The Tripod Number - Science Comes To The Aid Of Art
Sir Isaac Newton is popularly portrayed as forming his theory of the force of gravity by getting hit on the head by and apple - this is nonsense of course, but in the case of the tripod number this was indeed occasioned by a fall. Someone's 5D MkIII and 600mm lens tilted over and hit the mud when the owner attached it to a $ 49 plastic tripod and then let go...
Briefly, the Theory of Tripod Numbers assigns a complex number to each camera type:
Compact camera or phone with no tripod socket = 0/0
Compact camera with tripod socket = 1/1
Mirror-less system camera = 2/8
Consumer DSLR = 3/12
Professional DSLR = 4/16
Medium Format camera =5/45
Further to this, types of tripods are also assigned simple numbers:
Plastic cheapie = 1
Metal legged tripod = 2
Carbon Fibre legged tripod = 3
The last factor in the equation is the cost of he tripod:
Bargain bin = 1
Regular stock line = 2
Premium eye-wateringly expensive line = 3
Here is how the mathematics work:
A. If you have a camera with no socket you multiply 0 x 0 x 0 and get 0. You don't need a tripod - you just need to drink less and stand still.
B. If you have a mirror-less system camera you need to multiply its number - 1 - by the tripod number and then multiply that by the price factor. ie
2 x 2 x 2 = 8
The 8 that you obtained is the least number that will be successful and allow you to keep your camera up off the ground. If you try to cheat and get a little plastic tripod, you'll end up with:
2 x 1 x 1 = 2
You can expect Sir Isaac's discovery to eventually overcome yours and disaster will ensue.
C. Follow on - try the mathematics with an consumer's DSLR for yourself:
3 x 2 x 2 = 12............and you are safe.
3 x 1 x 2 =6...............and wait for the crash.
If you achieve a higher number than the minimum one required for your camera - ie choose a carbon fibre from the boutique rack and put it under your mirror-less:
2 x 3 x 3 = 18
You are as safe as houses - might have paid a bit more, but you have that reserve of goodness in case you get a bigger camera.
Next month we are going to present a paper that demonstrated the correlation between the weight carried by the adventure photographer and the value of the results. There is still a little work to be done in factoring in the cost of the chiropractor's charges but this should be finished in time for the meeting.