Tripods have been an essential part of photographers’ tools since the beginning of the art form. Even now, with very advanced full-featured cameras with ultra high ISO capability, super fast lenses, and image stabilization. A tripod is still needed for the absolute best image quality.
In photography, certain brands may become synonymous with a particular feature set, intended use, or over all quality. This holds true for cameras, lenses, flashes, and tripods. But what are the best tripod brands on the market? This is actually a rather subjective question, but there are some brands that many photographers agree will stand out.
Here is my list of the best tripod brands, along with some brand history and some products they are well known for. This list is no particular order, so the numbering is not a rank.
Top 10 Best Tripod Brands for Photographers & Videographers
Manfrotto was known in some areas of the world also by the brand name Bogen. They have discontinued that separate name now, but since this brand makes high-quality items, you will still see many Bogen products on the used market. In the 1960s, photographer and cinematographer Lino Manfrotto was frustrated by the lighting stands and tripods he was using, so he decided to make his own.
By the 1970s, it was a well established and respected brand. The features on Manfrotto products work the way a photographer would expect them to work, because they were designed by active shooters. Manfrotto primarily makes tripods and heads for photo and video, lighting equipment such as stands and booms, and other useful accessories. While not necessarily an inexpensive brand, many items can be purchased at reasonable prices.
They also make some very premium products for the highest quality heavy duty needs. I have been using Manfrotto products for many years now. It’s always among my favorite brands in the reviews I research and test for. They always seem to have just what I’m looking for. More proof of the value of having photographers design or test a product. There are many great brands, though. Keep reading on.
If you want to learn more about Manfrotto, you can check out my guide on the best Manfrotto tripods.
Founded in 1986, Vanguard World has since grown into an industry-leading global corporation. Vanguard World manufactures high quality photographic and video accessories such as tripods, monopods, tripod heads, camera bags and cases, sporting optics which include riflescopes, binoculars and spotting scopes, and sporting accessories.
A woman-owned and operated company, Vanguard World is headquartered in Guangdong, China, and has branches in the United States, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, and Japan.
Being focused on sporting and sportsmanship besides photography, they tend to make tripods that have features an outdoorsman photographer will enjoy and employ. Some of the coolest ideas in field tripods are their multi angle legs and center columns.
They also have many items in lightweight, but extremely strong, carbon fiber. This saves weight while offering great strength and excellent thermal capabilities. Popular with many nature photographers and videographers. A higher end brand with reasonable pricing.
DOLICA is a relatively new American based company headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Part of their mission statement reads: “We have put together a group of Professional and Prosumer Photographer and Videographers that through their own personal experiences and our research and development have developed the products you need to achieve your creative vision.”
I can assure you, they are definitely living up to that motto. Dolica makes some of the most compact tripods in any category. Even their full size tripods collapse down to a size that almost defies logic. So, a Dolica tripod is in the gear set of many backpacking nature enthusiasts and photographers.
Dolica also uses real world photographers as testers for their developing projects, and this shows in the innovative products they offer. Their website even has a gallery of work done by users of their product. It’s worth looking at just for the enjoyment of nature photography.
Induro is another manufacturer of high quality tripods and accessories intended for heavy outdoor and sporting use. They also use a team of real professionals to test out and develop their products, so features and quality are what a real photographer would expect. Induro is well known for their carbon fiber tripods and their very fine gimbal heads.
While it may not a brand with a lot of popular name recognition, sports and wildlife photographers speak highly of their products. Induro also sponsors educational webinars and is heavily invested in educational involvement on several different levels.
Bonfoto Photography is a relative newcomer as far as tripod branding goes. They are a part of the multi national Xuzhou Dongkeweiye Technology Co.,Ltd. While not having a huge brand name presence yet, they are no slackers with regards to quality and innovation.
They also make and market other photographic and video products besides tripods and tripod heads. I first became aware of them while reviewing video tripods and I can say that they make a useful and quality product. Pricing is very reasonable and the features of many of their tripods are easy to use and fit in well to real world photo and video applications.
What serious photographer doesn’t know this brand name? For decades, Gitzo has been a maker of extremely high quality tripods and accessories for heavy duty professional use. They also tend to be quite expensive compared to similar brands, but many users will tell us that the price is well worth it.
Gitzo was founded in France by Arsène Gitzhoven in 1917, initially producing wooden and metal cassette film backs, and later expanding to include a line of cameras, shutters, and cable releases. Between 1942 and 1944 during World War II, the company produced military support systems.
During the late 1940s, tripods and tripod heads were introduced into their product range. If you were to look at a movie set, or at the gear of a large format photographer, you are likely to see at least one item from Gitzo. This brand has multiple types of camera support gear, from window mounts and minipods to stands capable of supporting giant view cameras and 70mm movie cameras.
The brand quality is so well recognized, even decades old used items are still selling for premium prices. As many photographers and film makers will tell you, though, when the best quality is desired, price is not an issue. Gitzo also makes tripods available with reasonable consumer pricing, while still maintaining the high quality we expect from this premier tripod brand. No list of best tripod brands should ever exclude Gitzo.
A list of best tripod brands doesn’t need to be all premium priced professional items. The Mefoto brand of lightweight travel tripods and other accessories has an excellent record of making quality tripods at very reasonable prices.
Many smart phone photographers will instantly recognize this brand as making great selfie sticks and phone mounting adapters for tripods. Their travel tripods are among the most easily portable around. While I wouldn’t match their stuff up to a heavy duty view camera stand, for most photographic enthusiasts, Mefoto has what they will need.
If you use an action camera like the Go-Pro cameras, you are likely already familiar with this brand. Another relative newcomer, Joby was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area and is based in Petaluma, CA.
I haven’t mentioned any specific products in most of this list, but Joby pretty much revolutionized the camera accessories market in early 2006 with its GorillaPod line of flexible tripods and continues to redefine the consumer electronics and photography markets with its GripTight products for mobile devices.
This brand is really at the forefront of innovation for small camera mounts, smart phone mounts, and other photo and video accessories geared towards action cams and smart phones. Besides being innovative, they are also very well made and sturdy.
Magnus is pretty quickly making a good name for their brand with a line of very affordable video tripods. They make a full line of tripods for photo and video, including mounts for action cams and smart phones, but reasonably priced video tripods is how I first noticed them.
Apparently, they only make tripods and camera support accessories, so they can concentrate on bring to market a good product at very affordable prices. You might not even know you’re using a Magnus tripod, since they are often rebranded as store brands.
Their video fluid head is a great tool for videographers using either a camcorder or a DSLR with video function. Once you try out this brand, you’ll notice it everywhere. It is also very often included in package deals from some of the larger camera stores. Low priced and good quality.
Guangdong SIRUI Optical Co., Ltd was founded in 2001, and is located in Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, in the economically developed Pearl River Delta region of China. The scope of SIRUI’s business mainly covers developing, producing and selling optical lenses and their key components, intelligent optoelectronic products and their key components, and optical instruments.
Also developing, designing, producing and selling intelligent safety and dehumidifying cabinets, normal dehumidifying cabinets, intelligent heads, software development, cargo and technology import and export. Wow! Yes, it’s a big company. With all that manufacturing and technological might behind them, you expect their tripods to high quality. You would be correct.
Their carbon fiber tripods are a joy to use. Since it’s such a huge multi national company, they also manage to keep the pricing reasonable. Do any search of reviews for carbon fiber tripods, and this brand will be among the highest in consumer satisfaction. They also make a superb line of very affordable video tripods and video tripod heads.
Well, there you have it. As usual, my thoughts are based on my own real world experience, as well as interviews with professionals and other serious users from all over. I have used or at least tested items from every one of these brands. Which is why I can confidently place them as among the best tripod brands. I think many will agree on what we’ve gone over here.
As I mentioned at the outset, this list is not a number ranking. Any of these brands might have the specific product you need for the job you are doing. Some of them have a higher presence among professional photographers, but all of the brands I listed in this best tripod brands list will give a demanding photographer or videographer great performance and value.