Best Camera Tripod: Top Picks and Reviews

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Few camera accessories can elevate your photography game quicker than a good tripod. The stability, versatility, and overall performance of the best models out there can give your images the support they need.

Whether you’re looking for a tripod for better time-lapse shots, portrait photos, or something else entirely, we’ve got you covered. We’ll help you find the best camera tripod for your needs.

We’ve covered a super broad range of requirements and have found recommendations to suit most use cases.

From beginner models to pro-grade accessories, read on to learn more. Also be sure to read through our general tips and tricks toward the end of this page. They’re designed to make the process of finding a decent tripod simpler.

Best Camera Tripods — Our Recommendations and Reviews

This section contains our top picks for the best tripod options available in 2021. We cover a broad range of use cases, price points, and feature sets. If you’re still unsure after reading our recommendations, check out our buyer’s guide further down to narrow down your search.

best professional tripod really right stuff

Really Right Stuff TVC-34L

The Really Right Stuff TVC-34L is one of the best professional tripods money can buy.

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vanguard alta pro

Vanguard Alta Pro

The Vanguard Alta Pro is the top choice for DSLR shooters. It’s sturdy and stable.

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best professional tripod really right stuff

AmazonBasics Lightweight

If you’re on a tight budget, you need to look no further than the AmazonBasics tripod.

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How We’ve Chosen Our Top Picks

At Photography Focus, we only want to make recommendations that are genuinely worth your time and money. We consider the following when finding product recommendations:

  • Online reviews and praise
  • Features
  • Quality
  • Durability
  • Value
  • Online availability
  • Customer support/ brand reception

If you see a recommendation on this page, we honestly believe it’s worth the buy. Read on to learn more.

Best Professional Tripod – Really Right Stuff TVC-34L

Really Right Stuff TVC-34 Series 3 4-Leg Sections Mk2 Versa Apex Carbon Fiber Tripod, Payload 85 lb, Max. Height 58.2'

Top of the list is an option that won’t be for everyone. At comfortably over $1000, this tripod is an excellent fit for professionals who are serious about their photography but will be way over budget for a casual buyer.

If you’re raising eyebrows at the price tag, don’t worry — this thing packs a whole lot of punch for the pros who need this level of performance.

Really Right Stuff’s Mark of Quality

The company Really Right Stuff has been producing exceptional pro-grade camera equipment since 2009. In just over a decade, they’ve grown into an industry leader when it comes to tripods and similar accessories.

Tripods like this one are easier to operate, faster to set up, and far more versatile than your average bargain-basement option. If you have the money and need something that won’t let you down, this is a great choice in our opinion.

5-Year Limited Warranty

While this thing is hardly what you’d call cheap, it does come with a warranty that far surpasses the bulk of the competition. This tripod comes with a 5-year limited warranty that covers more than some might expect.

If you’re a pro who needs an accessory that will stay reliable for years to come, give this one some consideration.

Air-Efficient Adjustments

A common performance bottleneck for this kind of accessory is set up and tear-down time. A fiddly tripod that takes forever to adjust can quickly become a huge pain in the butt when taking photos from different angles and positions.

This isn’t something you’ll have to worry about with the TVC-34L. It uses an “efficient air-transfer system” for its adjustable legs. The result is a tripod that feels amazing to adjust and store away when not in use.

We’re big fans of this one.

Why We Love it:

  • Super efficient setup times
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Comfortable, stable, and durable
  • Pro-level versatility

The Drawbacks:

  • At over $1000, this is an option only for the professionals

Best Tripod for DSLR – Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminium Tripod with Multi-Angle Column and PH-32 Pan Head

While there’s nothing stopping you from using any universal-mount tripod with your DSLR, it’s important to make sure you pick an option that can handle your camera’s extra weight.

Another thing to keep in mind is that as DSLR’s tend to be considerably more capable than your average point-and-shoot, it’s worth finding a tripod with the level of versatility you’ll need. For our money, the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP ticks all of the boxes outlined above.

Read on to learn why.

Weight-Bearing Design

With a weight capacity of 5kg, the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP is tough enough to hold up the majority of bulky cameras. Even with a hefty lens attached, you should be fine.

Add this to this tripod’s retractable spiked feet and additional weight hook, and you’re looking at a sturdy accessory that can go the distance for your DSLR.

360° Rotation

The multi-angle central column of this tripod makes it effortless to pan 180° or even 360°. This comes in handy when taking panoramic shots but it can also prove indispensable when adjusting your setup in tricky situations.

The full 360° of movement lends a decent amount of versatility to this accessory.

Lightweight Build

The aluminum build of the Pro 263AP makes it a dream to carry around with you. This makes it an excellent candidate for photographers who are always on the go. This is especially relevant for those who use a heavier DSLR camera, especially if you’re carrying additional lenses with you.

Your tripod should make your kit more powerful, not weigh it down!

Why We Love it:

  • Plenty of capacity for heavier cameras
  • Weight hook and spiked feet
  • Full 360° panning
  • Lightweight aluminum build

The Negatives:

  • The durability could be better

Best Cheap Tripod — Amazon Basics Lightweight Camera Tripod

Amazon Basics Lightweight Camera Mount Tripod Stand With Bag - 16.5 - 50 Inches

This AmazonBasics model won’t win any awards for flair or cutting-edge features. What it will do, however, is deliver reasonable performance and versatility at a fair price. If you’re looking for a first-timer’s option that won’t break the bank, we recommend checking this one out.

Built With Value in Mind

We’ve already mentioned that this option is great for those on a budget. This is especially true if you need some basic tripods for your team to use next time you shoot. The option to buy a four pack of this tripod through Amazon could save you a fair bit of money if you’re looking to buy in bulk.

Amazon usually has a pretty good track record of honoring returns on their own-name listings, so you’ll always have the option to open a dispute if things don’t work out. If the online reception of this accessory is anything to go on, however, you won’t be needing a return at all.

Surprisingly Versatile

This thing can’t contort itself into endless configurations like some more premium models. That said, it’s far more versatile than you might expect. It’s super easy to adjust this tripod between both portrait and landscape modes.

Panning is also much smoother than some similar products in this price range. It’s not groundbreaking but it’s not bad either.

Quick-Release Plate

They say the best camera is the one you have with you. For this reason, the quicker you can get your equipment ready to shoot, the better. Features like the quick-release plate that come as standard on this AmazonBasics model lend some welcome speed to your regular adjustments.

This thing won’t slow you don’t when tweaking your setup on the fly.

What We Love:

  • Affordable price with multi-buy options
  • Surprisingly versatile
  • Convenient quick-release plate for easy adjustments

The Drawbacks:

  • The weight capacity struggles with heavier cameras
  • A little bit too light

Best Manfrotto Tripod – Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 055

Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 055 Carbon Fiber 4-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (Black) Bundled with ZAYKiR Tripod Strap Non-Slip with Two Quick-Release Loops (Black)

If you need a tripod that can keep up in a professional environment, this offering from Manfrotto is one of the best tripods they produce. It combines durability, ease of use, and pro-grade features at a price that undercuts other premium options on this page.

Carbon Fiber Strength

The carbon fibre build of the MT055CXPRO4 055 gives users the best of both worlds. This thing is both lightweight and exceptionally durable. It should stand up to the elements for many years to come, even if you throw it around in more rugged environments.

The other fittings and attachments on this product also appear very well designed. They’ll adjust with the reassuring feeling of quality that you should expect when spending over $500.

One-Finger Adjustments

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating – any tripod you consider should be easy to adjust. An accessory that takes forever to tweak can mean the difference between a killer shot and a missed opportunity.

Janky central columns and clips are best avoided. The design of the MT055CXPRO4 055 is a breath of fresh air when compared to some less-premium options. It’s possible to adjust your setup using just one finger.

Ease of use like this can really elevate your performance in the field.

Accessory Friendly

The Easy Link connector on this tripod makes it super simple to attach additional accessories as you see fit. This feature only adds to the MT055CXPRO4 055’s already considerable speed and versatility.

If you’re a pro who needs to use a ton of extra kit, try this one out for size.

Why We Love it:

  • Super durable
  • One-finger adjustments
  • Great for other accessories

The Drawbacks:

  • It’s far from a budget option

Best Tripod for the Money – Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod

Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit with Hybrid Head, Black (MKCOMPACTACN-BK)

Another option from Manfrotto, this time with a budget-friendly price tag. This compact accessory comes with a strong level of versatility at an equally fair price. If you’re using an entry-level SLR with standard lenses, definitely check this one out.

Photo and Movie Modes

It’s a breeze to switch between photo and movie modes with this tripod. This can prove especially useful for dynamic shots that might call for both forms of photography.

Quick-Release Universal Plate

When picking up a new tripod, it’s vital that you make sure it can actually accommodate your specific camera. Fortunately, the quick-release plate on this Manfrotto model supports practically any camera you can throw at it. The quick-release design also makes it a joy to adjust when working.

Why We Love it:

  • An excellent value option
  • Speedy mode switching
  • Lightweight design
  • Universal mount

The Drawbacks:

  • The plate isn’t removable

Best Beginner Tripod – Joby JB01507

Joby JB01507 GorillaPod 3K Kit. Compact Tripod 3K Stand and Ballhead 3K for Compact Mirrorless Cameras or Devices up to 3K (6.6lbs). Black/Charcoal.

This flexible little accessory makes for a brilliant beginner’s tripod or GoPro mount. The versatile, unique legs can grip to practically any solid surface they can reach around. If you need a new photography companion for your travels, we recommend taking a look at this one.

Use it Anywhere

The wrappable legs used by the JB01507 make it incredibly versatile. Simply find a solid object or surface, adjust your setup, and you’re away. While the height of this model pales in comparison to more traditional tripods, it can grip onto poles, bars, and similar objects in ways that the competition can only dream of!

Modular Joby Design

The manufacturer Joby has built quite a reputation for producing versatile tools that can grow with the rest of your gear. This tripod is compatible with Joby’s broad range of optional upgrades.

From extra grips to flash clips and microphones, this thing offers long lasting versatility to the right kind of photographer.

360° Panning Bed

The smooth panning capabilities of this Joby tripod make it an absolute joy to use for your panoramic and time lapse shots. For an accessory of this price point and size, this level of performance is actually fairly impressive.

If wide panning is important to you, check out this option.

Why We Love it:

  • Super versatile, wrappable legs
  • Great for beginners
  • Modular design for extra upgrades
  • Smooth, wide panning bed

The Drawbacks:

  • The weight capacity isn’t amazing

Best Heavy-Duty Tripod – Three Legged Thing Leo 2.0 Tripod

3 Legged Thing Leo 2.0 Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod System (Metallic Slate Grey)

For those who need a rugged tripod that can withstand a fair bit of abuse, this option from Three Legged Thing is a great choice in our opinion. It comes with a carbon fibre build, a heavy-duty weight capacity, and global warranty that blows many competitors out of the water.

5-Year Global Warranty

Like the Really Right Stuff tripod at the top of this page, this model comes with a 5-year warranty for added peace of mind. Not only does this thing come with the durability you need but it also includes the coverage necessary in case things go wrong.

Warranties like this are significantly above the industry standard so we’re more than happy to praise manufacturers who are willing to back their products to this degree.

Excellent Weight Capacity

With a maximum load rating of 30kg, this tripod is built for more heavy-duty requirements. Even with a bulky lens and hefty DSLR, you should be absolutely fine. The weight distribution and overall handling are also exceptional.

This is a heavy-duty beast.

Ultra Versatile Leg Design

Each of the three legs on this model are fully detachable and can be used as their own monopod. This gives the Leo 2.0 three main configurations: tripod, monopod, desk-mount. Versatility like this more than justifies this tripod’s asking price in our opinion.

Why We Love it:

  • Can handle up to 30kg or 66lbs
  • 5-year global warranty
  • The leg designs are super clever and versatile
  • Lightweight build

The Drawbacks:

  • Adjustments are quick but could be quicker

Best Tripod for Mirrorless Cameras – Vanguard VEO2GO204AB

Vanguard VEO2GO204AB Aluminum Travel Tripod with Ball Head for Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm Mirrorless, Compact System Camera (CSC)

One bonus of using a lighter mirrorless camera is that they can be used with more compact, portable tripod options. This offering from Vanguard is refreshingly easy to take with you while still offering the level of performance and durability you expect.

Independent Leg Positioning

One feature that stood out to us immediately with the VEO2GO204AB is the ability to adjust each tripod leg independently. This can really come in handy when adapting your setup to more unusual environments.

With uneven terrain, for example, this kind of feature is a must.

Lightweight and Portable

If you’re using a mirrorless camera or other lightweight shooter, this tripod might just be for you. It’s super easy to carry, even with one hand. The compact design also helps this Vanguard tripod save a significant amount of room in your kit bag.

2-Section Center Column

For those moments when you need that extra shooting height, the 2-section center column of this tripod will be your best friend. It can give your camera the extra lift it needs when shooting. Achieving this amount of height in such a compact frame is seriously impressive in our opinion.

Related: check out these mirrroless cameras under $1000

Why We Love it:

  • Very portable, lightweight design
  • Independent leg positioning
  • Reasonably priced

The Drawbacks:

  • The twist leg locks take a bit of getting used to

Best Tripod for Canon Cameras – Endurax Camera Tripod

Endurax 66 Video Camera Tripod Stand Compatible with Nikon Canon, DSLR Cameras

The universal design for this Edurax tripod makes it a great fit for your Canon camera. It comes with an appealing price tag, photo-friendly features, and a max height of 66 inches. If you use a Canon shooter, this one is worth considering.

Great Weight Capacity

With a max weight of around 5kg, this tripod comes with the capacity you’ll need for even the bulkier Canon DSLRs. Just make sure it will be able to handle your kit if you use massive lenses.

Universal Design

Versatility is the name of the game here. Pick a camera and this tripod will probably work with it. Flexibility like this is great to see, especially when you consider the price point of this option from Endurax. At just over $30, it’s unlikely to break most people’s budgets.

Roomy Max Height

Not every tripod comes with a 66” max height, especially in this price range. If you need extra reach when shooting, it’s hard to go wrong with this one. The tripod legs are refreshingly easy to adjust and should feel nice and sturdy as you tweak your setup.

Why We Love it:

  • Excellent price
  • Works with Canon DSLRs
  • 5kg weight capacity

The Drawbacks:

  • The durability is just ok

Best Tripod for Nikon Cameras – Nikon Outdoor Tripod

Nikon Compact Outdoor Tripod, Black, 16749

So what about Nikon cameras? Why not go with an option that’s “straight from the horse’s mouth”. Nikon has put its own name on this compact tripod and has designed it to work with a broad range of their cameras.

Ergonomic Design

One thing that stands out to us with this tripod is its ergonomic design. Everything from the grips to the base plate feels refreshingly comfortable to use. For longer pan shots and more finicky adjustments, this level of comfort will come in handy.

Compact, Portable Design

The aluminum build of this model from Nikon makes it a very portable little accessory. It can fold away to just 15.75″ and weighs a fraction over 1kg. The result is a camera accessory that you won’t think twice about throwing in your kit bag for a shoot.

Great for Nikon Cameras

If you want to guarantee that your tripod will work with a Nikon-brand camera, buying this model is a great way to go. The mounting plate, while universal, will work flawlessly with your favorite Nikon shooters.

Why We Love it:

  • Very comfortable grips and overall design
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Great for Nikon cameras

The Drawbacks:

  • The locking clips can be a little finicky from time to time

Best Tripod For Cameras: Buyer’s Guide

While we believe the options listed above represent phenomenal value for money, we understand that you may want to research further before making a decision. For this reason, we’ve outlined some simple tips to help you spot great products out in the wild.

The more you know about what makes a tripod great, the easier it will be to avoid the duds.

How to mount a camera on a tripod

Good Tripod Brands

Brand loyalty can be a mistake when it comes to camera accessories. Every manufacturer is capable of producing both ‘hits’ and ‘misses’. That said, the brands listed below have a pretty great reputation and track record online:

  • Manfrotto (pro customers especially)
  • Vanguard
  • Three Legged Thing (UK customers especially)
  • Really Right Stuff (Pros and outdoor photographers)

When looking at options from any of these brands, make sure you keep our tips outlined below in mind.

Materials and Build

The two main materials you’re likely to see used for tripods are aluminum and carbon fiber. Tripods made from either of these can perform very well but the latter of the two tends to do a better job. Carbon fiber combines lightweight portability with rugged durability.

Avoid most options that are entirely plastic or made from cheap materials.

Weight

The weight of your tripod is also an important factor to consider. Lightweight builds can be great for portability, but can easily topple in windier environments. A great feature to look out for is a weight hook. This gives you the option to add weighted bags to your tripod when you need some extra stability.

Weight capacity is another crucial thing to consider. Make sure any tripod you look at can support the weight of both your camera and favored lenses.

Head type

There’s a long list of potential head types you might encounter when shopping for tripods. The two most common options by far, though, are ball heads and pan heads. With a ball head tripod, you’ll be able to adjust your camera to practically any position.

One drawback with this kind of design is that it can be a little shaky for panning shots. A pan head tripod resolves this issue by offering only two axes for movement – horizontal and vertical. While this makes for smoother panning, it’s a little less versatile if you need a tripod that can point in virtually any direction.

Best video tripod

Legs and Feet

The legs and feet of your tripod are worth checking with some scrutiny – they’re sometimes the first thing to break after a few months. Spiked feet can be a great way to get the extra grip and stability you need when shooting.

Other features like detachable legs can also be a Godsend if you like the option of having a monopod or desktop mount. Legs that can be adjusted independently will also bring some much-needed versatility to your setup.

Just be sure to avoid any base that’s made from subpar materials. The moment they break, you’ll need to buy a whole new tripod.

Levels

How tall do you need your tripod to reach? Do you regularly shoot across a broad range of different levels? Do you only really need something for flat surfaces, or do you regularly work on rougher terrains?

The answers to these questions will make it much easier to find a tripod that’s right for you. Expect at least 2-3 height levels on any model you consider. For an extra boost, look for tripods that use a 2-section center column that can reach up in those tricky moments.

Independent leg adjustments can also be super helpful for less flat terrains. Look out for this feature if you regularly shoot outdoors.

Final Thoughts

We hope this page has helped you narrow down your search for a new tripod. Remember that everyone’s requirements are different. The product that’s the perfect fit for you will be determined by the kind of photography you do and the budget you’re working with.

Take a look through the recommendations on this page and use them as a jumping-off point for your own research. Keep our tips in mind when shopping online. The last thing you want to do is waste your money on something that doesn’t come with the features or performance you need.

Whichever model you choose, we hope it serves you well. Happy shooting!