The 8 Best Tripods to Buy in 2017 for DSLR Cameras

Find the right tripod for your photography needs

Serious about photography? Then it's essential to own a tripod, so you can be sure that you don't end up with blurry images from a shaky hand. Plus, some of the best images that have been captured by photographers are ones that are shot with the support and stability of a tripod. But how do you know which one is the best to buy for your camera? Whether you’re on a budget or looking for a high-end stand, we've found the best tripods that will help take your photography game to the next level.

Released in 2010, Vanguard’s Alta Pro 263AB 100 aluminum tripod kit offers an exceptional value and feature-set that still feels new years after its original release. Weighing just 5.38 pounds, the Alta Pro extends to a maximum height of 69.12 inches (with a folded height of 28.12 inches when fully compacted). With a large maximum height, stability is crucial, and the Alta Pro delivers in that department, offering outstanding stability and payload capacity up to 15.4 pounds. Additionally, its 26mm three-section aluminum alloy legs adjust to 25, 50, and 80-degree angles to ensure photos can be captured from a multitude of angles, including extremely low angle photography.

Vanguard claims the Alta Pro is the “most versatile tripod in the world” and they nail it with a hexagon-shaped central column that adjusts anywhere from 0 to 180 degrees. Additionally, the Alta Pro adds a slew of extras such as a quick-flip leg lock, non-slip spiked rubber feet and an instant swivel stop-and-lock (ISSL) system that allows quick repositioning of the central column with just one movement. It also has a magnesium die-cast canopy, an anti-shock ring, and even comes with a carrying case for added protection.

If you want the best of the best, the Gitzo GK1555T-82TQD tripod is worth a look. With a price tag just under $1,000, the Gitzo isn’t for the casual shooter, but its overall quality, stability and name-brand recognition all make for something really special. Weighing just 3.1 pounds, the Gitzo telescopes all the way to 58.5 inches at its maximum height and closes to just 14 inches when compacted. Offering a maximum payload of 22 pounds, the tripod is more than capable of handling a DSLR camera that has a long-range lens attached.

Wondering why there's such a high price tag? Beyond size and weight, the Gitzo is made of carbon fiber eXact tube legs. The legs themselves offer a new G-Lock technology to add space efficiency without having a taller tripod when folded in. A new curved, external form provides excellent grip at the bottom and reduces dust and grit from entering the locking mechanism. At the top of the tripod is the ball head and Gitzo did a fantastic job with a smooth and precise fit right between the folded legs. Additionally, the Gitzo has an 180-degree leg folding mechanism that makes it quick and painless to fold up the tripod and move to the next photography spot.

The BONFOTO B671A aluminum tripod offers an outstanding value and comes with many features you’re likely to find on far more expensive options. Weighing 2.9 pounds, the payload capacity of the BONFOTO is 17.6 pounds, which is excellent for the budget-friendly price tag. Capable of extending to a maximum height of 55 inches and a compact folded height of 15 inches, the BONFOTO is perfectly sized for both travels, as well as landscape and portrait capturing.

Featuring a ball head, the BONFOTO offers three lock knobs as well as 360-degree panoramic panning for full field view. If you’re interested in changing things up, the tripod offers something a little different by easily converting to a monopod with the removal of one leg. That may be useful in a variety of different positions or locations the tripod can’t access or stabilize with all three legs. Additionally, there are dual bubble levels for steady positioning, as well as four-section legs that lock in with a twist knob for additional stability. A padded carrying case is also included for protection.

Released in 2010, Joby’s GorillaPod is a name that needs no introduction, as it known for being an exceptionally portable and lightweight tripod. Standing just 14.69 inches high and weighing 1.68 pounds, the GorillaPod focus is an outstanding option for photographers looking for a unique kind of a tripod that excels at indoor shooting on a tabletop or desk. Whether you’re looking to capture that perfect photo for Facebook or recording your newest YouTube clip, the GorillaPod will help do the trick. Sporting rubberized foot grips, Joby’s well-known wrappable legs, and a stainless-steel plate ensure stability for DSLRs with a long lens.

The addition of a ball head bundle offers precise positioning with 360-degree panning and a 90-degree tilt for capturing exceptional portrait or landscape shots. Changing lenses is a breeze, thanks to the Arca-Swiss plate that keeps the camera connected and stable. To connect a camera to the Joby GorillaPod, you'll need a DSLR supports a ¼”- 30 standard tripod mount or a 3/8” adapter.

Vanguard’s VEO 204AB aluminum travel tripod with a ball head is an exceptional choice for photographers looking for something compact and easy to unfold. With a rapid column rotation for easy transportation and setup, the VEO offers excellent results without spending a fortune. The high-loading performance offers a maximum payload of 8.8 pounds, which is generally more than enough for most standard DSLR shooters.

When it comes to stability, the multi-action TBH-45 ball head offers a bubble level and quick release plate to maximize steadiness before a shot. The 20mm aluminum alloy legs offer three different leg angle options and extend to a full height of 53.1 inches, and when folded, the VEO compacts to a travel-friendly 15.6 inches.

The bigger brother to the Vanguard VEO 204AB, the 265AB brings everything that makes its smaller sibling so great for travel and also offers additional stability. The high-loading performance boosts the maximum payload to a terrific 17.6 pounds, which helps take the 265AB out of consumer DSLR territory and into the professional photographer space. Weighing 3.7 pounds, the 265AB offers a maximum height of 59.1 inches and a height of 15.4 inches when compacted. The 26mm five-section aluminum alloy legs offer three separate angle positions that can convert from rubber or spiked feet depending on the surface you’re capturing on.

When it comes to true stability, the multi-action TBH-50 ball head offers a large and ergonomically friendly main locking knob, a bubble level for determining how stable the tripod is on the surface and an Arca-Swiss quick release plate. Additionally, there’s a low-angle photography option with the included low-angle adapter. The 265AB also adds a soft rubber handle that’s designed to stand up to the elements with an unbeatable grip in any weather. And to ensure maximum protection, Vanguard also includes a carrying case for transporting the tripod while on-the-go.

Whether you’re a longtime professional photographer or just entering the business, Manfrotto is a name that needs no introduction. The MKBFRA4-BH BeFree compact aluminum travel tripod was released in 2013 but still excels with its light and compact design that offers exceptional value. Designed to support a payload of 8.8 pounds, the BeFree weighs 3.1 pounds on its own and offers a maximum height of 56.7 inches. When compacted, the BeFree is just 15.8 inches tall, so it's easy to store in luggage or a backpack.

While its design may be engineered for a lightweight feel, the BeFree doesn’t sacrifice sturdiness or image quality. An aluminum ball head is solid and quick to operate, so a photographer can quickly align the camera for a shot. A patented leg angle allows the BeFree the option of two separate leg positions, each offering versatility for camera positioning. Manfrotto also includes its own padded carrying case to protect and store the BeFree from any accidental damage while not in use.

Released in 2013, MeFoto’s carbon fiber globetrotter travel tripod/monopod is an outstanding choice for professional and budding professional photographers looking for an option that has all the bells and whistles. Weighing just 4.2 pounds, the GlobeTrotter converts into a 64.2-inch tripod and monopod that can then adjust and fold back to a more travel-friendly size of 16.1 inches. Offering two separate leg angle positions, the GlobeTrotter supports five extendable leg sections to hit the maximum 64.2-inch height that offers support for a payload of 26.4 pounds.

The GlobeTrotter also features twist lock legs that work with an anti-rotation system to allow for fast repositioning. The GlobeTrotter legs can also be locked at separate angles to enable shooting on irregular or uneven ground. The balance plate itself is a precision-matched Q series ball head with Arca-swiss compatibility and bubble level to prevent uneven pans and camera head movement. The tripod also has a recessed spring-loaded center column hook that allows for the hanging of additional weight for even more stability. Not to mention, the GlobeTrotter can be converted into a monopod by screwing together the removable separate column and a tripod leg.

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