10 best camera tripods [2018 review]

2018-08-06T17:33:24+00:00August 5th, 2018|

An important accessory for photography is a good camera tripod. And for astrophotography, it is absolutely essential to have a sturdy model that you can rely on for complete stillness as you take those long-exposure shots of the night sky.

Below we review the top ten camera tripods to buy in 2018.

Top 10 camera tripods summary table:

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

What to look for in a photography tripod

For photography (and especially astrophotography) you will want to prioritize a number of things to give you what you need in your camera stand:

  1. Sturdiness – that comes through being a high-quality piece of equipment that is well designed using the best materials.
  2. Weight and portability – a heavy tripod may be more naturally sturdy but it’s likely that you are going to need to carry and travel with your tripod to take outdoor shots and so you need to consider its size and weight when packed up.
  3. Height – small compact tripods can be perfect but for regular photography tripods you will want to consider how tall you are and how tall they stand as it can be uncomfortable to be hunched over for too long. You’ll not want to sacrifice sturdiness though and this is why the tripod should be high-quality.
  4. Ease of use – a further factor is how easy it is to attach and remove your camera and adjust it while attached to take your shots.

Below we cover the best tripods for all budgets, from cheap to professional, from the most trusted brands such as Manfrotto, MeFOTO, K&F Concept, Neewer, SLIK, Joby, and Gitzo, and including both compact mini tripods to the tallest head-height camera stands for whatever suits you best.

 

Best camera tripod – detailed reviews

 

AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag

1. AmazonBasics 60 inch lightweight tripod

This budget option from Amazon’s own AmazonBasics range is worth considering for those not wanting to spend too much.

It’s a lightweight tripod that has two built-in bubble view levels, a 3-way head for angling your shots, and a quick-release mounting plate for attaching and removing your camera. It folds up into its own bag which is included.

This is a good starter tripod and compare favorably with many in the similar price range but won’t provide the ultra sturdiness that many will be looking for in a tripod.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Not as sturdy as a premium tripod

Specifications:

  • 60 inch height
  • 3 lbs weight
Check price for the AmazonBasics tripod on Amazon

 

 

PEDCO UltraPod II Lightweight Camera Tripod

2. Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Camera Tripod

Something to be seriously considered is whether you really need a full-size tripod or whether a mini one might be best for you. You will obviously be using it differently, but many times you can find a surface like a table, wall or a large rock on which you can place your camera and mini tripod like this one. This saves you carrying around a regular tripod which is much larger and can be perfect for travel or even more spontaneous photography.

This model from Pedco is one of the best mini tripods available. It has a strap that can secure to objects like railings, lamp posts and trees which can help you take advantage of opportunities where setting up a full-size camera stand wouldn’t be possible.

Pros:

  • Compact and study
  • Small and easy to carry

Cons:

  • Can find some DSLRs with large lenses a bit too heavy

Specifications:

  • 7 inch height
  • 4 oz. (119 g) weight
Check price for the Pedco tripod on Amazon

 

JOBY GorillaPod 3K Stand. Premium Flexible Tripod 3K Stand for Pro-Grade DSLR Cameras or devices up to 3Kg (6.6lbs). Black/Charcoal.

3. JOBY GorillaPod 3K compact tripod

The Joby GorillaPod is a fantastic piece of equipment and a unique alternative to regular tripods. It has short bendable legs that give it a spider-like appearance but this means it can adapt easily to uneven surfaces and allows it to grab on and attach firmly to objects like railings and trees. Compared to the UltraPod above it is much easier and more reliable in allowing you to position it creatively and have confidence that it will hold.

We often recommend GorillaPods for photography. Like the mini tripod covered above, they are much easier to just chuck in a bag and take out to use on travels.

The 3K model can take DSLRs to a weight of up to 6.6lbs, which should be enough for most. There is also a 5K model that is designed to take more if needed.

Pros:

  • Compact and study
  • Small and easy to carry

Cons:

  • None, but is more likely to be a great additional accessory for most people rather than replace the need for a regular tripod

Specifications:

  • 12 inch height
  • 0.86lbs weight
Check price for the Joby Gorillapod on Amazon

 

 

K&F Concept 62'' DSLR Tripod, Lightweight and Compact Aluminum Camera Tripod with 360 Panorama Ball Head Quick Release Plate for travel and work (TM2324 Black)

4. K&F Concept 62” DSLR Tripod

This is a quality mid-range tripod from K&F Concept is very popular with photographers.

It’s a durable model and has a stretchable hook that can be used to hang onto heavy objects to increase the stability of the tripod. It also has a good quality metal ball head.

Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Quality design and durable
  • Light

Cons:

  • Not as tall as some of the other options

Specifications:

  • 62 inch height
  • 2.5 lbs weight
Check price for the K&F Concept tripod on Amazon

 

 

Neewer Carbon Fiber 66 inches/168 centimeters Camera Tripod Monopod with 360 Degree Ball Head,1/4 inch Quick Shoe Plate,Bag for DSLR Camera,Video Camcorder,Load up to 26.5 pounds/12 kilograms

5. Neewer Carbon Fiber 66″ Tripod/Monopod

This model is a great budget carbon fiber tripod that can also be used as a monopod.

It’s a tall sturdy camera stand that will provide most photographers with what they need.

Pros:

  • High quality carbon fiber
  • Tall

Cons:

  • Heavier than some other models

Specifications:

  • 66 inch height
  • 4.65 lbs weight
Check price for the Neewer tripod on Amazon

 

 

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminum Tripod Kit

6. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod

Vanguard have a reputation as one of the best manufacturers of tripods.

This is the tallest tripod on this list and about as high as you can get whilst retaining stability. The legs can be put at an angle of up to 80 degrees which gives it great flexibility and enables it to be used differently from a traditional tripod.

Pros:

  • Tall
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • Reasonably heavy

Specifications:

  • 68.125 inch height
  • 5.38 lbs / 2.44 kg weight
Check price for the Vanguard tripod on Amazon

 

 

MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit - Black (C1350Q1K)

7. MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod

This is a high-quality travel tripod from MeFOTO that can also be used as a monopod.

It has a recessed hook that allows extra weight to be hung from it for extra stability. The carbon fiber materials allow it to be relatively light whilst retaining the stability needed.

Pros:

  • Light
  • Carbon fiber build

Cons:

  • Not the tallest

Specifications:

  • 61.6 inch height (as tripod), 64 inch (as monpod)
  • 3.1 lbs weight
Check price for the MeFOTO tripod on Amazon

 

 

SLIK Pro 824 CF 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod, Black (615-387)

8. SLIK Pro 824 CF 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod

Another high-quality carbon fiber tripod that would suit professionals and hobby photographers alike.

Capable of holding an impressive 18 lbs weight, this is a top-end accessory.

Pros:

  • Light
  • Carbon fiber build

Cons:

  • Higher budget needed

Specifications:

  • 64.1 inch height
  • 3.6 lbs weight
Check price for the SLIK Pro tripod on Amazon

 

 

Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 055 Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (Black)

9. Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 055 Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod

Italy’s Manfrotto is probably the best-known manufacturer of tripods in the world and has a reputation for high quality accessories spanning decades.

This is a tall tripod and at this end of the table, we are looking at premium pieces of equipment that are the best available on the market.

Pros:

  • One of the tallest available
  • Sturdy but light carbon fiber build

Cons:

  • Higher budget needed

Specifications:

  • 67 inch height
  • 4.4 lbs weight
Check price for the Manfrotto tripod on Amazon

 

 

Gitzo lightweight Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod with Center Ball Head, silver & black (GK1545T-82TQDUS)

10. Gitzo lightweight Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod

The Gitzo brand is part of the same company group as Manfrotto and if cost is no barrier and you really want the best that money can buy then this tripod is perhaps the one for you.

This travel tripod delivers the extreme sturdiness you would expect from a premium tripod and packs away into a lightweight travel bag.

This is the top-end of tripods and so you will be paying a premium price for a premium product.

Pros:

  • The sturdiest and highest quality

Cons:

  • Top-end budget needed so generally not for hobby photographers

Specifications:

  • 64.4 inch height
  • 3.2 lbs weight
Check price for the Gitzo tripod on Amazon

Conclusion: What is the best camera tripod?

The right camera tripod for photography will depend on the person. Casual photographers or first-time tripod purchasers will likely want to favor a cheaper option, but be sure to get something that is steady enough to do the job you need it for.

If this is you, then you should seriously consider a quality mini-tripod like the Joby GorillaPod. These provide flexibility and portability in a way that ffull-sizetripods struggle to ccompetewith.

However a mini tripod is unlikely to replace your need for a regular tripod in the long run. Those listed above should suit all price ranges and you get what you pay for to some degree so consider your budget and get the best you are comfortable paying for.

Please also see our other astrophotography gear analysis pieces, including:

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