Last updated on February 17th, 2021
Statistics indicate that the global camera accessories market is on the path to grow by $1.27 billion from 2020-2024. Cameras come with no shortage of accessories, but our favourite is the tripod.
We’ve always thought that a camera kit isn’t complete without the inclusion of a tripod. Whether you’re an experienced photographer or a newbie, adding a tripod to your equipment will make photography significantly better. However, a lot of people don’t have the budget to buy a super high-quality tripod.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get some of the best tripods. There are quality tripods available for every price range. Today we’re going to be looking at some of the best tripods under $300
How to pick the best tripod under $300
Choosing the right tripod is a difficult job. A tripod is essentially a straightforward tool that allows photographers to keep the camera steady and take pictures easily in low light. However, there are so many different variables to consider. Photographers need to look at the tripod’s height, load capacity, weight and construction and identify additional features.
To further compound the problem, there are so many different tripod options on the market. There are hundreds of different kinds available in each price bracket, from the budget tripod to incredibly high-end tripod options. It’s natural to get confused, we definitely do!
To help you, we’ve listed the variables we think that photographers need to consider when trying to pick the best tripod under $300.
Every tripod has its load capacity or weight rating. This refers to the amount of weight the tripod can carry effectively. Typically, the higher the load capacity, the more expensive the tripod. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t budget options on the market that’ll do the job.
Before buying a tripod, photographers must measure the weight of their camera body and lens. Trust us; you don’t want to buy a tripod with less load capacity than what you put on and have it break. We made this mistake once. In an attempt to save money, we bought a really cheap tripod and set it up with our camera and macro lens. Half an hour into the shoot, the tripod gave away and let’s not get into what happened to the camera.
When working on a budget, it’s important to maximize what you’re going to get out of the product. Measuring the equipment’s weight first will allow photographers to pick the best tripod under 300 for their needs.
One of the most important things to consider when trying to buy the best tripod under $300 is the height. If you buy a tripod with a maximum height that doesn’t match your own, you’ll have to bend over too much to take pictures.
The best way to identify whether the tripod will work with your height is to check with a camera at maximum height. If your eye is level or close to being level with the viewfinder, then the tripod’s height is alright. It isn’t an issue if the viewfinder goes above eye-level because you can always adjust the tripod’s legs.
Modern tripods also offer an extendable center column. That can increase the maximum height of the tripod significantly. The center column can also rotate to allow for better macro viewing angles.
The max height isn’t the only length that photographers need to consider. If the tripod has a long folded length, it becomes hard to carry while traveling. Portability is so important there’s an entire travel tripod category about it, which we’ll discuss in detail later.
Weight and construction
We’ve already talked about the importance of maximum load capacity. Now it’s time to discuss the importance of the weight of the tripod itself.
Weight plays a significant role in the buying decision when trying to pick the best tripod under $300. If the tripod is too heavy, taking it along with you on a photography trip will be a challenge.
When it comes to the best tripods, they’re typically light and stable. These tripods are made from carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is known for being incredibly durable and long-lasting. It’s not prone to any sort of rust.
If carbon fiber isn’t available, the next best thing is aluminum. It has similar properties to carbon fiber but is slightly heavier.
Lastly, after looking at all the primary factors, consumers can look at the inclusion of additional features.
When picking the best tripod under $300, the inclusion of additional features can make a great difference. Features like a ball head or twist-lock leg system are the value of life additions that let photographers get the most out of their cameras. The ball head typically helps with panning and finding better angles. Another useful feature is the inclusion of a quick-release plate or a locking system.
The presence of these additional features set aside a high-quality tripod from regular ones. While it’s important to have additional features on the tripod, the other factors take precedence. There’s no point in getting a tripod with a rotating center column that doesn’t match up with your height. It’s important to assess your individual needs before making the final buying decision.
These are all the major factors that photographers need to consider when buying the best tripod under $300. One other thing that’s important when buying a tripod is the type. There are three major types of tripods to choose between.
When it comes to choosing between tripods, there are three primary ones to choose between. These are Pocket, Travel, and Studio. Each type of tripod has its defining traits and characteristics.
Pocket tripods are known for being incredibly portable. These are typically used by people that take pictures with their mobile phones. They don’t offer great maximum load capacity or extension, but they’re unmatched when it comes to portability.
Travel tripods are characterized by combining portability, load capacity, and extension. They offer all the features you’d expect from a tripod and then fold down to a portable size. You can easily fit these travel tripods into your luggage and take them with you around the world.
Studio tripods are typically used by professional photographers and provide the maximum load capacity, extension, and stability. However, their extra stability comes at the cost of portability. These are typically heavy and not easy to carry around.
Let’s take a look at the five best tripods under $300:
Top 5 tripods under $300
Last update on 2021-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- Weight: 3.97 lbs
- Folded Height: 29 inches
- Max height: 68.2 inches
- Max Load Capacity: 15.4 lbs
- Number of section legs: 3
- Top Attachment: Alta BH-100
- Extra Features: Multi-angle center column, twist-lock technology, Alta connect
The Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT makes a strong case for the best tripod under $300. It’s a travel tripod that features a great combination of maximum load capacity, height, and portability.
The tripod extends to a max height of 68.2 inches. With the center column down, it moves to 56.3 inches. When you’re done using the tripod, it folds down to a very manageable 29 inches.
It features aluminum construction and has very decent build quality. When it comes to load capacity, the Alta Pro 2+ 263AT supports 15.4 lbs. The tripod is very stable as well, thanks to the 3 section leg design. It features a twist-lock system that allows you to adjust the legs at four different angles easily. You can individually manipulate the leg sections to set the tripod at an angle.
Another brilliant feature of the Vanguard travel tripod is that it has a multi-angle center column. It works brilliantly to provide photographers with limitless shooting angles. It becomes incredibly useful during macro photography.
The Alta connect accessory mount is also a handy feature to have. You can easily connect all accessories that support a 3/8-inch screw.
When we took out the Alta Vanguard Pro 2+ for testing, its performance blew us away. We decided to test it out with landscape photography. So we carried it with us on a hike and set it up when we reached the plains. Not only did it provide excellent stabilization, but it’s also capable of handling the weight of a heavy DSLR at full extension with minimal sway. The build quality is exceptional as well and truly worthy of the best overall ranking.
SIRUI AM2-Series AM-284 ProfiLegs Carbon Fiber Tripod (Best Quality)
- Weight: 3.05 lbs
- Folded Height: 21.2 inches
- Max height: 50.9 inches
- Max Load Capacity: 33.1 lbs
- Number of section legs: 4
- Top Attachment: A-10R Ball Head
- Extra Features: Accessory connection and Centre Column
Trying to find a carbon fiber tripod on a budget is a challenge. However, Sirui has made everyone’s life easier with the AM-284. It features incredible build quality and is made from premium grade carbon fiber.
The tripod weighs an incredibly light 3.05 lbs, and thanks to the four leg sections design, it has a maximum load capacity of 33.1 lbs. That’s more than enough load capacity to support even the heaviest cameras and lenses. While it folds down to a decent minimum height of 21.2 inches, the maximum height leaves a lot to be desired. It only manages to extend to 50.2 inches, which is not in line with competitors in the price range.
A very attractive feature of the Siriu heavy-duty travel tripod is the A-10R ball head. This particular ball head is special because it features a friction-control knob and ball-locking knob. You can adjust the resistance of the ball head by turning the knob.
To be the best tripod, you need to be long lasting, and the Siriu certainly manages to do that. The carbon fiber construction helps, but it’s a tripod that also features a waterproof sealing system. It’s compatible with an Arca Swiss-type ball head as well.
When we took out the Siriu AM-2 series tripod in the fields, what stood out the most is the product’s precision construction. It feels beautiful to use and looks exceptional as well. It was so easy to carry the tripod to the field, and during our whole time there we didn’t have to worry about it giving in even once. That’s why it earns our pick for top quality.
Manfrotto Befree Advanced (Best Versatility)
- Weight: 3.58 lbs
- Folded Height: 15.75 inches
- Max height: 59.45 inches
- Max Load Capacity: 17.64 lbs
- Number of section legs: 4
- Top Attachment: Manfrotto 494 ball head
- Extra Features: Side-Pull Selectors and M-Lock system
Manfrotto is among the most popular tripod manufacturers in the world. They’re particularly known for their build quality. The BeFree Advanced is a sturdy tripod made out of high-grade carbon fiber. It also functions decently as a travel tripod thanks to a minimum height of 15.75 inches. However, it’s not just a regular travel tripod; it’s one of the best tripods under $300.
Even though the tripod weighs under 3 pounds, it has a decent load capacity of 17 lbs. It can easily mount a DSLR with a zoom lens on its head. The Manfrotto 494 center ball head stands out particularly. Usually, a ball head comes with one knob to help control the resistance. However, Manfrotto includes three independent control knobs.
It functions as a great travel tripod because of the side pull selector. The selector helps ensure that you can set up the tripod in minutes using both hands.
The Manfrotto BeFree Advanced tripod is one of the best budget tripods out there. While it doesn’t shine in one particular field, we think it performs all the jobs of a tripod well. We tested it out during a portrait shoot with a friend and it was really easy to set up. It also did an excellent job at night time street photography on one of our trips to New York. That’s why it earns our most versatile ranking!
- Weight: 4.6 lbs
- Folded Height: 16.3 inches
- Max height: 64.2 inches
- Max Load Capacity: 17.64 lbs
- Number of leg sections: 5
- Top Attachment: Q Series Ball head
- Extra Features: Twist Locks, Ballhead w/Arca Swiss Plate
The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter is one of the most easily identifiable travel tripods on the market. It’s not a lightweight tripod, but it isn’t exactly heavy either. Its got a weight of 4.6 lbs and has a decent load capacity of 26.4 lbs. It’s a tripod that can easily take the weight of even the heaviest cameras.
When fully extended, the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter is capable of reaching a height of 64.2 inches. That’s an impressive range considering the tripods it’s competing against. When you’re done using the tripod, it folds up to a very manageable minimum height of 16.1 inches.
The tripod also features a ball head that’s compatible with an Arca swiss-style quick release plate. It’s also one of the few tripods in the price range that offers 360-degree panning.
Unlike other tripods, the MeFOTO GlobeTrotter is available in multiple different colors. It has got a very pleasant aesthetic and is certainly among the better-looking tripods on the market.
However, the tripod lags behind when it comes to stability. It’s prone to wobbling when fully extended. That’s one of the reasons why it fails to make our top picks.
- Weight: 5.8 lbs
- Folded Height: 16.3 inches
- Max height:70.7 inches
- Max Load Capacity: 8.8 lbs
- Number of leg sections: 3
- Top Attachment: 60mm flat head and 3/8″-16
Last but not least is the Benro S4 single leg tripod kit. It features a brilliant compact two-way video head that combines with aluminum single-leg tube tripod legs. The legs feature an easy to use flip-lever locking mechanism that allows photographers to set up in a matter of minutes.
The head features a 60mm flat base and a 3/8″-16 threaded hole. It’s easily removable and results in a tripod that can be fitted with several different sliders, jibs, and other support gear. The result is a very versatile system that folds up neatly.
It also includes an S4Pro head that’s natively set up with a one-step bubble counterbalance. Users can easily add steps with the push of a button.
The Benro S4 is exceptional when it comes to the extension. When converted to a monopod, it can reach a maximum height of 70″ inches. It also allows photographers to remove rubber feet and replace them with spiked feet. Rubber feet give better support on even terrain, while spiked feet are more suitable for outdoor terrain.
What lets the Benro S4 down is its mediocre maximum payload capacity. If the tripod could take on a little more weight, it would find itself in our top rankings.
Benefits and Potential issues of tripods under $300
Tripods are an incredibly important tool, and we feel like they need to be a part of every photographer’s kit. Back when we used to use just our hands, we’d still get good shots. But, it used to take us a much longer time. Three out of every ten shots would be blurry and only two would turn out perfectly fine. With a tripod though, all our shots turn out stellar.
One of the best things about tripods is that they are available at several different price points. However, these differing price ranges present their benefits and issues. Here’s everything that potential buyers need to know about the benefits and potential issues of buying a tripod under $300:
Value for money
More than anything, consumers want to get value for their money. That’s what you’re going to get if you buy one of the best tripods under $300. These tripods perform all the actions that you’d expect from a premium quality tripod. They just don’t do them equally well.
All the tripods on our list feature premium construction and will last a long time. You won’t need to worry about the tripod breaking down on you on a photography adventure. It isn’t just durability though. Even though these tripods fall under the category of the budget tripod, they have decent performance. At the same time, they can carry a decent amount of weight, letting you use them with more expensive gear.
Focus on other gear
One of the benefits of investing in a $300 tripod is that you can allocate more of your budget on getting a better camera or a lens. While getting a tripod is a great way to improve your photography skills, it can’t compete with upgrading your camera or getting a new lens.
Lack of Quality
A persistent issue that you’re going to encounter while investing in tripods under $300 is that the quality simply won’t match up with the more expensive tripods on the market. The expensive ones use premium grade material and offer a user experience that budget tripods simply can’t match. That’s not to say that the quality tripods under 300$ is not robust, but it’s a noticeable difference.
Picking a tripod under $300 is significantly more difficult because there’s so much competition in the budget tripod market that makes your choice harder. New companies, established names, and International brands are all trying to ensure that they can release the best budget tripod. As a result, it becomes increasingly more difficult for consumers to choose which one is the right one for them.
Is it worth buying a more expensive tripod than $300?
While it differs from person to person, if budget isn’t an issue, it’s worth investing in a tripod that costs more than $300. The more expensive tripods feature incredible build quality and material that make them an absolute joy to use.
While budget tripods offer the same functionality, they can’t perform in the same way. When we’ve got an important shoot, such as a high-profile wedding or a commercial shoot, we always use an expensive tripod. They ensure that your equipment will remain safe and allow you to shoot at angles that cheaper tripods just don’t.
Additionally, more expensive tripods also open the door for photographers to invest in professional studio tripods. These are the top of the line product you can get, and they’ll ensure that your photography goes up another level. The more you expand your budget, the more tripod options available that can do it all. However, if the budget is a constraint, then a $300 tripod will do the job just fine.
When it comes to the best tripod under $300, our best overall pick goes to the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+. It offers everything you’d want from a tripod, and there’s no need to break the bank. The Sirui Am-2 series is a surprise entrant, but the quality is undeniable. And for those that need a versatile option, the Manfrotto beFree Advanced is a great choice. Get your hands on tripod under $300 today and start snapping!
For more related articles please visit our website My Travel Tripod.
Eva is one of the co-founders of MyTravelTripod. She is in charge of the market research and strategic planning of the website. She also enjoys working on the visual designs of the website.
She has one 5 year old daughter and thirteen tripods.
In her free time, she likes hiding under the bedsheets reading her science fiction novels.