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Getting shaky shots that look like you’ve had one too many cocktails before shooting? Video looks a little like those holiday films you used to make as a kid? You know you need stabilization, but you don’t know what your options are. Maybe you’re wondering what the best tripod for DSLR cameras is?
Well, it’s a good thing that tripods are around to address exactly those problems! Whether it be because you have hands that tremble frequently. Or you just cannot keep your hands stable and steady for extended periods of time (not surprising!)
Tripods are meant to take a lot of pressure away from your hands, so that you can focus on what really matters – getting the right shot.
We want to share with you our top list of tripods for DSLRs because stabilization will improve your videos massively.
Tripods are also not something that is limited to the experienced. In fact, I see it as one of the necessities when investing in camera equipment.
Here’s a quick list of the best tripods for DSLR that we want to cover:
1. Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Carbon Fiber Tripod
2. Magnus VT-4000 with Fluid Head
3. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod Kit
4. MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Globetrotter Travel Tripod
5. Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom
The Manfrotto MKBFRC4 BH BeFree Compact Travel Carbon Fiber Tripod is an extremely sturdy yet very compact tripod that has a lot of stability to hold up to 8.8 lbs of weight on its head, which is impressive, considering that it weighs only 2.4lbs.
At its longest, it extends to 56.7 inches and folds up into about 15.75 inches. The flexibility of length with the tripod is primarily due to the flip locks that help extend and lock-in the legs securely.
This tripod is exceedingly sturdy, yet compact, which makes it arguably one of the best tripods in the game.
The ball-head also has an easy quick-release system to ensure flawless transition while filming.
Weighing only 3lbs, there is no doubt that this tripod has a big fan base, especially for travelers. It also comes with a freebie, it has its own padded carrying case, so that there will be minimal damage impact on it.
Coming in at a very budget-friendly price, this is a really worthy investment. But, for those who are more budget-conscious, yet still want these features, this tripod also comes in aluminum material.
The price for the aluminum version is almost half of the Carbon Fiber version. The specs are similar to its Carbon Fiber sibling, with the exception that its weight is even lighter.
- Compact design.
- Rotate freely to capture new angles.
- Perfect for hiking and travel.
- Features a quick-release system.
- Quite bulky when folded.
- Lacks ‘swing-up’ legs.
- Compact design
- Carbon Fiber
- Perfect for hiking and travel
- Ball head included
- Quick Release system
$517.99View on Amazon
One of our favorites on this list, the Magnus VT-4000 with Fluid Head is a great videographer’s tripod.
An incredibly sturdy and structurally sound tripod, this piece of kit can hold up to 8. lbs of camera. Tripod sturdiness is of prime importance, especially if you’re carrying fairly heavy loads of camera (and camera gear).
This tripod has ‘stage-opening’ legs, which is great for achieving a whole wide range of shots. The legs open at different height intervals, so you can easily get low down shots, as well as a range of others.
As is a feature with most video-based tripods, this tripod comes with a quick-release plate. This enables quick and easy mounting and unmounting of the camera. Saving time is of utmost importance, especially on event video production like weddings, etc.
- Features a quick-release plate system.
- Extremely strong.
- Quick to use and adjust.
- Simple controls.
- High ‘payload’ capacity.
- Relatively heavy when packed.
- Supports 8.8 lb (4 kg) | 65mm Ball Diameter | 2-Stage Leg Design
- Height Adjustment Range – 27.6″ to 59″ | Middle Spreader | Fixed Counter Balance
- Fixed Pan / Tilt Drag | +20/-25mm Slide Range | Lightweight Tripods | With Quick Release Plate
- Tilt Angle +90° / -60°
- In The Box: VT-QRP400 Quick Release Plate, Carrying Case, Allen Keys (2), Limited 1-Year manufacture…
$199.00 −$29.05 $169.95View on Amazon
A popular choice and I very much agree as well, is the Vanguard Alta Pro Aluminum Tripod kit. Priced at an attractive price, I would say this is a bargain for a fairly entry-level tripod.
If you are looking to take low angles, this is just the tripod for you. It is able to adjust to 25, 50, and 80 angles, especially for that purpose. The ball head comes with a good quick release and 360-degree angle turn.
Among those compared so far, this also comes out as the heavyweight capacity winner, able to hold up to 15.4 lbs, as it weighs in at 5.38lbs.
Extending up to 68.125 inches, with a folded height of 28.125 inches, serious videographers should be advised that it’s worth getting their hands on this baby. It is an absolute winner!
- Weighs 5.4 lbs., which is great considering its features.
- High ‘payload’ capacity.
- High-quality accessories.
- 26mm 3 section aluminum alloy legs adjust to 25, 50, and 80-degree angles to enable extreme low…
- Smooth fluid-like SBH-100 ball head rotates 360 degrees and includes quick release plate QS-39 and…
- The MACC (multi-angle central column) system allows you to move the central column from 0 to 180…
- The Instant Swivel Stop-n-Lock (ISSL) system securely repositions the central column in one simple…
- Specifications: Folded height: 28.2″, Extended height: 68.2″, Weight: 5.4 pounds. Max. load…
$141.98View on Amazon
They say that the MeFOTO Classic Carbon Fiber Globetrotter Travel Tripod is full of bells and whistles. And, I respond by saying, ‘And, what is wrong with that?’
Priced a little more expensive than some of the other tripods covered here, if you’re looking to take advantage of all of the possibilities of what a tripod can have and do, I think it is still very much a worthy investment.
This camera is great for panoramic views because of the complete 360-degree panning, making no corner unreachable.
The precision Matched Q Series ball head is great for some heavy-duty work with its Arca-Swiss style compatible quick release, and the Integral Bubble level allows you to make adjustments on unstable movements, definitely smoothening out transitions.
With the Carbon Fiber material, it weighs in only at 3.7lbs, despite it being able to manage a load of up to 26.4 lbs, with a maximum length of 64.2-inch tripod, or monopod option. It also reduces into an incredibly compact size of 16.1 inches, making it really useful for traveling.
- Comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Quick to use and adjust.
- Easy controls.
- A bit bulky.
- The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter is a compact travel camera tripod that folds up inversely and turns into a…
- 360-degree Panning: Accurate panoramas can be easily orchestrated using the graduated panning scale…
- Recessed Center-Column Hook: A spring loaded recessed hook, located in the bottom of the…
- Precision Matched Q Series Ballhead: Dual action heavy-duty ballhead with Arca-Swiss style…
- Compact: The tripod legs can be inverted and folded back 180 degrees making it small enough to carry…
$399.00 −$29.05 $369.95View on Amazon
To close out this list, one of my lightweight favorites is the Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom tripod. This tripod comes with an optional ball-head, which I recommend to include in your order.
It is very flexible, and each leg can wrap itself around any kind of surface, and hold on to the camera with high stability.
It can hold cameras up to 6.6lbs with a lot of stability, and on any surface, so that you can focus more on getting the shot right, rather than looking out for the safety of your camera.
The rubberized ring and foot grips will also help in making sure that there is more stability whatever the tripod is standing on, with less likelihood that it will slip.
It tucks away easily without taking up too much space in your bag, weighing up to only 0.75 lbs, and made primarily of ABS Plastic, stainless steel, and TPE.
With a very reasonable and cost-effective price, this tripod is definitely one to own, perhaps as a secondary tripod to supplement another tripod.
- Very flexible.
- Light in weight.
- Packs away really small.
- STAND STRONG. Get crisper shots with this durable, lightweight tripod. The rubberized foot grips and…
- CAPTURE SUPERIOR PERSPECTIVES. Look at life from a different point of view with the GorillaPod SLR…
- GROUND DOWN. Get ultra-stable and find your grounding with over two dozen leg joints and German TPE…
- SET UP WITH EASE. Take this lightweight SLR and mirrorless camera tripod anywhere. The quick release…
- MADE TO LAST. Made of durable Japanese medical-grade ABS plastic, stainless steel, and German TPE,…
$89.95 −$10.01 $79.94View on Amazon
Tripods – The Ups & Downs
Do you realize that most pro productions have some kind of camera stabilization? And, have you ever found yourself trying to capture a photo or a video, and then realizing that your hands aren’t helping you take a good shot?
We can all be guilty of not being able to handle a camera properly after hours of hand-held shooting.
My hands sometimes can’t keep a camera steady for long if I’m repeating the same shot time and time again, or I tend to tremble when the weather is cold.
With my experience, I cannot just trust my hands and balance to stay completely steady for a long shot, or a video. Let’s also admit it, pro productions demand camera stabilization.
Tripods are not a new invention in image technology, but they’re one of the most important. We carry a range of camera stabilization equipment for all our projects, and tripods are the mainstay and most used.
What You Need to Know About Tripods
If you aren’t sure what a tripod is, it has legs, made out of any material, but typically out of steel, carbon fiber, aluminum, or basalt – and the material has a lot of influence on the weight.
The head part of a tripod is where you place your DSLR – you’ll want to get a good fluid head for video work. Their legs are essentially moveable, to keep the weight of the camera stable.
Some of the things I find very important in selecting a tripod are, first and foremost, its weight capacity and stability.
Of course, you are going to be putting a heavy load (your DLSR camera), on top of it, and you want to make sure that it is able to carry the weight, and keep it there, right?
Don’t be fooled: heavy tripods aren’t always the most stable. Some testing with different tripods might be required to find the best match for your own unique circumstances.
Speaking of weight, I also find that an important factor, because let’s admit it, you need to be carrying it from location to location, sometimes even for extended distances outdoors.
With the large amount of gear that you sometimes have to carry with you, wouldn’t it just be easier to have something as lightweight as possible?
The Tripod Explained
Among the individual parts of the tripod, I find that the head is the most important part, this is what securely holds the camera upright, and manipulates the movement of the camera.
The camera head commonly has three types available:
- a pan-tilt head,
- a fluid head, and
- a gimbal head.
The pan-tilt type of head is commonly found in budget-type tripods, it controls the horizontal and sometimes vertical movement of the camera.
Fluid heads are smoother in movement, and more flexible compared to a pan-tilt head. This is what you want for shooting video work.
And, finally, gimbal heads are the best for cameras that have larger lenses and need to even keep that in balance.
Tripod legs and feet are also something you will want to keep an eye on. Tripod legs typically come in two types – a tubular, and non-tubular form. Carbon-fiber legs are tubular, while the other materials typically come in different shapes with a flip-lock.
Flexible tripod feet make the tripod more flexible for different situations, grounds, and conditions. They can be easily replaced or screwed on and off to address the different conditions.
Tripod Buying Decisions
There are many factors to consider when making a tripod purchase. And it certainly pays off to make inquiries concerning your demands and needs, especially considering the kind of projects you’re going to be working on.
In terms of portability and size, whether you use small or light cameras, a lighter tripod might be a better fit for you than a bulkier or heavier tripod.
Instead, if you make use of a heavier DSLR camera (possibly with a heavy and fragile telephoto lens), you may consider buying a sturdier tripod that can deal with the weight.
Also, if you’re a creative who’s always on the road, you’ll want a tripod whose legs collapse as compactly as possible and isn’t too heavy.
Another factor worth highlighting is a tripod’s durability. The long, telescoping legs of a tripod can break if you’re not being careful enough. So if you’re out always shooting in all terrains, you’ll need something very durable.
Tripods, of course, are manufactured in a range of materials, but carbon fiber and aluminum are the most reliable.
Best Tripod for DSLR – In Conclusion
As you can see, our selection of tripods is mainly targeted from the point of view of a filmmaker that needs to travel a lot – focusing a lot on stability, flexibility, and being lightweight.
In any choice that you make in selecting your tripod for a DSLR camera, don’t limit your creativity.
You never know where a shot might appear, especially if you’re shooting event videography.
So having the best flexibility of operation in your gear is of paramount importance. Don’t be limited in your creativity, have your equipment work with you, not against you.