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Updated on December 17, 2016

Photo tripods and telescopic poles to make a virtual tour

In this third page dedicated to photo equipment to create a virtual tour, we'll study photo tripods, almost essential, and telescopic poles - surprising! - and then, start talking about special heads: spherical panoramic heads. There are indeed few cases of virtual tours when this equipment isn't essential...

The key points if you're a beginner...

Here are the key points to remember about photo tripods and telescopic poles. The rest of this page is aimed at those who want to learn more.

A tripod or a monopod are almost essential, regarding the shooting process. Shoot a panorama with the camera hand-held can be considered, but not for a virtual tour.


Next key points: How many photos? suivre




Photo tripods

Trépied photoThe process of shooting mentioned in the first page makes using a tripod almost essential when you want to be rigorous, hence productive. It is one thing to manage to stitch a complete sphere correctly and it's a different thing to make several "easily". Leveling will be more accurate and long exposure times possible. But of course, when it's about creating a virtual tour in the middle of a crowd, of a riot, etc. the use of the tripod is useless and even annoying sometimes. See the work of Gilles Vidal about that Suivre Some images need to be taken instantly and some photographers specialized in virtual tours don't hesitate to work with a Fisheye lens with the camera hand-held or with a monopod in the middle of a crowd. The photographer can also be looking for special artistic effects: camera shakes...

Photo tripods

Trépied photo hautIt's the most stable solution. Any tripod can be fine, of course, but it can also be useful to place it very close to the floor in certain cases or even at an important height (photo here on the right) - it's less common though because a height of 1.50 m seems very interesting to me... see preparatives | setting up the camera Suivre - and finally as stable as possible, above all in the particular case of the realization of a gigapixel virtual tour.
In many cases you'll just make it work! For their settings possibilities and their value for money, Manfrotto, Benro tripods are very interesting and for their quality only, Gitzo carbon tripods are among marvelous tools because light and rigid.
It's interesting to note that there's a new generation of tripods which central column can be slightly tilted, like on the models Gitzo LVL or by adding a special column to Manfrotto - 555B and 556B -. It appears to be especially convenient when levelling the panoramic head because 15° of tilting in all directions enable to fix almost any situation in one screw movement. See below.

A few tripods I like...

Synthetic table of a few photo tripods

  Tripods Weight (Kg) Price
Benro "Classic"
1.0 to 1.8
$130 to 420
Feisol CT3472 LV
Gitzo LVL


Trépied photo Benro Classic Aluminium

Photo tripod Benro "Classic" Aluminium

There are two categories of Benro tripods: aluminium/magnesium and Carbon/Magnesium. The Alu/Mag tripods are already very light, and really well manufactured!

  • As light as Gitzo carbon!!!
  • To close the arms, possibility to choose between valves or clips,
  • New! Possibility to add a central column to the leveling ball, not very expensive and very well-manufactured,
  • Robustness and...
  • Finishing
  • Carrying case.

One little defect only: they can't go down to ground level. Excellent value for money and nice discovery...

I regularly recommend them to my trainees so these are tripods I know in the field.

From $130 to 210
Buy from Kolor store

Technical specifications

Max/mini H
Weight Kg
Price $
Benro Serial 2 A258
165 cm
Benro Serial 4 A458
186 cm

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A-258 T/F Price Seller


Trépied photo Benro Classic Carbone

Photo tripod Benro "Classic" Carbon

There are two categories of Benro tripods: aluminium/magnesium and Carbon. Carbon/Mag tripods are really very light, more than Gitzo tripods for instance!

  • Really light!
  • To close the arms, possibility to choose between valves or clips,
  • Robustness and...
  • Finishing
  • Carrying case.

One little defect only: they can't go down to ground level. Excellent value for money for carbon and nice discovery...

From $300...
Buy from Kolor Store

Technical specifications

  Retailer Max H Weight Kg Price $
Benro Serial 2 C-257
163 cm
Benro Serial 2 C-258
155 cm
Benro Serial 3 C-358
187 cm

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C-258 T/F Price Seller
Buy from


Feisol CT-3472 LV

FEISOL CT-3472 LV tripod

Feisol really makes very good carbon tripods, very light and yet stable enough and they also possess what I find most convenient to quickly level a panoramic head, a central column that tilts on about 10°, as on the famous Leveling Gitzo... But unlike Gitzo, Feisol offers a tripod that would be the equivalent of a serial 3.

Really good product, I recommend!

Buy from

Technical specifications

Weight Kg
Price $
from 8 to 177 cm

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FEISOL CT-3472 LV Price Seller
  Logo $657.00 Buy from


Gitzo 2531 LVL

Gitzo carbon LVL tripods

Gitzo has among its range of carbon tripods - hence expensive, unfortunately! - two tripods which central column can be completely tilted on 15° unlike the Manfrotto one on which only the ball tilts. It is more convenient because the clamping screw is easier to reach. I love these tripods which qualities I praise everyday to realize panoramas! You can change parts very quickly and level it...

Buy it from

Technical specifications

  Manufacturer Size Weight Kg Price $
from 16 to 158 cm
from 16 to 172 cm

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2531 or 2540 LVL Price Seller
  Logo $859.90 Buy from





Monopods and telescopic poles

Another solution is to use a monopod as support for the panoramic head. It's more convenient when you want to make a virtual tour in three photos only to go very fast, anywhere like in a crowd for instance and when you're working with a circular fisheye lens...
Unless it's about realizing a panorama in height, with a telescopic pole. With lots of carbon tripods now on the market, light and not too expensive, this shooting mode is expanding. It will then be easy to make monorange panoramas at a height of more than 6m without heavy installation to set up. It prevents of course long exposure times but when technically the photos can be shot, the point of view of the panorama. As for now, one telescopic pole stands out: the carbon pole Nodal Ninja / Fanotec P2 . It is light to carry, not too long once folded, very well made and designed... a true revolution, very pleasant to use.


Mâts téléscopiques Fanotec P-2

Telescopic pole P-1 and P-2

There are numerous versions enabling to reach different heights. You need to choose according to your needs.

  • Light: less than 2 Kg!
  • Choice of the height: from 2.80 to 6m,
  • Short once folded: less than 1.20m,
  • Finishing,
  • Convenient!

Excellent value for money to discover a new world, perched at a height of six meters!

Now reviewed on this site!

From €382 to 650

Technical specifications

Telescopic poles
P-1 P-2
Max. height (m)
Height folded (m)
from 0.78 to 0.90
Nb of sections
4 or 5
Price (in euros)
€382.00 (without acces.)
€735.00 (with acces.)

Buy it from...

Full P2 pole
Price in € Retailer
Shop Nodal Ninja
Buy this pole from Kolor Store chez Kolor

* Without accessories - You'll need to add the base, the carrying case, the positioner hence about 150.00 euros more.


And to finish this part: the leveling base Suivre

Next 6/14 : the leveling bases suivre

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