Toronto. Over the years there were many kinds of camera supports. The early studio supports were massive wooden boxes, usually with four legs. When cameras were used outdoors we soon saw the traditional three legs – tripods – first of wood and later of metal. Various heads, columns, camera mounts, etc. were offered. In the latter half of the last century monopods were available.
Table top tripods with different heads became common and remain so today, but with flexible legs to wrap around a support. When media and cameras were very slow, a support like a tripod was essential. From the very beginning of photography to well into the last century tripods were critical accessories for work in poor light. Fast lenses, fast media, and flash made hand held photographs in good light practical. Optical stabilization augmented other improvements to permit hand held photographs even in poor light.
Today’s digital cameras and smartphones have sensor ratings far exceeding film ratings and coupled with optical stabilization have all but eliminated any need for tripods during casual day to day snapshots.