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Best Camera Tripods

Updated March 2023
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Best of the Best
VANGUARD Alta Pro 2+ Tripod
Alta Pro 2+ Tripod
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Best for Experts
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Professional photographers will appreciate the versatility and incredible durability of this camera tripod for all situations.


Rugged aluminum body. Simple setup. Easy to balance. Flexible. Securely locks into place. Effortlessly connects with a wide range of cameras and accessories.


A fairly heavy camera tripod.

Best Bang for the Buck
Amazon Basics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod
Amazon Basics
60-Inch Lightweight Tripod
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Simple yet Solid
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A versatile tripod with many adjustment features for those on a budget.


Lightweight and portable. Can hold the camera in either landscape or portrait position. Two bubble levels, an independent crank, and multiple tightening locations.


Carrying case does not have any padding.

Joby Gorillapod 3K Pro Kit
Gorillapod 3K Pro Kit
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Durable & Rugged
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Photographers who need a camera tripod that's as versatile as it is rugged should try the GorillaPod 3K PRO Stand.


Effortlessly holds large and heavy cameras up to 6.6 pounds. Highly adjustable and flexible. Durable. Rubberized feet. Easy to wrap around poles, tree limbs, beams, etc.


Buyers must assemble this camera tripod themselves.

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod
Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod
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Strong & Stable
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An excellent choice for experienced photographers who need a tripod with a little more weight for stability.


This sturdy tripod offers 360-degree ball head movement. Heavy build holds up to 15 pounds of equipment. At 5 pounds, it's still lightweight enough for travel. Includes tools for maintenance.


A few owners have had trouble with the locking mechanism on the legs.

Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum Tripod Kit
290 Xtra Aluminum Tripod Kit
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Great for Traveling
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Excellent for videography and photography while traveling thanks to its easy mounting system and fluid video head.


It’s made of aluminum to be strong while only weighing 5.6 pounds. The legs can be set between 4 angles and they have a height range of 15.9 to 67.5 inches.


Some people had issues with the vertical tilt knob and the center column height knob.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best camera tripods

In the days before smartphone selfies, photographers who wanted to take photos that included themselves had one option: use the self-timer feature on a camera affixed to a tripod to hold it steady and secure. However, camera tripods can do much more than satisfy your desire to post selfies on social media. These handy photography tools allow you to create amazing photographs even in tough shooting conditions. If you’re serious about photography, your camera bag should include a tripod.

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Tripods are especially handy for holding the camera steady when shooting photos in low light with long shutter speeds.

Camera tripod heads

The tripod head is one of the most important components of a camera tripod. It’s the area where the camera connects to the tripod, and its function is to sturdily hold the camera in place. It also controls how quickly you can remove the camera from the tripod or adjust its position on the tripod.

Some photographers carry several tripod heads in their camera bags, each with particular features. Most camera tripods allow you to change the head as needed.

The four most common tripod head types are the ball and socket, the panorama, the pan and tilt, and the three-way.

Ball and socket tripod heads

  • Allow you to quickly adjust camera position

  • Enable multi-directional movement

  • Are lightweight

"Most cameras have a screw hole in the bottom to connect to a tripod’s plate screw."

Panorama tripod heads

  • Simplify panorama shooting

  • Accurately move the camera horizontally 360°

  • Must be calibrated and set up properly

  • Aren’t suitable for everyday photography

  • Are heavy

Pan and tilt tripod heads

  • Allow horizontal or vertical camera movement

  • Enable tiny adjustments of camera position

  • Take longer to adjust the camera position

  • Require separate adjustment of horizontal and vertical axes

Three-way tripod heads

  • Add diagonal movement to vertical and horizontal

  • Take longer to adjust for each direction

Camera tripod legs

Camera tripod legs are usually made of plastic, aluminum, or carbon fiber.


Only the cheapest and smallest camera tripods have legs made of plastic. Plastic is rigid, but it is far too brittle to give your camera a great deal of support.

Some small tabletop tripods have plastic legs, but these only need to be several inches long.

"A tripod is sturdier if you spread the legs wide apart. While rubber feet are common on tripod legs, some tripods have spiked feet that dig into the ground for even more stability."


Aluminum tripod legs are hollow. The thickness of the aluminum varies, and the thickness determines the strength of the legs. Thicker aluminum means a sturdier camera tripod.

A lightweight aluminum tripod will be easier to carry over long distances than a heavier tripod, but it is also less durable.

Carbon fiber

The sturdiest yet lightest tripod legs are made of carbon fiber. These are rigid, very strong, and extremely durable. Carbon fiber is an excellent choice to use with expensive cameras, where stability is paramount.

Camera tripod prices

The cost of a camera tripod varies depending on the material and features. Amateur photographers probably won’t need an expensive tripod. Professional photographers who carry a variety of expensive cameras will want the security of a more expensive tripod.

Carefully consider your photography budget. If you skimp on the quality of your tripod, it could collapse under the weight of your camera.

Under $30

You can find plenty of low-priced camera tripods made of plastic in this range. Cheap camera tripods work fine for inexpensive, lightweight cameras or smartphone cameras, but these models aren’t suitable for use with high-priced, heavy camera gear.

"Newer camera tripods often have telescoping legs, which collapse to make the tripods easier to carry. Remember to lock the legs in place after extending them so the tripod doesn’t slip when you place your camera on it."

$30 to $150

Most people can make good use of an aluminum camera tripod in this price range. Novice and intermediate photographers will find the sturdiness they need, as well as ease of use.

$150 and up

Only high-level amateurs or professional photographers will need the most expensive camera tripods. These carbon-fiber tripods can stand up to extremely heavy equipment. They keep a camera balanced even when you use a long telephoto lens.

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If your camera gear is particularly heavy, a tripod will make taking photos easier by supporting the weight.


Q. Why should I use a camera tripod?

A. A camera lens opens for a fraction of a second to allow light to strike the image sensor. If your camera moves during that time, the image will be blurry. A tripod keeps your camera much steadier than a human hand.

Q. What are some tricks to keep my camera tripod more stable?

A. Your camera tripod will be more stable if the legs are not fully extended. Also, extend the center post as little as possible. Always be sure to lock all parts of the tripod in place. Finally, the tripod may wobble if you’re working in windy conditions. You can hang a heavy bag from the center post to help hold the tripod in place.

Q. Can a tripod help me shoot a series of photos more quickly?

A. It can, depending on the subject matter. If you’re shooting a series of portraits of different people in the same location with the same background, a tripod helps ensure a consistent perspective. The camera remains in place and ready to shoot while the people move in and out of the frame. If you need to shoot a series of photos for a stop-motion movie, the tripod keeps the camera in the same place while you adjust the objects in the scene.

Q. What is the best type of lock for the camera tripod legs?

A. After you extend the legs of your tripod, you must lock them in place to stabilize your camera. The preferred type of lock is a quick-release lever, which gives you a handle or lever to grab so you can easily unlock the leg, adjust the length, and lock it again. Another option is a twist lock, which is a large ring on the leg that you twist to lock and unlock. The twist lock takes longer to adjust than the quick-release lever.

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