Uses of a Tripod Stand

By Liam Rodom Abraham

Updated February 10, 2017

A camera tripod keeps a camera more steady than simply holding it while taking a picture.
i compact camera on tripod image by Christopher Dodge from

Tripods are common and used in a variety of areas to provide support to a given object. Most commonly, there are camera tripods, gun tripods, and tripods used in the sciences for telescopes and for performing experiments when using a Bunsen burner. Regardless of the usage, tripods help to keep the object steady, and provide a means to move the object around in ways that would be difficult with just your hands or with a different method of support.

What is a tripod?

A tripod has three legs and is used to hold something in position and keep it steady. Tripods come in different sizes which should be considered in relation to the weight of the object to be held. If the tripod is too small, it will not hold and support a camera adequately, for example. The main features are legs, a head and plate. The head allows you to move the object while the plate is where the object is mounted. The legs then distribute the weight evenly among them to balance the object.

Camera Tripods

There are a variety of camera tripods which help photographers take clear, sharp pictures because there is no "camera-shake" from their unsteady hands. A tripod is convenient and often creates better results than photos taken without the use of a tripod. A good test for a camera tripod to determine if it is too lightweight is to stomp beside the device and notice it is shakes. On the other hand, a photographer should not use a tripod that is too heavy because he will be reluctant to carry it; the weight and size of a camera tripod also depends on its intended use. Another feature to consider is the maximum height, folded height, and minimum height the tripod reaches because this could affect your ability to take pictures; for example, if it does not go high enough to take a picture of something you want to photograph. Also, if it is too short, you will often have to bend over in uncomfortable positions. A photographer can also use a tripod to hold the camera, so he can set the timer and aim at the correct subject in order to allow him to be part of the photograph as well.

Gun Tripods

Gun tripods help to give steadier aim.
i machine gun kalashnikov on the tripod and optical image by Vladimir Melnik from

In terms of guns, tripods are useful for a steady aim at a given target. This is because simply leaning against a tree or relying on your body strength is not always sufficient for accurate shooting. When looking for a gun tripod, generally lightness, durability, and portability are all preferable so that one may quickly and easily move to shoot various targets. The ability of the tripod to pivot, rotate, and easily turn is also important so that aim can be more accurate.

Scientific Tripods

Scientific tripods like those used for Bunsen burners or telescopes are used for safety and accuracy.
i telescope and tripod image by Warren Millar from

Tripods are also useful in the area of observation and experimentation. For instance, tripods are complimentary to the use of Bunsen burners. They are necessary to hold things to be heated above a Bunsen burner. A tripod is not for the Bunsen burner but for the object to be heated. This could be a beaker, which is then used in conjunction with gauze.

Another scientific use of a tripod is for telescopes. These are usually made from metal or wood with legs that extend. There is a screw to adjust the legs. First you must attach the telescope tube to the tripod mount. Then, the mount head is placed on the tripod. If it does not seem sturdy enough it may not be suitable. Tripods are necessary to rotate and maneuver the telescope as these devices can be very heavy and difficult to handle; the observer needs the tripod to support the telescope since he cannot do it himself. Equatorial telescope tripods are especially useful for accurate observation of the sky because they feature a rotational axis parallel to the Earth's axis of rotation. They also offer setting circles to help aim the telescope at exact coordinates of stars.