Tips on camera tripods

Camera Tip #58: Don't hack your tripod

Do not cut off the center column of your tripod! Many members of amateur camera clubs for many years have been advocating that you should cut off the center column of your tripod. The reason is because they don't believe you should be using it. “It’s unstable.” They say. There is merit to this argument: if you extend the center column of your tripod all the way to the top, it is likely to be more unstable. If there is wind while you are shooting, then you will likely notice the stability issues even more. In these instances it is clear, that it is best to raise your tripod legs first before raising the center column. However, this does not mean that you should cut this very important feature of your tripod!

The reason we have the center column is for those times you need a little bit more height for your camera. If your tripod only comes to 6 feet but with the center column up goes to 7 feet and you need 7 feet then you would have to use your center column. If you have removed this option then you would need to get a much larger tripod for those times when you need to get over 6 feet! You must also recognize that not all photographs are taken outside in the elements where there is a potential for wind. Photography is also done indoors. In this situation, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using the center column as much as you want. The key is to know when to use it and when not to use it.

So for heaven’s sake STOP cutting these off! There is a reason the center column was designed this way and why manufacturers keep putting it in!