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How to Choose The Best Smartphone Tripods In 2023

Best Smartphone Tripods In 2022 – Putting your camera on a tripod is an obvious necessity in case you want to take time-lapse or macro photographs. While many cameras and lenses come with impressive image stabilization built right in, there are occasions – like macro or time-lapse photography – when it makes sense to put the camera on a tripod. Having spent 60 hours researching tripods and 30 hours testing 16 of the most promising models, we found that the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 kit was the strongest and most stable platform available for challenging photographing situations. Among the tripods we tested, this one has the tallest maximum height of any of them, and it’s also very stable as well. Furthermore, it’s easy to set up and break down and is built to last for years to come.

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In case you are looking for a more specific type of support for a specific shooting situation, we also have picks for those who need to dual-wield their cameras, as well as those who frequently photograph sports and wildlife, as well as travelers and people who frequently work in wet weather conditions. It should be noted that all of the choices in this guide are geared toward full-size cameras. In case you are looking for a tripod for your smartphone, check out our guide to the best tripod for iPhones and other smartphones.

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Best picks for you –

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100

Sale
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263 AB100 Tripod, Black
708 Reviews
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263 AB100 Tripod, Black*
  • Ball head - 360 degree panning, friction control, 2 Bubble levels, quick release arca-type system, rapid action - intuitive set-up in a matter of seconds
  • Unique Perspective: MACC (Multi-Angle Center Column) for limitless shooting angle, never waver - firm hexagonal center column
  • Position Versatility: 3 section legs with 4 position angles - 20 degree, 40 degree, 60 degree, 80 degree, robust - magnesium, aircraft aluminum for lightweight and long-lasting performances

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We found that the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 offers the best balance of size and stability out of all the tripods we tested. This is the tallest of our top picks (68.2 inches at its maximum height), its legs are playable at four different angles, and its angled center column allows you to position your camera low to the ground. As a result, you can find a stable shooting position on all types of surfaces, regardless of whether you are shooting up high or down low. It includes a ball head (the piece used to attach the camera to the tripod legs so you can adjust the camera’s position) that is better than most of the ball heads that you find bundled with tripods in this price range; it adjusts smoothly, locks down solidly, and has a quick-release plate that allows you to easily attach and detach your camera. Having a maximum weight limit of 15.5 pounds, this tripod is more than capable of supporting all of the camera-and-lens combinations we recommend. This is a great addition to the list:

Vanguard VEO 2+ 204AB

It is less stable and slightly more expensive than our top pick. for you if you are more of an on-the-go type of photographer, or if you prefer to use two stabilized cameras at the same time. This model has a smaller and lighter design than the one we chose, as well as a multi-angle center column that has all the same features as our pick. Additionally, the camera includes an adapter that allows you to mount a second camera on the central column of the device when it is in the horizontal position so that you can shoot simultaneously with two devices.

Also, This is a great addition to the list :

Sirui W-1004K10 Tripod Kit River Runner

Sirui W-1004K10 River Runner Tripod Kit
4 Reviews
Sirui W-1004K10 River Runner Tripod Kit*
  • Sirui W-1004K10 River Runner Tripod Kit

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sirui’s W-1004K10 Tripod Kit River Runner is worth the extra money if you plan to submerge your tripod in water on a regular basis since it is specifically designed to keep dirt and sand from covering any sliding parts of the tripod. It is built solidly and is easy to set up, and it features a sturdy ball head that adjusts smoothly, and its impressive loading capacity of 33.1 pounds means that even if you rent a huge lens for a once-in-a-lifetime nature vacation, the W-1004K10 can easily hold it all. While this model does not have a tilting center column like our other choices, you probably won’t miss that feature when you’re waist-deep in a lake.

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The Best Travel Tripod

Manfrotto Element MII:

Sale
Manfrotto Element MII MKELMII4BK-BH, Lightweight Aluminium Travel Camera Tripod, with Carry Bag, Arca-Compatible Ball Head, 4-Section Legs, Twist Locks, Load up 8kg, for Mirrorless, DSLR
43 Reviews
Manfrotto Element MII MKELMII4BK-BH, Lightweight Aluminium Travel Camera Tripod, with Carry Bag, Arca-Compatible Ball Head, 4-Section Legs, Twist Locks, Load up 8kg, for Mirrorless, DSLR*
  • LIGHTWEIGHT ON YOUR SHOULDERS AND STABLE ON THE GROUND: Ideal for hobbyist and aspiring photographers on-the-go who use compact cameras, CSCs, DSLRs
  • STURDY, COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT ALUMINIUM CONSTRUCTION: It reaches up to 160 cm, folds down to 42,5 cm and weighs only 1,55 kg; the payload of 8kg is ideal for heavier zoom lenses
  • FAST SETUP: Quick leg angle switching for swift and accurate camera positioning; rapid leg opening system and ergonomic twist-locks firmly lock the legs into position

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This manfrotto Element MII tripod is a great choice for travel as it provides a good amount of height and stability in a highly portable package. Despite being able to collapse to just 16.7 inches long and weighing just 3.4 pounds, the frame will nevertheless expand to a maximum height of just over 62.9 inches and hold up to 17.6 pounds of gear. It was one of the most stable tripods we tested, but at the same time, it cost less than most of the competition. There are also other features of the Element MII that we look for in travel tripods, such as easy-to-use twist leg locks and smooth and easy control of the ball head. It even comes with some nifty extras, such as two bubble levels, which will help you keep your perspective straight.

Monopods that work best: Sirui P-204SR Sirui

Sirui P-204SR/VA-5 Monopod with VA-5 Video Head (Black)
383 Reviews
Sirui P-204SR/VA-5 Monopod with VA-5 Video Head (Black)*
  • The Aluminum 4 Section Monopod with Feet and VA5 Head from Sirui enables you to stabilize your DSLR, camcorder, or video camera to shoot still photography or video
  • Loosening the locking knob and elevating the twist lock on the tripod base enables the swivel and tilt movements for angle or perspective adjustments by allowing its internal ball-and-socket joint to move freely
  • forming a stable platform that allows the monopod and camera placed on it to swivel 360° and be tilted 20° in any direction

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are some people who like to shoot birds and other wildlife, and there are others who like to capture fast-moving sports, so a tripod might not be the best option for you. A monopod is what you need in that situation, and the Sirui P-204SR is our favorite monopod because of its strength, adaptability, and height. There are three sturdy feet on the removable base that provide stability when equipment is mounted, and this monopod can even become a tabletop tripod when purchased with the included accessory. The P-204SR stands 63.5 inches tall when the base is attached, and it still stands 57.9 inches tall when it is not attached.

Here are all the recommendations we have for you:

  • Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100.
  • Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB
  • Sirui W-1004K10 River Runner Tripod Kit
  • Manfrotto Element MII
  • Sirui P-204SR

Here are some reasons for trusting us

I have been doing both professional and hobbyist photography for over 10 years. I have also worked for over three years as a camera specialist from a number of camera stores in New York City. She has taken photographs ranging from fashion to nature to street photography. Here are guides to instant cameras, tripods for smartphones, and portable document scanners.

Having tested dozens of tripod models and measuring their performance in a range of situations and climates, we have been reporting on travel tripods for this guide since 2014.

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Who should own a camera tripod

The slightest movement of the camera can result in blurry images even with the image stabilization systems built into many modern cameras and lenses. This is true, even if you use slower shutter speeds. If you tend to shoot a lot of pictures in any of the following situations, with a tripod, you will be able to get shots that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible to attain:

A low light situation with a longer exposure

In situations where low light requires you to use a slower shutter speed, it is best to keep the camera steady when using a slower shutter speed. It is common for experienced photographers to use the reciprocal rule when determining whether they should use a tripod. Similarly, if you are using a long exposure in order to produce a special effect such as blurring water motion while maintaining a sharp focus on the background, or capturing bursts of color from a fireworks display-a tripod will provide a much better result.

Remote triggers

With the help of remote triggers, you can take much better selfies and group photos with your camera on a tripod. You can either set the timer and run over to pose with the group or connect your camera to your smartphone and use the manufacturer’s app to trigger the camera. A remote trigger is also convenient when you don’t want to be near the camera, such as when you’re waiting for a hummingbird to appear at a bird feeder or any other animal to appear in front of your lens.

Landscaping, panoramas, and HDR

A tripod is useful even if you are shooting a landscape in a large room with plenty of light. You can make sure the camera is level and positioned correctly for a straight horizon and to ensure all elements in the shot are in the right place. Similarly, if you want to stitch together multiple images into a panorama (in a computer), you will need a tripod in order to keep everything evenly placed in the frame. In addition, high dynamic range (HDR) images, which consist of more than one photo combined, require that those pictures are perfectly aligned. If you use a tripod, you are able to adjust the exposure for a better range of highlights and shadows while maintaining alignment, and the resulting shots are more accurate representations of the scene you were trying to capture.

Creating close-up and telephoto shots

Regardless of whether you use a macro or telephoto lens, the closer to a subject you are, the more sensitive the camera is to even the slightest movement. It is also true that telephoto lenses tend to be bigger and heavier than other lenses, so you might not want to use the handheld for a long time.

When you are on the go and need to shoot under the above conditions, you are likely to want to carry a travel tripod. Look for a tripod that has enough collapsed room that it can be easily clipped onto a hiking bag or placed inside a carry-on suitcase. It is true that travel tripods are smaller and lighter than their full-size brethren, and although they might not be quite as steady or have as many extra features as larger models, they make up for it in portability.

How we selected

Three tripods that we tested side by side on a grassy hillside overlooking a neighborhood in order to find the best tripod. We have seen plenty of cheap tripods, but most of them are made of poor-quality materials, adjust their height less easily, and are more difficult to set up properly than more expensive models. Cheap tripods may seem like a good deal if you’re on a tight budget, but in real life your cheap tripod is more likely to break after a year of use (or sooner), meaning you’ll have to spend another $100 to replace it. According to our experience, you will probably need to spend around $150 or more to get a tripod that is solid, versatile, reliable, and full of features.

Even with the image-stabilization systems built into many modern cameras and lenses, when you’re using slow shutter speeds, even the slightest movement can result in blurry pictures.

However, there is a limit to how much most people should spend on a tripod. However, carbon-fiber models are significantly more expensive than their metal counterparts, even though they are slightly lighter. As an example, you’d have to spend an additional $70 to get the carbon-fiber version of our top pick, and doing so would only save you about 9 ounces.

Keeping this in mind, we focused on quality aluminum models. In order to narrow things down further, we considered the following:

Load capacity:

The load capacity of a tripod represents how much weight it is designed to support, one like the tripod for canon camera. During our research, we sought out models that could accommodate a camera and lens combination weighing at least 15 pounds, which is enough to handle even the heaviest of camera bodies and lenses we recommend.

Maximum height:

Even if you are 6-foot-2, you won’t be too uncomfortably hunched over when trying to get that shot since these tripods reach at least 50 inches without the center column extended and at least 60 inches with it extended.

Leg and center-column angling:

We favored tripods that allow you to angle the legs during our research, we sought out models that could accommodate a camera and lens combination weighing at least 15 pounds, which is enough to handle even the heaviest of the camera closer to subjects for macro photography.

The Head:

As far as the tripod head is concerned, a good tripod head allows you to adjust the camera at nearly any angle. During our study, we looked for models that could accommodate a camera and lens combination weighing at least 15 pounds, which is enough to handle even the heaviest equipment. Legs and heads of tripods are often sold separately in order to make upgrading them more convenient, although you can also purchase kits (such as our top pick) that include both parts. It is recommended that you purchase a ball head, which allows you to tilt and rotate the camera simultaneously. Most ball heads tend to be more compact and easier to use than three-way heads since three-way heads allow you to adjust the amount of left-right tilt, up-down tilt, and rotation independently. We have included a ball head with all of our picks.

The length of the tripod when collapsed:

Although in terms of size, travel tripods are much more important, it is always more convenient to carry something that is smaller.

Leg grips:

When you’re shooting on a cold day, tripod legs can get cold. You should make sure that you have leg grips when you shoot. You can keep your fingers happy with foam or rubber grips-and these are much better than metal grips, which are hard to grip.

Spikes:

If you are setting up a tripod on a soft surface such as grass, spiked feet will help you anchor the tripod more firmly in place. It must be said, however, that many photographers don’t bother to use them. We looked for tripods that either included them as a standard feature or offered them as an optional accessory.

Weight of the tripod:

If the tripod is really heavy, you will not want to carry it with you; if it is too light, it won’t be durable enough. In the end, we looked for tripods weighing less than 6 pounds, as that’s light enough to carry along even if you’re also carrying a camera and a few lenses. When weight is important to you, then our pick for the best travel tripod keeps that weight at a minimum while still providing solid support for your camera.

Longevity:

It is important to know that a quality tripod should last over a year or two. To ensure you are covered if anything goes wrong, we chose tripods that come with tools so the legs can be tightened as they loosen up over time and use, as well as a long warranty.

A tripod head with a quick-release plate makes attaching and detaching your camera easier.

Since the original version of this guide was published in 2010 and the most recent update in 2021, we have considered and tested around 65 tripods.

Best budget tripod to buy

  •     The Three Legged Thing Punks Corey
  •     MeFoto GlobeTrotter Benro Tripod
  •     Benro SystemGo Plus FGP18A
  •     Manfrotto Element MII
  •     Manfrotto Element MII Video Monopod
  •     MeFoto RoadTrip Air
  •     MeFoto RoadTrip S
  •     Oben CT-3565
  •     Sirui W-1004K10 Tripod Kit River Runner
  •     Slik Lite AL-420M
  •     Slik Lite AL-420S
  •     Slik Pro 700DX
  •     Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100
  •     Vanguard VEO 2 GO 265HAB
  •     Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB

Testing methods

Since stability is the main objective when you are using a tripod, we mounted various camera-and-lens combinations to each tripod model during testing, so we could make sure it stayed steady with different setups and on different surfaces, such as hardwood or carpeted floors indoors, as well as cement, grass, and other uneven surfaces outdoors. In our tests, we consciously chose to use heavier and bulkier gear than the cameras and lenses we recommend in our guides, including the Nikon D5 and Z5 and Sony α6600 cameras with various lenses. Among the longest and heaviest lenses we used were the Nikkor 24–70mm f/4 lens and the Sigma 150–600mm f/5–6.3 lens.

As part of our evaluation, we set up and closed down each tripod and checked its leg-lock mechanism as well as how easy it was to operate. We checked the stability of the ball head, whether or not it moved when it was supposed to be locked, and whether or not it moved smoothly and evenly when it was unlocked. Furthermore, we examined each tripod’s construction quality and made sure that the different parts of the tripod were not in the way of one another when in use.

As the last step, we also tested any special features of the models. For example, a model with a movable center column was angled into different positions.

We recommend: Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100

This Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 tripod offers the most stability and height in comparison to the other tripods we tested. As well as having the tallest maximum height (68.2 inches), its legs can angle outward at four angles (most models offer only three) to bring the camera closer to the ground. Its angling center column also allows you to position the camera in a multitude of ways whenever the tripod is set to any one of those leg angles. While the camera is a little heavier and longer than some other models when collapsed, its additional weight and height increase its stability and versatility, and it’s still small and light enough to carry around for a day of shooting.

Alta Pro 2+ can support up to 15.4 pounds. Even when we mounted heavy pro-level gear – heavier than any of the cameras and lenses we recommend in our guides – it was very stable. There are three extendable segments on each leg, and although we experienced some wobbling in the lowest segment when the legs were fully extended, it wasn’t enough to negatively affect our picture taking. It was the same for all the tripods we tested when they were fully extended. It is very important to note that, when the center column of the Alta Pro 2+ is fully extended, it will reach a height of about 68.2 inches, the tallest of the tripods we tested and is, therefore, more comfortable for taller photographers (those over 5 feet 6 inches tall) to use without having to stoop much. (With the center column collapsed, the maximum height of the tripod is about 57 inches.) Although the center column is relatively stable when extended, it is important to keep in mind that all tripods are most stable with the center column positioned flush against the top of the legs.

A close-up of the levels and dials on the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 ball head.

With its center column set perpendicular to the main base, the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100.

With the Alta Pro 2+, the ball head has degree markings that make it easier to duplicate panning positions.

The Alta Pro 2+ is simple to set up: 

Just turn the twist locks on each leg to unlock them, and then tilt the legs down so they extend fully. If you want to lock them, simply turn the twist locks in the opposite direction. What we liked the most about these locks was the texture of the grips.

As you can see, these three-section legs offer four angles relative to the center column: 20, 40, 60, and 80 degrees (most tripods only offer three angles). This gives you more versatility in terms of both the lower height and the ability to adjust to uneven surfaces due to the lower height. The angles are marked at the top of the legs and you can hear and feel when the legs are in position once they are ratcheting into place. The tripod is nearly level to the ground when the legs are at the 80-degree position; this is the ideal position for low-angle and macro shots, especially when the tripod’s multi-angle center column is used in conjunction. With a bubble level, you can make sure that your tripod is level even if the legs are extended at different angles.

With the Alta Pro 2+ you are able to adjust the center column to a variety of positions: you just turn a couple of knobs, lift the center column (it auto-stops when fully extended, so don’t worry about it coming all the way out in your hand), and angle it to whatever angle you wish. Due to its hexagonal form, the hexagonal column will not twist when extending or retracting, which makes angled work easier. Although this column generally is stable in its angled position, even when horizontal, it is important to check the balance: If the center column is positioned too far to the left or right, the weight of the camera and lens can cause the entire tripod to tilt over and fall. This law of physics applies to any tripod with an angled center column.

The included ball head and quick-release plate also work well with the camera. When we adjusted the ball head, it moved smoothly, and when we locked it in place it was stable. This level has its own bubble level (to complement the one on the legs), as well as a rotation gauge at the base of the head to help you duplicate panning positions if you’re shooting multiple images to stitch into a panorama later.

It is possible to see a Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ along a sidewalk, with its legs set wide apart and its mounted camera pointed at the ground.

Due to its angled legs and angled center column, the Alta Pro 2+ allows you to position your camera perfectly for macro photography due to its angled legs and angled center column.

We also like the overall build quality of the tripod — none of the pieces seemed to strain noticeably when subjected to heavy camera-and-lens combinations. We were also impressed by the smoothness of the sliding parts. As for the Alta Pro 2+, it seems like it will last a long time, and it comes with a two-year warranty.

The Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 kit comes with a ball head and the Quick-release plate as well as Allen wrenches in case the head needs to be swapped out or a broken leg needs to be replaced, and a carry bag with a shoulder strap. The bag that comes with the tripod is not as well made as those that come with some other tripods we have tested, but it will do the trick for moving the tripod from one place to another.

Some flaws, but not a dealbreaker

Among the tripods we tested, the Alta Pro 2+ is one of the heaviest, weighing in at 5.3 pounds, and one of the largest, measuring 29 inches when fully collapsed. If you’re hiking in the woods or traveling by plane or train, you have a variety of smaller and lighter options (such as our top pick for travel tripods, or even our equally excellent pick). We think these are reasonable trade-offs for a full-size tripod because its added weight makes it more stable, and its higher height makes it more versatile-we think these are good trade-offs for a full-size tripod.

You can replace the angled rubber feet on the Alta Pro 2+ with spikes, but you will need to purchase those spikes separately.

In contrast to the previous Alta Pro model, which was our former top pick, the Alta Pro 2+ has angled rubber feet instead of the round rubber feet with retractable spikes. You can now purchase spiked feet separately. We found the rubber feet of the Alta Pro 2+ to work well on uneven terrain, but we experienced sliding a few times when we were shooting indoors on wooden floors.

Contrary to other tripods, the Alta Pro 2+ does not have a hook on the bottom of the center column where you can attach a camera bag or another weight to stabilize the tripod. It does not have a canopy suspension loop, but it does have a small loop located on the bubble level, as opposed to a canopy suspension loop. The loop is very small, so we would not trust it to hold anything that is of any measurable weight. However, Vanguard makes a stone bag accessory that you can attach to the legs of the bag in order to add extra weight to it.

The Alta Pro 2+’s center column has been reported to come off completely in some reviews on Amazon tripod, or not being able to be tightened completely, but we did not encounter this issue during our testing. Representatives at Vanguard explained that this happened because some units that were meant as photo samples were distributed for sale instead; they said it shouldn’t be a problem in the future, and we will keep an eye on this issue going forward.

Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB is the best choice for using multiple cameras

We recommend the Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB for use with multiple cameras, with a camera mounted on top.

Additionally, it’s great : VEO 3T+ 234AB from Vanguard

A tripod that can hold two cameras

For most photographers, the Alta Pro 2+ is one of the best tripods for all-around use, but VEO 3T+ 234AB Vanguard Tripod is the best to buy alternative for people who shoot with more than one camera or are on the go often. This is because while the VEO 3T+ 234AB has a lot of the same features we enjoy with the Alta Pro 2+, it’s also lighter, smaller, designed with more flexible legs, and packaged with an additional accessory (the VEO+ MA1 adapter) that will allow you to mount an extra device, for example, a second camera or your smartphone, to the center column. If you can live with its one con—a shorter maximum height—then these are some compelling advantages to think about.

VEO 3T+ 234AB stands at 57.48 inches tall, which is about 10 inches shorter than our top pick, but tall enough to prevent most people from hunching over when shooting. There are three sections to each leg, which extend easily but feel solid once the twist locks are tightened.easy-set angles, but they can also invert up to 108 degrees. This is a definite advantage over the Alta Pro 2+, whose legs can only be adjusted up to a maximum angle of 80 degrees. VEO 3T+ 234AB measures 18 inches long when fully collapsed, which is 11 inches more than Alta Pro 2+. Therefore, the VEO 3T+ 234AB is more portable since it loses height when fully collapsed but gains length.

Compare Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB and Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 tripods

It’s set up next to each other to compare their heights.

In its most folded and compact position, the Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB lies on a surface.

A Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB with two cameras mounted on its center column, one large and one smaller.

At maximum height, the VEO 3T+ 234AB is about 10 inches shorter than the Alta Pro 2+. In most cases, you’ll notice the height difference when the center column is parallel to the ground.

This VEO 3T+ 234AB camera features a multi-angle center column, which allows you to position both the column (and the ball head) at various horizontal and tilted angles. As stated previously, this design is great for otherwise challenging overhead and low-angle shots, and it’s especially useful for capturing macros. Additionally to offering the multi-angle column, the VEO 3T+ 234AB can also be converted into a monopod with the simple removal of one of the legs and mounting the center column on top of the removed leg. Although the tripod comes with spiked feet, you are required to replace them with the standard rubber feet when you use them for the first time.

We found that this tripod can handle loads up to 22 pounds, which is about 6.5 pounds more than our top choice. The same as with all of the other tripods we tested, we saw a very slight amount of movement when we mounted a Sony *6600 with a Sigma 100-400mm zoom lens and extended the column to its full extension. It also has an optional hook that you can screw into the bottom of the center column that will allow you to hang your camera bag or other weight to help stabilize the unit (though you will need to remove this hook if you would like to use the VEO 3T+ 234AB as a monopod).

During testing, we found the VEO Arca Swiss-compatible VEO BH-110S dual-axis ball head, which during testing proved to be very stable and secure. also worked great with our Peak Design plate, locking in just as solidly as it did with the plate that comes with the ball head. Additionally, the VEO 3T+ 234AB comes with a second mounting adapter, the VEO+ MA1, which you can use when your center column is horizontal. The extension easily slides onto the other end of the center column and locks into place with a quick-release lever. The VEO+ MA1 features a standard 14-inch tripod screw that can be used to mount a second camera, a smartphone (using a smartphone tripod mount), or an action camera such as a GoPro.

Best waterproof tripod

Sirui W-1004K10 Tripod Kit River Runner

Sirui W-1004K10 River Runner Tripod Kit
4 Reviews
Sirui W-1004K10 River Runner Tripod Kit*
  • Sirui W-1004K10 River Runner Tripod Kit

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Though this tripod does not have an angled center column, it is quite sturdy, has a higher load capacity than any of our other picks, and (most importantly) is waterproof.

The Sirui W-1004K10 Tripod Kit River Runner is worth spending more on if you plan to shoot with your tripod partially submerged in water or mud. Even though all our tripod picks can withstand the rain, waterproof tripods do a better job of keeping dirt and sand from rivers and lakes out of the joints, which can damage any sliding or moving parts. The waterproof tripod from Sirui (pronounced “sue-ray”) is well-built and it is very stable and comfortable to use. While it can’t match the height of the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+, and it doesn’t have an angled center column like any of our Vanguard picks, it is the best tripod for people who like to take photos of aquatic subjects.

With a load capacity of up to 33.1 pounds, the W-1004K10 provides very good stability. The tripod weighs just 4.2 pounds and folds up into a compact 19.3 inches when it’s not in use. With the center column fully extended (which, as noted above, compromises some stability), it reaches a height of 65 inches; with the column lowered, it reaches a height of 53.5 inches.

You can fold the Sirui W-1004K10 lying flat on a surface in its most compact and folded

From the four-section legs to the bundled ball head, the W-1004K10 looks and feels like a solidly constructed piece of equipment. The movements of the tripod are smooth, whether you are extending the legs after releasing the twist locks or adjusting the angle of the ball head. This is especially true with regards to the excellent ball head, which has separate controls for panning and locking, as well as a friction knob to adjust the tension on the control movement. There are also three bubble levels on the tripod, in addition to the bubble level built into the tripod itself, for those photographers who need extremely accurate placement for their photography.

You can step into a river, a lake, or the ocean with the tripod, since it’s waterproof up to the top of its foam grips. In addition to its waterproof seals, the W-1004K10 is also protected from dirt and sand that you might encounter on your outdoor adventure. You are able to easily switch the stock rubber feet with the spiked ones that come with the tripod, and you are able to remove one of the tripod’s legs to convert it into a waterproof monopod. As with the VEO 3T+ 234AB, a hook on the center column allows you to hang a camera bag or other weights to make the tripod more stable. As with the rest of the kit, the carry bag that comes with it is well constructed.

The ball head of the Sirui W-1004K10 River Runner is shown with a close-up of the bubble level and the dial controls.

In contrast to our other picks from Vanguard, the Sirui tripod does not feature a multi-angle center column. In spite of this omission, macro work can still be challenging, but it is an acceptable tradeoff if you are looking for the waterproof capability of the W-1004K10.

As the W-1004K10 has four sections, the last section of each leg is a little thin, so when you extend all the legs to their fullest, you have to give up a bit of stability.awback is common for four-segment legs, but it’s still something to be aware of.

Best Travel Camera Tripod

Our pick for travel tripods, is the Manfrotto Element MII, with a camera attached.

Manfrotto Element MII

Sale
Manfrotto Element MII MKELMII4BK-BH, Lightweight Aluminium Travel Camera Tripod, with Carry Bag, Arca-Compatible Ball Head, 4-Section Legs, Twist Locks, Load up 8kg, for Mirrorless, DSLR
43 Reviews
Manfrotto Element MII MKELMII4BK-BH, Lightweight Aluminium Travel Camera Tripod, with Carry Bag, Arca-Compatible Ball Head, 4-Section Legs, Twist Locks, Load up 8kg, for Mirrorless, DSLR*
  • LIGHTWEIGHT ON YOUR SHOULDERS AND STABLE ON THE GROUND: Ideal for hobbyist and aspiring photographers on-the-go who use compact cameras, CSCs, DSLRs
  • STURDY, COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT ALUMINIUM CONSTRUCTION: It reaches up to 160 cm, folds down to 42,5 cm and weighs only 1,55 kg; the payload of 8kg is ideal for heavier zoom lenses
  • FAST SETUP: Quick leg angle switching for swift and accurate camera positioning; rapid leg opening system and ergonomic twist-locks firmly lock the legs into position

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As it goes from backpack to tall easily and quickly, the Element MII provides sturdy support at a lower price than our other picks.

In the event that you plan to take a shooting tripod with you on a hike or on a vacation, you should think about getting a travel tripod that will pack down small and won’t drain your energy too much. Manfrotto’s Element MII tripod is a moderately priced option that is both compact and tall, unfolding from a collapsed height of 16.7 inches to a maximum height of just over 62.9 inches. Although its three leg sections end in a narrow circumference, the Element MII was one of the most stable travel models we tested; but overall it felt just as stable as the Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB.

In contrast, the Element MII weighs almost 2 pounds less than the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100, but it can handle even more load at 17.6 pounds, which is far more than most people would ever need to support at once while traveling.

The Element MII has smooth twist leg locks with plenty of grip, as well as three leg-angle locks which snap into place and can be released with a simple push. A pair of knobs controls panning and ball head rotation, and they work smoothly with secure tension. Maintaining your horizon level and your vertical alignment is easy with two bubble levels. It is also possible to remove one leg and attach it to the ball head for use as a monopod.

The Arca-Swiss mount looks small, but it easily accommodated a Nikon Z5 camera with a 24–70mm f/4 lens in our tests. In case you don’t have an Allen wrench or a coin handy to tighten the plate to the camera, the mount comes with a tiny handle.

As well, the Element MII’s slightly spiked small rubber feet provide plenty of grip. Additional rubber spikes can be purchased separately. Thankfully, the entire package can be tucked into most backpacks or large bags.

The Element MII uses twist leg locks like most tripods. For travel tripods, these are preferable to flip-up versions, as they keep the overall aesthetic sleek and are less likely to snag, but they have their pitfalls as well. Do not over-loosen twist locks.

It only takes a slight turn to loosen them; more than that, and you may find that the legs are difficult to re-assemble. Ensure that the twist leg locks are firmly tightened after they are extended. With twist leg locks, it’s harder to tell if they’re fully secured; use your hand to double-check.

In its most folded and compact position, the Manfrotto Element MII Runner lies on a surface.

The Manfrotto Element MII measures 16.7 inches long and weighs 3.4 pounds, making it easy to carry on a trip abroad or on an ordinary hike.

As with other tripods in this category, the Element MII includes a drawstring bag that you’ll probably discard. Rather than using a dedicated bag, you can just tuck the tripod into a backpack or attach it to another bag you’re already carrying.

The best monopod comes with a camera attached to the top

Sirui P-204SR

Sirui P-204SR/VA-5 Monopod with VA-5 Video Head (Black)
383 Reviews
Sirui P-204SR/VA-5 Monopod with VA-5 Video Head (Black)*
  • The Aluminum 4 Section Monopod with Feet and VA5 Head from Sirui enables you to stabilize your DSLR, camcorder, or video camera to shoot still photography or video
  • Loosening the locking knob and elevating the twist lock on the tripod base enables the swivel and tilt movements for angle or perspective adjustments by allowing its internal ball-and-socket joint to move freely
  • forming a stable platform that allows the monopod and camera placed on it to swivel 360° and be tilted 20° in any direction

Last update on 2023-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If the subjects you like to shoot frequently keep you on the move, such as wildlife or sports that require you to pan a lot, you may prefer the lightweight freedom offered by a monopod over a tripod. We like that the Sirui P-204SR is tall, strong, and adaptable to almost any situation, thereby making it our favorite monopod for general use. In order to extend and retract its three sections, you can use its large, comfortable, rubberized twist locks. Despite weighing just 3.3 pounds, this tripod can support up to 17.6 pounds of equipment, which is more than our top pick. During our testing, it handled everything we mounted on it with ease, including a 4.5 pound Sony a6000 camera with a Sigma 100-400mm zoom lens mounted on it.

The P-204SR has a removable base that can be tilted up to 20 degrees. Monopods with bases are 63.5 inches tall; monopods without bases are 57.9 inches tall. The P-204SR had the largest feet of any monopod we tested, which gave it extra stability. When fully extended, it stood firm even with a Nikon Z5 camera and 24–70mm f/4 lens attached. The tripod is equipped with both rubber feet and spiked feet. In addition to this feature we love about this monopod, we also like the fact that, with the included accessory, the base can also be used as a small tripod (similar to the Manfrotto Pixi) when removed from the body.

The monopod comes with an accessory that allows you to mount the camera directly onto the feet for a quick tripod setup.

It doesn’t come with a ball head, but the screw mount is reversible, which means that it has two sizes of threads – one for cameras and another for tripod heads, so you will be able to mount a ball head if that is what you want. According to our testing, we found that the tilting base enabled us to get the majority of shots, but not all of them. If you’re into bird photography, then we strongly recommend a ball head, since it is much easier to angle only the camera upwards as opposed to leaning the entire monopod backwards. During our testing, we tried the Benro BH00 ball head (which we will discuss below) with the P-204SR, and it performed perfectly.

Impact of tripods on the environment and sustainability:

In order to live a sustainable lifestyle, it is important to create less waste, and one of the best ways to do so is to invest in equipment that is built to last, repairable, and covered by a reliable warranty. Among the things that we looked for when deciding which tripods to test, as stated in How we picked, was a solid warranty. All of the picks in this guide also come with an Allen key, so you can tighten the legs as you use them, and if they come loose, you can retighten them.

In spite of the temptation to pick up a cheaper tripod, it is necessary to bear in mind that such models are often made from low-grade plastic that cannot be tightened over time, and that you cannot repair if a part breaks or cracks. If you need a target tripod, but do not have the budget to invest in an expensive tripod that will last, you can try looking on websites such as Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace to see if other photographers are selling used but high-quality tripods at a discount.

In case you currently own a tripod, but wish to upgrade in the near future, selling or donating your old equipment is a great way to help others and keep excess materials out of the landfill. There is a possibility of upcycling your tripod if it isn’t in a good enough condition to pass along.

Tripods that are also good:

You may be looking for a cheap tripod, but don’t be worried about giving up a little stability and usability. The Benro SystemGo Plus FGP18A is simple to set up, solidly built, and weighs only 3.9 pounds. As a result, it is significantly lighter than our top pick which weighs 5.3 pounds, and at its most compact size, it is also noticeably smaller than the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ that measures 29 inches. This tripod is extremely lightweight, but it is well-made and feels sturdy despite its lightweight design. Like the Alta Pro 2+, the FGP18A comes with a multi-angle center column that can be tilted and positioned at a variety of horizontal or vertical angles.

Benro does not offer a package with a ball head, so you will have to purchase one separately if you do not already own one. As a solid, inexpensive option, we recommend the company’s BH00 single-action ball head. It has a snap-in quick-release plate that’s comparable to other tripods at this price.

With the Benro SystemGo Plus FGP18A and BH00 ball head, this tripod isn’t quite as stable as our top pick, particularly when extended to its maximum height, and the tripod’s adjustment knobs aren’t quite as easy to use as our top pick. As we discovered, the center-column angle-adjustment knob on the FGP18A was rather tight and had a difficult time moving into position. Furthermore, the knobs, including the height and pan-control locking knobs in the center column, could end up blocking each other, depending on how we placed them. If you are willing to live with those quirks, then it is an excellent all-around choice.

In “the competition”

Tripods that are standard

The Benro MeFoto GlobeTrotter tripod has four sections and a simple design but is solid. The tripod is rated to handle up to 26 pounds, which is more than any of our picks. When fully extended, it felt the most solid. It is more expensive, however, and the center column cannot be angled out like those of our top picks. We also found that this model took longer to open and close since the twist locks required more turns to loosen and tighten than our picks. The 4.5-pound weight is almost as heavy as our pick, but it lacks the multi-angle center column.

The 3Pod Orbit is a four-section aluminum tripod with a three-way head which is included in the package. The tripod has a multi-angle center column and retractable spike feet to make it relatively stable. While testing, we found that the retractable spikes occasionally stuck out of the rubber feet—not a great distance, but enough that they could damage a wooden floor. In addition, the flip locks that controlled the legs were so tight that we found it very difficult to open or close them. After we used the Allen key that came with the product to loosen the tension a little so that we could more easily operate the locks, we found that the legs were not tightly locking.

There are not many fancy features to the low-priced Slik Pro 700DX, the center column doesn’t swivel or tilt, the tripod has no extras, and it doesn’t come with a head. In spite of this, Slik is known for producing quality products within a reasonable budget, and for the price of the 700DX, it is a very good, simple, and stable tripod. In addition to its great maximum height of 70 inches, it is probably going to survive the apocalypse.

While the Lite series of tripods from Slik is equipped with a ball head, a detachable LED light, and a lever for easily locking and unlocking the legs, the AL-420M and AL-420S are too short to qualify as contenders in this category. In our guide, the Lite AL-420 is able to reach a height of the required height from the ground, but it has a load capacity of only 4.4 pounds, which is what made us dismiss it for this guide.

Tripods for travel

Our tests revealed that the 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey travel tripod has the most spindly legs of any tripod we tested, and they exhibited significant flex. Additionally, it was difficult to lock in a specific leg-angle lock, and the price is on the high end of what we wanted.

Oben’s CT-3565 carbon-fiber tripod and BZ-217T ball head package is a great travel tripod-it’s even lighter than our pick and costs about the same. Despite its short length, we didn’t like the feet as much. Oben tripods come with rubber-and-spiked combo feet, which can be a bit annoying when the rubber spins up (during transport or use) to reveal the metal spikes just when you don’t need them. Although you so rarely need them that this feature feels more like a hindrance.) In contrast, the small, slightly spiked rubber feet on the Manfrotto Element MII are everything most people will ever need, and provide a bit more grip due to the rubbery material. In addition, rubber spikes are available for the Element MII, if needed.

We found MeFoto’s RoadTrip S unstable compared with other travel gopro tripods. To release the leg-angle locks, you needed to hold them with two fingers. We tried MeFoto’s RoadTrip Air, which converts into a selfie stick and includes a remote shutter control, but its collapsible leg system was more difficult to manage than five individual leg locks, and we were worried that a tiny bump would send the tripod-and our expensive camera gear or smartphone-tumbling to the ground.

Although it’s smaller and lighter than the Manfrotto Element MII, the Vanguard VEO 2 GO 265HAB is also more expensive. We liked how easy it was to use, with small upgrades such as comma-shaped pans and ball lock knobs that offer a better grip when making adjustments. It lacks bubble levels, and it can only reach the same height as the Manfrotto Element MII (64.5 inches) if you extend the center column, which in our testing felt a bit less stable.

The Best Monopods :

Compared to our monopod pick from Sirui, the Manfrotto Element MII Video Monopod is significantly smaller and less stable. Even without a camera attached, it barely stood up. The fluid head pans and tilts smoothly, but the base isn’t removable, making this model less versatile than our pick.

Manfrotto Xpro Monopod+ Aluminum Four-Section with Fluid Video Head is heavy, bulky, and slow. The fluid head is dampened, and no matter how loose we loosened it, panning and tilting still produced resistance. Fast-moving action or wildlife could be difficult to track with this design. While the tilting base is removable, the legs do not lock when tucked up, and they opened on their own during our testing. Rather than twist locks, this monopod has flip locks, which we found distracting.

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FAQ: BestTripods

What is the best material for a tripod?

Carbon-fiber
Carbon-fiber tripods are expensive, despite being the best material. Next to carbon fiber, aluminum is the best material for construction. Aluminum is the most common material used in tripods today that are cheaper.

How much weight can a tripod hold?

Your tripod should be able to carry about three times the combination of your camera, tripod head and leans.

What is the best height for a tripod?

At eye level, your tripod should hold your camera steady. Unless you’re photographing on a hill, taking a higher perspective, or there are objects blocking your view, 60 inches is enough height.

Why is a tripod stable?

By spreading the legs away from the vertical center, better leverage for resisting tipping over due to lateral forces can be obtained. The three-legged (triangular stance) design provides good stability against gravitational loads and horizontal shear forces.

Do all tripods fit all cameras?

Most tripods work with any camera, since camera mounts are standardized. If the tripod mount on your binoculars differs from the tripod mount on your camera, many tripods have interchangeable heads. Even tripod heads and tripods can be purchased separately.

How many types of tripods are there?

In spite of the wide range of tripod types, they can be divided into five basic categories:  TabletopPortable, Pocket, Medium Duty, and Sturdy Duty/Studio.

How heavy is a tripod?

The average tripod weighs less than 9 pounds. The average tripod weighs less than 5 pounds, with over 65% of all tripods weighing less than 5 pounds. There is a general weight range of 2 to 5 lbs for most everyday tripods.

What are tripods used for?

Cameras are supported by tripods, which are three-legged stands. A tripod, also known as a “stick,” provides stability for cameras. Fluid heads are used on tripods. Also, the camera can tilt up and down by panning left and right.

Why do tripods have hooks?

Basically, you can add weight to your tripod by using the hook on the bottom, making it more stable. A camera bag is typically hung from a hook, or you can bring a separate bag with sand or rocks that you can fill when you get to your destination.

Are heavier tripods better?

A heavier tripod has its advantages. In general, heavier tripods are sturdier than light tripods since weight holds them in place. Carbon fibre is also said to absorb vibrations better than other materials.