TOP CAMERA TRIPODS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

silhouette of man using tripod for photography

Last Updated on April 13, 2022 by seanmichaelpritchard

Looking for the best tripods for photography? You may have heard this before: a good camera tripod is one of the most valuable investments a photographer can make.

Buying mediocre or outright poor camera tripods, on the other hand, is one of the worst investments a photographer can make.

Having the best tripod can help you step up your photography and video shooting game. It can last for decades whatever the conditions; rain, snow, mud, sandstorms, and just about anything else.

As a result, it is one of the best investments you can make as a photographer. Unfortunately, having to choose one from hundreds of models and brands can be difficult and daunting.


The best camera tripods right now:

  1. Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 – Best for low level shots
  2. Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 – Best value for money
  3. Peak Design Travel Aluminium Tripod – Best lightweight tripod for travel
  4. Manfrotto 290 Xtra – Best tall tripod
  5. Gitzo GT2532 Mountaineer Series 2 Carbon Fiber Tripod – Best all around tripod

Before we get into the details on the top five tripods in 2022, here are some things to think about when choosing a tripod.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Tripod

When choosing the best tripod for your camera, shooting style, and skill level, there are a few important factors to consider:

Weight Rating

When choosing a tripod, weight is an important factor. You must ensure that the weight is something which you are comfortable to carry. You won’t want your tripod to be too heavy, or you’ll end up leaving it at home rather than taking it out with you.


Body (Carbon Fibre or Aluminium)

These are the two most used tripod leg materials. Carbon fibre tripods are the lightest, with a full-sized tripod set weighing around 20% less than an aluminium one.

Aluminium tripods are less expensive, but they are heavier. They’re perfect if you want your money to go as far as possible.

Carbon-fibre tripods are more expensive, but they are lighter and absorb vibration better. They’re good if you want the weight to take precedence over cost.


Head types

The most important component of a tripod is the tripod head. It’s in charge of securely holding the camera and directing camera movement. Always make sure that the tripod head you choose can support at least the same amount of weight as your tripod legs.

Here are the three main camera tripod heads available

Pan-Tilt Head: Horizontal movement is controlled by a single handle, while dual handles control vertical movement. This is the most common type of tripod head used in cheap tripods.

Ballheads: Ballheads have only one control for loosening or tightening the grip, unlike pan-tilt heads. Ballheads are incredibly flexible and enable smooth operation while firmly tightening the camera/lens.

Gimbal Head: For long and hefty 300mm+ lenses, this is a specialized head. Gimbal heads, as opposed to pan-tilt heads and ballheads, properly balance the camera and heavy lens, making them ideal for fast-action photography.

(Bonus head: Fluid Video Head. If you’re looking for a tripod for video shooting and photography some of the below have the option to change up the head!)


Leg Sections

The number of sections in the legs should also be considered. Instead of the traditional three telescopic sections, four or five sections can increase the maximum height while also reducing stowage space. This saves space and is especially useful for travel, although the extra clamps require more setup time.


Folded length

If you’re planning to carry a tripod over a long distance, its weight is important, but so is its folded length.


Now that you know the essential criteria for choosing the best camera tripods, here are the top five tripods in 2022.


vanguard ballheads camera tripods for photography

1. Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 – Best for low level shots

With an angled central column, this tripod is solid, easy to use, and versatile. It gets higher, has more leg-angle possibilities, and has the best size-to-stability balance.

Its legs can splay forth at four different angles, and its central angling column allows you to put your camera as low as you like.

This combination enables you to get a secure shooting posture on any surface, regardless of how high or low the camera is.

If ballheads are important then this ballhead is better than what you’ll often find on tripods. It locks down solidly, adjusts smoothly, and features a quick-release panel for easy camera attachment and detachment.

With a weight limit of 15.5 pounds, the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ tripod is more than capable of supporting any camera and lens combination.

Pros:

  • Secure shooting posture on any surface
  • Solid, easy to use, and versatile
  • Put your camera as low as you like

Cons:

  • Heavier than some competitors

manfrotto tripod for video shooting

2. Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 – Best value for money

One of the most fantastic tripods is the four-section Manfrotto 190XPro4.

It’s a full-size tripod and, when combined with an XPro ballhead, has everything you need and is suitable for the vast majority of photographers.

The Manfrotto 190XPro4 tripod is perfect for every situation, with a full operating height of 175cm and a folding height of 57cm.

It’s a new version with a 90° swivel that quickly transitions from horizontal to vertical boom mode.

The leg sections on this Manfrotto MT190XPro4 tripod also include a unique locking lever system that can be removed from any side.

Looking for a tripod for video shooting and photography? You can also get this tripod with a fluid video head.

Pros:

  • Suitable for the vast majority of photographers
  • Unique locking lever system that can be removed from any side

Cons:

  • Not a professional level tripod

3. Peak Design Travel Aluminium Tripod – Best lightweight tripod for travel

This is one of the best travel tripods for photographers. This tripod is incredibly stable, and it can easily support large professional DSLRs and long lenses.

For increased stability on windy days, there’s a backpack hook for weights incorporated into the middle column, which can also be converted into a handy smartphone mount for mobile shooters.

The Peak design travel tripod folds down to a relatively compact 39cm from a maximum extension of 1.5m, and it’s light enough to carry at just 1.56kg.

A double-locking Arca-Swiss plate on the head keeps your camera firmly fastened down. Meanwhile, the twist-lock ballhead makes the precise framing of your shots a breeze.

If you want something lighter, a carbon fibre model is also available. 

Pros:

  • Excellent for travel
  • Compact and light
  • Aluminum and carbon fibre available to suit different price requirements

Cons:

  • Doesn’t extend super high

tripod for video shooting manfrotto xtra
4. Manfrotto 290 Xtra – Best tall tripod

The Manfrotto 290 Xtra tripods’ tall maximum working height of 165cm makes it ideal for wildlife photography or landscape photographers who wish to shoot at eye level.

Thanks to its durable tripod construction, the Manfrotto 290 Xtra also works well in the studio.

Without a tripod head, the weight is merely 3.4 pounds (1.43kg) due to its carbon fibre legs.

And if you’re looking for a great tripod for video shooting, then the Manfrotto 290 Xtra has the option to add a fluid video head.

Pros:

  • Tall maximum working height
  • Works well indoors and outdoors
  • Different head options

Cons:

  • With head attached is a heavy tripod to carry around

photography stand with ballheads
5. Gitzo GT2532 Mountaineer Series 2 Carbon Fiber Tripod – Best all around tripod

Any tripod list isn’t complete without the Gitzo GT2532 Mountaineer Series 2 Carbon Fiber Tripod. This company makes some of the top tripods on the market, but they are all pretty expensive.

This tripod is a fantastic example of the high quality and precision engineering that you can expect from a tripod industry leader.

With a weight of 1.68kg and a foldable length of 65cm, the Gitzo GT2532 tripod provides strong support for your heavier lenses and DSLR with a battery grip. The Gitzo’s maximum height makes it perfect for studio and landscape photography.

Pros:

  • High quality and precision engineering
  • Great support for heavier lenses and camera with a battery grip

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive, however you truly get what you pay for here!

Conclusion

As you have seen, here are some of the best options when it comes to buying a tripod.

Remember that, unlike cameras and even lenses, a good tripod is an investment that will last a lifetime.

A tripod may add weight to your camera gear but having one on hand when shooting might be the difference between a blurry photo and one that is sharp.

Using a tripod for photography allows you to focus on your composition by allowing the tripod to hold the weight of your camera while you consider your options.

Happy snapping!

If you’re looking for a new camera to pair with your tripod check out this blog!

DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

silhouette of person standing near a tripod for video shooting and photography under green sky with stars

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