A tripod is one of the oldest, simplest, and essential tools in photography. While setting up a video shoot, you need your camera to hold still and unmoving for thirty seconds exposure, or want something else to support your heavy gear so that you don’t have to, buying the best camera tripod becomes essential.
Choosing a tripod can surely be an overwhelming experience, given how many different choices and types available these days. On the one hand, a camera tripod is a very simple and easy tool used to keep our cameras steady when we use them in challenging and low-light conditions, and on the other hand, there are so many variables that come into play when choosing a tripod. While all tripods rely on a basic structure, they vary significantly in size, material, style, and features.
Before getting into the intricate details of a tripod, you must know the advantages of using the best camera tripod.
Why Do You Need A Tripod?
You might need a tripod for the following reasons.
- To increase sharpness and depth of field in photographs by keeping the camera still in low-light environments when using slow shutter speed.
- To uplift the quality of images clicked by keeping the camera ISO low.
- To rest heavy camera gear like long telephoto lenses on the tripod.
- To do self-portraits with a camera timer
- To click photographs of nighttime objects such as the moon, planets, stars, etc. as well as clicking pictures of painting with light or using available light for landscape and architectural photography.
- To allow a more careful composition while framing the shot exactly how you require.
- To shoot at difficult and impossible angles.
- To shoot extreme closeups.
- To shoot HDR and panoramic shots which needs the same framing and precision
- To hold various objects such as reflectors and flashes.
Using a tripod not only keeps camera ISO as low as possible, which keeps the noise in images to a minimum and also provides the highest dynamic range that the camera sensor can capture. There are situations when a tripod is used to slow down and blur action, such as when photographing streams and waterfalls.
Components Of A Tripod
A tripod is generally comprised of the following parts.
Legs – This is the most apparent component and is made of aluminum, basalt, steel, or carbon fiber.
Head – This is the part that holds the camera or lens. There are various types of heads, but the most common are ball heads and pan-tilt heads.
Center post – It is a separate leg that runs through the middle allowing to raise the tripod head further.
Feet – Some good tripods allow changing tripod feet at the end of legs for indoor and outdoor use.
Cheap tripods come with legs that have an integrated non-replaceable head and feet and may have a center post, while the top of the line tripods have a modular tripod system that has replaceable feet and allow affixing a separate tripod head.
Disadvantages Of Using A Tripod
While there are various advantages of using the best camera tripod, there are some disadvantages which you must know.
- Tripods are potentially heavy. Although light-weight carbon-fiber tripods are available out there, once you add a tripod head, the system can become heavy.
- Tripods are a bit inconvenient. It occupies space and is difficult to carry along.
- Tripods are often tricky to use in crowded environments.
- Best camera tripods can be expensive.
- Tripods can take time in setting up, making you miss the moment.
- Your camera lens can be damaged if you do not know how to properly use a tripod or if the tripod is cheap and unstable.
Keeping these things in mind, you must go for a tripod that is of good quality, stable, easy to carry, and does not occupy much space.
Factors To Consider While Buying A Tripod
There are certain factors that one must keep in mind while buying the best camera tripod.
It is highly recommended that you don’t choose the first cheap camera tripod you come across, however tempting that may be. Remember that you are investing in something that will hold your camera gear safely and securely.
1. Maximum Height
Ideally, the tripod you will choose will reach your eye level or be as close as possible. Being able to look directly into your camera’s viewfinder without putting any strain on your neck will be a much more comfortable experience, especially if you will be using your tripod a lot.
Having said this, if you go for a shorter tripod, some cameras come with a flip-out LCD screen, which can be handy to help with the composition. You can also consider is a mini or tabletop tripod for those times when a full-sized model is not suitable.
It is one of the primary considerations if you are going to carry your tripod a lot. Obviously, a light tripod means less to carry, but on the other hand, a more substantial tripod can provide more stability, especially in high wind. To combat a light tripod moving in adverse wind conditions, some models feature a hook under the center column, onto which one can hand a camera bag or something else to add up weight.
3. Folded Length
Along with the weight of the tripod, its folded length is also crucial if you are going to carry it a distance. If it’s too long to trap to your bag, and is unwieldy in trains or climbing over stiles, then it’s going to put you off taking anywhere. May travel tripods have legs that fold upwards for storage and completely enclose the head. It makes the tripod smaller and neat when folded and easy to carry around.
4. Leg Sections
Tripods legs may have three to five sections. A large number of the section means that the tripod is shorter and more portable when it’s folded but will usually take longer to set up.
5. Head Types
Sometimes the tripod head is included and sometimes not. You can change one head for the other, depending on how you would like it to work. Ball heads are quick and compact to use but not so good for small and controlled movements. On the other hand, three-way heads are larger but allow precise adjustments for each axis independently.
6. Aluminum Vs. Carbon- Fibre
These are the two most common types of material used for tripod legs. Aluminum tripods are cheaper but are more on the heavy side. They are ideal if you want maximum stability for the price paid. Carbon-fiber tripods cost more but weigh less as compared to aluminum ones. They are good if the cost is not a problem as the price premium can be substantial.
7. Center Column
All tripods do not come with a center column, but most of them do. You can extend this upwards to increase the height of the camera. On some tripods, the center column can be rotated to produce an angled boom, which is perfect for angled shots, macro work, and tabletop photography.
8. Leg Angles
Most tripods come with legs that can be angled independently, which is very useful when working on sloping sites or in cramped areas. The standard angle will be fine for regular use, but it’s often helpful to splay one or more legs outward on uneven surfaces or rest them on walls. Splaying out all three legs will allow you to shoot from a much lower angle.
9. Types of Feet
Rubber feet work well on most surfaces but best on carpets and wooden floors where you don’t want to cause any damage. Metal spikes work well on soft and uneven grounds. Some tripods have rubber feet that can be screwed to reveal spikes.
Top 10 Best Camera Tripods 2021
1. AmazonBasics 60-inch Lightweight Tripod With Bag
This tripod by AmazonBasics is a lightweight tripod with adjustable height legs. It also has rubber feet which work well on carpets and wooden floors. This tripod is perfect for most cameras. Its setup is easy and quick. Another benefit of this tripod is that it comes with a bag that makes storage and transportation easier.
Its legs can extend from 20 inches to 48 inches, and leg locks release fluidly and glides easily to your desired height. It has a built-in level above the legs that let you know when the base is level. Another on the top of the camera plate will help you see when the camera is level. Its rubber feet are adjustable so that you can achieve the ideal position. It is suitable for digital, video, or still camera.
The tripod has two built-in bubble view levels and three-way head to allow for tilt and swivel motion, portrait and landscape options. Its quick-release mounting plate ensures fast transitions between shots. It is one of the best camera tripods as it is compatible with almost all video cameras, digital cameras, still cameras, GoPro devices, smartphone adapters,and scopes.
After analyzing customer reviews, it can be concluded that the tripod is made with hard plastic and aluminum. Its legs are pretty solid and have an excellent finish. The extensions pull out well and stay in place perfectly. Tripod’s feet have little ball joints on the end, so it’s always pretty stable, no matter what ground you put it on.
Customers also said that the tripod is very lightweight, and the bag that comes along makes it easy to carry from one place to another. It is excellent for portrait shots and allows you to get a slow shutter speed in low lighting situations. Overall, it is a perfect buy and is very affordable.
2. JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom
With this tripod, you can get crisper shots. This tripod is durable and lightweight and looks attractive. Its rubberized foot grips and wrappable legs will secure professional cameras up to 6.6lbs.
Its smooth maneuverability and precise positioning with 360 panning help to expand the range of shots you capture. You can get ultra-stable and find your grounding with over two dozen leg joints, and German TPE joins so that you never get a shaky shot. The tripod is strong enough to hold a telephoto lens.
You can easily carry this lightweight and mirrorless camera anywhere. It has a quick-release plate stays connected to your camera so that you can interchange it with ease. This tripod by JOBY is made with durable Japanese medical-grade ABS plastic, stainless steel, and German TPE, which can survive the wear and tear of everyday life and rigor of adventure.
The tripod can set up quickly, and you can tune/adjust shots or easily switch between portrait and landscape orientations.
According to customer reviews, the tripod is compact, sturdy, and functional. It is heavier than expected, which makes it durable. The panning mode on the ball head is just perfect and comes handy for cinematic shots. Overall, it is a decent buy if you are looking for the best camera tripod under the price range of $85.
3. UBeesize Tripod
It is a new, small, and bendy tripod, which is a full update to UBeesize’s best selling phone tripod in the US market. The tripod is upgraded in both material and structure for the best performance. It is one of the tallest cell phone tripods in the market, providing a higher possibility of wider applications.
It’s flexible octopus style legs are made of thick premium metal and full metal connector reinforced with coating rubber and compact foam. It provides stability as a high-grade metal ball joint supports phone/camera up to 1 kg. It locks even the most massive smartphone into position securely. Its non-slip feet design keeps this adjustable tripod steady on the virtual ground surface.
Wireless remote control makes it possible to take shots from a distance of up to 30 feet. It is perfect for taking selfies, group photos, filming, vlogging, and steady tripod shots. It comes with an added adapter accessory that allows you to place your cellphone in both vertical and horizontal ways.
After analyzing customer reviews, it can be concluded that the tripod’s bendable legs work well on an uneven surface. They have a slip-resistant foam covering and slip-resistant rubber pads on the feet. Legs are flexible, so one can wrap them around tree branches, railings, etc. Some customers also said that it is the best tripod for the price.
Its Bluetooth wireless remote is convenient as you can frame your shot and then use the remote to take a picture or start a video recording without even needing to touch the phone. Overall, it can be said that this tripod works well and is a good buy if you are looking for tripods under the price range of $20.
4. AmazonBasics Lightweight Camera Mount Tripod Stand With Bag
This tripod by AmazonBasics helps you capture vivid, professional-style photographs. Its adjustable height makes it easy to achieve reliable stability and score just the right angle when going for the award-winning shot.
This tripod is a fun and useful camera accessory for both new and professional photographers. This handy tripod accommodates a wide range of digital, video, and still cameras and comes loaded with many user-friendly features.
The tripod’s three-way head allows versatility. You can easily change the orientation of the camera from portrait to landscape and almost any angle in between with the handy tilt motion. This tripod also allows for full panoramic possibilities with its 360-degree swivel function.
Its quick-release mounting plate makes it easy to remove your camera from the tripod, helping you to ensure quick transitions between shots and for moving from location to location.
Due to its lever-lock legs with expandable sections, the tripod effortlessly accommodates custom set-ups. The tripod’s leg height can be individually adjusted as required, or all the three legs can be raised to the full height of 50 inches. The levers securely lock the legs into place and release smoothly for smooth gliding to the desired height. For additional convenience, it has an extendable gearless center post, which promotes smooth easy movement and adjustment, and its rubber feet help to ensure stability on different surfaces.
This tripod is made of durable yet lightweight aluminum and transitions effortlessly from one spot to another and transports easily. The tripod offers a collapsible design where the handle rotates down, legs contract, and everything folds in, creating a small, compact size. It fits perfectly into the provided zippered bag for easy portability and safe storage.
According to customer reviews, this tripod is light, relatively sturdy. Customers also loved the fact that it comes with a bag. To conclude, it is a pretty decent buy under the price of $15.
5. Dolica GX600B200 Proline GX Series Aluminum Tripod and Ball Head Combo For DSLR
This Dolica aluminum tripod and ball head is a complete support system for your camera. It is perfectly designed to be lightweight, portable, and stable for any occasion. This tripod is composed of anodized aluminum alloy and plastic polymer composite, which maximizes the petite size and reinforces stability to make every photo shoot just perfect.
The tripod also provides the comfort of the NBR foam grip for extreme weather conditions. This comfort grip is useful as you can have a tight grip and be sure that the tripod will not slip from your hands. In freezing temperatures, any metal will become unbearably cold, and in scorching temperatures, the metal will heat, making it uneasy to hold it. NBR foam grips are specially offered for this reason.
Its sleek ball head includes a quick-release plate with a 3/8 inch mount camera. It gets attached to the ball head with a safety lock to prevent the camera from slipping off and falling while loosening your quick release plate. While you have your camera attached to a quick release plate and ball head, you can pan 360 degrees and tilt up to 90 degrees.
This upgraded tripod has a professional function and additional features. Its three major features include four-level positioning, interchangeable spike/rubber feet, and a dual-purpose mount. An uneven surface can be a big issue for photographers, which is why it comes with four levels for high to low-level shots.
You can position each leg from a standard position to adjusting each leg at four different levels. Make sure to use rubber feet for soft surfaces and spike rubber feet for rugged terrain.
After analyzing customer reviews, it can be said that the ball head can hold heavier equipment nicely. It comes with a beautiful travel bag, which makes portability and storage easy.
It is a good buy if you are thinking of buying a tripod under $55.
6. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod
The tripod by Vanguard is one of the most flexible tripods in the world and has everything that you need for out-of this world photography. This tripod has unmatched versatility and stability, enabling more shooting angles than ever before.
The tripod’s multi-angle central column system allows one to move the central column from zero to 180 degrees angles in various vertical and horizontal positions, making macro-photography and unique wide-angle shots easy.
The tripod’s aluminum alloy and fiber legs have settings for 25 degrees, 50 degrees, and 80 degrees with release buttons for quick set up. The instant swivel stop-n-lock system securely repositions the central column in one movement in few seconds while maintaining your tripod’s stability.
Some other features such as a magnesium die-cast copy, quick-flip leg locks, non-slip, spiked rubber feet, and a removable hook for hanging camera accessories make it one of the best camera tripods. The tripod has a stylish look and is an excellent buy if you are looking for tripods under the price range of $130.
7. Geekoto Tripod
This tripod by GEEKOTO is excellent for photographers, enthusiasts, beginners, and travelers. Its quick-release flip locks allow you to adjust the working height from 19” to 77” in seconds. Multiple choices of height help you in meeting your demand on different angles of shot. The tripod comes with a specially designed ball head that can rotate 360 degrees and get free angles allowing you to get the perfect chance and amazing panorama every time.
Its 19 inches compact storage size makes it very easy to store and carry from one place to another. The legs of the tripod can be adjusted in three levels of opening angle to stabilize on varying grounds and incline levels.
The tripod can be quickly disassembled with the central axis screw and transform into a monopod which provides an alternative way of shooting with ease. This product can be the best companion for your DSLR cameras and withstand heavier weight when compared to similar products and remain stable.
After analyzing customer reviews, it can be concluded that the tripod is made of aluminum and gets easily folded. It is lightweight, sturdy, and looks pretty good. Customers call it a perfect hiking tool and love the monopod option.
The height of the tripod is perfect, and its panoramic ball head is well made. The build quality of the tripod is good, and it comes with a high-quality bag and a separate cover for the head mount to avoid any scratches on the tripod legs when its folded. The color scheme is lovely, and the tripod looks good. Overall, this tripod is an excellent buy under the price range of $80.
8. Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum 5-section Tripod Kit
This tripod is the best choice for owners of entry-level DSLRs with standard kit lenses who like to shoot a lot of videos and photos. Its ergonomic joystick head with the scroll-wheel locking mechanism is very intuitive and easy-to-use.
The tripod’s innovative circular quick release plate is perfect for easy camera attachment by hand without any need for coins or screwdrivers. This tripod is made with high-quality aluminum and includes a special adapter for higher-specification cameras.
The tripod is ultra-lightweight, portable, and easy to use. With this tripod, you will realize the potential of your entry-level DSLR. Its three-way head will support your standard zoom lens and entry-level DSLR so that you can take your photography to new heights.
Its leg structure is something you can rely on for sharp and detailed pictures every time. After analyzing customer reviews, it can be said that the tripod is lightweight and easy to use. It is sturdy, doesn’t wiggle or rattle, and is great for videos and still photos. Overall, it is a good buy in the price it is offered at.
9. YoTilon DSLR Travel Tripod
This tripod by YoTilon is one of the best camera tripods. It has a quick-release plate with ¼ screw, compatible with all DSLR SLR camera, camcorder, mini projector, and digital cameras. It is a sony tripod, canon tripod, and also Nikon tripod as it is compatible with Canon 7D, canon rebel, sony a7, sony a6000, and so on.
The tripod is lightweight as it weighs only 2.1 lbs. Its height is adjustable from 405mm to 1240 mm, which makes it perfect for business travel, outdoor travel, indoor activities, or family trips with carrying bag for easy portability and safe storage. The three angle position of the legs enables shooting on cramped quarters and uneven rough ground.
The tripod is equipped with a 360-degree pan ball head bubble fluid level indicator on the tripod, making it ideal for travel and work professional shooting. The professional stand can be inverted to achieve macro shot and special photography.
It is also equipped with extra strong, quick buckle leg locks and operation handle, which is very easy and convenient to extend and fold. The recommended loading capacity for the tripod is 3 kg or 6 lbs, and the maximum capacity is 5 kg or 11 lbs.
The tripod also has a spring-loaded hook, which allows you to hang additional weight from the tripod’s center for enhanced stability, making your shoot more sturdy and perfect. Its leg locks are easy to operate, quick, and convenient. The best part about this product is that it is backed by 12 months of after-sale service and a thirty-day money-back service.
After analyzing customer reviews, it can be concluded that the tripod is all-metal construction and is so sturdy. It has a very high-quality small fluid head on the tripod, which pans and tilts smoothly. The tripod is very easy to move from horizontal to vertical shots, and the two bubble levels are conveniently placed. It can be short enough to be used as a desktop tripod and tall enough to use while standing. When folded, the tripod is compact enough to fit the legs in most backpack bottle pockets.
Overall, it is an excellent buy, especially under the price range of $40.
10. Abithid Camera Tripod DSLR Stand
This camera tripod by Abithid will help you take vivid, professional photos. The height-adjustable tripod achieves reliable stability and makes it easy to score at the right angle when shooting. Tripod sold with 360 rotate vertical, and horizontal phone holder makes it convenient to put your smartphone in it. The compatible mobile phone width is 55mm to 90mm, and most smartphones work perfectly with it.
The tripod also equips a 360-degree panorama ball head, ¼ quick-release mount, and ball head handle. With your camera or mobile phone mounted on it, you can take photos or videos at any angle – horizontally, vertically, upward, and downward. You can also record accurate panoramas.
With its ¼ panorama 360 ball head and 360 rotate phone holder, you can use it for making vlogs, vlogging, YouTube, and blogging. This tripod is compatible with most cameras such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Samsung, Fuji Olympus Handycam Lumix Rebel, and so on.
Its legs are made of high-quality aluminum alloy tubes and fork made of high-quality ABS. The tripod is suitable for both cameras and smartphones, is made of lightweight aluminum and comes with a zippered bag, which makes it easy to carry the tripod anywhere. Its quick-release plate allows you to connect and disassemble the camera in seconds.
According to customer reviews, it is very light, and you can have it in your backpack without feeling much weight. The movements of the tripod are smooth and stable to make videos and can be used on a table as well as difficult places, pastures, and streets. Customers loved the ability to flip the center column upside down and the leg locking system. It’s super easy mounting plate does not require a screwdriver to mount it on your camera.
The best thing about this product is that it is backed with fantastic customer service. The stand comes with a two-year replacement and thirty-day return policy. Even if you have ordered the wrong product or the product comes out to be defective, you will get satisfied solutions within 24 hours.
The included cell phone adapter is very functional and does not work on a spring-like other cheap adapter. It has a screw that allows you to adjust how tight you want it on your phone. Overall, it is worth it and an excellent buy if you are looking for the best camera tripods under the price range of $45.
As you have seen, there are plenty of best camera tripods available in the market. Tripods are surely a beautiful accessory to have and can assist you greatly with photography. They are available to suit all kinds of budget and come in a range of materials from aluminum to carbon fiber.
Tripods will be handy for low light photography as in such a situation; there comes a time when you can no longer hold the camera steady in your hand. Using a tripod in such circumstances will significantly assist you. It will also allow you to capture a more prolonged exposure by using a slow shutter speed of up to several seconds and will provide stability to the camera.
It is essential to keep the above-mentioned points in mind while buying a tripod so that you make a wise choice and go for the best camera tripod that will help you in taking sharper images and provide the ability to frame and adjust shots with ease.
A tripod may be a bit of extra weight to your camera bag, but having one available when out for shooting could mean the difference between a blurred shot and a pin-sharp one. Using tripods for photography can give you the time to hone in on your composition. So let the tripod support the weight of the camera while you are busy snapping – happy clicking!