Last updated: August 10, 2021

Our method

4Products analysed

45Hours spent

13Evaluated articles

215User reviews

Camera tripods are an optimal addition to camera accessories. They serve to improve the quality of photos and make handling easier by carrying the camera weight. This works by attaching the camera to the tripod head, which is connected to the tripod legs. Tripods can be positioned anywhere to take photos from different angles.

With our big camera tripod test 2021 we want to show you the most popular camera tripods and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. For this purpose, we distinguish camera tripods into monopods, tripods and table / mini tripods. Each of these has a different functional range, which we will discuss in more detail. With the help of this article, we would like to inform you optimally and make your purchase decision easier.




The most important facts

  • Camera tripods can be used by beginners and professional photographers, especially to enable sharp imaging under difficult lighting conditions.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between the monopod, the tripod and the table / mini tripod. Depending on the area of use, the use of one of the alternatives should be preferred.
  • The monopod is particularly suitable for all those who are looking for a light and flexible tripod that can still carry the camera load. Tripods are usually heavier, but offer significantly more stability. The
    Table / mini tripod, on the other hand, is particularly small and handy, but limited in its range of use.

The Best Camera Tripod: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for camera tripods

To make your purchase decision easier, we will show you the most important criteria you should consider when buying a camera tripod in the next paragraphs.

The criteria for comparing camera tripods include:

In the following, we will go into detail on the individual criteria.

Range of use

The most important aspect when buying a camera tripod is the field of application. Depending on this, you can decide which other criteria are particularly relevant.

If it is a tripod that is to be taken along on trips, the size and the weight play a special role. If, however, particularly heavy photographic equipment is to be used for photography, this aspect must be taken into account in the decision.

Size

In addition to the area of use, the size of the tripod is also a decisive feature. Here, a distinction must be made between the height setting and the packing size.

The height setting plays a decisive role in active photography, as it determines the height range from which photos can be taken.

Depending on the type of photography, the tripod should be higher than eye level or, as in landscape photography, it is sufficient if the tripod has a lower height.

The packing size, on the other hand, shows how much space the tripod takes up when folded. This plays a role in transport, because the smaller the packing size, the smaller the tripod can be folded. However, a small packing size often means that the legs and the tripod head are kept as thin as possible, which results in a lack of stability.

Weight

As great as the usefulness of a tripod may be, the bigger and heavier it is, the more your own pleasure with it will be dampened. Therefore, it is essential to think about how often you will take it with you on trips or holidays before you buy it, and to take this into account when making your decision.

If you know in advance that you will be taking the tripod with you on your travels, you should make sure that the tripod weighs no more than 1.5 kilograms. Generally speaking, the heavier a tripod, the more unwieldy it is.

On the other hand, heavy tripods are said to be much more stable and resistant. However, this can only be affirmed to a moderate extent and may be true in the cheaper price segment, but when it comes to high-quality models, this must be contradicted, as these can still have a high level of stability despite their low weight.

Load capacity

Another important aspect when buying a tripod is its load-bearing capacity. On the one hand, this means the weight that it can actually carry, on the other hand, the weight at which it begins to tilt also plays a role.

For most tripods, the weight of camera equipment is not a problem.

The former must be specified by the manufacturer. The latter, however, is not, so you should always make sure that there is enough leeway up to the maximum weight.

If a tripod starts to tilt, this will result in the camera no longer resting perfectly horizontally, but slipping into an incline. The consequence of this would be that the image section would possibly change unnoticed.

If the load on the camera tripod is too high, it may also be damaged.

Material

Camera tripods are usually made of aluminium. In special cases, carbon and wood are also used.

  • Aluminium: This is used especially for beginner and mid-range tripods. The advantage of this is that it offers a very good price-performance ratio. Compared to the two alternatives, however, aluminium tripods are considerably heavier. In the meantime, however, there are also lightweight versions.
  • Carbon: Carbon tripods are mainly used by professionals and photographers who travel a lot. The reason for this is that they are generally 20-30% lighter than the comparable aluminium alternatives. Another advantage is that they conduct heat and cold less easily, which can be an advantage in winter. They are also very low-vibration. The disadvantage here, however, is that the advantages are clearly noticeable in the price.
  • Wood: Very rarely are tripods made of wood. These would basically be very low-vibration, but are usually very heavy and expensive.

Tripod head

The task of the actual tripod is to provide a stable stand so that no shots are jolted, but the tripod head is important to allow the camera to move freely.

Depending on the use of the tripod, a different tripod head may be recommended.

Within the tripod heads, a distinction can be made between various types such as the ball head, the panorama head and the geared head. The ball head is the most common type and allows the camera setting to be changed and adjusted quickly.

The panorama head is the best variant for taking panoramic pictures without much effort. The geared head restricts the freedom of movement, but it enables precise adjustment.

Decision: What types of camera tripods are there and which one is right for you?

If you are interested in buying a tripod, there are three options to choose from:

type advantages disadvantages
monopod light, high flexibility not usable on uneven ground, must be supported
tripod stable and stand alone, usable on uneven ground higher weight, less flexible
tabletop / mini tripod very light and small, handy low height adjustment possible, low carrying capacity

To give you a better picture, we will introduce them to you in more detail in the next paragraphs.

Monopod

Monopod

A monopod is characterised by the presence of only one leg. In technical jargon, one speaks of an arm instead of a leg in this case.

Because of their construction, monopods are generally lighter than comparable alternatives. This is one reason why they are very popular with people who travel a lot. They also allow for quicker assembly and disassembly and increase flexibility during photography. A monopod is particularly popular for very heavy cameras, as it carries the load of the camera equipment.

Advantages
  • light
  • quick set-up
  • high flexibility
  • carries camera load
Disadvantages
  • not usable on uneven ground
  • must be supported
  • limited photography only possible

The prerequisite for using a monopod is that the ground is level. It also needs a person to hold the tripod, as it cannot stand on its own. For lack of a firm stand of one’s own, pictures with a long exposure time such as night photography cannot be taken with a monopod.

Because of its advantages, the monopod is also popular in sports photography. Here, people take advantage of the flexibility, the load-bearing capacity and the simple set-up.

Tripod

Tripod

The tripod has three tripod legs. These are usually adjustable in height and can thus be optimally adapted to the needs.

Thanks to the three legs, the tripod has a very stable stand. Therefore, it can be used on uneven ground without any problems. It also does not need a person to hold it and can therefore be used for long exposures without any problems. Thus, the tripod not only allows you to carry the weight, but also to stand on its own.

Advantages
  • stable and sole stand
  • can be used on uneven ground
  • carries the camera load
Disadvantages
  • heavier weight
  • less flexible
  • takes longer to set up and take down

The disadvantages of the tripod are the advantages of the monopod. The tripod has a much higher weight due to the three legs, which is especially noticeable when travelling or walking long distances. It is also more difficult to change the camera position as desired with a tripod. Especially the assembly and disassembly takes much longer than with a monopod, because not only do you have to extend more feet, but you also have to make sure that they are at the same height.

Table -/ mini tripod

Table / mini tripod

The particularly small variant of the tripods is called table / mini tripod. In contrast to the other two, the legs of the tripod are not long enough to be placed on the floor.

This type of tripod is used especially when travelling or indoors. The prerequisite for its use is the presence of an elevated object such as a table or rock on which it can be supported. If a suitable object is available, then it is also possible to take razor-sharp pictures with this small tripod, even in difficult lighting conditions such as twilight.

Advantages
  • very light and small
  • handy
  • high-quality pictures possible
Disadvantages
  • low height adjustment possible
  • low carrying capacity

The tabletop / mini tripod stands out because of its small size and low weight. However, the load-bearing capacity often has to be compromised, as many tripods only have very thin tripod legs. It is therefore worth taking a look at the maximum weight before buying.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about camera tripods answered in detail

In the next few paragraphs, we will address frequently asked questions regarding the purchase of a camera tripod. After this section, you should have no more unanswered questions. Our guide should help you find the best camera tripod for your needs.

Who is a camera tripod suitable for?

In principle, a camera tripod is suitable for everyone who likes to take pictures. Next to the camera, it is usually one of the first additions to the photo equipment.

Especially for people who like to take pictures in nature, a camera tripod is an important tool, because in rooms it is often not too difficult to find a place where the camera can be supported.

Kamera Stativ-1

In nature, the use of tripods is particularly important, as they help to keep the camera steady even without a suitable place to support it. (Image source: Luis Quintero / Unsplash)

Moreover, the heavier your photographic equipment is, the more interesting it is to buy a tripod. The reason is that the tripod holds a large part to all of the weight during active photography and the photographer thus has to carry significantly less load.

What does a camera tripod cost?

The price of camera tripods can vary greatly between models. Between the price of tripods for beginners and the higher price segment, there are usually several hundred euros.

Type price range
Monopod approx. 15-200 €
Tripod approx. 20-300 €
Table / mini tripod approx. 15-40 €

Depending on the frequency of use and the quality requirements, it may be enough to buy an inexpensive alternative. However, you must bear in mind that these usually do not have a high load-bearing capacity and are very delicate. This can lead to them quickly breaking and having to be replaced.

What are the alternatives to a camera tripod?

To save you from buying a tripod, at least at the beginning, we have picked out some alternatives.

Alternative Description
Support Here you look for surrounding objects on which you can support the camera. Possibilities are a wall, railings or even a table.
Leaning You can also create more stability by leaning on surrounding objects. Often a tree is used. Other examples would be a house wall or a lantern.
Bean bag This can be bought or homemade. By placing the camera on it, the beans are compressed, which leads to much more stability.

The advantage of the first two variants is that you don't have to carry another object. The disadvantage is that you have to make do with the items available on site.

Kamera Stativ-2

Flat and other suitable objects can be used as supports instead of a camera tripod. (Image source: Patrick Hendry / Unsplash)

The bean bag variant represents a middle ground. However, if you take a lot of photos, buying a tripod will be unavoidable.

Are there tripods for mobile phones?

There are a number of suitable tripods for taking photos with mobile phones. Depending on whether you only want to take pictures with your mobile phone or also with a camera, it is advisable to buy a special mobile phone tripod or a tripod with a mobile phone attachment.

The advantage of a tripod designed for mobile phones is the thinner legs and the associated lower weight. As mobile phones are lighter than cameras, the legs of the tripod do not need to be designed for such a high load.

If you take photos with a camera as well as a mobile phone, it is worth buying a suitable mobile phone attachment. In this case, this tripod would then be compatible for both devices and it is sufficient to buy one tripod.

If you are not sure whether you really want to buy an adapter for a mobile phone or a mobile phone tripod, we have prepared a video for you on how to build an adapter yourself. This way you can try out whether the purchase would be worthwhile for you before actually buying it.

What accessories do I need for a camera tripod?

In order to achieve the optimal result with a camera tripod, you can consider buying accessories for your tripod.

The most common accessories include:

  • Quick-release plates: By attaching these to the underside of the camera, it is possible for the photographer to detach the camera from the tripod and attach it again within seconds. When using several cameras, it is worth mounting a plate on each one.
  • L-rail: This makes it possible to move the camera from portrait format to landscape format within a short time.
  • Macro slide: This allows the distance between the camera and the object to be changed without moving the tripod. In most cases, this allows the camera to be moved further forwards or backwards, but with special models the movement is also possible sideways.
  • Tripod bag: A suitable bag provides optimal protection for the tripod. Often these are included in the scope of delivery, because depending on the size of the tripod, a suitable tripod case should be used.

Kamera Stativ-3

When using a macro slide, you don't have to move the entire tripod for small changes in distance, but you can move the position of the camera along the slide.
(Image source: Vanilla Bear Films / Unsplash)

How do I attach a camera to a camera tripod?

Usually, when you buy a camera or a tripod, it comes with instructions on how to attach it.

Image source: lightfieldstudios/ 123rf.com

Why you can trust me?

Reviews