If you’re getting into photography, I highly recommend you get a tripod so you can take clearer photos. When I first started doing photography as a hobby, I was always frustrated with the way my pictures came out. One of my experienced photographer friends took a look at them and told me straight away that I had shaky hands and he recommended that I get a tripod, so I did that. From then on, I’ve never taken another picture without a tripod, and they look much better now! That’s why, I decided to review the 5 best tripods you can buy right now. Let’s get started!
1. Vanguard Alta Pro
We are going to finish our best tripods list with the Vanguard Alta Pro. It definitely is an amazing tripod, that is better suited for the studio photographer. It has the sturdiest build quality, tons of angle options, and some interesting features that will make your studio shooting life much easier. It wouldn’t be the perfect tripod for traveling because of its size, but if you are not worried about that you can take the Vanguard Alta Pro for your landscape shootings.
Design-wise this tripod sports a mostly black build with metallic silver accents, and some bright orange touches here and there. Interestingly enough, the Vanguard Alta Pro has a professional and sporty look at the same time and will fit in at various settings. Each of the legs is 0.5 inches thick and are 22-inches long when folded, the center column features a hexagonal shape. All of the legs have an aluminum build coated in a matte black brushed color that looks fantastic.
There were tons of controls as switches and knobs on the Vanguard Alta Pro, and they have a little learning curve to them as you will have to put the effort in to grasp the concepts behind them. The top plate pops very easily in and out with a spring-loaded button, that was very convenient, and there you can also locate two levels, that allows you to align perfectly straight shots. It is worth mentioning that the SBH-100 ball head was the smoothest that I have ever seen on a tripod. The center column is extendable up to 68-inches and can even pivot up to 180 degrees for slanted angles, and the legs of the tripod can extend up to 56-inches and support three locking angles which consist of 25, 50, and 80 degrees.
As expected from Vanguard, a brand that sells photography accessories and lifestyle, hiking and hunting accessories, I am not surprised by the insane build quality of the Vanguard Alta Pro. The durability and quality are mostly due to the aluminum alloy of the construction and the die-cast magnesium alloy in the joints and the components.
I can comfortably say that the Vanguard Alta Pro is a tripod that you will rely on it. Vanguard quality is apparent in every corner, top-class product.
2. MeFOTO GlobeTrotter
The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter as the name implies, are targeted for the frequent traveler, they are designed for that purpose, and their size and weight checks in. The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter is capable of supporting a wide range of equipment so you don’t have to worry if all your cameras will be supported by the tripod. Thanks to its carbon fiber body it’s also very durable and can take a beating, on top of that it still maintains a competitive price.
The complete package weighs just 3.7-pounds and can carry about 26-pounds at maximum, and when fully folded the device has a length of just 16.1-inches. I would like to state that this tripod is very well made, don’t get confused because its price would suggest otherwise. The legs of the tripod have tons of features and are pretty secure, the locking mechanisms use twist locks with rubberized grips and complete the task to perfection.
The body of the legs is made of carbon fiber, but its joints are built with aluminum, for the very cold days one of the legs has a foam padding to hold on to, but even without it the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter doesn’t get uncomfortably cold due to its carbon fiber body.
There are only two options when it comes to choosing a locking angle for the legs, you either choose the standard 30 degrees, or the larger 60-degree angle for a more wider and stable stance. It has also surprised me with its performance in windy scenarios as it was very stable, and also it is worth mentioning that you can get pretty low for ground shooting and for macros.
The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter’s ball head is an Acra-Swiss style quick release plate, it has a built-in bubble level, but you have to align the level first before sliding the camera in, because the camera will hide the level. The locking mechanisms on the ball head are standard rotary dials, there are three in total, one is used for lateral rotation, and the other two for locking the ball in place.
To wrap it up, I want to say that this is an excellent all-around tripod with a low-price and amazing quality. I use it often with my canon camera that i bring with me when i go to another country.
3. Manfrotto 055
If you are a landscape photographer, or an aspiring one, you are always in a search for a durable tripod that will take a beating through your countless trips and will still be at your side for years to come. Thanks to Manfrotto we have a viable solution to that. The Manfrotto 055 with its carbon fiber body, and its XPRO ball head, it is lightweight, compact, and a maximum height that reaches just above the eye level, it is simply fantastic.
You can understand its sturdiness and lightweight just by reading the carbon fiber in the spec sheet, despite its height and size it weighs just 4.6-pounds and it is the toughest one you will meet. You will see during shooting that even in strong winds, the tripod will hold on steady with tons of security and stability, and you will recognize when you view the shots that there is no sign of instability.
You will see that the carbon fiber legs will not get as cold as the metal ones during winter, which adds to the comfort, thanks to the lower heat conduction of the material.
The knobs on the tripod can be very easily tightened and loosened with small movements easily, just twist them and you are ready to go.
The clasps that hold the legs are very durable and strong, and they have a design that you can easily use them even with thick winter gloves.
With a maximum height of 170cm the Manfrotto 055, it definitely is on another class from its similarly-priced counterparts. Along with the two-spirit levels that are apparent on the XPRO ball head, the spirit level on the tripod will make sure you see a level at any time you wish without changing your position.
Despite achieving such heights at maximum, the Manfrotto 055 folds up quite compactly and will prove to be very handy throughout your trips, as it will fit into most carry on luggage or bags.
I would like to also mention the looks of this tripod, it is really pleasing and doesn’t look utilitarian as most tripods, Manfrotto designers have done an excellent job.
4. Benro Aero 2
The Benro Aero 2 is one of the best travel tripods that are great for video shooting, it has almost all the features that are present in a heavy duty video tripod, but it has a lighter weight and a slimmer chassis that will help you to carry it around in your trips and projects. It has all the features that you will need from a good video tripod, such as a smooth video head, decent pan and tilt dials, a spirit level that allow you to level your camera appropriately, and many more features, that will take your video shooting to the next level.
It achieves great portability, thanks to a feature that is apparent in most premium photo tripods, the legs of the tripod fold up against the body, so you can extend the center column. It measures just 18.3-inches while folded and weighs just 4.1-pounds, also the device can support a weight of more than 5-pounds. Fully extended the Benro Aero 2 reaches a height of just over 50-inches, I liked the rubber foot on the tripod’s legs that when screwed uncover a metal spike that can be used for further stability on uneven or muddy terrains.
Furthermore, the legs of the Benro Aero 2 are fully independent of each other and with three locking points that will provide you maximum flexibility while you are seeking the best position.
When you combine the aforementioned features with the leveling head and the double level, allow you to instantly create a level and stable platform, from which you can then effectively use the pan and tilt features. The head is removable, so if you wish to upgrade to a different model, that suits your preferences, you can very easily do so.
The S2C head on the Benro Aero 2, proved to be very smooth and fluid overall, regardless of whether you are panning or tilting. Interestingly, enough you can unscrew one of the legs and the center column, then attach them together for an extra-long monopod or a selfie stick.
Overall, I think that the Benro Aero 2 is a great compact and lightweight video tripod, that is extremely stable and durable, and provides smooth footage.
5. K&F TM2324
If you are in the market for a budget tripod, you can find lots of options that are not of a high-quality, however, I have found the K&F TM2324, a great budget tripod that is compact and lightweight so you can carry it on your trips regardless of whether you are hiking, or on a train, or on a plane. It is very easy to use and has all the features that you may want from a budget tripod.
This tripod comes in an attractive heavy duty black canvas carrying bag that has great zippers, padded handle, and a shoulder strap, you will really appreciate the quality of the bag. Inside it, you will find the tripod and the ball head that was in a black velvet back for protection, great attention to detail by K&F. The total weight of the tripod was just 2.5-pounds, one of the lightest options on the market. To achieve this weight the K&F TM2324 has more plastic in its chassis, especially in the leg locks, which are snap locks, contrary to the more common dial locks, the snap locks are generally easier and quicker to use in comparison to dial locks.
The K&F TM2324 tripod is a 4-section tripod, and because of that it folds larger than its counterparts with more sections, however, those have the added weight. Fully extended this tripod achieves a length of 62-inches, and there is a spring-loaded hook on the bottom of the center column to allow you to hang a steadying weight, when the tripod is fully extended or on uneven surfaces. On top of that, the center column also can be reversed, so you can mount the camera upside down to get the macro shots that you crave.
I found the ball head extremely stable and strong for its size as it locks down securely and confidently, it has a single bubble level, and it is an Arca-Swiss style ball-head meaning that it will accept all Arca-Swiss plates. It can rotate 360 degrees and feels solid while in the process.
Throughout testing, I found the tripod very stable and a good companion considering its price, and it works great with Nikon cameras. That’s why, I’d say that it’s one of the best tripods for the money.