Best Beginner Tripods on a Budget: Top Picks for New Photographers

A tripod is an essential item for photographers and one of the first accessories beginners should buy. It allows you to overcome things like motion blur and shaky hands, and it’s also essential if you want to delve into more advanced photography techniques.

Some tripods are difficult to handle and can be overwhelming for first-time users. However, there is also a great range of simple models that anyone can operate. In this article, we share seven of the best beginner tripods, including basic and higher-end options for first-time shooters.

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Top Beginner Tripods

1. SmallRig Tripod & Monopod

Our Pick
SmallRig Tripod & Monopod
Versatile, stable, perfect for beginner photographers

We find this tripod strikes an excellent balance between versatility and stability, a great choice for beginners.

Pros
Versatile with its 2-in-1 tripod and monopod design
Impressive height range for various shooting scenarios
Durable construction that supports a decent weight limit
Cons
Might be heavier than the most basic models
For cameras with larger lenses, additional accessories are required
Three 1/4″ threaded holes may not meet professional-grade requirements

For burgeoning photographers, securing the right tripod can significantly improve the quality of their work. We find the SmallRig 71″ Camera Tripod to be a reliable option that can grow with their skills. Its compatibility across various cameras and gadgets makes it a universal solution for many. Even phone photographers can find it quite useful, thanks to the included smartphone holder.

Beginners will appreciate the tripod’s design simplicity. The quick release flip-locks simplify height adjustments, allowing for quick setups. This feature is especially handy outdoors where conditions and terrains may change rapidly. The tripod’s ability to convert into a monopod presents a significant advantage for dynamic shooting environments or when a lighter setup is required.

Durability often comes into question with budget-friendly tripods, but this model dispels those concerns with its robust magnesium aluminum alloy construction. It’s a comforting thought for new photographers that their equipment can withstand the demands of varied shooting experiences. Nonetheless, portability must be considered, as this tripod may pose a challenge for those with weight or travel restrictions.

2. NEEWER 77″ Camera Tripod

Also Great
NEEWER 77″ Camera Tripod
Affordable, adaptable, ideal for new photographers

If you’re stepping into the world of photography or videography, we believe the NEEWER 77″ Camera Tripod is a versatile option to consider for its adaptable design and reliable stability.

Pros
Versatile use as both a tripod and monopod
Lightweight for ease of travel and quick setup
Enhanced stability with load weight hook and bubble level
Cons
Maximum sturdiness may not match heavier, professional-grade tripods
Maximum height may not be sufficient for all use-cases
Included bag may not offer robust protection

Hunting for the right tripod to kickstart your photography can be daunting, but we’re here to help streamline that process. A tripod that can double as a monopod offers great flexibility for different shooting needs. Instant height adjustments are made possible with secure flip locks, facilitating a seamless transition from a low-angle macro shot to an optimal height for portraits or landscapes.

Compactness and maneuverability are king when you’re on the move, and this tripod folds down to a traveler-friendly size. Carrying it to your next shoot location won’t break a sweat, given its lightweight build. The handiness of a tripod comes not just from its portability but also its setup speed—important for capturing those fleeting golden-hour moments.

A stable tripod is a silent backbone of sharp images and smooth videos. The added option to hang a weight bag offers additional steadiness in challenging conditions. The reliable ball head supports accurate adjustments, ensuring your camera stays level and steady. When it isn’t as robust as the professional heavyweights, it holds its own in most beginner to intermediate scenarios, make it an investment worth considering.

3. GEEKOTO 79″ Tripod

GEEKOTO 79″ Tripod
Lightweight, flexible, offers great height range

In looking to elevate your photography, we find this tripod strikes a balance between versatility and durability.

Pros
Lightweight but stable carbon fiber construction
Ball head rotates 360 degrees providing flexibility in shooting angles
Multi-functional design allows for use as a monopod and trekking pole
Cons
More expensive than some beginner options
Might be complex for absolute beginners
The proprietary quick-release plate may be inconvenient for some users

When setting out to capture the perfect shot, we recognize the importance of a reliable tripod. This GEEKOTO tripod’s high-density carbon fiber build ensures we aren’t weighed down on our ventures, yet its stability is uncompromised. A distinct advantage lies in its adjustable and expandable legs, which adapt effortlessly to various terrains and heights, broadening our shooting capabilities.

The 360° ball head is a noteworthy feature, granting us the freedom to pan smoothly and lock angles with precision. Its utility is enhanced further by the capability to convert into a monopod—ideal when we find ourselves on challenging terrain or in need of a walking support.

For those of us who are just beginning to explore photography more seriously, however, the manifold features might seem daunting. The investment is certainly justifiable, but we should be aware of the learning curve. Additionally, the specialized quick-release plate may limit some of our quick-swapping abilities with other equipment.

In conclusion, we see this GEEKOTO tripod as a valuable tool for photographers who are ready to step up their game. Its multifunctional design and sturdy build are strong selling points. While it may not be the simplest option for a novice, the versatility it offers can grow with our skills.

4. GEEKOTO 58″ DSLR Tripod

GEEKOTO 58″ DSLR Tripod
Compact, easy setup, ideal for travel

We find that the GEEKOTO 58″ DSLR Tripod is a solid choice for newcomers due to its user-friendly features and reliable performance.

Pros
Versatile usage with convertible monopod and adjustable height
Enhanced stability with a lightweight design that’s easy to carry
Comprehensive shooting angles with 360-degree panorama ball head
Cons
May not suit heavy-duty camera setups
Could be less sturdy in harsh outdoor conditions
Limited to 17.6lbs weight capacity which might hinder use with larger gear

Our search for a beginner-friendly tripod leads us to the GEEKOTO 58″ DSLR Tripod. This model strikes an excellent balance between versatility and stability, making it a fine starting point for those new to photography or videography.

The convenience of a lightweight but sturdy tripod is vital for those constantly on the move. The GEEKOTO tripod is easy to pack and travel with, thanks to its compact form when folded. This makes it ideal for anyone looking to explore different shooting locations without being burdened by cumbersome equipment.

Another strong point of this tripod is its adaptability. The quick-release flip-locks and varying height options accommodate a broad range of shooting scenarios. The freedom to capture panoramic shots is effortless, courtesy of the 360-degree ball head, which is a surprising luxury on such an affordable model.

In conclusion, the GEEKOTO 58″ DSLR Tripod represents a thoughtful balance between quality and practicality. We can confidently recommend it for its comprehensive features, designed with beginner photographers and videographers in mind.

5. GorillaPod 3K

GorillaPod 3K
Innovative design, exceptional flexibility, and adaptability

We find the GorillaPod 3K to be an excellent choice for beginners looking for versatility in a compact design.

Pros
Exceptional flexibility with wrapable legs for a variety of surfaces
Precise control with a 360° panning head and 90° tilt
Compatible with a range of accessories, enhancing its utility
Cons
Limited height extension, not ideal for all shooting scenarios
Stiff legs may require extra effort to position
Higher price point within the beginner tripod market

Serious photography doesn’t necessarily start with the heaviest gear; it begins with smart, adaptable tools like the GorillaPod 3K. This tripod’s forte lies in its unrivaled flexibility, allowing you to secure your camera in positions that traditional tripods can’t achieve. Whether you’re wrapping it around a lamppost or perching it on a rock, the job gets done with an assurance of stability.

Yet versatility doesn’t trump ease of use. The GorillaPod 3K makes precise framing of shots straightforward. It gives you the freedom to explore angles with its smooth panning and tilting mechanism. Coupled with a bubble level, this ensures your shots are well-composed, whether you’re capturing landscapes or filming for the ‘gram.

We have to talk about the build – it’s sturdy without being cumbersome. Crafted from durable materials, this tripod supports devices up to 3kg. That’s enough for most DSLR and mirrorless cameras, making it a solid companion for your photographic journeys. Plus, its compatibility with pro accessories allows you to expand its capabilities as your skills advance.

In summary, the GorillaPod 3K embodies an ideal balance of functionality and form – a must-have for both novice photographers and creative professionals on the move.

6. Manfrotto PIXI EVO

Manfrotto PIXI EVO
Portable, adaptable, with two leg angles

We find the Manfrotto PIXI EVO to be a strong contender for those stepping into photography, balancing portability with versatility.

Pros
Adaptable to various shooting scenarios with its two leg angles and five-step adjustable legs
Lightweight and easily portable, ideal for photographers on the move
Supports a range of devices up to 2.5kg, providing the flexibility needed for various camera setups
Cons
The lightweight design might not be as stable with heavier DSLRs or longer lenses
The legs may be too loose for some users, potentially affecting stability
For tabletop use, it’s a bit larger than some might prefer, reducing its suitability for tight spaces

Manfrotto’s PIXI EVO brings ingenuity to the table, or rather, to any location you choose; it’s designed for creatives who relish the freedom to capture their visions anywhere, without lugging heavy gear. Its aluminum and adapto build ensure that while it’s light enough to accompany you effortlessly, it also stands firm to hold your camera securely. Whether capturing sprawling landscapes in low light or architectural marvels, the PIXI EVO remains unobtrusive yet wholly reliable.

Flexibility is the name of the game with the PIXI EVO. You may adjust the legs across five different steps, catering to uneven surfaces and ensuring your camera remains level. If you’re experimenting with angles or attempting to conquer the complexities of portrait photography, the 90-degree tilt keeps shots precise.

Indeed, convenience is another strong suit. This tripod’s compact stature allows for it to be stashed in a backpack or slung over a shoulder in a carry case. When the moment strikes, its quick setup means you’re ready to capture that fleeting sunset or bustling street scene in no time. Despite its size, the PIXI EVO supports a significant payload, accommodating a vast landscape of photography equipment so that your creativity never has to compromise.

7. Manfrotto Befree Advanced

Manfrotto Befree Advanced
Travel-friendly, reliable stability, lever closure

For those embarking on their photography journey, the Manfrotto Befree Advanced presents an optimal balance of portability and performance.

Pros
Easily transportable with its lightweight design
Facilitates creative freedom through its versatile leg-angle positions
Ensures sharp images with its reliable stability and locking system
Cons
May have limitations when used with heavier camera setups
Not as compact as some smaller travel tripods when folded
Premium build comes with a higher price point compared to budget models

We find the Manfrotto Befree Advanced to be a reliable companion for beginner photographers aiming to explore varied terrains without the bulk. Its lightweight nature doesn’t compromise on steadiness, and it unfolds swiftly for those moments when time is of the essence.

Having a travel-friendly tripod that doesn’t skimp on stability is a boon. With independent leg positioning, our creative expression isn’t hindered by rigid structures, and the tripod’s ergonomic design ensures ease of use for both right and left-handed individuals.

We appreciate how the Befree Advanced supports the addition of accessories, enhancing outdoor photography sessions. A robust locking mechanism adds peace of mind, as it secures the equipment firmly. Overall, this tripod supports beginners in elevating their shots while offering room to grow.

Buying Guide

When we’re on the hunt for beginner tripods, it’s crucial to consider several key features before making a purchase. Here, we offer guidance on what to look for to ensure that we select a tripod that meets our needs without overwhelming us with complexity or exceeding our budget.

Stability and Load Capacity

The primary function of a tripod is to hold a camera steady, so stability is non-negotiable. We must evaluate the tripod’s load capacity to ensure it can support the weight of our camera and lens comfortably.

  • Maximum Load: Aim for a tripod that supports at least 1.5 times the weight of our heaviest camera setup.
  • Material: Aluminum or carbon fiber are common, with carbon fiber being lighter but typically more expensive.

Height and Portability

Considering height and portability is a balancing act. Higher tripods offer more versatility, but they may be less compact and heavier, challenging to carry around.

  • Maximum Height: Ensure it extends to a height that suits our shooting style without compromising stability.
  • Collapsed Size: Preferably, it should be compact enough for easy transportation.
  • Weight: Lighter tripods are preferable for travel, but not at the expense of stability.

Head Types

The tripod head controls the camera’s movement and angle. There are various types, but here are a couple of beginner-friendly options:

  • Pan-Tilt Heads: These allow for separate horizontal and vertical movements, suitable for video and still photography.
  • Ball Heads: Perfect for quick adjustments and smooth movement, best for photography.

Leg Locks and Sections

Tripod legs feature different lock mechanisms and the number of sections affects the setup speed and stability.

  • Lock Types: Twist locks are generally more secure and weather-resistant while flip locks are faster to set up.
  • Sections: Fewer sections mean increased stability and faster setup, but less compactness when collapsed.

By focusing on these features, we position ourselves to find an ideal tripod that combines functionality, convenience, and reliability.


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About the Author
Andreas De Rosi Founder of PhotoWorkout

Andreas, with a background in economics and marketing, heads PhotoWorkout's editorial team in Berlin. Starting his photography with film at 14, he's developed his craft through courses and hands-on experience, focusing on travel photography. Currently using a Fuji X-S20 among other cameras, Andreas blends academic and practical insights to shed light on the latest trends in photography. Connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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