Have you ever taken a photo that could have been great, but ended up blurry or crooked? It’s frustrating when the perfect shot is ruined by shaky hands or uneven surfaces. That’s where a good camera tripod comes in.
A tripod provides stability, versatility, and precision that you simply can’t get from handheld photography. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just starting out, investing in a good tripod can elevate your photography game in a snap.
In this article, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and scoured the market for the best camera tripods out there. We understand that everyone’s needs are different, so we’ve covered a wide range of requirements, from time-lapse shots to portrait photos and everything in between.
We’ve gathered recommendations that cater to different use cases, from entry-level models to high-end pro-grade accessories. So, no matter what your budget or skill level is, we’ve got you covered.
As you read on, you’ll also find tips and tricks that will make your tripod selection process a breeze. Our aim is to help you find the perfect tripod that will support your photography goals and give you the results you want.
So, whether you’re a seasoned professional or an enthusiastic beginner, let’s dive in and discover the best camera tripods on the market.
- A good camera tripod is essential for stabilising your shots and improving image quality.
- When looking for a tripod, it’s important to consider brand reputation, materials and build, weight, head type, legs and feet, and levels.
- Good tripod brands include Manfrotto, Vanguard, Three Legged Thing, and Really Right Stuff.
- Tripods made from carbon fiber tend to perform better than those made from aluminum or plastic.
- Weight capacity and weight hook are important features to consider for stability in different environments.
- Ball heads offer more versatility while pan heads offer smoother panning shots.
- Legs and feet should be checked for durability, adjustability, and grip.
- Look for tripods with at least 2-3 height levels and a 2-section center column for tricky moments.
- Independent leg adjustments can be helpful for shooting on less flat terrains.
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.
Really Right Stuff TVC-34L
The Really Right Stuff TVC-34L is one of the best professional tripods money can buy.
Vanguard Alta Pro
The Vanguard Alta Pro is the top choice for DSLR shooters. It’s sturdy and stable.Buy on Amazon
If you’re on a tight budget, you need to look no further than the AmazonBasics tripod.Buy on Amazon
How We’ve Chosen Our Top Picks
At Chasing Heartbeats Photography, 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
- 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
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.
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
- At over $1000, this is an option only for the professionals
Best Tripod for DSLR – Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP
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.
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.
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.
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 durability could be better
Best Cheap Tripod — Amazon Basics Lightweight Camera Tripod
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.
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.
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 weight capacity struggles with heavier cameras
- A little bit too light
Best Manfrotto Tripod – Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 055
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.
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.
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
- It’s far from a budget option
Best Tripod for the Money – Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod
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 plate isn’t removable
Best Beginner Tripod – Joby JB01507
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 weight capacity isn’t amazing
Best Heavy-Duty Tripod – Three Legged Thing Leo 2.0 Tripod
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
- Adjustments are quick but could be quicker
Best Tripod for Mirrorless Cameras – Vanguard VEO2GO204AB
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.
Why We Love it:
- Very portable, lightweight design
- Independent leg positioning
- Reasonably priced
- The twist leg locks take a bit of getting used to
Best Tripod for Canon Cameras – Endurax Camera Tripod
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.
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 durability is just ok
Best Tripod for Nikon Cameras – Nikon Outdoor Tripod
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.
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 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)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Tripod Buying Guides
In conclusion, finding the right tripod for your camera is an important decision that can make a big difference in the quality of your photography. By considering factors such as materials, weight, head type, legs and feet, and levels, you can narrow down your search and find a tripod that suits your needs and budget.
Remember, the recommendations in this article are just a starting point for your research. Take the time to explore your options and read reviews from other photographers. And most importantly, don’t rush your decision. Choosing the right tripod can be a long-term investment in your photography.
So, whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, a great tripod can help you take your photography to the next level. We hope this article has provided you with some valuable insights and tips to help you find the perfect tripod for your camera. Happy shooting!