Best Camera Tripod of 2019 – Complete Reviews with Comparisons
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Whether you like using a camera tripod or not, there’s no denying that sometimes it’s one of the best accessories a photographer has in his arsenal.
If you’re not using the best camera tripod for your style of photography or for the locations you usually shoot from, then you’re doing yourself a big disservice.
Check out five of the most reliable camera tripods for every budget. Also, have a look at our buyer’s guide and find out if our recommendation also caters to your needs.
Best Camera Tripod Reviews
AmazonBasics 60” Tripod
Affordable, lightweight, easy to use, versatile — this just about sums up this AmazonBasics tripod, but, there are some additional interesting features worth discussing that might just make it your ideal choice.
First of all, the tripod comes with its own tripod bag. This spares you the trouble of dealing with backpack tripod holders.
Unopened, the tripod is just 25” tall; with the legs fully extended and the center post raised, it reaches a height of 60”. This can be a perfect elevation for many applications both indoors and outdoors.
The maximum load is around 6.6 lbs., which means that it’s compatible with lots of cameras. The head also supports smartphone adapters and GoPro cameras. However, a smartphone adapter isn’t included.
The 3-way head is fully adjustable and swivels. It also has built-in settings for portrait and landscape photographs, which should make the tripod all the more valuable to beginner photographers.
The mounting plate has a standard quick-release system. This means that you shouldn’t have to keep the camera plate mounted to your device at all times, unless you really want to save yourself the hassle of working the screw.
What's to like about the AmazonBasics Tripod
The AmazonBasics tripod offers a great balance between affordability and ease of use.
What's not to like about the AmazonBasics Tripod
The tripod may feel a bit flimsy when operating outside in windy conditions.
Geekoto 77” Aluminum Camera Tripod
If you’re looking for a very sturdy tall tripod, this Geekoto model should fit the bill.
The tripod extends from 19” to 77”. It measures 77” when fully extended, legs and center column included. However, this still gives you more than enough height to work with, especially if you need the tripod at eye-level at all times.
The tripod also features a ball head which facilitates 360 degrees free movement. This makes it ideal for taking panorama shots, as well as taking photos at any angle. Ball joint heads are always in high demand with professional outdoor photographers.
The weight is rated at 3.37 lbs. That’s indicative of the slim aluminum tubing. Still, the tripod seems solid enough and it does have a weight capacity of 17.6 lbs.
What's to like about the Geekoto Tripod
The high weight capacity is a very good sign. It allows you to use the tripod with larger cameras and lenses. This comes in handy for outdoor and nighttime photography as well as for professional studio shoots.
What's not to like about the Geekoto Tripod
If you’re an amateur photographer, this may be an expensive piece of camera equipment.
Mountdog 70” Camera Tripod
This tripod design is mostly intended for DSLR cameras. It has sturdy legs, multiple quick-release features for easy operation, and great flexibility.
This is one of the more adjustable affordable tripods. It comes with aluminum tubing, 3-section telescopic legs, and an adjustable center column.
It has a 3-way tilt head that swivels 360 degrees. You can use it for panoramic shots. Bubble view levels are also included for easy setup.
The height range is between 21” and 70”. However, without extending the center pillar, the maximum height is 58”, which is still good enough for most average height people.
The maximum load capacity is 13 lbs., which is pretty good for this price range. The standard quick-release plate has a 1/4”-20 screw mount which should be compatible with all DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
The column features a standard hook at the bottom so that you can add some extra weight to stabilize the tripod. Flip-locks are used on the legs. A carry handle is also included but not a carry bag.
What's to like about the Mountdog Tripod
The telescopic pan handle and 360-degree field of view are among the highlights of this camera tripod stand. The lightweight makes it easy to carry without taking away much from the stability, at least not in indoor conditions and on the flat ground outside.
What's not to like about the Mountdog Tripod
Although the design makes this an ideal outdoor camera tripod, the use of rubber mats instead of metal feet and spikes may make it somewhat limited in utility.
Mactrem M-PT55 Travel Camera Tripod
This is a compact yet sturdy travel camera tripod that works well both indoors and outdoors. It offers plenty of adjustability and it’s easy to use.
The tripod measures 55” at full extension, as indicated in the model number. This aluminum tripod weighs just 2.6 lbs.
The maximum load capacity of 11 lbs. is enough for you to use a larger camera with different lenses. However, keep in mind that the load capacity includes any and all additional stabilizer weights.
The head is a 3-way pan design. You get 360-degree swivel action for taking panoramic photos and most importantly, a double holder. This allows you to use an extra pan head.
The camera plate has a standard quick-release mechanism for a smooth operation. The legs feature lever locks.
What's to like about the Mactrem M-PT55
The lever locks used on the leg extensions make this a durable tripod. This type of mechanism requires no maintenance and has superior resistance to wear and tear. It also makes it easy to adjust the height on uneven terrain.
What's not to like about the Mactrem M-PT55
It may be a bit flimsy to use outside at times, and, due to having rubber mats instead of metal feed, using this tripod on uneven terrain may not always be ideal.
K&F Concept 62” DSLR Camera Tripod
This is one of the most durable and stable tripods on the market, which makes its price a bit of a bargain overall.
At maximum extension, the tripod towers at 62” tall. That’s more than enough for the average photographer. The total weight is slightly under 3 lbs., which makes this easy to carry.
The ball head provides good camera stability. And, since the tripod is also designed with 360-degree swivel, it makes taking panoramic photos a lot easier even for the amateur photographer.
Operating the tripod (installing and dismounting) is very fast. You make use of a standard quick-release mechanism on the camera plate and flip-locks on the legs. They’re not always the most durable locks but they’re fast.
The center column is as sturdy as they come and comes with a classic hook to hang your camera bag or a stabilizing weight.
What's to like about the K&F Concept 62” DSLR Camera Tripod
The rotation of the platform is very smooth and requires virtually no effort. The smooth transition can guarantee flawless panoramic photos even when the camera is in the hands of an inexperienced photographer.
What's not to like about the K&F Concept 62” DSLR Camera Tripod
The use of flip-locks in any expensive camera tripod isn’t always great. Some users may prefer a quick-release system.
The weight rating is the first requirement when buying a tripod. You’ll have to know the weight of your camera with the base plate and mounted with your heaviest lens. The rule of thumb is that the tripod’s weight capacity should be 3X that.
This is to account for environmental factors, other accessories, and the shift in center of gravity when you have a longer lens mounted. Moving the center of gravity forward would make the tripod more likely to tip forward. In addition, you’d have to mount a microphone for serious video recording, as the built-in mic (if there is one) in most cameras isn’t good enough for high-quality audio.
Don’t confuse the tripod height with its length; they are two entirely different things. The tripod height is measured on a fully extended tripod with all sections of the legs released.
The tripod length, on the other hand, is measured when the tripod is not in use. The length is essentially the carry length.
Of course, both dimensions are equally important. You need to know how long the tripod is so you’ll know how easy it is to carry around.
The height is also important because it lets you know how easy the tripod will be to operate. Some people want it coming as close as possible to eye level. Others may need a tripod to take pictures with the camera angled upwards from the ground.
Tripod Weight and Construction
Camera tripods are usually made from either aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is usually the material of choice for many things. For example, if you want a high-end durable mountain bike, carbon fiber is generally the industry standard.
This is not always the case with tripods. Carbon fiber legs are lighter than aluminum legs. Yes, they make the tripod easier to carry. At the same time, they may raise certain concerns. Tripods need to guarantee you stability.
A lightweight tripod is easy to carry from one gig to another but it might need additional weights to keep it steady. With aluminum tubing legs, you’ll rarely need extra weight support or resorting to various tricks.
The tripod construction also varies from one manufacturer to another. The basic design that everyone follows is a three-legged support system that’s supposed to stabilize a camera and elevate it to the desired height.
A mounting head is fitted at the top. This supports the camera and allows you to make angle adjustments. Now, there’s one more important design feature, which not all tripods have.
Some models will feature a center column or pillar. This serves two purposes. First of all, it adds a bit more weight to the tripod and improves the stability as it pulls down from the center of the tripod setup.
The secondary role is to provide you with a few extra inches of height. The center column can be raised on most tripods. This raises the mounting head with the pillar and thus brings your camera close to eyesight.
Although this can be very useful, it can also go against everything the tripod stands for. You may find that relying on the center column for extra elevation makes the setup less stable, even on a flat surface.
Tripod legs are usually telescopic. They feature multiple segments or sections which can be released through a simple latching or locking mechanism. You can find tripods with three, four, or even five segments. The more segments the legs have, the higher the mounting head can be set.
Of course, there are also tabletop tripods. You’ll notice that some of these models come with flexible legs which can be wrapped around various objects to stabilize the tripod.
For regular tripods, there are two common locking mechanisms: twist lock and flip lock. The flip lock is the easiest one to use as you just flip it once to release the leg section and flip it back to secure it once extended. However, this type of mechanism requires some maintenance and retightening, and it also lacks moisture sealing.
The former, the twist lock mechanism, is considered a more professional design. Twist locks generally require a quarter turn. That’s enough to release the section of the leg. It also helps the twist lock to maintain its grip for longer. Despite not having built-in moisture sealant features, twist locks can be modified to block out moisture and debris.
There are two types of tripod feet, apart from the always affordable plastic feet. There are rubber feet and metal feet.
Rubber feet are ideal when using the tripod to shoot indoors. They don’t scratch the flooring or leave deep indentations in carpets.
Metal feet are preferred when using the tripod outside. The cool thing about this type of tripod feet is that they can be pulled back, using a latching mechanism. This exposes metal spikes. The spikes can make or break your photos when you’re working on soft or uneven terrain. They can also give you some extra stability.
How to Put a Camera on a Tripod
Cameras don’t go directly on the tripod. You have to use a connective piece called the base plate. After setting up a tripod, look for a release mechanism at the top for the base plate. Remove the plate and attach it to the bottom of your camera.
Place the plate on the bottom of the camera, insert the screw into the mounting hole, and tighten it by turning it clockwise. You don’t need tools for this.
Then, place the camera plate back onto the tripod and lock it in place. Some tripods feature a slide-in design, others have clamps, etc. Just do the reverse of whatever you did to remove it from the tripod, only this time with the camera secured on top of the plate.
How to Use a Camera Tripod
Tripods are useful when you’re trying to capture a specific moment; they guarantee stability. They can also allow you to set the camera to take a picture of you from a desired height and angle. But before actually using a tripod, you have to know how to set one up properly.
First, you have to choose a location where you want to take a photograph. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s time to set up the tripod.
Begin by extending one of the legs to the desired height. Hold the tripod with one leg on the ground until you’re satisfied with the positioning. Extend the other legs. Most tripods feature a simple latching mechanism that allows you to release, extend, and secure each section of the telescopic legs.
If the surface is uneven, this is the part where you have to adjust the legs until the camera can stay leveled to the horizon. You don’t want or need a crooked tripod. After you’ve finished the setup, the camera angle can be adjusted using a knob or lever.
If the surface is soft, push down hard against the soil so that the tripod legs are properly anchored. A cool trick that you can use is hanging the camera from the center of the tripod. This gives it a bit of extra weight and stability, especially when operating in windy conditions or on sand.
If you’re still not satisfied with the height of the tripod, extend the legs all the way. If you run out of sections, you can use the center post to elevate the tripod even further. However, this can often cause instability, especially in lower-end models which tend to be flimsier.
Almost all tripods feature a camera base plate. You have to remove it using the lever or release latch, depending on the design. Secure the base plate to the camera and then attach the base plate with the camera on top to your tripod.
In most cases, attaching the base plate to the bottom of the camera doesn’t require any tools. Inserting the screw and turning it clockwise by hand should be enough. When using the tripod, if you want to work the camera, it’s better to have the camera pointing in the same direction as one of the legs. This will give you more room to operate in the back (in the space created between the other two legs).
Another nice trick is to always have your base plate attached to the camera. The weight is negligible and shouldn’t interfere with your balance when taking photos without the tripod. This saves a bit of time when you actually have to set up your camera tripod.
Do All Tripods Fit All Cameras?
Yes and no. For the most part, tripods should fit all cameras which have a mounting feature. But, you’ll have to check the weight rating (see the 'Weight Rating' section above).
Also important to note is that not all cameras can be used on tripods. If your camera doesn’t have a mounting hole, then it’s unlikely that you will be able to secure the camera to the tripod.
How Much Does a Tripod Cost?
Tripod prices vary greatly depending on the materials used and the features and specifications. You can find capable tripods for as little as $20. They’re considered low-end and may be less durable or stable but they can get the job done if you know what you’re doing.
On the other hand, you can also pay upwards of $500 for a camera tripod. However, those high-end models are rarely used outside of extreme weather conditions. The price does matter as more expensive tripods tend to be superior in quality.
As long as you have the necessary photography skills, you can take awesome pictures with an entry-level or medium-range tripod.
How to Choose a Tripod
Choosing a tripod is not as easy as it may seem. First of all, you have to make sure that it can support your camera and lens’ weight (again, see the 'Weight Rating' section above). Also, tripods come in different heights. Because of this, you have to choose between legs with three, four, or five segments, depending of course on how much height you think you’ll need.
A center column is also desirable but not all tripods have this design feature. This may give you some extra stability. However, it may also add some weight to your carry bag.
Leg adjustability is another consideration. If you’re generally working on flat terrain, any standard tripod might do the trick. But if you expect to encounter soft ground, gravel, uneven ground, and so on, you may need to look into independently adjustable legs. With those, you can set your own angles and face any terrain situation head-on.
Even the tripod feet are highly important. For instance, metal feet or feet with spikes are amazing to use outside. But, they won’t do you any good if you’re trying to take indoor wedding photos.
Of course, the overall weight is also important. Heavier tripods usually indicate that they’re made from aluminum. They’re stable but aren’t amazing at absorbing vibrations when compared to carbon fiber.
Last but not least, you have to determine what kind of head type you need. Note that not all tripods feature heads. Three-way heads are big and definitely the best for precise angle adjustments on all axes.
Which do you think is the best camera tripod for your brand of photography? If you have your eyes set on the AmazonBasics tripod, then you’re on the same wavelength as us.
Not only is it very affordable but it also extends to your eye-level without much effort. Sure, it may be a bit lighter than you would expect of an aluminum tripod, but its stability is very good for this price range, and the level of adjustability makes it a highly versatile tool.
Of course, if you’re looking to go even higher, Geekoto’s tripod may also be a solid choice. If you’re over 6-ft. tall, the extra 17” in height might make this one the more comfortable alternative.