So that I understand, I am getting the tripod to remove the slight movement of my hands when holding the camera? That slight movement makes it harder to focus?
Ummmm...sure...that's it, ya, go with that one.
When I jumped in on this topic, you were already talking about a tripod to steady the shot....so I was just trying to help.
In all actuallity, it's not so much that you need to steady your hands for the auto focus, but more for the slow shutter speed.
You can try to get around this by manually upping the ISO (ASA) to 400 (which is max for your camera). This should allow you to shoot with less light and no flash at a higher shutter speed with your f/stop wide open.......make sense? Ok, just put your ISO on 400, then put it in portrait mode and snap a shot and see how it looks. If it looks junky, set your camera to manual, put the iso at 400, the f/stop at the smallest number you can get (I think f/2.8 for your camera) and the shutter speed to 1/125 (125) and no flash (but with PLENTY of ambient/natural) lighting and take a shot. Step back, zoom in, turn the flash on and take another shot. See how they look. If it's to dark, you can drop the shutter speed to 1/60 (60) and try them both again.
Not having your camera right in front of me is kind of like guessing what settings you should have your camera set at, but these should get you close. Not using your flash will cut down on the reflections and shadows, specially up close, and backing up and using your flash will allow the light to "fall off" (or diffuse) and reduce reflections/shadows. I'd try these first before you buy the tripod. Setting the ISO higher should allow you to make more adjustments to avoid a slow shutter speed, and blurring of the photo. Also, try setting the ISO to 400 and shooting in "P" with and without the flash from closeup and a distance (zoomed in). Heck, try all the settings!
Hope it helps!