For long exposure images, you need a tripod. Images such as high quality (=low ISO) night shots, long exposures of rivers and waterfalls, and so on.
Contrary to what many believe, a tripod always makes images sharper, even at relatively fast shutter speeds. But you really need it when you exceed, roughly, 1/L second, where L is the length of your lens. So, 1/50th sec for a 50mm lens, or 1/200th sec for a 200mm lens.
Then there are three types of tripod:
- Cheap throw-away $50 tripod. A good option for occasional use, or where you may lose, forfeit or forget the tripod, such as while travelling, Light, but not good quality.
- Good studio tripod – maybe $200, These are sturdy – but heavy.
- High end sturdy-but-light carb0n fibre tripod – up to $1,000 or more. These are light yet sturdy: a great choice for on the road. Costly but it will last you decades.
A good tripod is a worthwhile investment, as you will see when you start actually using it. Ask Santa for one, perhaps?