There seems to be a lot of debate surrounding the use of centre columns lately. Some view them as a way to destabilise your camera and ruin your photo quality - the last thing you want as a photographer. Others see them as an absolute necessity for a number of reasons - for panoramas, time-lapses, and macro shots to name a few. I am with the latter on this one.
Let's go back to why some don’t like centre columns. Some photographers feel that the higher the centre column is extended, the more vulnerable you leave yourself to instability and movement, leaving you with a lower quality image. Of course I understand the basic science of this - a large heavy object sitting atop a long thin tube doesn't look like the most stable of settings. However, with the Gearing tripod, we have minimised all of the risks that may concern you, and created a centre column extender for good measure.
Firstly, to reduce movement in the tripod and keep the camera well focused, we have included a hook at the bottom of our centre column for you to add as much weight as you deem necessary. Not only have we used the Gearing tripod as a tent frame, but we have hung a number of heavy bags off the hook whilst shooting, so you can rest easy knowing you've got a strong and stable piece of kit to support your camera. The larger the weight added to your hook, the more stable your tripod will be, so go wild! In addition to this, we have also included a nifty 10-piece multitool kit within the centre column so you are able to make adjustments to your gear wherever and whenever you need to.
A lot of people think of a centre column as extra weight that will just hold you back when trekking or travelling, let alone a centre column extender. At Gearing, we have crafted both the centre column and extender out of eight layers of carbon fibre - strong and sturdy but incredibly lightweight. The centre column extender weighs in at just 50 grams - and the added opportunities it provides make bringing it along very much worth your while. Although the Gearing tripod has a multitude of functions and purposes, it really shines and shows its potential when used on expeditions and hikes as a travel tripod. In these settings you can make the most of time lapse and panorama, and get some incredible starry night shots aided by the centre column extender.
If you are looking for micro adjustments in your tripods height, then a centre column is more than certainly the way to go. We’ve all been there - you want your camera just a little lower, take the time to adjust all three legs, not quite happy, adjust more, they're too short, extend again, now one is too long - you get the picture. Simply loosen your centre column and tighten where you want your camera to sit. No more faffing around, getting frustrated and inevitably affecting your photos.
A lesser known trick about our tripod, is to use it in ‘inversion mode’. Using our centre column, you can achieve some incredibly high definition images with great close-ups. Flip the centre column upside down with the hook protruding at the top (or remove it altogether), and attach your camera as normal at the bottom to our ball head. Utilising the tripod this way gives you a whole other world of angles, as well as a very stable fitting in which you can wholly trust your camera's safety.
So, to summarise, I think you’d be making a mistake in purchasing a tripod without a centre column, and most certainly would regret getting one without a centre column extender. The number of doors that these little pieces of kits open are continuously growing, and with the Gearing centre column and extender you know you're not adding any extra weight to your pack. Our centre column also contains a toolkit, with a multitude of accessories to solve any issues you might encounter on your trip. The possibilities for food photography (that we discussed in our previous blog post) are greatly enhanced with a centre column, as you can really get those macro shots to show off your creations.