Looking for the best beginner tripod money can buy? Hoping for something that’s easy to use? You’re in the right place. We’ve trawled through the options online to find our favorites. We’ve considered aspects like max height, load capacity, ease of use and height to come up with a list of the best options available.
If you’re looking for our quick-and-dirty recommendation, check out this Manfrotto model on Amazon. Its premium Italian design, aluminum leg lock base and overall build make it a fantastic choice for those looking for a first-time tripod.
Have a bit more time and want the details? Check out our more detailed reviews below.
Best Tripod for Beginners — Our Top Picks
This section will run through our favorite models. They consistently ranked highly on Amazon and other reviews and, in our opinion, represent fantastic value for money!
1. Manfrotto MK290XTA3-3WUS 290
As mentioned at the top of this page, this option from Manfrotto gets a lot of things right. Its sturdy center column and premium design make it a great candidate for an entry level light DSLR tripod. The robust aluminum construction goes a long way in keeping it lightweight for your photos on-the-go.
The ability to adjust your tripod quickly and easily should be one of your main concerns when picking up a new base for you camera. Fortunately, the 4 different leg angles possible with the Manfrotto make it a versatile piece of kit.
In a competitive market, it’s always great to see companies willing to sweeten the deal. The free shoulder bag that comes with this ball head tripod adds a nice boost to the overall value of this Manfrotto package.
With a max height of 67.5 Inches and a load capacity of 8.8 lbs, this option should be more than capable for most requirements.
- Premium Italian design
- Lightweight aluminum construction
- 4 possible leg angles
- Free shoulder bag
- A carbon fiber construction would have been nice
- Can sell out quite quickly(if that’s really considered a con!)
2. Neewer Carbon Fiber Tripod
Coming in at number two is this fantastic carbon fiber option from Neewer. Its robust construction, ball head design and 2-in-1 functionality make this a brilliant beginner tripod. The stand-out feature of this option is its versatility.
The leg sections are super tough and one can be detached and used as an individual monopod. If you work with multiple cameras for a variety of different shots, this feature could be a godsend. If you want extra stability with your carbon fiber tripod, this option might be a good choice.
The included hook attached to the center column can be used to hang sand bags and further stabilize your base. Further adding to the versatility of this tripod is the ball head top that can swivel 360°. This is one of the best tripods out there for panoramic videos and wide-angle shots.
This Neewer model offers a maximum height of 63 inches and a max weight of 33lbs. If you need a more heavy-duty DSLR tripod. this one is a great choice.
- 2-in-1 design
- Best tripod for panoramic shots
- Ball head top
- Carbon fiber construction
- Not the cheapest option out there
- Make sure you click the monopod leg back in firmly; the mechanism can be a little tricky
3. Vanguard VEO – Carbon Fiber
The Vanguard VEO is for those who aren’t willing to make compromises with their beginner’s tripod. The durable center column, chunky leg lock design and multi-action ball head combine for a seriously compelling package. This one isn’t the cheapest option on our list, but it’s absolutely fantastic.
As you grow as a photographer, you’ll come to value speed and efficiency when setting up your gear. The VEO uses an optional quick release plate and intelligent center column design that allow for a 15-second setup. If speed matters to you, this one is well worth considering.
With many entry-level tripods, consumers have to choose between weight and durability. Thanks to the carbon fibre construction of the VEO, you’ll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Your tripod will be super easy to carry while staying durable enough to stand up to anything you throw at it.
If you know a little bit about tripods already, you’ll probably understand the value of twist locks when it comes to keeping things sturdy. This is a lightweight tripod that’s very sturdy on practically any flat surface. This is thanks in no small part to the premium twist locks that come as standard.
- A brilliant mirrorless or DSLR tripod
- Super sturdy tripod legs
- Convenient ball head design
- Speedy setup
- Not the best budget option
4. Slik Professional Tilt Head Aluminum Tripod
This is another phenomenal option for those who need a robust pan tilt design. This Slik Professional model uses a smooth swiveling head that can take a lot of the hassle out to executing panoramic shots. If you regularly do this type of camera work, or are looking for some equipment to help get you started, this one is worth a look.
One thing that stood out to us about this aluminum tripod is the geared system that allows it to adapt robustly to different camera weights on the fly. Say you’re shooting with your DSLR but want to quickly switch to your smartphone for a livestream— this system will make sure your devices get the support they need.
Another thing we love about this tripod is how well it adapts to different terrains. Each leg supporting the tilt head can be adjusted individually. For uneven surfaces and imperfect environments, this can lend some welcome flexibility to your setup.
With a folded height of 26 inches and a maximum reach of up to 64, this might just be the best tripod for your beginner’s kit. Its versatility, durability and overall ease of use are seriously impressive.
- Excellent pan tilt design
- Versatile adjustment system
- Geared column system for camera support
- Sturdy flip locks
- Best suited to a lighter camera
5. MeFOTO Compact Tripod
For many beginners, the only tripod you really need is one that can support your smartphone or perhaps a lightweight travel camera. If this sounds like you, then this lightweight tripod from MeFOTO is right up your street.
This compact tripod can fold up inversely and, if you use an optional accessory, convert into a handy monopod. For vlogging enthusiasts who are always on the go, this one is an excellent choice. This is another tripod on our list that offers smooth 360° panning.
For effortless panoramas and immersive swiveling videos, consider options that use this kind of panning design. This model from MeFOTO has a variety of options for the materials used for its construction. You’ll be able to choose from aluminum, carbon fiber and even a version with leather accents.
With a super smooth tripod head, glorious 360° panning and a folded height of just 12.2 inches, this is one of the best options for photographers who need a versatile tool that’s easy to take with them.
- Great for panoramas
- A variety of options for the construction material
- Folds away for easy carrying
- Very sturdy tripod legs
6. ZOMEI Z699C
This is another premium model, this time from the manufacturer Zomei. For a heftier price tag, you get a whole lot of versatility. Like other premium models on this page, the Z699C makes it easy to adjust each tripod leg individually.
The result is an accessory that can do its job on virtually any terrain. The pull-out button design is remarkably easy to use and allows for adjustments that feel effortless as you adjust your setup. Further flexibility comes in the form of a built-in bubble level.
Keeping your foundation steady is one of the first things you should think about when setting up. Additions like the bubble level make this process a whole lot easier.
Another thing about this tripod that begins to justify its price point is how durable it is. The robust carbon fibre frame can stand up to bumps very well. When you use a tripod, you’re trusting that the accessory you’ve bought will be able to support your expensive camera.
Use premium models like this one to guarantee your camera stays secure.
- Super steady frame
- Legs can be adjusted individually
- Built-in bubble indicator
- Ultra-portable design
- At around $200, this is certainly an investment
7. K&F Concept SA254M2
Last, but certainly not least, is the K&F Concept. If portability matters to you, then this option is worth considering. Its lightweight aluminum construction is very easy to carry with you wherever you are. Don’t let the lack of carbon fiber fool you, though. This tripod is no slouch when it comes to durability either.
Even clumsier photographers shouldn’t have much to worry about when using this thing; it appears to stand up to drops and bumps fairly well. Among the SA254M2’s best qualities is its fantastic 360° head that makes it super easy to get the panoramic shots you need.
The design of the SA254M2 is pretty impressive — it can stand at up to 72.8 inches tall and can shrink down to a tiny 18.9 inches. This broad spectrum of potential heights makes this the best beginner tripod for those who shoot from a multitude of different angles.
With tons of positive reviews online, this one is well worth a look.
- Durable build quality
- Surprisingly portable
- Excellent range of potential heights
- 360° shooting
- The lack of a carrying handle is a little disappointing
Check it out here.
Beginner Tripods — Our Buyer’s Guide
We believe the options listed above are some of the best beginner tripods available in 2021. That said, it’s worth discussing some of the things that you should look out for when buying this kind of accessory for your camera.
When buying any new product, it’s important to make sure you’re buying something that will suit your needs. It’s just necessary to ask yourself about what you need out of a new tripod as it is to understand the tools themselves.
The more you know about tripod fundamentals and which of them matter to you, the easier it will be to spot a dud. Read on to find your best beginner tripod.
The first thing to mention is that you usually get what you pay for when it comes to tripod buying. “More expensive” doesn’t always translate to “better,” but you should steer clear of prices that seem too good to be true.
As a very general rule, expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $200 for a good beginner’s tripod. Once you’re paying more, though, make sure you’re getting a feature set that justifies the price point.
The load capacity of your tripod is one of the most important stats to double-check. If you regularly shoot with a heavy DSLR, for example, it’s vital that you make sure your accessory will be able to hold it.
Look out for product listings that describe themselves as “iPhone tripods” or “mirrorless camera tripods”. If you take photos with the aforementioned devices then they could work great, but don’t expect them to support your heavier equipment.
How high do you need your tripod to reach? Just looking for something that can sit comfortably on a desk, or will something much taller be necessary? Use your personal answers to these questions to find a model that suits your requirements.
Remember that the taller your tripod becomes, the less stable it will be. Make sure your specific model remains stable even at its tallest height. Look for options that allow you to attach sandbags for increased stability.
It’s likely that you’ll be carrying your tripod around with you at least some of the time. If you travel a lot for your photography, it’s probably worth looking for options that are lighter and therefore easier to take with you.
The best beginner tripod is one that suits your requirements, so make sure you’ve picked a model that can travel as much as you need it to.
The two things most affected by your tripod’s material are portability and durability. The most common materials used are aluminum and carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is typical of more premium models as it affords more durability while remaining lightweight.
Keep in mind, though, that there are plenty of aluminum stands that are durable too.
Many tripods will use a standard screw mount for attaching your camera, but some will use a hot-shoe mount instead. It’s worth making sure that any model you’re considering will fit the dimensions of your specific camera.
If you regularly shoot with multiple devices, you might want to pick up a universal adaptor to make sure you’ll be able to use your tripod with everything. The last thing you want is to find yourself on location with a camera and tripod that don’t fit together!
The primary purpose of a tripod is to keep your camera steady while you work. For this reason, it’s worth making sure that any model you’re considering can do its job properly wherever you are. The main feature that can help with this is legs that can be adjusted individually.
Tweaking each leg one by one allows you to adapt your tripod to any number of uneven terrains. Built-in bubble levels are another great extra that can really help maintain stability when working on the fly.
We hope this page has helped demystify the process of finding a great beginner’s tripod. Remember that the best option for you will depend heavily on the type of work you do and the amount of money you can afford to spend.
Don’t be tempted to splash out the big bucks on a tripod that you simply can’t afford yet. While more premium models can be amazing, the high-quality entry-level options can be more than enough to get the job done.
As you grow as a photographer and start earning from your work, you’ll be able to upgrade your kit as you progress. Remember to use our tips from our buyer’s guide to pick up a tripod that fits your needs. Spending money on something that doesn’t work well is never a good feeling!