The Best Tabletop Tripods
Even before we start shifting through the top 4 or 5 suggestions for tabletop tripods let’s try to understand what makes a tripod so imperative for a photographer. Another question that we also need answering is why they are so essential for tabletop photography in particular.
Top 5 Tabletop Tripods
Tabletop photography is an interesting genre. It is probably the only genre of photography, other than headshots and portraits, which you can pursue for the whole year round and make a decent amount of money.
But unlike portraits or headshots, tabletop photography gives slightly more options to work with. You can shoot products, you can do macro, and you can also incorporate macro photography techniques into your wedding photography contracts. There are a plethora of things you can try with a tabletop photography set-up.
This discussion is not about tabletop photography, though, but rather about the best tabletop tripods that are available. If you are looking for the best tabletop tripod, you need to pay attention to a few aspects.
Maneuverability is important. Being lightweight is the secondary requirement. If your tripod isn’t small enough to be easily maneuvered, then it serves no purpose as a tabletop tripod. It has to be small enough to be easily moved anywhere you like on the table as well as repositioned as per the subject you are photographing. The Joby Gorillapod is an example of a tabletop tripod that is fully maneuverable.
Lightweight isn’t just a requirement. You would want to use a lightweight tripod for the simple reason your platform will probably not support a heavier system. Carbon fiber made table top tripods are the best. Aluminum will do as well. You don’t want something made of steel or anything with a lot of weight.
Reasonable built quality is expected. Tabletop tripods are not expected to go through a lot of abuse. But that said, a good built quality can never be undermined.
This depends on the camera gear you are likely going to use with the tripod. For most tabletop photography a 60 – 100mm macro lens is what you would be needing. This is regardless of the camera that you have. Together that should not go beyond 1.25 kilos. Small tabletop tripods should be able to support that weight.
Ability to Use a Ball Head
Ball heads enhance the capacity of tripods to flexibly and precisely adjust the position of your camera. With a ball head, you can aim your camera at any angle and lock it into position. The best tabletop tripods are usually the ones that have a ball head.
Top 5 Table Tripods in 2017
Joby’s Gorillapod is the first and the most logical choice and one that automatically comes to my mind when talking about best tabletop tripods. It is also one of the strongest candidates to win this discussion about the best tabletop tripods. The stand out feature of the Joby Gorillapod is its extreme maneuverability. If you want to make a career out of tabletop photography you’ve got to have one of these in your arsenal.
The Joby Gorillapod comes with flexible joints. They can turn and twist in any number of directions and that is where the advantage of these incredible tools are. They can be twisted and turned and then wrapped around a tree branch just as easily you can set them up on a table. Capable of bearing loads up to 3 kilos, the Joby Gorillapod comes with a matching ball head (BH1-01EN) complete with quick release plates for maximum flexibility.
- STAND STRONG. Get crisper shots with this durable, lightweight tripod. The rubberized foot grips and wrappable legs will secure professional cameras up to 6.6lbs. as they hold their stance to any viable surface
- CAPTURE SUPERIOR PERSPECTIVES. Look at life from a different point of view with the GorillaPod SLR Zoom Tripod and Ballhead Bundle. Easy maneuverability and precise positioning with 360 panning, to expand the range of shots you can capture
- GROUND DOWN. Get ultra-stable and find your grounding with over two dozen leg joints and German TPE joins, so you’ll never have a shaky shot. The GorillaPod SLR Zoom can fiercely secure equipment up to 6.6 lbs., making the impossible shot, possible
- SET UP WITH EASE. Take this lightweight SLR and mirrorless camera tripod anywhere. The quick release plate simply stays connected to your camera, so you can interchange with ease. Hold on tight with the 1/4”-20 standard tripod mount and 3/8” adapter
- MADE TO LAST. Made of durable Japanese medical-grade ABS plastic, stainless steel, and German TPE, it’s made for the wear and tear of everyday life, or the rigor of adventure. Pair it with your mirrorless camera or SLR to capture the worthy moments of life
The Manfrotto PIXI is a fantastic tripod for tabletop photography. Small tripods such as the PIXI are perfect when you need a way to stabilize your camera when doing tabletop photography. They occupy very little space and yet have a tremendous load-bearing capacity.
In the case of the PIXI, it can carry up to 2.2 lb. Enough for an entry-level DSLR with a kit lens.
The tripod is built out of stainless steel and adapto polymer. Plus, the integrated ball head of the tripod has a ¼” – 20 cameras screw. You activate and deactivate the lock with just a push of a button.
The design of the tripod legs is unique in the sense that they are rounded on the outer side. Plus, the presence of rubber feet ensures that they will not slip when in use.
- Lightweight and portable design
- Rapid push button lock system for head adjustment
- Solid construction
The Joby Gorillapod Focus is another serious contender to win the title of best tabletop tripods. Not all tabletop photography assignments are done using small tripods. For heavier full-frame DSLRs and heavier macro lenses, you need a heavier support system.
This is where the Joby Gorillapod Focus/Ballhead X bundle comes into the picture. Over two dozen flexible leg joints on the Joby Gorillapod Focus, all of which can pivot 360 ˚ gives practically unlimited options to set up your camera. The Joby Gorillapod Focus comes with a useful ball head.
Together the tripod and the ball head provides a very flexible platform to shoot from. Plus, it also has a universal mounting plate. Overall load bearing capacity of the Joby Gorillapod Focus is 5.3 kilos. That should be more than enough to mount a pro-grade DSLR and a heavy macro lens with ring type flashes and or radio triggers.
The loading capacity of the Oben TT-100 table top tripod is 2.7 kilos. It is ideal for medium-sized DSLRs together with lenses and accessories. Designed out of aluminum the Oben TT-100 is yet another robust tripod perfect for tabletop photography.
At 2.7 kilos the tripod is capable of easily supporting an entry level DSLR and lens. The tripod comes with an integrated ball head. A ball head allows your camera to be set-up in any number of ways as you please, point and compose with absolute freedom. This is something standard PT heads can never match. It has a standard ¼”-20 mounting screw.
- Load Capacity: 6 lb | Max Height: 4.2" | Min Height: 2"
- Folded Length: 7.5" | Leg Sections: 1
- Weight: 8 oz | Includes Mini Ball Head
- All Aluminum Construction | Standard 1/4"-20 Mounting Screw
- Limited 5-Year manufacture Warranty
The Sirui 3T-35K has a generous load bearing capacity and that is about 4 kilos. But that alone does not qualify it to be one of the best tabletop tripods you can buy.
You can easily pack this frame inside your camera bag ad carry with you for shooting landscapes, time-lapses and anything else you may fancy. The only thing that it would not be able to do is to take portrait shots from an eye level.
But then the Sirui 3T-35K is not suitable for such use. This is a tabletop tripod designed to assist you in making sharp images of products etc. from up close.
Designed from aluminum, the Sirui 3T-35K comes with an integrated built-in ball head (arca-type). To mount the camera you also have a quick release plate which is a whole lot easier to use than the traditional ¼”-20 mounting screw.
- Quick release 1/4" thread Safety-Pin
- 69mm height
- .18kg weight
- 4kg max weight
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Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 7 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.