Last updated on March 23rd, 2021
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly tripod in 2021, it is best to exercise caution. How much does a tripod cost depends entirely on the features, brand, and quality you’re focused on enjoying as a photographer. The cost will vary, depending on the quality of the structure, accessibility, rotation, and other features.
The digital marketplace is brimming with cheap tripods, but keep in mind, these are not quality investments. If you’re comfortable with changing your tripod every month or so, you can explore countless cheap camera tripods. But if you’re looking to make a one-time investment, it is ideal to prioritize quality and make a worthwhile investment.
If you’re a professional photographer or an avid traveller and content creator, a tripod is a definite must-have. Photographers normally splurge on cameras and lenses and seek out budget tripod options, which can prove disastrous. How can one trust a cheap model with wobbly tripod legs to hold expensive and high-end camera equipment?
We prefer a quality device with sturdy legs, flexible rotation, and an easily mountable ball head. Luckily, numerous high-end brands offer an ideal combination of budget-friendliness and quality construction. Keep reading to find out more about tripod costs and crucial factors for a worthwhile investment.
Read Related Article: Best Tripods Under $50
Which features affect the cost of a tripod?
As a novice or aspiring photographer, the cost of cameras, lenses, and equipment can get quite overwhelming. However, when it comes to investing in gadgets, price tags are less important than the product itself. How much does a tripod cost? There’s no specific answer to this question, as you can get one for $50 or for $2.000.
When it comes to buying gadgets, it is vital to examine functionality and details. Ultimately, it is the features that define and justify the cost of a tripod. So, what details should you consider to compare tripod costs?
Let’s take a look.
What is the ideal height of a tripod? We firmly believe that height is an entirely personal preference that stems from a photographer’s technique and comfort. Ask yourself: how do you like to take photographs?
Do you prefer working with the folded height so you can easily carry it around and shoot videos on-the-go? Or perhaps, you need to elongate the tripod head to bring the camera lens to your eye level? We generally recommend photographers invest in two tripods.
One will provide an ideal foldable length to record videos and deliver flexible low-angle support. The other will function as the higher-up model so you can play around with the height. Interestingly, while examining the height, it is best to focus on the tripod’s physical height. People usually focus on the added height after unlocking the central points of the tripod.
In most designs, the ball head attachment allows the height to get increased by a few inches. Cranking up the middle attachment elongates the height further. However, with unstable and weak construction, the added height comes with the risk of tipping over. You don’t want the tripod to tip over and crash with your expensive camera on it.
If height is a vital factor, it is ideal to invest in a sturdy construction with aluminum and carbon fiber, especially if you have a bulk camera or usually work with rugged and uneven surfaces. Imagine balancing an apple on your head as you walk down a rugged path. Now, imagine a lightweight tripod struggling to hold the mass of your camera after you have extended its height.
It simply won’t work! It is ideal to find a product that delivers your preferred height alongside delivering balance. We strongly recommend examining the height and mounting point lifts closely before you make an investment.
We generally recommend photographers seek out a durable, lightweight tripod. As a photographer, weight is an important factor to consider. If you’re constantly traveling to different locations, you don’t want your gadgets to weigh you down. Lightweight and portability are big factors to consider. The ideal tripod is lightweight, but the legs should be sturdy enough to hold the mass of the camera.
If you’re covering a wedding, you shouldn’t have to miss a romantic gesture while struggling to drag an 80-pound tripod. However, in most cases, we’ve noticed that lightweight also indicates cheap and awful quality. The structure must be durable and sturdy. It is ideal to steer clear of cheap plastic construction as it easily snaps. We’ll talk more about construction and durability later on.
We strongly advise you to consider the load of your camera, microphone and other equipment you’re likely to use. The weight of your tripod should effectively hold your camera load without tripping over. Be sure to examine the load of all your gadgets to determine your tripod’s ideal weight.
Material of construction
The durability of construction is a major factor to consider while evaluating cost and quality. As mentioned above, most lightweight tripods are cheap and brittle, causing them to snap awfully quickly. Have you ever placed a tripod in a crowded gadget bag, only to find the tripod’s legs crooked and broken? Yeah, that happens.
If you’re an avid explorer and adventurer, you need a sturdy aluminum tool with carbon legs. It is pertinent to ensure whether your chosen product can gracefully take a fall or not. If you normally work in rugged terrains and unpredictable environments, you need a sturdy tripod with solid construction.
When taking pictures, we work in a multitude of settings. Covering church weddings and receptions and adventuring through national parks and forests are two entirely different scenarios. Aluminum and carbon fiber are excellent choices for rugged terrains and high-end venues as they promise superior durability.
Device compatibility is a defining feature that determines the tripod cost, weight, and overall user experience. What kind of camera do you use? Is it a DSLR or a mirrorless one? More importantly, what kind of lens do you work with?
Generally, a DSLR with its original lens is easily compatible with most tripods. However, when the lens starts getting larger and heavier, tripods start tipping over. Ideally, you need a fully compatible tripod with your camera and your extensive collection of heavy lenses.
Tripods featuring carbon fibre legs are strongly recommended for a heavy and large lens as they ensure superior stability. It is pertinent to seek a product that is fully compatible with the weight of your equipment. We strongly advise you to familiarize yourself with the mass of all your equipment and devices.
Understanding the cumulative load of all devices mounted together is the key for weight compatibility. For instance, if you plan on shooting videos and normally use a microphone, you need to examine the weight of all devices. Is your chosen product compatible with your microphone, lens, and camera? This the ultimate factor that will determine your user experience.
The tripod was essentially designed to provide photographers, hunters, and surveyors with superior stability. It helps a professional enjoy superior stability while examining the field of view and supporting the load of all devices. It is a three-legged frame that serves as a stable platform so you can keep your hands free and prevent jittering.
A frame or stand delivers stability against horizontal and downward forces and other movements. Tripod legs are positioned away from its vertical center to ensure enhanced leverage and stability against lateral forces. But do all tripods deliver this stability? Most certainly not. Therefore, we strongly recommend a professional tripod if stability is a vital factor in facilitating your work.
You see, all tripod heads and legs come with a maximum weight limit that they can support. In industry terms, this is termed as the payload a tripod is designed to carry with ease. If your equipment exceeds the payload limit, your tripod ball head or legs will likely wobble and move. Naturally, this will compromise the clarity and sharpness of your images and videos.
Achieving stability is challenging, especially if you’re purchasing online. We recommend you explore product documentation on the manufacturer’s website or through online resources. Most professionals prefer buying the tripod head and legs separately to enjoy superior stability.
It is important to note that the tripod center column is a defining factor in determining your gadget’s stability. In most designs, the center column is either reversible or mounted to the chassis. Reversible center columns are flexible as they allow the height to be easily extended. You can mount your camera lower when shooting macro shots with superior stability.
We strongly recommend exploring options that feature center columns with a friction collar. Most expensive tripods feature a sophisticated geared system, which is easier to operate and very user-friendly. Crank systems are a common feature on professional tripods, but they make the gadget quite heavy and bulky.
Manfrotto has an excellent variety of tripods that offer superior stability and additional stabilizing features. A leveling center column is a powerful feature to enjoy greater stability and ease of use. Photographers often make the mistake of overextending the center column and end up blaming the cheap construction of their budget tripod.
While the construction is a factor, overextending any tripod will bring about loss of stability because overextending the center column causes the product to vibrate, particularly in devices with multi-section center columns.
Load capacity is one of the most complex features one encounters while looking for a quality tripod. In fact, this is the most widely ignored and neglected factor, despite being a strong determinant of user experience. Perhaps, this nonchalance stems from the fact that most buyers don’t understand the term “load capacity.”
Essentially, it indicates the maximum amount of mass your tripod can carry without jittering and vibrating ridiculously. However, the concept does get a little more complicated, given the lack of universal standards on load capacity. So, how can you determine the right load capacity for your tripod?
Most manufacturers rate their tripods with a load capacity of 20-30 lbs. However, these claims seldom hold true unless you’re buying from a well-reputed brand that caters to professionals. In general, load capacity refers to the maximum weight your product can shoulder before compromising stability.
Given the absence of a universal standard, we strongly advise buyers to follow a general rule of thumb: a load capacity that is three times greater than your heaviest camera or lens. When you’re examining the load capacity, be sure to account for the mass of the ball head and tripod legs.
Most people neglect the fact that tripod heads also have a load capacity. It is good to get conservative and get a tripod head that is at least three times heavier than your heaviest devices.
Portability is an instrumental feature in determining the overall user experience, flexibility, and price range. If you’re always carrying around equipment and traveling, portability is a vital feature. You need a product that delivers stability without being overly bulky and heavy. Bulky designs fail to deliver portability, so the ideal option is a tripod that delivers balance, stability, and transportability.
Manfrotto is a reliable brand to browse through compact and portable options in professional tripods. Their tripods are advanced and light and designed for action on the move. If you need a three-legged friend to accompany you on your travels, it is ideal to prioritize foldable height. Foldable tripods are more compact and portable and ideally suited for compact, mirrorless cameras.
Portable tripods also work well with entry-level DSLRs and medium-sized lens. You can also explore options that come with elongating ball heads, an ideal match for standard DSLR and zoom lens. Keep in mind that if you work with heavier devices, portability is likely to get compromised.
Tripod budgets and price ranges
Are you still wondering how much does a tripod cost? As explained above, it depends entirely on your personal preferences and detail. Tripod price ranges begin as low as $10 and go as high as $2.000. That’s right, professional tripods can cost over $1.000, and they pack up dynamic features that actually justify the cost.
However, we don’t recommend buyers to splurge heavily or go heavily cheap with a budget tripod. It is ideal to find a balance and limit yourself in the $100-$200 tier. A sturdy, stable, and lightweight aluminum tool should cost you around $150-$200. It is ideal to avoid aiming for a cheaper price as that would compromise quality and durability.
When it comes to shopping for budget tripods, you truly get what you pay for. And if you’re paying less than $50, there is a high risk your gadget will break apart and deteriorate quickly. If this is your first investment, the $150-$200 range will ensure a worthwhile investment.
What tripod can you get if your budget is under 50$?
Amazon is brimming with budget tripods as low as $10 and $19. The digital marketplace is flooded with such cheap devices, but they will not serve your purpose. It is exceedingly rare to find a quality tripod within this price range. Check out our review and see which are the best tripods you can get at this price range.
What tripod can you get if your budget is 100$?
This price range will certainly broaden your options, but it will not guarantee quality. Most ace tripod brands, such as Manfrotto, Induro, and Gitzo, offer higher price tags and high-quality construction. However, for a first-time investment, this is a good budget to begin with.
Ideally, you can aim for a lightweight aluminum tool with multiple height-increasing options, mass distribution, and portability. No matter what you do, avoiding investing in a plastic tripod as this kind of construction is highly unreliable.
What tripod can you get if your budget is 200$?
We strongly believe that this is the ideal range to work with. You can explore some incredible options by professional brands within this range. You can invest in a product featuring a multi-angle center column for multiple shooting angles and one-handed operations—most tripods within this price range offer superior versatility, stability, and the coveted twist leg lock system.
There are numerous advanced technologies and features to explore within this price tag. For instance, you can scoop up a product with a canopy suspension loop and flexible arms for enhanced stability. Some other fancy features that you get to explore include ergonomic friction control, Arca-tape system, and 360-degree panning ball heads.
If this is your first-time investment, it is ideal to avoid splurging more on a tripod. This investment should last you at least 2-3 years, especially if you focus on construction and sturdiness. An aluminum device with carbon fiber legs is a great place to start to ensure durability and stability.
What tripod can you get if your budget is 300$?
Most professional camera tripods designed for bulky cameras and lenses cost more than $200. The majority of the models designed by Manfrotto, a leading manufacturer, come with a hefty price tag higher than $200. So, if you can afford a $300 tripod, you’ve got some excellent options and features to explore.
However, we must reiterate that it is ideal to avoid splurging if this is your first investment. Coming back to the $300 range, what kind of features can you get within this price range? Expensive tripods come with 10-layer carbon fibre, which delivers immunity to vibration, lightness, and temperature neutrality. Are you feeling the euphoria of all the buzz words?
These expensive tripods feature lightweight carbon fiber tubes and large aluminum tripod heads to handle bulky devices gracefully. Interestingly, most expensive designs do not feature center columns to promote greater stability. Some other dynamic features within this price range include a semi-automatic leg angle lock, exchangeable rubber feet, and twist locks.
These tripods also come with a ton of amazing accessories, such as flex arms, microphones, and more.
What tripod can you get if your budget is 500$?
If you’re a seasoned professional photographer with highly specific needs, a $500 budget is entirely unnecessary. However, if you can afford this range, the world is literally your oyster. You can explore an abundance of high-tech tripod options and scoop up the best that the market has to offer.
Most tripods within this range come with multiple leg angle selections and carbon fiber construction. They also feature multi-angle center columns, anti-slip rubber technology, and twist locking systems. These devices are much easier to operate and offer superior stability to hold bulky cameras and lenses.
More importantly, you can select a tripod that is designed specifically for your camera brand. For instance, Vanguard is popular for designing high-end professional tripods to support Canon and Nikon cameras. These expensive tripods also support hand-free operations and adjustments.
They feature built-in friction systems to comfortably hold and stabilize the weight of your equipment. Amazingly, tripods within this price range also offer built-in shutter release trigger to enhance your photography and videography results.
Which is the most expensive tripod?
The Gitzo GT5543XLS is considered one of the most expensive tripods in 2021. It falls around $1500 and comes with unbeatable stability and wider tripod feet. It delivers a modular range of accessories, superior flexibility, and versatility. This tripod is designed with 4-section pro carbon fiber construction and is ideally suited for rigid applications.
It features the G-lock Ultra to ensure stability and security with quick operations. It is designed to support the heaviest professional camera equipment without the slightest vibration or loss of stability. It is undoubtedly the Kohinoor of tripods, but totally unnecessary if you’re still learning and developing as a photographer.
How much do tripod accessories cost?
You must also account for the costs of tripod accessories to your overall budget. Some accessories are instrumental in enhancing your user experience and tripod functionality.
An instrumental consideration, tripod heads serve as a connecting point to expand your control and stability. It is ideal to seek a tripod head that compliments your tripod legs and enhances the overall stability and weight management. Ball heads are vital to note here as they enhance flexibility, orientation and deliver multiple shooting angles.
Quick Release Mounts
Another crucial accessory, camera tripod mount plates, are extremely popular and very easy to find in the market. However, if your budget is within the $200 range, you’ll probably find a tripod with a built-in quick release system. Most designs from Manfrotto and Rocketfish come with this feature.
If you work while traveling and cherish portability, a tripod shoulder strap is a must-have accessory. It will ensure a hands-free operation, and take the load off your arms and shift it to your shoulders. If you have a heavy tripod and bulky equipment, a shoulder strap can make a world of difference.
This is a crucial investment if you’ve bought a high-tech tripod. A case will keep your gadget clean and safe from all kinds of potential dangers while traveling long distances. Tripods are particularly vulnerable to impact damage. Therefore, a case will protect your investment splendidly.
Cell Phone Bracket
If you like working with your phone camera and wish to improve the quality of videos you’re shooting on your phone, you’ll need this. A cell phone bracket is a splendid investment to eliminate the horrid shaking and give your videos a professional outlook.
Handlebar Camera Mounts
A highly functional investment if you like to shoot hands free and while riding a motorcycle or a bike. If you’re a travel blogger, this accessory is worth every penny you spend on it. It can make content creation incredibly simpler, especially in high-risk situations and challenging terrains. Handlebar camera mounts are super-useful and affordable to work with cell phones, small DSLRs, and point-and-shoot cameras.
Another excellent investment, L Brackets ensure superior protection and stability. They are a rock-solid investment to mount your device in horizontal and vertical camera orientation. These prove immensely functional and useful in exploring multiple camera mounting options for enhanced flexibility.
What is the price of a tripod?
The price ranges of tripods begin as low as $10 and go as high as $2.000. How much does a tripod cost depends on exactly how much you’re willing to pay. You can explore budget tripods, expensive tripods, professional tripods, and a wide variety of specifications for beginners and professionals.
How much is a tripod on Amazon?
Amazon is a huge digital marketplace. It offers an abundance of variety in terms of tripod qualities and price ranges. You can scoop up tripods as low as $9 and $19. However, these models are criticized for being overly cheap and unreliable.
Is a tripod really necessary?
That depends entirely on the nature of your photography work, style and preferences. If you’re dealing with shaky videos and blurry images, a tripod can work wonders at enhancing sharpness, stability, and quality.
Which Tripod Should you Buy?
The right tripod for your photography ambitions depends entirely on your preferences. Ask yourself: do I need a lightweight device for travelling or a heavy tripod that can easily handle the weight of my gadgets? Do I prefer functionality over stability, or is stability more important for my needs? Am I looking for a budget-friendly option, or do I seek a high-tech gadget for superior precision?
Which is the best tripod for mobile?
Manfrotto and Vanguard have some incredible mobile-friendly tripod designs. The best design depends entirely on your personal preferences, budget, and functionality features. It is best to shop around and explore your options extensively.
Are expensive tripods worth the extra cost?
While that depends entirely on your preferences, an expensive model is far better than a cheap one. Expensive tripods are a great investment if you’re a seasoned professional with clients who demand excellent results. However, if you’re still learning and developing as a photographer, save that money to upgrade your camera and telephoto lenses.
Buying a camera tripod may seem easy, but it most certainly isn’t. Most people end up with the wrong $50 tripod that breaks within a month. Like all buying decisions, this investment requires numerous considerations. If you’re asking how much does a tripod cost, you’re on the right foot. We strongly recommend you arm yourself with research like this and seek out recommendations from professionals.
Be sure to determine your needs and the overall weight of your devices before you start shopping for tripods. It is also advisable to understand the configuration of various features, such as center columns and tripod heads. We hope this guide proves helpful in making a well-informed buying decision!
For more reviews and guides about tripods, click here.
Alain is one of the co-founders of MyTravelTripod. He enjoys writing and organizing content and he also takes care of the marketing side and all external contacts of MyTravelTripod.
In his free time, he loves watching landscapes and he cannot resist capturing them with his camera.
He also admits that he is still playing electronic games…a lot.