How tall does your tripod need to be, how short ca it be ??

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by igmolinav, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. igmolinav macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005
    How tall does your tripod need to be, how short can it be ??


    Suppose a picture of a person standing in front of you
    has to be taken. This person is six feet, or about two meters
    high. The camera stands on a tripod with a zoom with focal
    lengths that go from 24 mm. - 85 mm. The tripod and also
    the camera have a bubble that helps them to keep the
    lens parallel to the floor and perpendicular to the subject.
    (I have not used yet a bubble level myself). I would like to
    ask a few questions because I may buy a new tripod.

    A decisive point for me in the purchase is the folding size
    and the weight. I am willing to sacrifice on the maximum
    height. So, if for example you take a look at the following
    two tripods, they are more or less the same tripod. The
    major difference is their maximum height, and the price.

    Tripod 1:

    Tripod 2:

    How much "height" would one need in order to photograph
    the six feet person I mentioned, or people with a height
    between five and six feet ?? Sometimes I may photograph
    the full body, and sometimes from the waist up. I may
    keep the focal length of the zoom at 50-60 mm. and then
    just move back and forth the tripod a bit. Besides this
    kind of portraits, some small products would also be shot
    with the tripod.

    Thank you in advance, kind regards,

    igmolinav : ) !!!

    P.S. The Induro tripods cost 1/4th or 1/5th of what the
    Gitzo cost. Mmmmhh .........
  2. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    To eliminate any distortion, you want your camera to be the height of the center of your subject's composition. So for a full body, this means the camera is about 3' high. For a headshot, the camera would be nearly the same height as your subject. If you want to add perspective distortion (for added psychology in the image), then obviously a top down image would required a tall tripod to tilt back down on your subject, while an bottom up image would require a very low camera position.
  3. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005

    Thank you : ) !!! Cool, so if the shot is from the
    waist up. I could easily set the shot up at 3' and
    then crop. It may be unlikely for me to do a
    full headshot, (just head and throat). I may
    get more of the person in the shot.

    Kind regards,

    igmolinav : ) !!!
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I have a slightly different perspective (no pun intended!). I would put the camera up at the subjects face height. My sense is that we pay much more attention to a person's face than the rest of their body, so I would rather minimize the distortion in the subject's face. Since we mostly look at a person's face from their eye level (more or less) that's where I would put the camera.

    Have your subject sit down, to bring their face down to a more manageable height. Or... simply clamp your camera to something like a ladder that gives you the height if your subject needs to remain standing. There is nothing magical about a tripod... it is simply something to hold your camera steady. The tripod socket on the bottom of the camera is a standard thread (imperial, not metric though). I've known people to weld a thread to a clamp. Anything they can attach the clamp to firmly becomes a "tripod" of sorts.

    Or... just get the tripod head (the bit that moves around on the top of the legs). Usually a different thread size, but still standard. Now you can clamp that anything - and still be able to make minor adjustments to the placement of the camera.

  5. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005

    Your reasoning is backwards to how it actually works. By bringing the camera up to your subjects face and then tilting back down, you are not minimizing distortion in the subject's face. You are increasing it (enlarging the head, shrinking the body).

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