When it comes to wildlife photography it’s the sexy gear that gets all the attention, those 600mm lenses and super fast frame rate, low light DSLR bodies. When’s the last time you heard someone say, wow that’s a nice tripod, NEVER HAPPENS. (ok maybe in reference to mini me in Austin Powers) That all changed for me when my Algonquin tripod arrived in the mail, it is without a doubt the the most beautiful tripod I have ever seen. The picture at your left shows olive green legs mine are black and really contrast the green aluminum collars.
So what’s the big deal about a tripod you ask? It all comes down to three little words, camera shake blur. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen photographers with $12,000 worth of glass and a $7,000 DSLR sitting on top of a flimsy tripod, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. You bought the glass to get sharp detailed images right? To accomplish that you need a super stable platform that minimizes vibration which takes us right back to the topic of camera shake blur.
Camera shake blur is the result of a shutter speed that is too slow for a given focal length. In order to get an acceptably sharp and blur-free image, the rule of thumb is that you need to use a shutter speed that is a reciprocal of the focal length (based on a 35mm-sized frame) that you’re using. For example, if you are using a 600mm lens on a full frame camera, then you should use a shutter speed that is at least 1/600 of a second. On overcast days or at dusk and dawn, which just happen to be some of the best lighting conditions for wildlife, 1/600 of a second is often not attainable without pumping the ISO into unusable ranges.
The solution is great technique which is a topic in and of itself and………..YES you guessed it the use of a solid tripod. I have two of another manufacturers tripod at a cost of about $1200 each but when a carbon tube came loose this past winter and I received very little support to fix the issue I was happy to see that Jobu Design was hard at designing a new tripod that meets all of the demands and specifications that a wildlife photographer could want. Based on initial field tests during harsh winter conditions the Jobu Design Algonquin carbon tripod already looks like it will claim top spot as the best tripod for wildlife photography.
The three section design offers maximum stiffness while extended to its maximum height of 62″ and aluminum adjustable leg collars allow the tripod to sit virtually flat to the ground and everything in between which is a must to get eye level with smaller wildlife. Stainless steel spike feet provide additional stability on slippery surfaces like ice but can be covered with the provided rubber tips when the spikes are not required.
For those of you wanting all of the specs below are the features worthy of note:
- 100% carbon legs, designed for ultimate strength. NO FILLER.
- 62″ tall extended, 27″ folded (157cm/68cm)
- No cosmetic wrap layer to weaken the carbon
- Foam leg covers (3 legs) comes standard
- 3 Leg sections for maximum stiffness. 36mm top-tube diameter
- Aluminum adjustable leg collars for strength
- Stainless Steel spike feet (non-removable)
- Rubber tip covers (pull on/off)
- Flat top mount (no wiggly center column) – with 3/8″-16 mounting thread.
- Capable of being used virtually flat to the ground.
**All specifications are subject to change
Throw a Jobu Design HD3 or Jobu Design Pro2 gimbal head on the flat top mount of the Algonquin and you’ve got yourself a professional rig specifically designed to carry that heavy expensive glass and minimize the possibility of camera shake blur.
In the coming weeks I will be performing field tests and posting a video review of the Jobu Design Algonquin carbon tripod so more to follow as I run this tripod through its paces.
If you have questions or are interested in purchasing the tripod you’ll be pleased to know for a limited time I have secured an introductory price for those who reach out to me through coolwildlife.com. However I must advise you that as of July 28th we were looking at delivery that is approx 1-2 months out from time of order so you’ll need to be patient. For further details or to get your name on the list for the introductory price guarantee please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.