Every photography enthusiast knows the importance of a sturdy tripod in taking non-handheld shots. A tripod is a basic necessity in astrophotography, particularly in taking wide-field photos of constellations, the moon, the sun (sunrise/sunset), meteors, conjunctions, flares (flyby), star trails, and even the Milky Way.

Since I already have a heavy-duty tripod for my telescope which I can always use with my DSLR camera, I have no wish to acquire another large and therefore bulky tripod, an unnecessary duplication of equipment. What I wanted instead is a tripod that is small enough to fit in a small camera bag, yet sturdy enough to carry the weight of my DSLR (equipped with a lens, a battery grip, and a Peltier cooler assembly as part of a modification). After months of searching, finally I have found one that satisfies my preferences: a mini tripod.

A small yet sturdy fully-functional mini-tripod for usual day-to-day imaging as well as astrophotography

For a tripod to be useful in astrophotography (and to any other field in photography for that matter), it should have (1) a means to point a camera to any desired direction, (2) a means to adjust the proper leveling of the camera, and be (3) sturdy enough to hold the weight of a typical DSLR camera with lens. All these three characteristics will make any tripod desirable for my purposes.

Modified Canon 450D DSLR camera mounted onto an SLIK-Mini Pro III tripod during a non-astro outdoor shoot (April 2013)

My preferences may be different with yours, but in pursuing astrophotography as a hobby, I strongly suggest investing on a decent tripod.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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