There are many reasons to want to make good use of the best tabletop tripods for your photographic needs. Sometimes, a tripod is the best tool to use to ensure getting a good image. But, having a tripod on hand and ready to use can be a challenge.
One of the reasons some photographers hold back from using a tripod is tied up with the very nature of the tripod itself.
However, there are smaller versions of tripods. Smaller, lightweight tripods, called travel tripods, are available and represent a good compromise between a stable platform and portability. Even smaller versions exist, known as tabletop tripods.
Are table top tripods worth it? Or should I get a normal tripod?
Tripods are often their weight in gold photographically. A tripod can make the difference in getting the shot or not. But some photographers tend to shy away from tripods at times, mostly because of their size and weight.
They try to hand hold the exposure, relying on good picture taking technique and the built-in image stabilization features of modern equipment.
While technique and features are great, This is occasions when a tripod is simply a necessity. So, why not simply carry around your main tripod? You don’t have to, because there are other options.
A tabletop tripod is a very handy tool. They are also extremely portable, fitting into virtually any camerabag or even a large pocket.
Of course, the even best tabletop You don’t limitations. Height is probably the biggest one. Hence the label‘tabletop.’ To make up for eight, you find a raised surface on which to place the tripod.
Another great thing about most tabletop tripods is that they are relatively inexpensive. Some scarcely cost more than adecent memory card.
How I found the best tabletop tripods
Interestingly for some, the criteria for choosing the best tabletop tripods are pretty much the same as when looking at the larger tripods. Just with a different focus to them because of intended use.
- Size. It’s needs to be big enough tohandle the load, but small enough to fit virtually anywhere for portability.
- Weight. Not the biggest concern, but stillneeds the right balance between usability and portability.
- Head. A good ball head is usually bestfor these tripods. Keeps size and complexity down while still givingflexibility and ease of use.
- Functionality. Are the legs sturdy? Is the headgood enough? Does it fold up small enough?
- Durability. Tabletop tripods tend to sufferabuse. Being stuffed in pockets, dropped, stepped on.
- Price. You don’t want the cheapestusually. They might not stack up well, as far as quality. But, no need to paytoo much, either.
Top 5 Best Tabletop Tripods for Photography & Video
1. Neewer 20 inches Table Top Tripod Review
As full featured as a standard size tripod, but really small. It’s made from aluminum, so it should stand up to some fairly heavy use. Aluminum alloy makes it lightweight, as well. Extends from 9 up to 20 inches.
It is very versatile. The legs extend in several sections for added height and it has a center column that can be raised up a few inches, too. The control for locking and unlocking the leg sections will take a little getting used to.
Instead of a lever lock or a twist ring knob lock for each separate leg extension, there is only the one twist ring knob for each leg. So, you may fiddle around with the legs a bit to get them all to the right height.
Its legs also spread out wide. This is a good feature for stability and also allows you to get really low to the surface for close up or macro views.
To get the legs all the way out, you have to move up the center column, but the center column also splits in two so you can keep your camera really low.
As with most items from Neewer, the price is very reasonable. In fact, the entire thing costs about what one might expect from a ball head alone. Great value, considering how versatile and well made it is.
2. JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom With Ball Head Review
GorrilaPods from Joby are an excellent option for tabletop tripods. The biggest difference between GorillaPods and other tripods is the legs.
They are super articulated. Flexible enough to wrap around objects like a tree limb or fence post, making them extremely versatile for all sorts of photographic needs.
When first seeing the legs, some might think that they are kind of funny looking. Well, they are, but that special design feature allows the legs to be bent almost into a circle.
Think of the tentacles of an octopus and that will help you describe the legs to other curious photographers.
This particular GorillaPod stands about 10 inches tall. There a several sizes of GorillaPod, this one is pretty much right in the middle of the line.
Scenarios that this tripod would be well suited for would included nature photography, urban streetscapes, industrial photography, filming at a game, rodeos, or outdoor concert. Basically, anywhere that presents a challenge for using a traditional tripod.
GorrilaPods are a little pricey, compared to similar sized minipods. About twice the cost of the other tripods on this list.
Considering the added capabilities, though, some photographers will easily justify the added cost.
3. RetiCAM Tabletop Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head Review
Biggest difference with this tabletop tripod compared to others is the pan and tilt head and geared center column. It would be a decent tripod for videographers as well as still photographers.
Adjusting a pan and tilt head during video recording seems a little bit easier than trying to move the camera on a ball head.
Movements while recording need to be as smooth as possible and readjusting a ball head can be a little jerky for a lot of video uses. The smooth, deliberate movement of the geared center column also fits in well for video recording.
It isn’t specifically a video tripod, though. It is well suited for all sorts of photography. Legs extend in three short sections, a separate lever lock for each segment takes care of that movement. A spreader bar between the center column and all three legs adds to the stability of the entire rig.
There is a bubble level built into the tripod, and the head and a well designed quick release system. A carrying case is included in the very low package price.
4. Amazon Basics50-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
More of a travel tripod than a true tabletop design, this unit has a price low enough to be considered almost an after thought for many people. Seriously, it barely costs more than a cafeteria combination plate.
From a minimum height of around 16 inches, it extends all the way to 50 inches. At full extension, it’s actually a little wobbly, but the tripod is extremely light and easy to transport.
It comes with a soft carrying case. A center column leg spreader bar helps out somewhat with stability.
Even though it’s a very light duty tripod, it will find its way into many gear kits. A tripod like this can be stashed in your car trunk or packed with your clothes in a suitcase.
Tripod head is a three way pan and tilt head with a quick release system. The head is also light duty, but it is well made and operates smoothly.
The biggest draw for this small tripod is its light weight and very low cost.
5. Manfrotto MTPIXI-B PIXI Mini Tripod Review
With some fashionable redesign, this mother of all tabletop mini tripods has been around for some four decades or so and has proven itself as a great tabletop tripod.
Made by Manfrotto, this is solid aluminum and is very basic. Being so basic is part of what makes this such an awesome choice for a carry anywhere tiny tripod.
Priced lower than many camera straps, you could stash a couple of these in various places. Keep one in the car and one in your camera bag, for instance.
The legs are very simple, just a folding mechanism with a small ball head attached on top. Folded up, the legs do double duty as a hand grip. A very low profile ball head is part of the tripod, but it can be unscrewed and replaced with something else if you desire.
Since there is no extension at all for leg and it has no center column adjustments because there isn’t a center column. So, you are absolutely dependent on whatever you put it on for camera height. But, since it is so strong, you can mount a substantial camera rig to it with little safety concern.
Small, basic, well made, this is what many photographers think of when the best tabletop tripods are mentioned in article or conversation. That’s not a sales pitch, simply a statement of fact.
Truth is, any of these best tabletop tripods will do the job for you. If you miss the shot because of not having a tripod, that particular shot is gone. Having a small, sturdy camera platform always at the ready is a great way to be prepared as a photographer or videographer.