Best camera tripod [Top 5 in 2018]

2018-11-19T09:11:26+00:00August 5th, 2018|

We are currently in the Black Friday 2018 sales period – see here for the current deals on tripods on Amazon.

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 five camera tripods to buy in 2018.

1. Best camera tripod comparison table

Preview
Mini tripod
JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit. Compact Tripod 3K Stand and Ballhead 3K for Compact Mirrorless Cameras or Devices up to 3K (6.6lbs). Black/Charcoal.
Top value
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
Tallest
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminum Tripod with PH-32 Panhead for Sony, Nikon, Canon DSLR Cameras
Lightweight model
MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit - Black (C1350Q1K)
Best rated brand
Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 055 Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (Black)
Make & Model
JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit. Compact Tripod 3K Stand and Ballhead 3K for Compact Mirrorless Cameras or Devices up to 3K (6.6lbs). Black/Charcoal.
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
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminum Tripod with PH-32 Panhead for Sony, Nikon, Canon DSLR Cameras
MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit - Black (C1350Q1K)
Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 055 Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (Black)
Material
Plastic/Aluminium
Carbon Fiber
Aluminium
Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber
Max. height
12 inches
66 inches
69.9 inches
61.6 inches
67 inches
Weight
0.86 lbs
4.7 lbs
5.7 lbs
3.1 lbs
4.4 lbs
Max. load
6.6 lbs
26.5 lbs
11 lbs
17.6 lbs
19.8lbs
User rating
Reviews
158 Reviews
266 Reviews
964 Reviews
712 Reviews
56 Reviews
Price
from $32.95
$95.99
from $88.98
$248.35
from $409.99
Mini tripod
Preview
JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit. Compact Tripod 3K Stand and Ballhead 3K for Compact Mirrorless Cameras or Devices up to 3K (6.6lbs). Black/Charcoal.
Make & Model
JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit. Compact Tripod 3K Stand and Ballhead 3K for Compact Mirrorless Cameras or Devices up to 3K (6.6lbs). Black/Charcoal.
Material
Plastic/Aluminium
Max. height
12 inches
Weight
0.86 lbs
Max. load
6.6 lbs
User rating
Reviews
158 Reviews
Price
from $32.95
Check availability
Top value
Preview
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
Make & Model
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
Material
Carbon Fiber
Max. height
66 inches
Weight
4.7 lbs
Max. load
26.5 lbs
User rating
Reviews
266 Reviews
Price
$95.99
Check availability
Tallest
Preview
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminum Tripod with PH-32 Panhead for Sony, Nikon, Canon DSLR Cameras
Make & Model
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminum Tripod with PH-32 Panhead for Sony, Nikon, Canon DSLR Cameras
Material
Aluminium
Max. height
69.9 inches
Weight
5.7 lbs
Max. load
11 lbs
User rating
Reviews
964 Reviews
Price
from $88.98
Check availability
Lightweight model
Preview
MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit - Black (C1350Q1K)
Make & Model
MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit - Black (C1350Q1K)
Material
Carbon Fiber
Max. height
61.6 inches
Weight
3.1 lbs
Max. load
17.6 lbs
User rating
Reviews
712 Reviews
Price
$248.35
Check availability
Best rated brand
Preview
Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 055 Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (Black)
Make & Model
Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 055 Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (Black)
Material
Carbon fiber
Max. height
67 inches
Weight
4.4 lbs
Max. load
19.8lbs
User rating
Reviews
56 Reviews
Price
from $409.99
Check availability

Last update on 2018-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

2. 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, Neewer, Joby, and Vanguard and including both compact mini tripods to the tallest head-height camera stands for whatever suits you best.

 

3. Best camera tripod – detailed reviews

1. JOBY GorillaPod 3K compact tripod

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

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.

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. It is easy and 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

 

2. Neewer Carbon Fiber 66″ Tripod/Monopod

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

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

 

3. Vanguard Alta Pro Aluminum Tripod

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminum Tripod Kit

Vanguard has 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

 

4. MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod

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

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

 

5. Manfrotto Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod

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

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

 

4. 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 full-size tripods struggle to compete with.

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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