Basically, there are two types of tripods:
Type A: The type that is very affordable and very easy to carry.
Type B: The type that is a bit more expensive and a bit harder to carry.
The photographers who participate on my workshops show up with both types, but the photographers who show up with Type A leave the workshop knowing that as soon as they home they will purchase a Type B tripod. Here’s why.
Type A tripods are not as sturdy as Type B tripods. When shooting on a windy day at slow shutter speeds, Type A tripods might shake and you might get a blurry picture.
Type A tripods may actually blow over on a windy day, especially the light ones.
Type A tripods don’t offer the flexibility and height as more expensive tripods.
Type A tripods usually don’t support telephoto lenses as well as Type B tripods.
The legs of Type A tripods don’t lock as securely as the legs on Type B tripods.
Heads and release plates on Type A tripods don’t hold your camera as securely as those found on Type B tripods. Camera movement is sometimes also limited.
Type A tripods don’t hold up to weather and salt spray as well as Type B tripods.
The end of story: Spend a few extra bucks on a tripod and you will not regret your purchase. Also, you may want to purchase two Type B tripods: one for your light lens shooting and one for your “big guns” shooting.
If you are serious about landscape and wildlife photography, a Type B tripod is the only choice.
As an aside, the same goes for tele-converters: Go for the camera band name, and not an off-brand name.
My tripods and tele-converters, as well as well as all my camera gear, are listed on my Gear page.
Explore the light,
P.S. All the photographs in this post were taken on my recent Iceland Adventure with my Canon 5D Mark III.