A Complete List of Tripod Parts

Parts for a tripod allow photographers and videographers to take shots without having to worry about a shaking camera or camcorder, which can lead to blurry shots. Tripod parts ensure that the tripod is steady, that the camera can swivel and that the camera is high enough.

Types of Head Assemblies

The head is where the camera sits, and oftentimes this piece can be raised or lowered depending on the user's needs. Heads can often be bought separately since different cameras may require different heads. Some cameras like Nikon and Canon often have to have their own special head assemblies.

There are two main types of head assembles: ball and three way. The ball assembly uses a ball assembly, and the camera will basically just barely sit on top of the head. This assembly usually comes with a single button that allows users to quickly lock and release the head. This may be useful for people that often change position or need to change cameras.

The three way head generally allows for more movement than the ball head since the camera is locked into the head in three different positions. The three way also gives the users a bit more control over manipulating and leveling the camera.

Legs and Extensions

Tripods have three legs, and these will fan out in a triangular pattern. Generally, the legs can be collapsed into themselves and then folded up tighter so that they fit into backpacks. Some of the heavy duty tripods, however, will not fold up too small.

Most tripods will have either plastic or rubber feet. Some, however, will be connected via cross bars so that they will stand up better. Some feet may also have spikes or some type of pin so that they can be dug into the ground. These are especially useful in areas that have wet or soggy mud or rock.

All tripod legs should be able to be extended so that they can be raised or lowered. These are known as extensions. While cheaper tripods will only allow users to extend all the legs to the same height, users should be able to vary the lengths of the extensions on better made tripods.

Camera Plate

The camera plate is the object that actually screws into the camera or camcorder. With many tripods, the camera plate is permanently fixed to the tripod. Quick-release camera plates, however, stay screwed into the bottom of the camera.

This allows the camera to be quickly removed from the tripod if users want to take pictures without the tripod or simply quickly remove the camera from the tripod. Usually, photographers or videographers just have to press a button to release the camera and the camera plate.


The adjustment knob allows the camera to be moved in any direction without actually moving the tripod. This is useful in panoramic shots. Users can just swivel the camera around to capture as much of the scene as possible, and they will get everything from the same vantage point.