Here I go again, touting the advantages of mirrorless cameras. The thing is if you’re into landscape and nature photography then you’ve always been encouraged to carry the biggest tripod you can carry. This is because big heavy cameras sitting atop spindly tripod legs are prone to wobbling and vibration making blurring pictures at long shutter speeds. Bigger diameter tripod legs offer more rigidity and stability, making not only sharper photographs without wiggle, but also a safer platform to keep your camera from tipping over. But here are two good reasons mirrorless cameras instantly make your small tripod act like a much larger set of sticks.
Small and Light
With a camera that weighs less and is less long and large, you can confidently place it atop a much smaller tripod than you’d ever consider using with a DSLR. I’ve got this terrific travel tripod from Vanguard’s Veo series. The problem with so-called travel tripods is that they are usually too light and wobbly to make them worth taking along when traveling. It would be a bad idea to put a full frame DSLR with an 180mm prime lens atop one of these small tripods because it could too easily be tipped or affected by the wind. And you wouldn’t dream of extending the center column upward–as soon as the mirror moved to expose the shutter the whole contraption would start wobbling with the mirror slap.
But that’s just what I’ve done here. I’ve got a Lumix GX85 with an Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens (similar to a 150mm lens on full frame) sitting atop a very lightweight tripod with the center column fully extended (yes, I really needed the extra height to make the picture). Because the camera is an appropriate weight for this tripod, it remains steady with sharp shots.
Not only does the smaller camera make the tripod more stable, but many mirrorless cameras also have In-Body Image Stabilization in addition to stabilization in the lenses. That means the camera’s sensor actually moves in response to movement outside the camera to help ensure a sharp picture. So, if it is windy and you still need the center racked all the way up, then the IBIS can help counteract the movement of the camera in the breeze. If only it could counteract the movement of tree limbs and flowers in my pictures.
A tripod is only worth carrying around if it is big enough to stabilize your camera and most of the “travel” tripods I’ve seen don’t fit that description for a full frame camera with professional grade lenses. However, if you’re shooting mirrorless cameras you can confidently add a set of travel sticks to your tripod quiver and enjoy the benefits of a lighter tripod.