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table top tripods

by afwilson72 / December 22, 2006 5:31 AM PST

I am looking for a sort of camera tripod that one could use to photograph items on a surface. If you watch CSI, they had a "camera on
legs" or at least that was what it looked like. It allowed them to photograph evidence on the lab bench without holding the camera. I am using my camera to photograph old photos and documents and me holding the camera tends to create an out of focus or crooked picture. Can you tell me where I might find such a thing? Thanks!

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by BowerR64 / December 22, 2006 5:52 AM PST
In reply to: table top tripods

Search e-bay for "mini tripod" they have some small ones that fit in your pocket also with these kinda slinky looking legs that are metal but bend and hold shape. Some tripods can get really small when they are fully closed but can get big if folded out but when folded out the legs are really flimsy and not very stable. These are the ones ide recomend for the table, just keep the skinny legs folded up.

How high are you wanting to positing the camera?

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get one like this
by BowerR64 / December 22, 2006 5:58 AM PST
In reply to: e-bay

Get one like this (e-bay item number 200060509856) it has legs with clamps so you can adjust them and clamp them insted of the slide and lock friction type. It has an adjustable head with a level wich can help also. You might need a little sandbag weight that has a strap you can wrap around the back leg to balance out the stand.

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Don't buy it on eBay. You will regret it.
by Kiddpeat / December 22, 2006 7:14 AM PST
In reply to: table top tripods

You don't say what kind of camera your are using, but you want something that can hold the camera parallel to the surface that the document or photograph is resting on. I would look for a good, local camera store that has a good selection of tripods. Then, tell them what you want, and find out what they suggest.

I think what you want is a tripod with a removeable center column. Something like this sold by Helix which allows the center column to extend out to the side of the tripod. (Go to the bottom of the page to see the configuration with the column mounted parallel with the floor) Be sure the tripod is solid, and well made. You don't want vibrations when the camera snaps the shutter.

You can also get the right equipment online at places like B&H Photo and Video or Stay away from eBay unless you really know what you want, and you buy it used for a good price. Don't get it from a mass retailer like BestBuy either. They don't sell solid equipment.

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Table Top Tripods
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 22, 2006 8:49 AM PST
In reply to: table top tripods

You need to be careful choosing a table top tripod.
Nose heavy cameras (such as DSLR cameras) tend to tip forward onto the lens when using one of these tripods with a small base.

I suggest you go to and have them send you a free copy of their 120 page catalog. It has 5 to 6 pages of tripods and at least 4 small table-top tripods.



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Read what hes looking for again
by BowerR64 / December 22, 2006 9:17 AM PST
In reply to: Table Top Tripods

You guys crack me up $132.?!?!

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(NT) You don't really understand the issues involved do you?
by Kiddpeat / December 22, 2006 11:01 AM PST
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i guess not
by BowerR64 / December 22, 2006 1:12 PM PST

I guess when some one asks where to get one of them 3 leg things you put your camera on you instantly asume they have an SLR loaded with $2k L lenses and all the stuff that weighs alot.

I just asume they have a pocket camera of some kind and want to shoot small objects but their camera doesnt perform to good in low light so they need a stand to keep it stable.

Thats just me though i could be wrong. maybe we should wait till they tell us the type of camera they have.

If they have a canon A530 would you still recomend that $150. tripod?

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You seem to have some difficulty understanding requests and
by Kiddpeat / December 22, 2006 4:09 PM PST
In reply to: i guess not

how cameras function to fulfill those requests. You confuse 'low price' with quality and a 'good deal'.

The requestor DID NOT ask for 'one of them 3 leg things'. He/she wants something to 'use to photograph items on a surface' such as a table. Something that will hold the camera steady to avoid an 'out of focus or crooked picture'. Something like they use on CSI. Eight dollar tripods with $10 shipping charges cannot do that. They probably cost less than $1 to make, and you simply can't get quality for that price. What you get is crap that can't do the job properly. Kind of like an SVP camera.

The requestor wants a quality image of photographs and other documents, probably so that those documents can be reproduced. He or she may have travelled long distances to get the shot, and have only one chance to make it. A bad shot has a VERY HIGH cost. In order to get that shot, the camera must be firmly held high enough above something like a table to allow it to see the entire document. It must be far enough away to get that document sharply in focus. Its plane of focus must be parallel to the document surface to avoid distortion of the document's image. The camera must not vibrate or move while the shutter is pressed, and the exposure is made. If movement occurs, the image capture will be ruined by blurring and lack of focus. That may not be detected until one returns home.

A good, solid tripod is even more important for a small camera in this application than it would be for a DSLR with a heavy lense. One MIGHT have a chance of handholding a DSLR, but no one could hold a small camera steady enough. You seem to think that cheap equipment should be used with lower cost cameras. That means you don't understand the requirements which need to be met for a successful photo.

Your little three legged tabletop tripod cannot do any of these things. It cannot hold the camera high enough, or maintain a parallel plane of focus with the document. It will vibrate and move at the slightest touch. It will be a disaster, and money wasted.

A good tripod will have 'bubble' levels built into its base or head area to insure that the tripod can be accurately levelled. It will have the height and weight to hold the camera high enough to get the document inside the image area. It's center column will hold the camera in the required parallel position to avoid image distortion. It will hold the camera steady while the image is composed, and the camera is focused. It will hold the camera in a fixed position if multiple shots are needed to photograph large documents. Its rigidity and mass will insure that no blurring from vibrations and camera movement will occur. In short, it will help the photographer obtain a good exposure.

I have a $250 Nikon point & shoot camera. Like many other Nikons, it has a phenomenal macro ability. However, the macro ability is ONLY seen when the camera is firmly locked into a good quality tripod that prevents all camera movement when the shutter is pressed. The resulting photos rival those produced by more expensive cameras and lenses.

I linked to a Manfrotto tripod so that the requestor will know what I mean by a removable center column, and how that will help make the shot. You apparently did not grasp the fact that this was for illustration, and that I suggested the requester visit a local store. Will the tripod cost $132. I don't know. That wasn't, and isn't, my point. However, a good tripod with all the qualities I mentioned can easily cost that much. Sometimes you have to spend enough to get the right equipment. An $8 piece of crap with $10 shipping charges simply cannot do the job. You will pay more than this cheap thing is worth. That's what happens when you buy new equipment on eBay.

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It does have bubble levels
by BowerR64 / December 23, 2006 3:55 AM PST

Ill buy 2 and send you one and you can do a review.

If you were to shoot old documents on a table what mode would you use?

Has he said wich camera? what distance?

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my request
by afwilson72 / December 25, 2006 7:33 AM PST

Ok, just to clarifly things a bit, I have a hand-held Olympus Stylus 300. I eventually (hopefully soon) want to upgrade. I just want something that will allow me to get straight and focused pictures. Also, as for another assumption, I am a SHE, not a he. Thanks!

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I think the question has been answered. However, if it is
by Kiddpeat / December 25, 2006 10:22 AM PST
In reply to: my request

more than you want to spend, perhaps you can rig up a framework on which to rest the camera. I don't think a tabletop tripod can do the job.

Another possibility is a normal tripod with the documents or photos either held or taped to the wall.

If you are doing this at home and have a computer, you could also use a scanner rather than a camera.

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ahh yes the scanner
by BowerR64 / December 25, 2006 11:29 AM PST

Ahh yes the scanner, can you get one under the $130. tripod the other guy sugests?

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Yes, they go for as low as $50 at Office Depot.
by Kiddpeat / December 25, 2006 12:18 PM PST
In reply to: ahh yes the scanner

As I recall, it draws its power from a USB connection.

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