Choosing the best tripod for photography can be an overwhelming task. After all, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of options, all promising different benefits – so how do you pick the right model for your needs?
In this article, I share my top 10 favorite tripods, including options for all budgets and types of photography. Of course, not every great tripod is suitable for all photographers, so as you read, pay careful attention to the height range, the tripod material, the type of head, the overall tripod quality, and the warranty.
Bottom line: Whether you’re a beginner looking for that first inexpensive tripod or you’re a photography professional in need of a robust model that can withstand anything, you’re bound to find the perfect pick.
Let’s get to it!
1. Joby GorillaPod 3K Kit
If you’re looking for a versatile tripod that can hold your camera steady on any surface, then the Joby GorillaPod is the way to go.
Its super-flexible legs can handle difficult terrain, plus they can also wrap around tree branches, poles, and pretty much anything else – allowing you to capture sharp images from an original perspective.
The GorillaPod holds up to 6.6 lb (3 kg), which is perfect for compact mirrorless setups as well as standard point-and-shoot cameras. (If your setup weighs more than 6.6 lb, you can always grab the Joby GorillaPod 5K instead). The high-quality aluminum construction will keep your camera safe, and rubber feet will ensure the legs remain stable on most surfaces.
The Joby GorillaPod has a ball head with a quick-release plate that’ll let you easily adjust the camera angle. And the modular design allows you to attach arms, flash clips, and other accessories.
You can bend the legs, but bear in mind that the tripod doesn’t really expand or retract, so the height range is a relatively constant 9.4 in (23.4 cm).
2. Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod
Most photographers hear the term “Manfrotto,” and they assume you’re talking about a tripod for professionals with a high budget – but while Manfrotto does make some excellent high-end models, the company also offers some great entry-level options, too, including the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod.
This tripod boasts the high-quality design that characterizes Manfrotto models, yet it’s meant for entry-level DSLRs or mirrorless cameras with standard lenses. It supports up to 3.3 lb (1.5 kg), so you can comfortably mount a smaller DSLR plus a prime lens – though I wouldn’t recommend using bulky full-frame DSLRs or telephoto lenses.
The Compact Action Tripod is only 17.83 in (45.3 cm) when folded, so it’s great for travel and on-the-go photography. And it has five leg sections that give you an impressive 17.32 in (44 cm) to 61.02 in (155 cm) of height.
The tripod has an ergonomic joystick head with a circular quick-release plate, and you can easily adjust the position of your camera or even do smooth video shooting as required.
Despite the solid aluminum build, the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod is surprisingly light (just 2.65 lb/1.2 kg). And it comes with a carrying bag for easy travel. Note that Manfrotto does offer a two-year warranty, but you can extend it for three additional years.
If you’re a photography enthusiast and are in need of a starter tripod, then the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod is a great choice.
3. Kodak PhotoGear 2-in-1
Looking for a good budget-friendly tripod that’s versatile and gives you precise control over your camera angles? Then the Kodak PhotoGear 2-in-1 is a great pick.
Thanks to the three-way head, you can control each axis to precisely set the position of your camera. And the tripod comes with two different quick-release plates so you can use it with plenty of different setups.
The legs have four sections and are secured with flip locks; the center column is detachable and can be used as a monopod, which can come in handy when shooting action in low light or when working with telephoto lenses.
The tripod has an impressive height range, spanning from 21.5 to 70 in (54.61 to 177.8 cm), while the monopod reaches 17.75 to 64 in (45 to 162.5 cm). Unfortunately, the extra height does come with a slight boost in weight: The tripod is 3.7 lbs (1.67 kg), while the monopod weighs (when detached) 1 lb (450 g).
The aluminum build gives the PhotoGear a solid load capacity of 8.8 lb (3.9 kg), so it should be capable of handling most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras as well as short-to-midrange lenses. It even comes with a special holder for smartphone photography as well as a carry bag.
4. Neewer Tripod/Monopod with Rotatable Center Column
A little bit more expensive – but still quite affordable – is the Neewer Tripod/Monopod with Rotatable Center Column. Neewer is famous for offering high-quality gear at reasonable prices, and this tripod fits the pattern; if you’re looking to grab a versatile tripod without hurting your wallet, be sure to check it out.
The carbon fiber build ensures a sturdy product (though beware: the previous model was aluminum and is still on the market, so make sure you don’t buy it by accident!).
The maximum height is an impressive 72.4 in (184 cm), while the minimum height is 24.4 in (62 cm). Macro photographers will appreciate the reversible center column, which can get you low to the ground for low-angle shots of flowers, insects, and fungi. The center column also rotates and is perfect for panorama photography, flat lays, and more.
The legs are sturdy and divided into four sections, and one leg acts as a detachable monopod. The Neewer Tripod/Monopod supports a huge maximum load: 33 lb (14.96 kg), so you won’t need to worry when working with full-frame DSLRs and even lengthy telephoto lenses. Unfortunately, the tripod is on the heavier side (6 lb/2.76 kg), so if you plan to travel frequently, it’s not ideal – yet for the portrait, studio, or macro photographer seeking a low-priced, sturdy option, it’s still an excellent buy.
5. Vanguard VEO 3T 235 CBP
As a high-quality carbon fiber tripod, the Vanguard VEO 3T 235 CBP is perfect for travel photography, landscape photography, studio photography, and more. It’s also great for smartphone photography thanks to the build-in smartphone holder.
In fact, when you’re using the Vanguard VEO in smartphone mode, you get a cold-shoe mount, which can be used to attach lighting or mics. And the tripod even comes with a Bluetooth remote control compatible with iOS and Android devices.
The travel-ready design offers plenty of portability: the tripod is just 16.1 in (41 cm) when folded and weighs a reasonable 3.5 lb (1.6 kg). You can extend the tripod up to 61 in (155 cm) using the five leg extensions, which include metal spike feet as well as rubber ones (perfect for gripping on concrete, metal, and grass). One leg also serves as a detachable monopod, and the center column is reversible for low-angle landscape and macro photography.
The maximum load is a respectable 17.6 lb (8 kg), which makes the Vanguard VEO 3T 235 CBP perfect for carrying large rigs while traveling. It’s also an excellent tripod for photographers who do videography or want to stream on the go.
6. Peak Design Travel Tripod
When purchasing the Peak Design Travel Tripod, you get to select from two different versions: one aluminum and one carbon fiber. As you may know, carbon fiber is the lighter and more resistant material, yet it’s also more expensive; one of the great things about this tripod is that you get to choose the material that’s right for you.
The tripod’s weight will, of course, depend on the material you choose: the aluminum model weighs 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg), while the carbon fiber version weighs 2.79 lb (1.27 kg). Despite the light body, both models are sturdy and can hold up to 19.84 lb (9 kg) of gear.
What’s especially impressive about the Peak Design Travel Tripod, however, is not its sturdiness, but its size. When folded, the tripod is just 15 in (29 cm) long, yet it can extend to 60 in (153 cm) – and as Peak Design is so fond of saying, it’s no thicker than a water bottle! Therefore, it’s perfect for frequent travelers, outdoorsy photographers, and folks who prefer to keep their camera bag as light as possible.
The legs divide into five sections and include rubber feet and optional metal spikes for improved stability, while the ball head boasts a magnetically integrated mobile mount.
Is the Peak Design Travel Tripod the cheapest option on the market? No, especially if you spring for the carbon fiber version. But it is sturdy, and it’s a great choice for photographers looking for an impressively compact travel companion.
7. Benro Rhino FRHN34C+VX30
The Benro Rhino FRHN34C comes with the VX30 double panning ball head; it’s also light and compact for maximum portability while sporting a sturdy, carbon fiber build that supports up to 40 lb (20 kg).
When folded, the Rhino is just 19.45 in (49 cm) and weighs 4.54 lb (2.6 kg). In use, it extends from 19.33 in (49.1 cm) to 68.75 in (174.7 cm), which offers plenty of height for high-angle shots and tall photographers. And if you need an ultra-low angle, you can always reverse the central column.
The legs are divided into 4 twist-locking sections, and the leg angle can be easily adjusted and secured with the push of a button. A detachable leg can pair with the central column to become a monopod.
The feet are rubber, but you can attach the (included) metal spikes if you plan to work on rough terrain. The tripod also has three accessory mounts, and it comes with an Allen key and a carrying bag.
The standard warranty is three years, and it can be extended online for added peace of mind. So if you’re after a sturdy, rugged, long-lasting tripod, consider grabbing the Benro Rhino.
8. 3 Legged Thing Legends Bucky
The Legends Bucky is a stylish carbon fiber tripod that comes in metallic slate grey or earth bronze. It’s designed for professional travel photographers, so it isn’t cheap – but the excellent design and impressive quality justify the price.
The tripod weighs 4.86 lb (1.86 kg) and features a folded length of 16.14 in (41 cm), which should be handy for frequent travelers. The maximum height is an impressive 76.6 in (194 cm) while the minimum height is 8.43 in (21 cm). And you can reverse the center column to capture stunning macro and low-angle landscape photos. You can even detach the legs and replace them with the feet to convert the Legends Bucky into a tabletop tripod; how’s that for versatility?
(There’s an extensive line of footwear options for this tripod. Choose the best feet for the height you want on the type of terrain you’re facing!)
The legs have five sections that are secured with twist locks, and one detaches to become a monopod. The maximum load capacity is a whopping 66 lb (30 kg).
The tripod comes with the Airhed VU Precision Ball Head, but the mount is standard so you can pair the legs with another head if you prefer.
The Legends Bucky also comes with an anodized magnesium alloy D-ring, a multi-tool, a premium protective carrying bag with extensible straps, a quick-release plate, and a microfiber head bag. All products offer a five-year warranty.
9. Manfrotto 475B (with the XPRO head)
The Manfrotto 475B is the best tripod for studio photographers – and anyone else who needs to carefully position their camera. We’d recommend pairing it with the X-PRO head, a 3-way option that offers more control than a ball head; it lets you make micro-step adjustments along three axes for absolute precision.
The 475B is a professional studio tripod that works perfectly with the X-PRO head. The center braced structure and three-faceted center column provide excellent stability, though the tripod does compromise on portability: the 475B is made of 11.68 lb (5.3 kg) of aluminum, so you certainly won’t want to take it on lengthy hikes.
The legs have three sections with flip locks, so together with the geared center column, you’ll have maximum precision when adjusting the height. And the center braces have click-stop positions to lock the legs at different angles for improved balance.
Tall photographers will appreciate the 74 in (188 cm) maximum height, though the tripod only drops down to 16.93 in (43 cm), which isn’t ideal for low-angle photography. At the end of the day, the Manfrotto 475B is no versatile travel or outdoor tripod, but it’ll do a great job in a product or portrait studio.
10. Gitzo GK4543LS-83LR Systematic Series 4
The Gitzo GK4543LS-83LR is a heavy-duty tripod; it’s designed for serious landscape, outdoor, sports, and bird photographers and is sold with the GH4383LR center ball head (which is designed specifically for heavy cameras with 600mm or longer telephoto lenses). The GK4543LS supports a maximum load of 61.8 lb (28 kg), which offers more than enough stability for even the biggest rigs, and it extends to 67.1 in (170.5 cm), which should give you plenty of height for high-angle photography.
That said, the tripod only folds down to 24 in (61 cm), so you might struggle to pack it in a suitcase while traveling. It’s decently versatile, though: The legs have four sections with twist locks and rubber feet, and the modular design makes the GK4543LS compatible with all Gitzo accessories.
The tripod weighs 8.37 lb (3.8 kg), so it’s not exactly light – but as I emphasized above, this tripod is designed for maximum stability and durability, not travel readiness. The standard warranty lasts six months, but upon registration, it can be extended to a total of seven years.
This tripod and head don’t come cheap, but for professional photographers who require top-notch quality and design, they’re undoubtedly worth the investment.
Best photography tripod: final words
Determining the perfect tripod is tough, and there are so many options on the market that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
But pick one of these tripods, and you’ll be well on your way toward sharp shots!
Which tripod do you plan to buy? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Best Tripod for Photography FAQs
A professional heavy-duty tripod can cost thousands of dollars, but you can find small, simple options that cost around $30 to $40. While you don’t need to buy the most expensive tripod, make sure you invest in a well-built model.
It depends on the type of photography you want to do. Macro photography requires short tripods, while group portraits and real-estate photography is often done from high up. A good general rule is that the tripod should be stable (i.e., not fully extended) when your camera is at eye level.
That depends on your needs. If you mostly shoot in the studio, don’t worry so much about weight or compactness. A travel tripod can be good for on-the-go photographers, but if you’re more of a generalist, look for a good all-around tripod to start.
Yes. A smartphone, like a camera, needs a tripod to gain stability in low-light situations. It also helps to have a fixed frame when composing, and a tripod even lets you do high-quality self-portraits.