Looking for the Best Beginner Tripods?
Your search ends right here. A sturdy tripod is important no matter the level of skill you have. You realize this and that is exactly why you are here.
With so many makes and models, the problem is in selecting one which checks all the boxes. There are different construction quality, material, head systems, and legs. It can quickly become more difficult than ordering a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
Here is the list of the best beginner tripods:
- Slik U212 (Our Choice)
- Manfrotto MK290XTA3-3WUS
- Vanguard VEO 2 235CB
- Neewer Carbon Fiber
- Manfrotto MK290XTA3-BHUS
- Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB
1. Slik U212 Deluxe Tripod with 3-way Pan/Tilt head
A decent built lightweight travel tripod checks all the boxes. The Slik U212 is one that almost checks all the boxes. The maximum load capacity of the tripod system is 5.5 lb. The Slik itself weighs 5.6 lb.
The legs of the tripod are made of three sections. It can rise to a maximum height of 64” when fully extended. The least working height is just 8.3” when the legs are spread wide open. When not in use the folded height is 26”.
With the tripod legs, you also get a 3-way pan/tilt head with a guide for shooting panorama images. The legs have individual leg locks. Plus a rack and pinion center column.
But the best thing about this tripod is that it has retractable spikes. These give extra traction when the tripod is used on uneven surfaces. Of course, it also has rubber tipped feet.
This is our preferred choice in this list of the best beginner tripods.
2. Manfrotto MK290XTA3-3WUS 290 Xtra Aluminum Tripod with 804 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head
Manfrotto, just like Benro and Oben is a popular brand in the photography industry. The Manfrotto MK290XTA3-3WUS 29 is an aluminum-made tripod. It comes with the 804-3-way pan/tilt head as a complete setup.
The maximum working height of the tripod is 67.5”. The minimum working height is 16.5”. When not working the tripod can be folded down to 27.8”. There are 3 leg sections. The maximum weight bearing capacity of the tripod is 8.8 lb. While the weight of the tripod itself is 5.6 lb.
The system comes complete with a 3-way pan/tilt head and retractable handles. Yes, this tripod is more suited to shooting videos. That said you can always switch the head for one more suited to photography specific work. The head can also be mounted on other tripod legs with a 3/8” – 16 mount.
Related Post: Best Video Tripod
Additionally, the head can be rotated 360 degrees or tilted 90 degrees in a forward direction and 30 degrees backward. Additionally, for portrait shooting, you can turn the head 90 degrees. That gives you portrait orientation for the perfect shooting angle.
There is an RC2 compatible QR plate for fast mounting and dismounting of your camera.
3. Vanguard VEO 2 235CB Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod with VEO 2 BH-50
The Vanguard VEO 2 235CB is a carbon fiber tripod which comes with a VEO 2 BH-50 ball head as a complete system. This lightweight tripod weighs just 2.63 lb. and can support a maximum weight of 13.2 lb. At this price point, there are few carbon fiber options. So, definitely, the Vanguard VEO 2 235CB is an interesting offering.
The maximum working height of the tripod is 57.1” and the minimum is 7”. When packed the tripod has a height of 15.9”. Thanks to the five section twist lock mechanism. Additionally, there is a rubber handle on the leg which comes in handy when working in very cold weather.
Now about the ball head. The BH-50 ball head comes with three independent knob systems. These are for the lock function, panning function and control of friction. At the top of the ball head, there is an Arca-type QR plate.
4. Neewer Carbon Fiber 63” Tripod with 360 Ball Head
The Neewer is a carbon fiber ball head type tripod system. The overall weight of the tripod system is only 4.97 lb. It has the added functionality of a monopod when you unscrew one leg. Speaking of the legs, they have a twist lock mechanism. The legs have a total of four sections. They extend using the interlocking crutch locks.
The maximum working height of the tripod is 63”. When not working it can be folded down to just 17.7”. The legs have four sections. The tripod can be folded down to a minimum height of 17.7” for easy transportation.
The maximum weight supporting capacity of the tripod is 33 lb. The central column has a hook contraption for hanging a small weight bag or sandbag for extra stability.
5. Manfrotto MK290XTA3-BHUS 290 Xtra Aluminum Tripod with Ball Head
The best beginner tripods should be more than just a support system for your camera. A small frame with a decent payload capability is what most photographers look for.
A small packed frame means greater mobility and its lightweight nature makes for ease of transportation. Add to that a sturdy build quality and good payload. All of a sudden you have a winner in your hands.
The Manfrotto MK290XTA3-BHUS 290 is crafted out of aluminum. The total weight bearing capacity of the tripod is 11 lb. The maximum working height of the tripod is 66.9” when extended. The minimum working height is only 15.7”. That’s low enough to capture small flowers and anything at ground level.
When not in use the tripod can be folded to a minimum height of 27.8” for transportation or storage. There are three leg sections and they loosen using a flip-lock mechanism. They come with a tension adjustable mechanism. This can keep the locks secure over the lifespan of the tripod. Additionally, the legs can be positioned independently of each other.
Remaining on the subject of the legs. The feet are rubberized which helps in getting traction over smooth surfaces. But it misses out on spiked feet like the Slik U212 we discussed above.
The compact ball head is constructed out of aluminum. The ball head can tilt up to a maximum of 90 degrees. It comes with an RC2 type quick release plate to assist in easy and precise positioning of the camera equipment.
6. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod with SBH-100 ball head
This is a very well built and popular tripod. Popular among beginners and enthusiast alike. The plus point of this tripod is that it is perfect as a travel tripod along with a wide genre of other requirements.
It has a number of features. These include a central column that is connected to the tripod using a fulcrum mechanism.
The system employs a push & pull mechanism for faster deployment of the central column. The same mechanism also gives the central column an added functionality. You can use it as a mini-boom for deploying your camera.
The load carrying capacity of the tripod is 15.4 lb. The weight of the tripod is 5.4 lb. The maximum working height of the tripod is 68.1”. The least working height is 56”. When folded down for transportation or storage the tripod has a height of 28.1”.
Each of the legs of the tripod comes with foam covers. This allows comfortable handling in cold conditions.
The system comes with a ball head and a QR plate. This allows fast mounting and dismounting of the system. The QR plate comes with a ¼”-20 mount.
- Smooth fluid-like SBH-100 ball head rotates 360 degrees and includes quick release plate QS-39 and bubble levels
- The MACC (multi-angle central column) system allows you to move the central column from 0 to 180 degrees in various vertical...
- 26mm 3 section aluminum alloy legs adjust to 25, 50, and 80-degree angles to enable extreme low angle photography. Quick flip...
- The Instant Swivel Stop-n-Lock (ISSL) system securely repositions the central column in one simple movement. Premium...
- Specifications: Folded height: 28.2", Extended height: 68.2", Weight: 5.4 pounds. Max. load capacity: 15.4 pounds
Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your “master guide” here at PhotoWorkout.
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