Tripod Reviews 2015 Edition: Top 10 Tripods for Any Budget

Whether you are a new photographer just starting out who wants to make sure your photos are crystal clear of if you are a seasoned professional looking for the best sticks available for long exposures, macro photography, landscapes, or product shoots, you’ll find them here in my Tripod Reviews 2015 Edition.

When you want to buy a new tripod for your DSLR, you have a lot of options. On the high-end, you have super lightweight tripods made of carbon fiber. In the middle you have slightly heavier models made of aluminum.

By now, you may have realized that there a lot of factors to consider. Some DSLR tripods come with heads, while others allow you the freedom to choose the best head for your style of photography. Of course, you’ll need to account for the weight of your camera and lens system and for your shooting height, which will dictate the number of sections your tripod has.

To top it all off, you’ll have your choice of locking mechanisms on the legs – either twist locks or a open/closed “quick locking” system.

But not to worry, we’ll break it all down for you here…

What Are the Top 5 Budget Tripods Available This Year

Before we get started, realize that just because these tripods are listed as budget tripods, they are still “professional” grade tripods.  There just not super high-end tripods like you’ll find in the next section.  One of the main differences between these tripods and the professional tripods listed in the next section is the material the legs are made from.

These are aluminum tripods and the higher-end tripods are now made of lighter materials like carbon fiber or basalt, which is a much more expensive material (thus the higher price).


#1 Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 (Replaced the Manfrotto 055XPROB)

I own the Manfrotto 055XPROB – it was the first professional-grade tripod that I bought and I absolutely love this thing.  It convinced me straight away that it’s worth it to upgrade to a professionally built tripod with a good head.

The only thing that I would change about this tripod is the weight, which Manfrotto has done with the Manfrotto 055CXPRO3, which you’ll find below under the professional tripods section.  You can read our Manfrotto 055XPROB Review here.

Manfrotto 055xprob review
Manfrotto 055XPROB
Manfrotto 055XPROB Specifications:

Weight: 5,29 lbs
Load capacity (legs): 15.43 lbs
Max height (with center column down) 55.91 in
Min height: 3.94 in
Closed length: 25.79 in
Material: Aluminum alloy
Head included: No
Load capacity (head): N/A
Leg sections: 3
Leg lock type: Flip levers


#2 Slik Pro 700DX Tripod with Quick Release 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head -Black-

The SLIK PRO 700DX is a popular tripod – probably the second most popular tripod next to the Manfrotto 055XPROB.

If you don’t need to shoot just above the ground, then this is a great option, otherwise, go for the Manfrotto 055XPROB, which can put your camera super-low to the ground (great for macro photography).  You can read our SLIK PRO 700DX Review here.

SLIK Pro 700dx
SLIK Pro 700DX
SLIK PRO 700DX Specifications:
Weight: 7 lbs with head (head weighs 2.2 lbs)
Load capacity (legs): 17 lbs
Max height (with center column down):
Min height: 24.4 in
Closed length: 29.9 in
Material: Aluminium / Magnesium / Titanium
Head included: YES
Load capacity (head): 15 lbs
Leg sections: 3
Leg lock type: Flip levers


#4 Induro Alloy 8M Tripod AT-213

The Induro AT213 has a maximum load capacity of 22 pounds, which makes it a serious workhorse that can handle a DSLR with a big telephoto lens.

The AT213 includes a spring-loaded hook at the bottom of the center column if you need to add extra weight to stabilize the tripod, but you won’t likely have to use it because this tripod features a very wide base when the legs are extended.

The center column reverses so you can get super low shots (great for those of you who love to photograph flora). The legs are easy to operate and feature half-twist leg locks.

Given it’s low price and solid build, the AT213 is a bargain.

Induro AT213

Induro AT213

 

Induro AT213 Specifications:

Weight: 4.4 lbs (2 kg)
Load capacity (legs): 22 lbs (10 kg)
Max height (with center column down) 56.7 in (144 cm)
Min height: 23.4 in (59.4 cm)
Closed length: 25.6 in (65 cm)
Material: Aluminum alloy
Head included: No
Load capacity (head): N/A
Leg sections: 3
Leg lock type: Twist-locks (G-Lock)


Benro A0690T Travel Angel Tripod with BH00 Head

#4: Benro A0690T Travel Angel Tripod with BH00 Head

One of the great features of this tripod is that it comes with a ball and socket tripod head, which is a good start if you don’t need a specialty head and you want to get started right away without the added expense of buying a separate head (most professional tripods are shipped without a head, which gives you the freedom to pick your own head based on your needs).

This tripod isn’t meant to carry a ton of gear – it’s meant for traveling anywhere and is one of the most compact, quality tripods available.

Benro A0691T Review
Benro A0690T
Benro A0691T Specifications:
Weight: 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg)
Load capacity (legs): 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg)
Max height (with center column extended): 55.9 in (142 cm)
Closed length: 15 in (38.1 cm)
Material: Aluminum alloy
Head included: Yes – ball and socket
Load capacity (head): 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg)
Leg sections: 5
Leg lock type: Twist-locks (G-Lock)


#5 Ravelli Professional 65-inch Carbon Fiber 3 Axis Ball Head Camera Video Photo Tripod

If you are on a super-tight budget, this carbon fiber and magnesium tripod from Ravelli has been getting a lot of positive reviews from owners.  If you can swing it, I’d recommend the Manfrotto 055XPROB, but if not, this is a good option for you and it comes with a built-in head.

Ravelli APCF1 Review

Ravelli APCF1


Ravelli APCF1 Specifications:

Weight: 3.35 lbs
Load capacity (legs): 17 lbs
Max height (with center column down):
Min height:
Closed length:
Material: Carbon Fiber / Magnesium Alloy
Head included: Yes, Ball Head
Load capacity (head): N/A
Leg sections: 3
Leg lock type: Twist-locks (G-Lock)



What Are the Top 5 Professional Tripods Available This Year

#1 Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT Professional Tripod for Cameras and Camcorders

This is a very stable tripod with heavy load capacity.

One feature that a lot of photographers love about this tripod is the wheel which allows you to precisely position the center column even if you have a heavy load on the head.

The legs have a number scale with allows you to adjust them precisely.  Another neat feature is that the bottom portion of the center column unscrews so you can put this thing on the deck for low-shots or macro photography.

Users on Amazon love this tripod and it’s won a ton of awards for it’s innovative design features.

Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT

Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT

Auctus Plus 323CT Awards

Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT Specifications:

Weight: 7.83 lbs
Load capacity (legs): 39 lbs (18kg)
Max height (with center column down) 57.125 in
Min height:
Closed length: 28 in
Material: Carbon Fiber
Head included: No
Load capacity (head): N/A
Leg sections: 3
Leg lock type: Twist-locks

As you can see from the design awards, this is somewhat of a revolutionary new tripod and it’s getting great feedback from professionals and from everyday users.


#2 Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber 3 Section Tripod

This tripod is lighter and has a higher load capacity than it’s aluminum cousin, the 055XPROB.  If you need a lightweight, professional tripod that is compact and capable of being taken just about anywhere, this is a smart purchase.

I’ll have to admit, I’m a bit biased.  I’ve been using Manfrotto products for years and I love them.  If they didn’t exist, I go for the Vanguard Auctus Plus (the next review).

You can read our Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Review here.

Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Q90 Column

 

Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Specifications:

Weight: 3.64 lbs
Load capacity (legs): 17.64 lbs
Max height (with center column down) 55.12 in
Min height: 4.53 in
Closed length: 25.59 in
Material: Carbon Fiber Tubing / Magnesium Castings
Head included: No
Load capacity (head): N/A
Leg sections: 3
Leg lock type: Clamp


#3 Gitzo GT1542T Series 1 6X Carbon Fiber Traveler 4 Section G-Lock Tripod

The GT1542 is designed like a Mountaineer tripod but it’s made to be compact and super-light for easy travel.

Gitzo GT1542T Review

Gitzo GT1542T

Gitzo GT1542 Specifications:

Weight: 2.2 lbs
Load capacity (legs): 17.64 lbs
Max height (with center column down) 45.87 in
Min height: 8.66 in
Closed length: 16.73 in
Material: Carbon Fiber 6X
Head included: No
Load capacity (head): N/A
Leg sections: 4
Leg lock type: Twist-locks


#4 Induro CT-214 8X Carbon Tripod

This tripod offers huge load capacity – perfect if you have heavy gear or monster telephoto lenses.  Induro built this tripod to be extremely stable by using an oversized center column lock, upgraded leck locks, a cross-braced magnesium allow spider and top notch carbon fiber legs.

Induro manufactures their own 8-layer carbon fiber, which makes this a very sturdy tripod.

You can use the rubber feet or you can change them out for metal spikes.

Induro CT214 Review
Induro CT214
Induro Carbon 8X CT214 Specifications:

Weight: 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Load capacity (legs): 26.4 lb (12 kg)
Max height (with center column down): 52.6 in (1335 mm)
Min height: 5.9 in (150 mm)
Closed length: 19.1 in (486 mm)
Material: Carbon Fiber 8X
Head included: No
Load capacity (head): N/A
Leg sections: 4
Leg lock type: Twist-locks


#5 Gitzo GT2531 Series 2 6X Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod

If you need a light tripod that can handle a massive amount of gear, then this is the tripod for you.  The Gitzo GT2531 weighs only 3.02 pounds but has an astonishing load capacity of 26.46 pounds.

This is a very stable tripod and it’s rated very highly by users.  Gitzo makes very serious gear and it’s reflected in the price, but if you are looking for quality, this is a great choice.

Gitzo GT2531 Review

Gitzo GT2531

 

Gitzo GT2531 Specifications:

Weight: 3.02 lbs
Load capacity (legs): 26.46 lbs
Max height (with center column down) 54.33 in
Min height: 6.69 in
Closed length: 25.59 in
Material: Carbon Fiber 6X
Head included: No
Load capacity (head): N/A
Leg sections: 3
Leg lock type: Twist-locks


That’s it for my tripod reviews 2015 edition – I’ll be updating this list of tripod reviews as new tripods are released.