- Flat top plate with 3/8” mounting screw for maximum stability
- Removable top plate easily converts the tripod into a video tripod with an integrated 75mm bowl
- Multi-function hook with built-in adjustment tool
- 1/4” Socket built into the spider for easy attachment of accessories
Image Credit: DieterMeyrl via iStock
Whether you’re a beginner photographer that’s buying your first tripod or a seasoned pro that wants to upgrade your current tripod to a more functional model, our list of the best tripods of 2018 is for you.
There’s no doubt that a good, solid tripod is one of the best photography accessories you can buy.
But not all tripods are made alike…
This list is comprised of the best of the best - tripods from companies that have a demonstrated reputation for high-quality, feature-rich tripods that will help you take better photos.
And best of all? There are tripods on this list for every budget!
SIRUI SR Series Tripods
Image Credit: Cecil Holmes
Let's start off with a three-for-one...
Earlier this year, SIRUI released its latest professional line of tripods dubbed the “SR Series.”
As someone that’s used SIRUI tripods for years now, I was skeptical that they would be able to improve on their already impressive lineup of tripods. I was wrong.
The SR Series - which includes three tripods - was purpose-built for professionals that need a high-performance tripod that will go anywhere and do anything.
Aside from having the ability to support an astounding 55 pounds, these tripods can also extend up to 80 inches high with the addition of an optional two-stage center column.
That gives photographers tons of versatility, not only in the gear they use with their tripod, but also in the manner in which they use the tripod to frame up shots.
Something I’ve enjoyed about my SIRUI tripods over the years is the incredible ease with which they can be set up. It’s literally just a simple ½ twist of each leg lock mechanism, and you’re ready to go. I was happy to see that SIRUI included their venerable three-position leg angle mechanism, too, which allows for easy setup for upright and ground-level shooting, even on uneven terrain.
The three SR Series tripods offer an incredible variety of other features and benefits as well:
The SR-3203, shown above, features lightweight carbon fiber construction, an integrated bubble level, anti-slip leg warmers, and stainless steel spiked feet for keeping the tripod steady, even on
Image Credit: Cecil Holmes
The SR-3204 (shown above) is a four-section tripod that extends from a maximum height of 59-inches (without the optional two-stage center column) down to a minuscule 4.7-inches for ultra-low-angle shots.
For more budget-conscious buyers, the SR-3004 is an ideal choice, with all-aluminum construction, four leg sections, and a retracted height of just 21.4-inches for easier transport.
All three SR Series tripods come with a flat base with integrated 75mm ball cup for easy transition from taking photos to shooting videos and a six-year warranty as well, so when you buy SIRUI, you get long-term peace of mind that your tripod will perform and perform well for both photo and video purposes!
Best Feature: Build quality and warranty
Worst Feature: A little on the pricey side
Induro GIT304 Grand Series Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod
Induro has brought its A Game with the GIT304 Grand Series Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod from Paul's Photo.
This four-section modular, flat base tripod is an ideal option for professional photographers that need a high-performance tripod but don't want to lug around a big, heavy rig.
The tripod has a flat top plate that can be switched out with an optional double-ended hand crank, a video bowl, and a leveling base, all without any tools.
The tripod's spider has three independent leg positions, giving you increased ability to work with uneven terrain.
The huge pivoting rubber feet give you tons of grip, too, so you can shoot with confidence, even on wet surfaces.
Able to hold over 55 pounds of gear and reach up to 53-inches in height, this tripod is loaded for bear for the most discerning professionals.
Best Feature: Excellent build quality
Worst Feature: Adjustments aren't as smooth as other Induro tripods
Make no mistake - this tripod is expensive with a price tag of $1,200.
But if you're a professional that needs a tripod that can handle a lot of gear, the ProMedia Gear TR424L is the tripod for you.
With a maximum weight rating of 125 pounds, you can load this thing up without worry.
When folded, it's just 26.3-inches long, but it can extend to a maximum height of 77-inches.
Each of the legs has an independent spread an three-position angle lock with quarter-turn twist locks for quick setup.
The rubber feet and metal spikes give it all the stability you need as well.
Best Feature: Weight capacity and height
Worst Feature: Really expensive
Vanguard VEO 2 265CB
Though not as flashy as other tripos on this list, the Vanguard VEO 2 265CB is a great investment nonetheless.
It's got five-section carbon fiber legs that are both strong and keep the overall weight of the tripod to a minimum. With rapid-twist locking mechanisms, you can set this tripod up at a moment's notice.
The legs have extension clamps that are strong and durable as well as rubber feet for added stability. You can add metal spikes to the feet for even more stability on uneven terrain.
The 265CB comes with the VEO 2 BH-50 ball head, which is sturdy and can easily support a DSLR with a zoom lens attached. There are separate knobs for panning, locking, and friction control, too.
With a low angle adaptor and leg angles that vary from 20-degrees to 80-degrees, this tripod allows you to get ultra creative photos.
Best Feature: Lightweight and easy low-angle shooting
Worst Feature: Spiked feet not included
3 Legged Thing Eclipse Leo Tripod System
The claim to fame for the 3 Legged Thing Eclipse Leo Tripod System (well, one of its claims to fame...) is its incredible compactness.
It can collapse to a length of just 13.8-inches, which makes it one of the smallest compacted tripods on this list.
But with a maximum length of 55-inches (with the included Equinox AirHed Switch Ball Head), it also offers a wide variety of heights to suit just about any purpose.
Additionally, this tripod can be adjusted to a low angle of just 4.75-inches, which allows you to get ultra-low shots for more creative compositions.
Another great feature of this tripod is the detachable leg, which can be used as a monopod, a camera or mic boom, or even a selfie stick.
On top of all that, this thing weighs a scant 3.2 pounds, yet supports up to 66 pounds of gear.
Best Feature: Awesome ball head and good weight capacity
Worst Feature: Lots of small parts that could come loose
Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer Series 2 Carbon Fiber Tripod
With a load capacity of nearly 40 pounds and an extended height of over 65-inches, the Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer Series 2 Tripod is an ideal choice for landscape and adventure photographers.
The carbon fiber legs are rigid and strong, yet extremely lightweight, and the tripod folds down to just 22-inches for easy transport.
This tripod has a highly versatile center column that can be removed for Ground Level Set, which means the tripod can reach a low-angle position of just 5.9-inches off the ground.
The G-lock Ultra twist lock legs are both easy to set up and have an internal O-ring to prevent dust and particles from getting into the tripod's legs.
The top spider of the tripod is rigid and durable and the large leg angle selectors offer you a large area to grip when adjusting the angle of the legs.
Add in a center column hook, and you have the makings for one stable tripod!
Best Feature: Extremely strong and rigid legs
Worst Feature: Can find similar quality and features in other tripods for a smaller price tag
Really Right Stuff TFC-14 Mark II Tripod
The Really Right Stuff TFC-14 Mark II tripod is one of the lightest tripods around, at just 2.3 pounds.
Though it can't support a giant load like some of the other tripods on this list, it can handle a respectable 25 pounds of gear.
With carbon fiber construction, you get a strong and durable tripod without all the weight, which makes this a great travel photography tripod. The height range of 2.8-inches to over 47-inches means you have tons of versatility in the shooting angle department as well.
Really Right Stuff has incorporated twist leg locks that require a short rotation to lock and unlock to make this an ideal tripod when the moment counts.
The ingenious hand strap at the bottom of the tripod collar allows you to add stability either by hand or adding weight for ballast.
With a collapsed length of just over 17-inches, this tripod can easily fit in a carry on bag or backpack, too.
Best Feature: Size and weight
Worst Feature: Low maximum load capacity
Manfrotto MKBFRA4-BH BeFree Aluminum Travel Tripod
If you're looking for a budget-friendly tripod, the Manfrotto BeFree Aluminum Travel Tripod is a great choice.
Made of aluminum, this tripod offers a sturdy, compact solution for stabilizing your camera and a small lens.
It folds up to under 16-inches for easy transportability thanks to the legs folding up around the ball head, while it extends to nearly 57-inches to give you the height you need to shoot.
The included ball head has a big locking handle for quick setup and a quick release with QR plate that has a 1/4"-20 mounting screw.
Manfrotto even includes a handy travel case for storing your tripod while on the road!
Best Feature: Price
Worst Feature: Just an 8.8-pound load capacity
MeFOTO GlobeTrotter Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Kit
The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter is yet another great option for travel photography thanks to its combination of small size and weight.
It folds down to just over 16-inches but extends to over 64-inches, and with a weight of just 3.7 pounds, it's easy to carry as well.
Not only do you get a highly capable tripod, but one of the legs detaches for use as a full-size monopod, too.
Each leg has two-position leg angle stops so you can position the legs independently.
The spring-loaded center column hook gives you a place to add weight as ballast, making this an even sturdier tripod.
There's an included ball head with separate head and pan locks, a 360-degree pan index, and an integrated bubble level for keeping the horizons in your shots nice and straight.
Best Feature: Small size and weight
Worst Feature: Ball head might sag under weight of larger lenses
Sirui T2005X Tripod
The great thing about the Sirui T2005X Tripod is that it's a great blend of functionality and price.
Though this is the lowest-priced tripod on this list at under $150, there is no lack of handy features.
The legs fold up 180-degrees for extra compactness and the center column can be inverted for ultra-low-angle shots.
There are three leg angle positions for adapting the tripod to uneven terrain, and with automatic leg angle locks, the tripod is a breeze to set up.
Also included are retractable spiked metal feet for additional stability options.
This tripod weighs just over three pounds, but can hold over 26 pounds of gear, too!
Best Feature: Price
Worst Feature: Other tripods offer a better weight to weight capacity ratio