Do You Really Need a Tripod for Landscape Photos with Modern Cameras & Fast Lenses? (VIDEO)

There was a time when it was considered blasphemy for a serious landscape photographer to leave home without a sturdy tripod. But with recent developments in camera and lens technology, the advantages of shooting handheld are at least worth considering.

In the video below, British landscape photographer Chris Sale takes a close look at the pros and cons of shooting with and without a tripod, and provides his views on which approach is better for nature photography. Until recently Sale used a solid tripod to capture all of his images, and took advantage of its ability to get his camera up high to create separation between foreground and background elements.

But Sale notes that easy-to-handle mirrorless cameras, fast lenses, and advancements in image stabilization technology have encouraged more and more nature photographers to leave their tripods at home—especially when faced with a long hike into the backcountry. That’s because tripods are heavy and “really slow you down.”

Sale notes that a tripod does enable you to make precise adjustments to a photo, while maintaining the same camera position. On the other hand, he says, “While shooting handheld I am able to react more quickly and find I am much more inclined to move around to explore different angles.”

This tutorial also explores how filter use and special techniques like HDR and panoramic photography affects whether or not Sale uses a tripod, and how the choice of a DSLR or mirrorless camera enters into the equation. So take a look and see if you agree.

You can find more helpful tips on Sale’s YouTube channel, and be sure to check out yesterday’s tutorial on how to shoot awesome autumn landscape photographs.