The 6 Best Tripods for DSLR Cameras in 2021

Find the Right Tripod for Your Photography Needs

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The Rundown
"An exceptional value and feature-set that still feels new years after its original release."
"A light and compact design that offers exceptional value."
"Helping you get shots from even the toughest angles while reducing wobble."
"Has wide device compatibility and is inexpensive enough that you can take it on your travels without worry."
"An outstanding choice for professional photographers looking for an option that has all the bells and whistles."
"Tilting between -90 and +40 degrees, there’s rarely a shot the Gitzo won’t help capture."

The best tripods for DSLR cameras are steady and portable. Capture amazing quality photos and videos anywhere with a tripod. Tripods should be able to secure your device and be versatile to shoot at any range of angles. Make sure that your DSLR is compatible with your tripod for the best user experience. If you are in the market for a new DSLR camera, please purchase that first. A great tripod should be size adjustable too to help you achieve the perfect angle.

Our top pick, Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 at Amazon, has been on the market for 10 years. This trustworthy model will keep your camera safe and extends to a maximum height of 69.12 inches allowing you to shoot at a high angle. This tripod can hold up to 15.4 pounds too to support your camera. The best tripods can support your camera's weight, even when fully extended.

Best Overall: Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Tripod

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100

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.

Best Lightweight: Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod

Whether you’re a longtime professional photographer or just entering the business, Manfrotto is a name that needs no introduction. The Befree Advanced Travel Tripod has a light and compact design that offers exceptional value. Designed to support a payload of up to 17 pounds, this tripod weighs a little over four pounds on its own and offers a maximum height of 59.1 inches. When compacted, the BeFree is just 17.7 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. The aluminum ball head is solid and quick to operate, so a photographer can quickly align the camera for a shot. A "leg angle selector" allows you to choose between two separate leg positions whether you're right- or left-handed.

Best Design: Patekfly Flexible Tripod

As a photographer, it’s all about getting the best angles to achieve the perfect shot. The Patekfly Flexible Tripod is designed to bend and flex around all kinds of surfaces to help you get shots from even the toughest angles while reducing wobble. Attach it to a lamppost, a chair, or even a tree branch to get a secure and stable spot no matter where you are. Ideal for everything from nature photography to family gatherings, this sturdy tripod is made from high-quality aluminum and silicone, which gives it good grip and makes it easy to clean. Use this tripod with any SLR camera, including those made by Nikon, Sony or Canon, motion cameras such as the GoPro Hero 5/4/3 or even your Android or Apple phone.

Best for Portability: AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod

If you need a tripod to take on the go, this lightweight model from AmazonBasics is a great choice. It has wide device compatibility and is inexpensive enough that you can take it on your travels without worry. It even has a built-in handle and comes with its own carrying case for easy transport.

The AmazonBasics 60-inch tripod weighs just three pounds and extends from 25 inches to a full 60 inches at its maximum. It's compatible with most devices — from DLSR to video cameras and GoPros alike — and can hold up to 6.6 pounds. Generally speaking, it's a solid, basic tripod: it has two different bubble levels so you get a straight shot in both landscape and portrait orientation, and adjustable legs with rubber feet so you can stay level on uneven surfaces.

Best Features: MeFOTO GlobeTrotter


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.

Best Splurge: Gitzo GK3532-82QD Series 3 Tripod

If you’re looking for the best tripod that can stand up to heavy use, the Gitzo GK3532-82QD is the right choice. Weighing only five pounds, it’s standard three section build is easy to transport. Fortunately, portability doesn’t sacrifice build quality as the Gitzo is highly durable. With Carbon eXact tubing, modulus carbon fiber legs and larger leg diameters, it’s stable on flat or uneven ground.

A maximum height of 68.9 inches and a minimum height of 7.09 inches also make it a highly flexible option. Leg angles can be transitioned from 24-, 55- and 82-degree positioning. Locking each leg into place is easy via G-lock Ultra twist-locks.

The ball head rests on a 2.36-inch DSLR camera base. Independent friction and panning controls make it easy to maneuver and change positions. Tilting between -90 and +40 degrees, there’s rarely a shot the Gitzo won’t help capture. A quick-release adapter assists with popping off the camera for moving to a new position. 

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 133 hours testing five of the most popular DSLR tripods. They used them in different settings with various cameras to find out what the strengths and flaws really were. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these tripods, from their price to their durability. We've outlined the most important points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a DSLR Tripod

Portability - DSLR cameras are already a bit bulky compared to their point-and-shoot brethren, so if you’re a photographer who’s constantly on the go, you’ll want a tripod whose legs collapse as compactly as possible. Also look for a tripod that isn’t too heavy; you should be able to find a quality one under 5 pounds.

Budget - No matter if you’re a hobbyist or a professional, you shouldn’t need to spend a lot on a tripod. There are plenty of choices available that you can buy for around $150 and still retain some fancy features. If you want to splurge, though, you can spend up to $1,000, which gets you extremely light but high-quality legs that fold down to about a quarter of their length.

Durability - The long, telescoping legs of a tripod can break if you’re not careful, so if you’re out shooting in the wilderness, you’ll likely need something very durable. Tripods come in an array of materials, but carbon fiber or aluminum are the most reliable.


Will any tripod work with my camera?

Because most camera mounts are standardized, almost any camera will work with any tripod. Virtually all tripods sold today have a 1/4-inch threaded mount, which pairs with a 1/4-inch port on the vast majority of cameras, allowing you to easily attach and detach your DSLR.

When do I need a tripod?

Tripods are great for stabilizing a shot in a number of circumstances, and a lot more convenient than some DIY solutions. Anytime your hands are a little unsteady (maybe after that third cup of coffee) and a faster shutter speed isn't enough to accommodate for it, or if you want a big depth of field but a lower ISO (and thus need a long shutter speed), a tripod is a necessity. They're also a prereq for any long exposure shots you're taking, and very handy for posed shots where you need to frequently move been the camera and the subject.

What size/height should my tripod be?

A good rule of thumb is to buy a tripod that can be elevated to your eye level, eliminating the need for you to bend down to peer through your viewfinder. This can not only save your back, it gives you a clearer look at your subject and a better idea of what the final photo will look like. This is especially important any time you expect to be waiting/looking frequently through the viewfinder, like if you're waiting for a subject to appear or anticipating some specific action.

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