in the ‘pan’ movement, the camera rotation takes place from left to right. The height of the tripod can be adjusted around a central pole. Because of its light weight and eased mobility, a tripod is most convenient to carry around while shooting. A tripod makes the camera stable while shooting an image. It is used to shoot moving objects and low light scenes where more exposure time is required. It is also used to shoot multiple shots in a burst. Another use of a tripod is while shooting for HDR images with multiple exposures in an exposure bracket. The tripod comes very handy when we shoot a horizontal or a vertical panorama where we need to take multiple shots moving the camera horizontally or vertically in the same plane.
The use of tripod produces very sharp images which would ideally be difficult to capture holding the camera for long hours, especially at the times when you get tired of waiting for long hours to capture a particular shot. Tripods are also used to fire the camera using a remote trigger where you do not need to touch the shutter button.
Monopod or Unipod
A monopod is another camera stand which consists of a single pole and a mounting head. A monopod can be used without the mounting head but doing so would restrict the camera movement without shift action. It is used to take off the weight of the camera from the photographer but he needs to balance the pod using his hand.
Monopods are used where the tripods cannot be and the photographer still needs to balance the camera and wants to keep it steady. For various events where a photographer needs to change his position continuously, a monopod is preferred over a tripod. Action events like sports, hiking with your camera require grip equipment which has to be carried around all the time. Monopods can be rotated around to take shots ranging in 360 degrees of horizontal area. They can also be tilted at any angle because of the use of a single pole. They are lighter than the tripod and hence, more easy to carry around. Monopods are comparatively less expensive and can be used in a tight space. They are used when a photographer needs to shoot with a heavy telephoto lens which can be tiresome if executed without the stand.
Gorillapods are hybrid tripods with multiple screw points. It is gaining popularity due to its flexible usage and ability to mount the camera almost anywhere. The interesting advantage of a gorillapod over other instruments is that they can be set up on uneven surfaces as well. All three legs of a gorillapod work independently and can grip on a rod, a wire or even on a tree with the facility of being able to place the camera at different angles to capture interesting images. Gorillpods enables a camera to be placed in the most creative manner. While using gorillapod, a photographer needs to frame his shot and then mount the camera on the pod focusing on his desired location.
Traditionally, a tripod is much preferred mounting equipment over a monopod and photographers prefers it because of its sturdiness and balancing abilities. However, in the field of sports, monopods play an essential part since tripods are either not allowed there or they become too cumbersome to carry around. Gorillapods are constantly gaining popularity among the younger generation of photographers who are more open to experimentation. Still, a tripod is an essential part of the kit bag of most of the professional as well as amateur photographers.
There are a few other innovative grip equipment such as a head mount, a chest mount, a surfboard mount etc. which are designed by GoPro and other similar companies to meet some very specific photography needs. These versatile mounting equipment are reasonably priced and fun to use, making the photography experience more enjoyable.