The days have gone when you needed an expensive Point-and-Shoot or DSLR for casual photography. You can just take out your iPhone or any other high-end smartphone and capture those precious moments of your life.
But come on, No Professional Photographer can use those smartphones (with little or no control over the functionality of the camera) for actual professional photography. That is why a Digital SLRs are still used. But every professional photographer knows that he is not going for a Professional photo shoot without his ultimate tool – The Tripod.
Sure they can take good pictures without a tripod but they know if they want to achieve perfection, they gotta grab their tripod with them. But there are simply way too many choices for them to choose one from, that is why I am going to share Top 10 Tripods you can use with your Digital SLRs and carry with you quite easily.
Best Tripods of 2016 for Better Photography:
Davis and Sanford Provista Tripod with FM18 Head –
I Honestly did not expect much from this tripod but I was blown away by its build quality and how well it works given its price (mid-ranged).
Starting off with the build quality, this thing is solid, like really solid, Black anodized finish protects the metal and gives the tripod more of a professional look. The Legs are sturdy, my only complaint is about the lock mechanism on legs, they can be a pain because it takes quite a force to lock and unlock them, otherwise, PERFECT.
Self-aligning metal locks on legs make sure that you can set it up fast and easy. No complaints there. You can use another head with it but I would highly suggest using the one which comes with it (FM18 Head). The Fluid Head ensures the smooth panning and camera movements to get perfect shots.
I have mostly used Canon 60D with it and it worked perfectly fine. Now, this isn’t your typical light-weight OR carry-anywhere kind of tripod, This is bit heavy and totally built for professional use.
Moreover, the 10 years warranty ensures that if you get any kind of critical problem with it, the company will replace it, TEN YEARS.
Anyways I have owned this particular tripod for at least 3.5 years and no complaints or problems so far. Highly recommended product if you are looking for mid-ranged Tripod.
Ravelli AVTP Professional Tripod with Fluid Drag Head –
Straight out of the box, this tripod looks pretty substantial. Starting off, the Tripod itself looks and feels Rock Solid, the Knob mechanism to extend/collapse the legs looks and functions very well. I’ve used it with Canon XHA1 which is HEAVY and it handled the camera perfectly.
The only problem I faced was with the Fluid head, which is not very fluid BTW. This Head is quite hard to tilt/pan the camera and doesn’t allow me to capture a Smooth video shot. I tried loosing up the screws from the head and what not, it still isn’t as good as the stock FM18 head in Davis and Stanford one.
To cope with the problem, I started using another head I had laying around (I don’t remember exact model), which ultimately solved my problem. Except that, this tripod is one of the best I have used.
I’ve set it up in rivers, up on the hills, in the desert and what not, all in all, I abused the heck out f it and still it keeps surprising me with the performance it provides.
By all means, this is a recommended product from me if you are trying to do Large format photography on a tight budget.
Manfrotto BeFree Travel Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod –
One of the best Camera tripods for Travelers and mobile photographers. The one I own is a carbon fiber version which costs few extra bucks but is lighter than the aluminum one thus easy to carry around for casual photography.
The legs get tall enough to get the desired results, the lock/unlock mechanism of legs is pretty sturdy too. It came in a comparatively good carrying bag which easily attaches to the backpack. Sure there are few tradeoffs made to achieve that light weight but overall the Tripod is Compact and Solid. Definitely recommended Product.
Gitzo GT1542T Carbon Fiber Traveler – Most Versatile Camera Tripod of 2016 – Buy Now
Your best tripod is the one you can carry with you wherever you want without any hassle. One of the Major factors is the weight of the tripod, I bought this one because of the reviews on amazon stating that is is very lightweight and easy to carry.
After receiving the tripod, it was clear how compact this thing can get and how lightweight it is as compared to other tripods in the same league. The one I own is carbon fiber version which makes it bit lighter than the aluminum version.
Talking about the actual build, the tripod itself feels quite well built, the legs are easy to fold or expand. I agree that this tripod uses bit different locking mechanism with its legs, but trust me, it gets lot easier to quickly unlock the leg sections when you get used to it than a clamp locking system which is used in many other tripods.
Few people complained about it not being able to folded to be fully compact until you remove the head (it gets in the way while folding the legs and does not allow them to fold completely).
For the performance, I have been using this tripod for about 2 years now and this thing can take a shot with a lot heavier camera bulk than the other competitors. In few conditions it starts to get shaky but most of the time it helps me to take stunning shots.
I can easily compare it with Manfrotto 055 Pro 3 in terms of stability and build quality, it is in fact lot lighter than the 055. I know it’s costly and I also agree that few things could have been improved but overall this is the best bang for the buck you can get in this price-range.
I obviously don’t recommend this tripod for beginners. if you are a beginner, go buy something cheaper to use and test the waters. This tripod is for you if you are looking for an awesome mid-high range tripod.
Slik Pro 340DX – Professional DSLR Tripod of 2016 –
When I thought to buy a new tripod for my day-to-day casual use, I came across this tripod. The reviews online were mixed, after some thought I finally decided to give it a shot. For the price that low, it wasn’t that big of a deal for me anyways.
I am happy to say that it was well worth the price. I took it out with me, up on hills, used in windy situations and it performed incredibly good for the price tag. Its barebones are constructed with aluminum, Magnesium and titanium alloy and other elements, like the head, tips of legs, etc are made up of rubber or plastic. That is the reason it feels pretty solid in the hands.
The Head itself is pretty smooth for panning and other movements, helps me to take almost smooth shots. The leg sections extend to take the tripod to pretty good height, the locks on legs sections are nice and tight. I’ve used the likes of canon 60D with this tripod, it holds the weight less than 3 KG pretty easily.
Overall I’ll recommend this Tripod as an entry level Camera tripod for beginners out there.
ZoMei Z818C Professional Carbon Fiber Tripod – Buy Now
From the tripod legs to vertical shaft (all of these are made of carbon fiber), every component of this Tripods screams Quality. This is one lightweight and sturdy tripod I have ever used. The legs are strong, unlike cheap tripods, holding heavy cameras is no problem for this tripod.
The legs can get really high, and you can add weight below the vertical shaft using the pre-attached hook to increase the stability. At the end of the legs, there are rubber tips which you can replace with metal ones, they worked fine for me so I never changed them anyway.
You’ll know the true meaning of versatility once you buy this tripod. You can take the vertical shaft out by unscrewing it and place it in the tripod from below to take ground shots. You can even unscrew its main leg and attach it with the vertical shaft to use it as a monopod.
The head is some serious smoothness, it can handle heavy cameras+lenses at lens angles really well, no bumps whatsoever. The weight of the tripod itself is almost 2.5 KG and the bag it comes inside of looks Professional.
I’ll recommend this tripod to beginner photographers who want good quality tripod in this low budget.
Gitzo GT3541 Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod – Buy Now
One can notice that this thing is premium by looking at the box alone. Everything from Carbon fiber to the twist lock mechanism on legs looks and feels truly premium. I am never disappointed by Gitzo and this was no difference either.
The tripod can get high enough by unfolding the legs, if you still need more height you can do that with the help of vertical shaft. If you are a long time photographer who has used many tripods in the past (quality ones and cheap Chinese ones), you can just hold a tripod in hand and just tell if it was worth the price or not.
I usually did lot of Long-Exposure photography and when I started using it, I knew that this thing was the best bang for the buck. Keep in mind that I am the guy who has used Manfrotto to Slik Pro, high-end to low-end tripods and I find this one, one of the best in the market for this price.
In case if you guys are wondering, I used RRS BH-40 LR head with the tripod. I’ll recommend this to guys who want Quality tripod for their money and who are into Professional photography It is not a cheap tripod so I’ll advise “casual photographers” to stay away from it, unless they got whole lot of money to buy it.
MeFOTO RoadTrip Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod – Buy Now
Another great, lightweight and sturdy Tripod I have used for almost 1 year on different occasions. I have used this tripod with both Nikon’s D7000 and D610 which are lightweight themselves, but even when I used some big lenses with them, which weigh around 6-8 lbs, it worked perfectly fine every single time.
The thing is…
The Build Quality of this Tripod is pretty awesome and yet it comes with 5 Years of valid US Warranty in case you get into some sort of problems. Keep in mind that the one I own is a carbon fiber version which is comparatively less in weight than the aluminum version.
I wanna take few shots from more height, no problem, five leg sections enable me to do that easily. One can easily adjust each three legs at different heights to do some fun photography on irregular surface areas.
The legs are versatile enough that they can be inverted and folded back 180 degrees to make it smaller so you could carry it with you without any hassle. Carrying and Handling the Tripod is easy too due to the rubber grip on one of the legs.
The Heavy-Duty Precision matched Q series ball head is quite a help too due to following features:
- Arca-Swiss style compatible quick release plate.
- Integral Bubble Level, Which allows adjustments to prevent uneven pans and head movements.
Where I got Some really heavyweight Tripods for more Professional Photo Shoot use, this one is Lightweight and sturdy and provided mostly close to perfect shots, due to which I used to carry it around for my usual Photography Gigs. I’ll Definitely recommend this tripod as it is an Absolute bang for Your buck.
Ravelli APGL4 70-Inch Tripod with Pistol Grip Head –
I ordered this one with Pistol head when it was around 40 dollars on amazon and when I received it, this is the best bang for the buck, I thought. But First, I would like to mention that this is not one of the top of the line DSLR tripods, built with carbon fiber or aluminium, nope, it’s not.
This one comes with many problems out of the box, which I am okay with, as long as it is low on price. Yes it is not made of top-notch alloys but it is pretty impressive, in the end, all it matters is the functionality, right?
So When it arrived the first thing I did was to tighten the screws which were loose, but that was it. Exploring this tripod with my DSLR over the course of previous 7-8 months, here is my review of this tripod.
For starters, the package had 2 L-Keys for screws and an Additional base plate for Mounting cameras.
Starting from the top, the Pistol ball head is really nice and metal build makes it feel more premium for what it costs.The head has 2 round levels and 1 spirit level on the side of the camera mount.
The camera mount has 2 safety mechanisms, first one locks into place when you slide the base plate and the second one is a knob, which makes sure the camera stays there, no matter which position you turn the head into.
The ball head feels smooth, it can go in any direction fairly easily, with the help of that pistol handle. Another thing is, that if you don’t want it to go up or down and just rotate it in the exact same position, just pull the handle partially and you’ll be able to rotate it around the axis.
At the joint, there is another Knob which lets you increase/decrease the center post if you loosen it. The legs are are no trouble either. The metal latches to increase or decrease the height of the legs make it feel sort of premium.
At the bottom, the rubber feet can be adjusted at a specific angle, according to the ground here you are placing it, and that’s about it. For me, I have never found this good device for the price this low, this is the real example of “Best bang for the buck tripod”. If you have a low budget, go buy this one.
Manfrotto MTC055XPRO3 3-section Tripod – Buy Now
This is one of the latest version of Professional Tripod line of 055. This generation is nearly 50% more rigid than the previous versions and lightweight. I’ve just loved its 3 section legs and quick power locks on the legs to make sure you get a clean shot. Another thing I like about the head (I am using a mhxpro-3) is that it has quick release plates, to make it convenient to attach and remove the camera from the head.
The features which make pro3 stand out is what Manfrotto calls q90 center column, which allows you to take smoother shots in the horizontal position, just with the push of on button. They’ve also redesigned the upper plate and added additional rotating bubble level.
There are 2 variations of this tripod, one is made of aluminum and the other one is Carbon fiber. Carbon Fiber version is about a pound lighter than the Aluminium one.
The bottom line is that this tripod is light, strong, sturdy, and includes a handful of nice features that ensure it is not merely a tool that gets its job done, but is a tool that really excels at helping you get your job done.
I tried my best to share my experience with you guys about the Best Camera tripods you can buy in 2016. I agree that all of them are not affordable Camera tripods but I tried to put few affordable ones there, if you have any questions, comment below, let’s start a conversation.