As a budding photographer, it’s understandable to focus on cameras and lenses. However, another essential part of any photographer’s kit is a tripod.
When you begin using your DSLR, you’ll realize that sometimes your hands are just not stable enough, especially when you’re trying to take longer exposures at night. This is where a tripod will come in and help you get those perfect shots.
Yet as a beginner photographer, it’s understandable that buying anything can be a daunting process. With the plethora of tripod options out there, you’re bound to get confused. However, there’s no need to worry. This article will cover the very best entry-level tripods you can buy in 2020!
1. Slik U212 Deluxe (Overall Winner)
The Slik U212 is currently the best entry-level tripod you can get on the market. It has a very decent build quality and is lightweight, so it’s effortless to carry around. These are the two essential features that should be a part of any tripod, and the U212 certainly checks these boxes. It has a maximum load capacity of 5.5lbs while its weight is 5.6lbs.
The tripod has a maximum operating height of 64 inches, while the minimum height of 8.3 inches is very low. Thus, you get a comprehensive range with which you can work. When you’re done with using the tripod, it tucks in away at 26 inches.
One of the best features of this tripod is its legs. They’re divided into three sections, with each having its own lock. The separate locking mechanisms allow photographers to maneuver around uneven heights easily. At the bottom of the legs, you’ll notice that the tripod has retractable legs. These give you much more traction when you’re placing the U212 on uneven surfaces.
On top of the legs, you get a 3-way pan/tilt head that’s very easy to maneuver. You can lock this in according to whatever angle you want for the photograph. Additionally, you also get a panoramic guide with the head. The diverse mix of quality fixtures is what earns the Slik U212 the top spot on this list.
It’s been 10 years since the Vanguard Alta Pro first came out. In spite of the age of the tripod, it has features that still hold up in modern times. It weighs in at a very light 5.38 pounds and can take a maximum weight of 15.4 pounds. The tripod offers you an immense amount of stability while being able to extend to a max height of 69.12 inches.
The legs on the tripod also come in three sections, with each coming with a separate lock. Photographers can also adjust the angles of the legs to 25, 50, and 80 degrees. Thus, allowing them to take pictures from a lot of different angles.
It also has a brilliant central head that is adjustable anywhere between 0-180 degrees. Despite it being around for nearly 10 years, the Vanguard Alta Pro is still one of the best tripods on the market.
Manfrotto is a huge name in the photography industry. Their best entry-level tripod is the 290 Xtra. It’s a tripod made entirely out of aluminum and features a 3-way pan/tilt head.
The tripod extends to a maximum working height of 67.5 inches, while the minimum working height is 16.5 inches. This is a very decent amount of range that you can use. When you’re not using the tripod, it folds down to 27.8 inches. Additionally, it only weighs 5.6 lbs, which makes it very easy to carry.
You can load up the tripod to a maximum weight of 8.8lbs. Even when you extend the tripod to full height, you’ll get excellent stability. Additionally, each leg on the tripod comes with three section locks. The legs are adjustable to five different angles. This gives photographers an incredibly diverse set of heights and angles to work with. It also makes placing the tripod on uneven surfaces much easier.
If you want to go with one of the more prominent brands in the industry, then opt for this Manfrotto tripod. It’s ultra-durable and offers incredibly reliable performance.
The Rangers Ultra Compact Tripod is starting to gain a lot of attention in the photography world. According to the company, it’s the “ideal DSLR tripod for travel and work.” When it comes to weight, it weighs in at an incredibly light 2.9lbs. It’s virtually weightless and can fold down to a very compact 14 inches.
The tripod extends up to a maximum height of 56 inches and a minimum height of 7.87 inches. Rangers, however, also includes another exciting feature. You can essentially invert the central pole to take macro shots from very interesting angles.
It has the traditional three-leg design, but it breaks up into four different sections. It gives you greater control over height and angle on uneven surfaces. On top of the legs, the central head features a 360-degree movement. It also allows you to lock in at any angle reasonably easily. The tripod has a maximum capacity of 26.5 lbs, but you may need to use a counterweight for some extra stability.
Given the number of features it has, the tripod does sound ideal for work. However, the lightweight may present stability issues with certain heavier cameras. Yet, if you’re looking for a decent travel tripod, this is a great option.
5. JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom (Budget Winner)
This is one of the most easily recognizable tripods in the world. The Joby GorillaPod needs no introduction, and it’s a genuinely innovative product. Let’s talk about the legs first. These are brilliant. They feature 10 moveable joints on every single leg that you can twist and bend at will.
What this allows you to do is to stick your tripod around places that traditional tripods can’t reach. It gives you a lot of creative freedom and is fun to use as well. On top of the legs, you get a quick slide on the head. This is very easy to use and allows you to lock your camera in place effortlessly. The head also offers 360-degree movement and locking. You can load up the tripod with a maximum weight of 6.6lbs.
If you want something that’ll force you to be creative and is easy to carry around, then the GorrilaPod is a very decent buy.
The VEO 2 is another brilliant entry-level tripod from Vanguard. It features a carbon-fiber body and a VEO 2 BH-50 ball head. The tripod weighs in at a very light 2.63lbs, while it can support a maximum weight of a 13.2lbs.
Its five-section legs allow it to give incredible stability, even in full extension. The tripod’s max operational height is 57.1 inches, and the minimum is 15.9 inches. Additionally, photographers can also lock in the legs at three different angles.
Typically, you don’t find carbon fiber material entry-level tripods, which make the VEO 2 an exciting option.
This tripod from Miliboo is an excellent entry-level tripod. It has a 360-degree rotating capability that allows for panoramic shooting, which allows budding photographers to be more creative when taking pictures. The aluminum body of the product also makes it stable and durable, so you don’t have to worry about damaging it when you take it with you.
The tripod has a double tandem leg design. This provides additional stability and guarantee of vibration reduction. So, if blurry pictures are something you deal with, this is the tripod for you! It can also carry an impressive maximum weight of 10kg, so it’ll support pretty much all entry-level cameras and lenses.
Bottom Line on Entry-Level Tripods
These are some of the best entry-level tripods you can buy in 2020. Go through our list and find whichever own suits you best. Your journey into photography is just getting started and your tripod will be a trusty companion!