Wheels are designed so they move smoothly on all surfaces. They also roll smoothly to make shooting high-quality video on the move an easy process. Components are durable, yet the price is affordable.
May not accommodate certain models and sizes of tripods.
Legs can extend to 15.7 inches, providing additional versatility. Has a good level of stability, which simplifies shooting high-quality video while moving. Foldable and comes with a carrying bag.
Doesn’t work as smoothly as many would like on rough surfaces.
Trustworthy brand provides a lifetime warranty. Legs are easy to adjust, ensuring you can find just the right angle on the scene. Comes at a lower price point than you might expect. Transportable unit folds and includes a carrying bag.
Requires a smooth and hard surface to deliver the best results.
The five-inch wheels roll smoothly on nearly any surface and lock for control. Will support a tripod and camera weighing up to 132 pounds. Designed specifically for high-end video recording.
Pricey. Unit weighs more than 17 pounds, so it’s not overly portable.
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Shooting the perfect photo or video is not easy. Even the steadiest of hands can still end up with blurred shots, and the weight of expensive equipment can quickly become tiring during longer shoots. Tripods can help with these issues, but they can be a pain to move around every time you want to shoot from a new angle, and they’re pretty much useless for longer video shots. A tripod dolly can help solve these problems.
Both professionals and aspiring photographers and videographers can use these wheeled tripod stands for everything from easier photo shoots to longer and smoother video segments. In addition to still and video cameras, they can also be used for light stands, background stands, and other equipment.
This guide introduces you to a variety of the features and other considerations you need to take into account before purchasing a tripod dolly. From factors such as weight limitations, portability, and price to features like carry cases and wheels, we examine all aspects of this niche to help you find the right tripod dolly for you.
The better the tripod dolly is made, the more durable it will be and the longer it will last. As these devices are typically used to support expensive camera equipment, yours should be rugged enough that you feel secure trusting the safety of your gear to it.
Tripod dollies are usually made of aluminum, which means they are both lightweight and strong and able to resist corrosion. The best tripod dollies also use metal or some other durable material (as opposed to plastic) for the various leg clamps, wheel locks, and other elements that are vital to a tripod dolly’s operation.
Size: Because the legs adjust, tripod size generally isn’t a huge consideration for dollies. See the FAQ section for more on this.
Weight: There are two elements to focus on: the first is the weight of the dolly itself, which can be an issue if you’re carrying it to shoots. A more important consideration for some buyers is how much weight the dolly can support. Tripod dollies vary considerably in weight capacity, from a low of 30 pounds up to 200 pounds. If the combined weight of your equipment (camera, tripod, lenses, and so on) is high, be sure that any tripod dolly you’re considering is able to handle the weight.
As mentioned, weight can be a big factor in the portability of a tripod dolly. The lighter the dolly, the easier it is to transport. Most of them also fold down and usually include a built-in handle, a carry case, or both. Be sure that the legs of the dolly have locking pins that secure them in position, either folded up for storage and transport or extended for use.
Tripod dollies typically arrive folded, so the only assembly you need to worry about is unfolding the legs. Tripod dollies should be able to be quickly set up or broken down/folded, without the need for tools and without eating up too much of your time.
While a tripod dolly is a great addition to a still camera setup, it really shines when you use it to take smooth, flowing video shots.
You should put some thought into the wheels on your tripod dolly, particularly if you want to shoot professional-quality video.
Size: Generally speaking, the larger the wheels, the smoother they’ll roll over a wide range of surfaces. Wheels range from 2 to 5 inches in diameter, with 3 inches being average.
Construction: Rubber wheels that use metal ball bearings also tend to roll more smoothly, allowing for smoother video.
Lock: All wheels should have individual locking mechanisms to provide greater control over the dolly’s movements. Some dolly wheels lock with a screw mechanism. Locks that are easy to engage and disengage — preferably with your foot — are better.
Construction: Clamps should be constructed from nylon or some other strong material. Plastic leg clamps can easily break if you overtighten them. Both the legs and any locking mechanisms should be easy to use and stay secured (not loosen) when you’re using the tripod dolly.
Adjustable: The legs of a tripod dolly should be adjustable; the greater the range, the more tripods the dolly can work with.
Clamps: Tripod legs are held in place on the dolly using clamps. These allow you to lock the legs securely to the dolly.
A carry case comes standard with most of these dollies, and one is a necessity if you’re constantly carrying your camera and equipment to remote shoots. The bag should be durable, with a sturdy zipper to protect the dolly when you’re transporting it. Some carry cases include a strap, so you can easily put the tripod dolly over your shoulder, freeing up your hands for other equipment.
Tripod dollies start at around $17 and can reach well over $400, although you can find many in the $35 to $50 range.
Inexpensive: At the lowest price points, from about $17 to $35, you can find simple tripod dollies that incorporate a less-robust build. The leg clamps and other elements here are largely plastic and thus more prone to breaking than the more durable materials used on higher-quality dollies.
Mid-range: As the price increases, from $35 to about $80, you’ll find a better build, with better wheels for smoother operation.
Expensive: At higher price points, from $80 to $150 and up, you’ll find dollies that can safely support much more weight and offer greater adjustability to fit almost all tripods. Some tripod dollies in this range also come with a lifetime warranty.
Tabletop sliders are a specialized type of tripod support that can be used on raised surfaces, such as a table, for smooth tracking shots.
A. With their adjustable legs, most tripod dollies are designed to work with a wide variety of tripods. That said, if you have an uncommon tripod, or one with an odd design, you might have some issues fitting your tripod to a dolly. If you think you might have problems in this area, your best bet is to check the comments section of a dolly listing to find out if your tripod is mentioned. If not, consider asking a question yourself, which will be forwarded to those who have previously purchased the dolly.
A. The amount of noise created while using one of these varies from dolly to dolly and is also influenced by the terrain. Hard floors and concrete tend to create more noise than carpeting, which can affect audio quality. If audio quality is vital to your project, select a tripod dolly with the best-quality ball bearing-based wheels that you can find.
A. So long as your telescope is on a tripod, you should be able to use a tripod dolly to move it around for use. If you plan to use a dolly with your telescope, be sure that the wheels of the dolly are equipped with solid locks to keep the telescope from moving when you’re using it.