If you’re an amateur or a pro you know the value of a good tripod. For certain types of shoots, a reliable tripod is of the utmost importance. But with that being said – you don’t have to spend a lot of money or get the best most expensive tripod around.
You need a tripod that suits your needs in a cost-effective way. There are a large number of tripods to choose from so in this
Sometimes as photographers – either as hobbyists or pros we get a little gear crazy. You know it to be true! A tripod is one of those pieces of gear that is essential but one that you don’t really need to blow a ton of cash on.
Features to Look for in a Tripod
I know for a fact that I have never broken the $200 dollar range when buying any of my tripods. I generally look for a combination of stability, sturdiness, and mobility.
When I talk about a tripod being sturdy I mean how much wear and tear can it take? If you’re on the road or gigging a ton or even using it regularly for hobby photography you need to know that it would last along with the rest of your gear.
A huge mistake photographers make is that they buy gear on the cheap because they just want to add it to their repertoire. Just because you have something doesn’t mean its worthwhile.
Through your own trial and error, you will find what works for you and what doesn’t. Take note because the tripod you buy when you first
As far as mobility goes with a tripod there are quite a few options. Personally I like to pack light for shoots. However, I know that some shoots require bigger guns. If I’m shooting interior design I pack a nice travel tripod from Zomei that I scored for an affordable price.
Check price of the Zomei F678 at Amazon
This tripod is actually a knockoff of a much more expensive one ($325) that I found online. It collapses to about 16 inches and extends to a touch over 6 feet.
It’s low enough to the ground that I can take some great shots without having another tripod in its place and can extend enough so that I don’t need a big rig. One of the legs can also unscrew into a monopod and it can also allow you to mount your camera upside down.
Another great budget tripod is from Ravelli, the APGL4 Professional 70″ Tripod
Check price of the Ravelli APGL4 Professional Tripod at Amazon
This is a more standard three-leg tripod that has a nice trigger head and lock in quick release plate, which is a lifesaver on shoots when you need to pop your camera off the tripod at a moment’s notice.
Ravelli also updates this model tripod every so often. The build is fantastic and it’s an extremely sturdy piece of work.
Amazon sells its own version of this very same tripod for around half the price. However, the build quality isn’t that great. I would recommend it for studio use only so you’re not banging it around on location since it might just fall apart.
Ravelli also makes an excellent tripod for any videographer out there: The AVTP Professional Camera Tripod.
Learn more about the Ravelli AVTP Professional 65mm Video Camera Tripod with Fluid Drag Head at Amazon
Another tip when buying a new tripod is to know your subject and know your gear. For example, when buying a new tripod you can look at the specifications and see exactly how much weight it can hold.
You can also look at reviews from photographers that are shooting what you do. For example, if you want to shoot only landscapes then you need a tripod that can easily adapt to different terrain while staying steady as possible for those long exposures you may shoot out in the field.
If you’re more of a videographer you may want to look into a bit of a more complex piece of equipment that can handle a cinematic style head for your gear.
Build quality and ease of use are two of the most important things to think about when buying a new tripod. I personally my octopus tripod because it’s so portable and versatile that you can literally tie it around something with its flexible tentacle legs:
Manfrotto also makes a very compact action tripod with a trigger swivel head and its sleek black color makes it nice and eye-catching but functional.
Learn more about the Manfrotto Compact Advanced Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit with 3-Way Head, Black (MKCOMPACTADV-BK) at Amazon.
They also have a more heavy-duty model with a three-way head kit, which is something versatile to add to your arsenal especially if you’re shooting video.
Learn more about the Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit with 3-Way Head (MK290XTA3-3WUS) at Amazon.
These are all great and cost-effective tripods. However, my number one suggestion before buying to try out the various options to see which one fits your equipment and shooting style.