Whether or not you struggle to shoot video while holding a camera, mounting your camera on a tripod will vastly improve your shots. One can be particularly handy in low-light settings, time-lapses, and incredibly long shoots. A tripod can also help you position your camera at angles that would otherwise be awkward for a cameraperson. Tripods for moving images are quite different from those for still cameras, incorporating a fluid-filled head to make panning smoother. While lightweight field tripods are less suitable for heavy equipment, they can be ideal for vloggers and travel videographers using lighter cameras. When choosing a video tripod, it’s important to consider load capacity, as you should have one that handles all your equipment effortlessly; it’s also important to think about whether you need to make quick adjustments and whether you frequently shoot outdoors with possible wind. Whittle down your options with our favorites.
1. Viltrox VX-18M Tripod
This is a solidly built tripod that will satisfy almost every motion video shooting need. If you need to shoot from a tall angle, it can deliver with its legs that extend between 33 inches up to 74 inches. If you carry lots of gear, it will provide ample support with its maximum loading weight of 22 pounds—impressive for a nine-pound tripod. Its ball head moves with no drag and allows for 360˚ panning, and its rubber feet are uniquely shaped like horseshoes to provide better traction. If you’re shooting outdoors, you can remove them to expose spiked feet to stick into soft ground. Unlike some tripods, this one features knobs to adjust the legs, which allows you to tighten them to assert as much pressure as you’d like—but will require more time to position.
2. Coman Aluminum Tripod
This budget-friendly tripod weighs a little over eight pounds, making it the lightest one on our list. You can still prop a hefty camera with large lenses and other equipment on it, as it has a 13.2-pound weight limit. Like our top pick, it’s capable of reaching heights between 33 inches to 74 inches, and its 360˚-head swivels without jerking. This tripod doesn’t features spiked feet, however, which makes it a bit less stable outdoors, particularly on windy days. We like that the adjustment clamps are bright orange for immediate visibility, but they do feel a tad less sophisticated than those of pricier tripods.
3. Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System with Fluid Head
This Magnus model is fantastic for videographers who need to adjust tripods on the fly. Its legs move seamlessly and are loosened with quick-release clamps, and they click in place to let you know when you’ve reached the maximum height of 59 inches. They also feature feet with swivel ends to quickly expose spikes—you don’t have to carry extra accessories. Up top, enjoy fluid panning and tilting thanks to a well-built head, which has a quick-release mount for loading or switching cameras. This 10.8-pound camera might not be able to extend as tall as our other picks, and it has an 8.8-pound weight limit, but it offers a high-quality build and reliably stays in place once positioned.
4. Benro A2573F Aluminum Tripod
This tripod is built with single-tube legs, which means that once folded, it’s more compact than many others in its class. Despite this slim profile, it is reliably stable and capable of holding up to 13.2-pounds of equipment. You won’t experience much wobble, even when you extend its legs to reach the tripod’s maximum height of 71 inches. This tripod can also go lower than the rest on our list, standing at just 17.5 inches tall when fully collapsed. Enjoy using it both indoors and outdoors since it comes with rubber feet and spiked feet to anchor into soil and other soft terrain.
5. Manfrotto MVK500AM Lightweight Fluid Video System
If you’re able to splurge on the best of the best, look no further than this Manfrotto. Manufactured with an aluminum and carbon fiber structure, it is both resilient and lightweight, weighing just under seven pounds. Like our other picks, it features a fluid head, albeit one with unparalleled silky smooth panning and tilting. It features twin legs all the way from top to bottom (much of the competition features twin legs closer the base only), which provides greater stability as you move your camera. These can reach a maximum height of about 60 inches. The tripod’s rubber feet are wide and provide excellent traction. Feel free to load this top-notch tool with up to 11 pounds of equipment.