I think it is fair to say that we all want sharp photos. One of the causes of disappointing photos is camera shake.The result of camera shake is an image which is blurred or not sharp enough.
Using a camera tripod is essential to create a steady platform for your camera. If you do not have a tripod you are effectively halving the number of picture-taking opportunities that you come across where an absolutely steady camera is necessary. A A tripod is used when taking close-up, landscapes, low-light situations, slow shutter speeds, long exposures and panoramic pictures
If you are serious about photography a camera tripod is a must. Apart from eliminating camera shake and increasing sharpness, a tripod will also slow you down and get you to think more about framing, composition and creativity. This will mean that you will start taking even greater pictures
A mounted camera will also leave you free to walk around, study or talk your subject, be in the photo yourself and generally set-up the shot you are looking for.
The downside to all this, of course, is that tripods are bulky, awkward and a pain to carry around especially if you are using a DSLR with all the equipment required for your particular type of photography such as lighting equipment.
Shopping for a tripod can be very confusing with all the number of tripods to choose from. As with many other things in life, you get what you for and this applies to camera tripods as well. Prices can vary quite a lot between the cheapest and the dearest tripods.
The general consensus amongst the experts is that if you intend serious photography then go for the best you can afford. Good quality camera tripods will last a lifetime if well looked after, and are therefore cheaper in the long run.
However, before you start to choose a tripod think about your photography requirements (indoor or outdoor,the size and weight of your camera, what you want to do with it).
Some points to consider are that cheaper tripods will not take much abuse, and would need replacing at intervals, and might have problems with the heavier DSLRs plus their equipment.
If you are using the tripod out in the field then a tripod needs to be heavy and solid enough to stand weight, rougher treatment and external factors like wind and vibration. This is then offset by the need for portability and lightness or perhaps the need to get the tripod into a suitcase when flying.
Also consider that there are ways to minimize shaking and vibration by leaning your weight on the tripod (if exposure less than 1 sec.), or hanging a heavy camera bag between the legs.
A further but important addition in the pursuit for that sharpest of photos is a cable or remote release which comes with many cameras. Alternatively, you can use the self-timer. In each case you are away from the camera and will not contribute to camera shake.
Look in your manual and see if you can use mirror lock-up, another way on the road to reducing vibration.
To sum up there are many aspects to using a camera tripod and the object of the exercise is all about getting clear, sharp photographs.The choice of tripods is enough to confuse anybody but continue to research tripods, as the most expensive is not necessarily the best, decide what your particular needs are then get a tripod which suits you at a price you can afford.