Camera Support Troubleshooter

In the sections below, I cover the common problems you’ll encounter while using camera supports such as tripods or gimbals.

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Camera support troubleshooter

You need reliable devices to support your camera. But out of all your equipment, their moving parts receive the most wear and tear. Here you'll find problem solving tips for working with tripods and other support systems.

Tripod leg collapses

One or more of the tripod legs doesn't support the weight of the camera.

Solutions

Check the locks on the legs are engaged correctly.

Tripod legs are usually in two or three stages. It’s likely one of the stages needs tightening:

  • Remove the camera from the tripod.
  • Press down on the tripod to see which stage is loose.
  • Use a screwdriver or hex (Allen) key to tighten it. Look for a bolt on the backside of the locking mechanism.
  • Toggle the lock to make sure you haven’t over-tightened.

Tripod head loose

The tripod head is loose and won't lock on the pan (left and right) axis.

Solutions

If the head sits on a column, turn it clockwise to tighten it.

If the tripod has a half ball and bowl mechanism for joining the head and legs:

  • Unscrew and remove the levelling handle (underneath the head, between the legs).
  • Lift the head out of the bowl. Take care as the half ball will be greasy.
  • Tighten the screws that attach the half ball to the head.
  • Return the head to the bowl and screw on the levelling handle.

Can’t get tripod in its bag

It seems very difficult or impossible to get the tripod back into its very tight bag.

Solutions

With some tripods this is definitely an issue. Here’s what to do:

  • Collapse the leg stages and lock them.
  • Fold the legs together and clip them if possible.
  • Keeping the tripod head flat, loosen the pan arm and position it parallel with the legs. Tighten it to lock.
  • Point the feet of the tripod.
  • Ease the tripod feet-first into the bag.

You should be able to zip the bag without any problems.