If you have used a tripod before and you were not happy with it, you may not have liked how flimsy it was, how it wasn’t strong enough for your camera, or was not easy to open or close. If you are shopping currently you may have found so many brands and styles to choose from or the prices range from $50 to well over $1000. You may also be surprised that the head and legs are sold separately. We hope we can steer you in the right direction.
First thing you will want to make sure you are getting carbon fiber legs. Aluminum tripods are less expensive for sure, but carbon fiber is strong and light. the best brands are also using twist locks on the legs. If you have tried them in the past and did not like them, you should try them again. Newer tripods are using larger diameter tubes and that means easier to grip locks.
Want the best and have no budget to stand in your way? you are presented with 2 options. Really Right Stuff or Pro Media Gear. There are a few video style tripods, but thats truly a different discussion.
RRS and PMG both start over $1000. Both brands are amazing! If you can swing the typical $1500 price tag, then definitely shop their websites to get the right size for you. The legs should expand to about your body height or more and be able to go as low as you get go. Other than that, you really can’t go wrong with either of their line ups. Another brands that usually meat this price is Gitzo, there are a few others, but we have seen many of these have their issues.
For the more budget conscience, the choices get greatly more difficult.If you are in the $300-$500 range, you may be looking at Benro. other brands are Manfrotto (a long standing name in the industry), Induro, Leofoto, and Sirui.
If you are on an even tighter budget, its going to get more difficult. One brand we have and still use today, is Innorel. A little known name but we can verify they are solid tripods.
Just like the legs the big names are still RRS and PMG. They are solid pieces of equipment and have proven they can handle rough treatment. RRS does offer different sizes which is really helpful for your wallet.
Due to Really Right Stuff’s popularity a lot of knock offs are available now. Benro and Innorel both make a ballhead that look very capable.
Much like the tripod legs, these brands all make their own heads. Our suggestion is to get a head rated for at least 2x-3x the weight of your camera and lens.