The 6 Best Tripods for DSLR Cameras in 2021

Find the Right Tripod for Your Photography Needs

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The Rundown
"If you’re looking for a strong, reliable tripod, especially for studio shooting, the Alta Pro 263AB 100 has plenty to offer."
"This light, durable tripod weighs under 5 pounds but can support a weight of up to 17 pounds."
"This small, tabletop tripod has three flexible silicone legs that you can bend, flex, or wrap around just about any surface."
"At only 3 pounds in weight, it’s easy to carry around all day, and a carrying case is included."
"The GlobeTrotter is created with users in mind, offering a quick setup and a sturdy frame that will securely hold your camera."
"With smooth controls and tilting between -90 and +40 degrees, there are few shots that can’t be perfectly positioned."

If you love photography, you know how amazing DSLR cameras are. But sometimes, just having a camera isn’t enough—you also need a tripod to capture the perfect shot. If you’re shooting in low light or capturing long exposures, a tripod is essential for keeping your camera stable and preventing blur.

All photographers can improve their craft with a tripod, so if you’re in the market, here are the best tripods for DSLR cameras from brands such as Manfrotto, Vanguard, and AmazonBasics. When shopping for a tripod, you want to consider its weight, especially for travel photography, but also look for one that’s durable, well-built, easy to assemble and disassemble, and has some flexibility, letting you position it to get the perfect shot.

Best Overall: Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Tripod

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100
What We Like
  • Great value for money

  • Impressive build quality

  • Versatility to adjust the tripod just as you want it

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky design makes it hard to carry

  • Carrying case could use some design improvements

Vanguard’s Alta Pro 263AB 100 aluminum tripod kit offers amazing value that's sure to appeal to beginner and experienced photographers. If you’re always struggling to capture the perfect shot, the flexibility that comes with the Alta Pro might change the way you shoot. Its 26-millimeter three-section aluminum alloy legs adjust to 25, 50, and 80-degree angles, and the central column can adjust from 0 to 180 degrees, useful for macro photography and wide-angle shots

It extends to a maximum height of 69.12 inches, or a folded height of 28.12 inches. Weight is no issue either, as this stable, durable tripod can support up to 15.4 pounds. It’s not overly heavy, at 5.38 pounds, but its bulk means that you may not want to carry it around all day when shooting on location. 

Non-slip, spiked rubber feet are useful for keeping the tripod in place. It's packed with other useful features too, including a quick-flip leg lock, an instant swivel stop-and-lock (ISSL) system that allows for quick repositioning of the central column, and a removable hook for hanging camera accessories. A carrying case is also included. If you’re looking for a strong, reliable tripod, especially for studio shooting, the Alta Pro 263AB 100 has plenty to offer.

Best Lightweight: Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod

What We Like
  • Super lightweight aluminum design

  • Easy set up is great for travel

  • Stable and durable

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Not all users like the twist lock design

Manfrotto is one of the best-known brands in the photography accessory space, and the Befree Advanced Travel Tripod lives up to the brand's reputation. This light, durable tripod weighs under 5 pounds but can support a weight of up to 17 pounds, stabilizing even your heaviest camera gear. The Befree Advanced Travel, as its name states, is an easy travel companion, thanks to its weight and compact size when folded. It locks securely in place, giving you the freedom to capture precise shots without worrying about blur.   

The aluminum design folds into its compact carrying case, making it easier to carry as you travel. When it’s time to set up your shot, use the twist locks to easily adjust and secure the height and angles of the carbon fiber legs. The sturdy ball head is quick to operate so a photographer can quickly align the camera for a shot, and the included plate is compatible with Manfrotto and Arca-Swiss, the most common standard head attachments. Yes, it’s on the more expensive end of the scale, but many photographers are happy to pay for the quality and reliability that comes with Manfrotto products.

This tripod is worth the expense, as pro photographers love the smooth setup and durability of the Befree Advanced.” — Katie Dundas, Product Tester

Best Design: Patekfly Flexible Tripod

What We Like
  • Flexible legs can be bent or wrapped to give you the perfect shot

  • Soft, durable silicone legs are built to last

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • At 12 inches, it won't replace your traditional tripod

  • Won't support very heavy cameras

We love the Patekfly Flexible Tripod's creative design. This small, tabletop tripod has three flexible silicone legs that you can bend, flex, or wrap around just about any surface to get your camera into the perfect angle. Attach the tripod to anything from a fence, tree branch, or chair, and you'll still get a stable and secure shot.

Use it with your camera’s self-timer for epic selfies, capture unique angles when shooting outdoors, or set up some beautiful landscape shots—it’s up to you. You can also adjust the 360-degree ball head to position your camera perfectly. 

You can use the Patekfly with your mirrorless, GoPro, DSLR, or even your smartphone, but don’t go overboard on the weight—it’s not designed to hold over 28 ounces. It’s affordable as well, plus its small size means it can easily fit in your backpack while hiking or traveling. It’s only 12 inches in height, meaning it can’t do everything that a traditional tripod can do. However, this fun accessory might be just what you’re looking for if you crave the flexibility to shoot from anywhere.

Best for Portability: AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod

What We Like
  • At only 3 pounds, it couldn't be much lighter

  • Fantastic price

  • Adjustable legs make it easy to vary your height

What We Don't Like
  • Build design isn't as sturdy as other tripods

  • The plate that holds the camera is plastic

If you need a cheap and cheerful tripod to take with you, the lightweight AmazonBasics 60-Inch could be just right. The AmazonBasics line of products is known for its useful products at low prices, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affordable tripod. At only 3 pounds in weight, it’s easy to carry around all day, a carrying case is included, and it can support up to 6.6 pounds. That should be enough to cover most DLSRs and mirrorless cameras, but heavy telephoto lenses might be too much for its capabilities. 

The legs are easy to adjust and can take the tripod from 25 inches all the way up to 60 inches, giving you plenty of versatility, with rubber feet to grip uneven surfaces. It also offers two different bubble levels so you get a straight shot in both landscape and portrait orientation. It’s a basic but solid tripod that puts function over form. 

Some photographers will be delighted with the AmazonBasics model, but if you’re used to a more premium tripod, it might not meet your needs. However, at such a great price, it’s worth a try.

The AmazonBasics is a fantastic choice for newer photographers, as you can practice shooting from a tripod without having to spend much at all.” — Katie Dundas, Product Tester

Best Features: MeFOTO GlobeTrotter Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Kit

GlobeTrotter
What We Like
  • Sleek carbon fiber design will last for years to come

  • Can support up to 26.4 pounds of gear

  • Easy to maneuver and position

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Locking mechanisms aren't completely weather-sealed

Need a tripod packed with useful features? There’s plenty to like about the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter, a premium carbon fiber tripod available in five color patterns. It’s a lightweight 3.7 pounds, but it can convert into a 64.2-inch tripod and monopod. When you’re done, it neatly folds back to a more travel-friendly size of 16.1 inches, with a carrying case included—small enough to fit in your backpack or carry on. It can support up to 26.4 in weight, ideal for professional cameras and heavy lenses

The GlobeTrotter is created with users in mind, offering a quick setup and a sturdy frame that will hold your camera securely in place. It uses twist lock legs that work with an anti-rotation system to allow for fast repositioning, with rubber grips to hold the legs in place. 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.

It also supports 360-degree panning, ideal for shooting video or taking panoramic landscapes. While the GlobeTrotter is a serious investment, both amateurs and pros will appreciate all it can do—plus, it’s strong enough to keep your valuable camera equipment safe and locked in position.

Best Splurge: Gitzo GK3532-82QD Series 3 Tripod

What We Like
  • Precise engineering guarantees a steady shot

  • Load capacity of 46.3 pounds

  • Flexibility for lots of shooting options

What We Don't Like
  • Price puts it out of reach for many photographers

  • Ball head isn't a quick release

Professional photographers looking for a serious tripod that can handle their equipment could benefit from the Gitzo GK3532-82QD. The Gitzo itself weighs only 5.8 pounds, but it can support an impressive 46.3-pound load capacity, with the strength to hold your valuable lenses and gear. It’s highly flexible, with a maximum height of 63.3 inches and a minimum height of 6.3 inches. Carbon eXact tubing, modulus carbon fiber legs, and large leg diameters mean this tripod is stable on flat or uneven ground, with G-lock Ultra twist locks to secure each leg in place. 

The Gitzo’s ball head rests on a 2.36-inch DSLR camera base, and with smooth controls and tilting between -90 and +40 degrees, there are few shots that can’t be perfectly positioned with the Gitzo. When it comes to premium tripods like the Gitzo, you’ll notice amazing build quality.

All of the parts move smoothly and effortlessly, folding down and setting up is fast, and the tripod has the strength and durability to stay perfectly still, even in wind. While this is above and beyond what some photographers need, pros and keen amateurs need a high-quality tripod that can match the caliber of their camera.

Final Verdict

The Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB is our top overall choice, thanks to its versatility, clever design, and affordable price. If you prefer a more lightweight tripod for travel, the Manfrotto Befree Advanced is stable and durable, with a lightweight aluminum frame that makes it easy to carry all day.

About Our Trusted Experts

Katie Dundas is a freelance journalist and tech writer who frequently covers cameras, drones, and photography equipment.

David Beren is a tech writer with 10+ years' experience. He has written and managed content for companies like T-Mobile, Sprint, and TracFone Wireless.

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.

FAQs

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 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 prerequisite 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 not only saves your back, but 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.

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.

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