Even before we start sifting through the top 4 or 5 suggestions for the best 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 are table tripods so essential for tabletop photography?
Preview: The 5 Best Tabletop Tripods
- Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible (Our Pick: Best Table Tripod)
- Manfrotto PIXI Mini Table Top Tripod (Runner Up & Great Price)
- Joby Gorillapod Focus/Ballhead X Bundle
- Oben TT-100 Table Top Tripod
- Sirui 3T-35K Table Top Tripod
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.
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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 second 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 tabletop 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, 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 2018
1. Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible
Joby’s Gorillapod is the first and the most logical choice and one that automatically comes to my mind when talking about the 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...
- CAPTURE SUPERIOR PERSPECTIVES. Look at life from a different point of view with the GorillaPod SLR Zoom Tripod and Ballhead...
- GROUND DOWN. Get ultra-stable and find your grounding with over two dozen leg joints and German TPE joins, so you’ll never...
- SET UP WITH EASE. Take this lightweight SLR and mirrorless camera tripod anywhere. The quick release plate simply stays...
- MADE TO LAST. Made of durable Japanese medical-grade ABS plastic, stainless steel, and German TPE, it’s made for the wear...
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2. Manfrotto PIXI Mini Table Top Tripod
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 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.
Related Post: Manfrotto Magnus VT-4000 (Best Tripod for Video)
The tripod is built out of stainless steel and adapted 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.
- Mini tripod for Compact System Cameras
- Comfortable handgrip to capture great videos
- Push button locking mechanism for easy setup
- Lightweight, intuitive to use and easy to carry
- Attractive Italian design
3. Joby Gorillapod Focus/Ballhead X Bundle
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. The 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.
4. Oben TT-100 Table Top Tripod
The loading capacity of the Oben TT-100 tabletop 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 screws.
- 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
5. Sirui 3T-35K Table Top Tripod
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 and carry it 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.
- Small table top or handheld tripod with ball head
- 10cm long feet that can be folded up or down by 180°
- Centre column can be extended by 8. 5cm or removed altogether
- Height: 27, 2cm - Weight: 0, 25kg - max. Load: 4kg
- SIRUI 3T-35 Table Top / Handheld Video Tripod red, SIRUI 3T-35 Ball Head red with TY-C10 Plate, short center column 10cm,...
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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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