Learn more about Tripod Mounts and Accessories
Whether you are a photographer or a filmmaker, you would need a tripod – at some point. And when you first invest in a tripod, it might seem like a huge investment – but well, that’s just the beginning of taking the creative career seriously. As you dive more and more into the creative field, you will realize that you can do a lot more with the tripod – by just attaching different mounts and accessories.
A regular tripod with decent build quality might just be the only thing you need when you are just starting. However, that’s not the reality as you continue to grow in the field. Investing in other good-quality tripod mounts and accessories will continue to be a part of your journey. So, learning more about them and deciding what to buy first is really important.
What is a Tripod Mount?
A tripod mount is basically any accessory that you can fit on the top of your tripod to extend its functionality. Most of the tripod mounts have a 1/4-inch thread at the bottom – which can attach to most tripods without any major issues. However, there are some tripod mounts and accessories – like the different tripod heads – which can also use the 3/8-inch thread. These two are the most common threads for any tripod mounts and accessories.
A tripod mount will usually be able to attach to most tripods – right from the smartphone tripods like the GorillaPod 1K to any bigger camera tripod. They just need to have the most commonly used tripod threads i.e., 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch. If they have either of those threads, most accessories and mounts won’t have any issues attaching to it.
What mounts and accessories can be used on Tripod?
There are quite a lot of mounts and accessories that can be used on a Tripod. Right from mounting different smartphone mounts to changing your regular ball heads for a fluid head – all these can be easily used on a tripod if they have the correct thread. We will go through a small list of some of the most commonly used mounts and accessories on a tripod.
If you are someone who loves to shoot on a smartphone regularly – while also using a DSLR for professional workflow, you should definitely look for a smartphone mount. A smartphone mount usually comes with a quarter-inch thread at the bottom which can be used to attach the mount to the tripod’s quick release plate. Then you can use that mount to attach a smartphone.
Even when you look for a smartphone mount, you will need to have to figure out what you need it for. Some basic smartphone mounts will only allow you to attach a smartphone – and no additional accessories. On the other hand, you will also find some mounts that would allow you to attach additional accessories through a cold-shoe mount. So, it is essential to know your needs before you start looking for them.
If you buy a decent smartphone tripod, there is a good chance it will already have a smartphone mount. However, while buying any smartphone tripod, it’s always great to check if it comes with a smartphone mount or not – if you don’t want to spend any additional amount later. But if you already have a camera tripod, it’s always better to buy an additional smartphone mount – as it can come in clutch right when needed.
There are quite a lot of Tripod Heads available in the market. Out of all of them, ball heads are the most commonly used ones. Usually, whenever you buy a decent camera tripod, they will come with a ball head on top of it. And while the ball heads get the job done for most of us in the beginning, it is a good idea to invest in some tripod heads – as we progress in the creative career.
If you have recently bought a lower-end tripod, there is a good chance that it came with a Pan and Tilt head instead of a ball head. While the pan and tilt head can work really work for beginners, the ball head does allow more flexible movements. However, the Pan and Tilt heads are extremely useful for creating smooth motion in the videos – on a budget. So, if you are into filmmaking, this will be a good option to look at.
While the pan and tilt head can create decently smooth motion for videos, you will need precision through your hands to achieve that. However, if you want to achieve much smoother videos, the Fluid Head is for you. You won’t need to be as precise with your hands here as the Fluid Head handles the smoothness for you.
Ball Heads, Pan & Tilt Heads, and the Fluid Heads are the three most commonly used tripod heads in the creative world. While there are other heads like the Pistol Heads and even Gimbal Heads, they are one of the lesser-used ones.
While some of the tripod heads will easily allow you to rotate your camera in a vertical orientation, the center of gravity for the tripod will usually be misbalanced. Also, the perspective changes when you change the orientation by using a tripod head. This is where an L-shaped bracket would come in really handy.
L-shaped brackets can be directly attached to the tripod as they are directly attached to the tripod in the place of the Arca-Swiss plate. You don’t need to attach them with any of the threads – which makes the process easy. Also, using the Arca-Swiss mount is a better and secure solution for the L-shaped bracket.
There’s just one thing you will need to keep in mind while buying the L-shaped bracket. Not all L-shaped brackets will attach to your camera. Some of these brackets are made specifically for one camera model. However, there are a few universal L-shaped brackets that can be used with different camera models. But compatibility is still something you will have to keep in mind.
While we have already talked about some of the mainly used accessories, there are still a few items that won’t fit those categories. The first one would be the metal spike feet. These are used to attach on the feet part of a camera tripod – and can help to provide stability during outdoor shoots. They are extremely handy when you are not on a flat surface – and working on grassy or muddy floors. But again, not all tripods support this accessory.
The second accessory that we are mentioning here is a very niche accessory. You will mainly need it if you are shooting a video on your own and if you want something that can auto-track your movement. A 360-degree automated rotating device – like the Pivo’s Pod Silver – can be extremely useful – if you are the only shooter and you need to shoot yourself – to create some social media content.
Are Tripod Accessories useful?
Absolutely. There is no doubt about the usefulness of the tripod mounts and accessories. However, you should only purchase a tripod mount or an accessory – depending on your needs. Right from attaching a smartphone with a smartphone mount to making video creation easier with a fluid head, smartphone mounts have their own importance in the creative world.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When we think about purchasing a tripod mount or accessory, it will always look like an easy job at first. However, it’s a pretty vast category where one can buy a lot of things. So, having questions before making a purchase is just a normal thing. Hence, we will try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the tripod mounts and accessories here.
What is the most commonly used tripod mount?
Well, there are a couple of mounts here. First – and probably the most commonly used one for smartphones – is the smartphone mount. This mount has been used on several smartphone tripods as well as camera tripods – and they help deliver great results from the smartphone camera.
The second one – which is quite commonly seen on any camera tripod is the ball head. You will find them on almost any tripod that you are currently willing to buy. But hey, they also help a creator achieve great results with their DSLR – as they can point their camera at different angles.
Is the L-shaped bracket worth it?
Absolutely. The L-shaped bracket helps you put your camera in the landscape as well as portrait mode with ease. While the same feature can be achieved by using a ball head, you will lose out on the perspective and the stability of the tripod. As the L-shaped bracket provides extreme security and stability for our tripod, this feels like a worthy investment – especially when it would last us for years of work.
Are L-shaped brackets universal?
Yes – and – No.
While we can find an L-shaped bracket that features universal compatibility, it is not possible with all the L-shaped brackets. Some of the brackets are specifically made for a single model of the camera. So, you will need to have this in mind while purchasing a bracket for your camera.
You can surely find the universal L-shaped brackets as well – which would work on the majority of the camera models. If that’s something you need, it definitely exists.
Can I mount a different tripod head - like a ball head - on my tripod?
In simple words – Yes!
However, before you order a new tripod head, just ensure that your current tripod supports the removal of these heads. Some of the cheaper options don’t have the option to change the tripod head – which is we always recommend spending a little more to get the one that supports it.
If your tripod head supports the head replacement, you can just buy a new head – by selecting the thread size it will mount to. Usually, a tripod head mounts to the 3/8-inch thread. But there are quite a few tripods that support mounting tripod heads on a 1/4-inch thread. Just ensure the compatibility and the thread size and you should be good to go.
Are these tripod mounts and accessories compatible with all camera tripods?
In most cases – Yes!
As said earlier, these tripod mounts and accessories would use a 1/4-inch or a 3/8-inch thread to mount themselves. However, some accessories like the metal spike feet are just compatible with certain tripods as not all tripods support replaceable feet.
I have an iPhone 12 Series device. Do you have a Phone Tripod Mount that I can attach directly to the device by using MagSafe?
With the introduction of the new MagSafe feature on the iPhone 12 Series, we started working on the camera and tripod-related accessories that can make the job easier for a creator. As a part of those new MagSafe accessories, we introduced the Pro Tripod Mount. We currently offer the Pro Tripod Mount in two options. One of them only supports the landscape orientation while the other one can be in both – landscape as well as portrait orientations.
Do you have a universal Phone Tripod Mount which also comes with Cold Shoe Mount?
While we have the cold shoe mount available on our Pro Tripod Mount with MagSafe, we totally understand that it’s not something that every device supports. So, we also carry the GripTight Pro 2 Phone Mount by Joby. This is a smartphone mount that will be supported by the majority of smartphones – and also comes with a cold shoe mount.
Should I invest in different tripod mounts and accessories?
In our opinion – Yes.
You should definitely invest in different tripod mounts and accessories – that you need. If you don’t need something and are a hundred percent sure that you won’t need it, you shouldn’t really buy it. However, if you need a tripod mount, it’s definitely worth investing in.
While selecting any mount or accessory for the tripod can feel easy at first, one can get confused once they start looking at the options. However, we hope that the information provided here would help you out in selecting the correct mount or accessory. If you are still confused about what to go for, you can definitely reach out to one of our Gear Guides – who would be always ready to assist you in selecting the right gear.