Photography / Buying Guide

10 Recommended Tripods for Photography


A good-quality tripod is one of the most important purchases you can make for your camera, but with so many new brands and options out there, choosing the right one can be a challenge. Here, we’ve compiled a list of ten great tripods that are sure to offer something for amateurs and pros alike.

Before we get into the list itself, let’s go over some tripod basics that will help you make an informed purchase. 

The first question you need to answer is how much weight does your tripod need to hold? If you shoot wildlife and have a full-sized DSLR with a 400mm lens, you’re going to need a much different tripod than if you shoot with a small compact camera. So you’re going to want a tripod with a load capacity that is more than your heaviest lens-and-body combination.

The next question is, what will your primary use for the tripod be? If you’re a still life or portrait photographer who works in a studio, a lightweight support probably isn’t that important to you. However, if you travel often, size and weight are going to be your main concern. A compact carbon tripod with reverse-folding legs will probably be your best bet.

Manfrotto Compact Advanced Aluminum Tripod

This tripod, available in black or white, is an excellent choice for beginners or for advanced photographers looking for a fairly lightweight (3.1 lb) and versatile all-in-one camera support. It can hold up to 6.6 lb, so it is best used with compact cameras or DSLRs with lightweight lenses. This tripod has a minimum height of 17.5", a maximum height of 65", and folds down to 17.3", making it pretty compact while still extending to be tall enough for most photographers. The attached 3-way pan/tilt head is great for people who shoot stills and videos, as it allows you to make smooth pans and tilts, while also enabling 90° rotation to shoot in portrait orientation. This tripod includes a quick-release plate and a padded carrying bag.

Oben AC-1441 4-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-111 Ball Head

The AC-1441 can hold up to 11 lb, enough for most DSLR-and-lens combinations. It weighs 3.3 lb and can extend up to 61.6". When its four leg sections are collapsed, it folds down to 21.3" to fit in the included case. This tripod has some convenient features, such as a bubble level and a ballast hook on the center column to add extra weight for added stability. The center column can be split or reversed, making it easy to shoot macro or shots as low as 8.3".  The BA-111 is a simple ball head with one locking lever to control the pan and ball movements. It has an additional four bubble levels, ensuring every shot will be accurately level.

MeFOTO RoadTrip Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Kit

The RoadTrip Travel Tripod Kit is a popular carbon fiber camera support for many travel photographers. It is lightweight at 3.1 lb and very compact, folding down to just 15.4", due to its reverse-folding five-section legs. With a load capacity of 17.6 lb, the RoadTrip is a very sturdy support that can extend to the same height as the Oben AC-1441—61.6". Another great feature for traveling photographers is that one of the legs can be removed and attached to the center column to make a full-size monopod. The included ball head has separate locks for panning and ball movement, and is Arca compatible, so you can use the included quick-release plate, or most other Arca-style plates. This tripod also has a bubble level, a ballast hook, and includes a carrying case with a shoulder strap.

Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10X Ball Head

If The RoadTrip is still not compact enough for you, the T-025X from Sirui takes compactness even further, with the smallest folded length on this list of only 12.2", while still able to reach a respectable maximum height of 54.5". Weighing just 1.7 lb, this carbon tripod can hold up to 13.2 lb. Like most other travel tripods in its category, it also has reverse-folding legs that fold around the included ball head. The head has separate pan and tilt locks, and includes an Arca-type compatible quick-release plate. A removable center column allows the T-025X to get down to just 4.3". A carabiner attaches to a ring on the center column for adding a weight, and the tripod includes a carrying case.

MeFOTO GlobeTrotter Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Kit

If you need a compact and lightweight tripod, and you also need a higher load capacity than the previous suggestions, the carbon fiber GlobeTrotter from MeFOTO might be what you need. It can hold up to 26.4 lb, while still maintaining a relatively light weight of 3.7 lb and folded length of 16.1". Its five-section legs can raise it to 64.2" high, and like the RoadTrip, one of the legs converts into a monopod. It also has a ball head with separate pan and tilt locks, an Arca-type compatible quick-release plate, ballast hook, bubble level, and comes with a carrying case.

Oben CT-3581 Carbon Fiber Tripod with BE-126T Ball Head

Oben’s CT-3581 carbon fiber tripod is very similar in its specs to the GlobeTrotter, also holding 26.4 lb, while weighing 3.9 lb, and extending to 67.9". It folds down to 16.9", with a removable leg that converts to a monopod, and a reversible center column for low-angle shots. Unique to the tripods on this list so far, the CT-3581 includes retractable spikes in its rubber feet, making it ideal for both hard and soft shooting surfaces. The BE-126T ball head has separate pan and tilt locks, and includes an Arca-type compatible quick-release plate. A carrying case is included to protect your tripod during travel.

Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Carbon Fiber Tripod

Manfrotto’s travel tripod, the BeFree, is a compact carbon fiber support that holds up to 8.8 lb, and is lightweight at just 2.4 lb. Like the other travel tripods, it has reverse-folding legs, making its folded length 15.75". It extends from 13.4 to 55.9", and unlike many carbon fiber tripods, it utilizes flip locks instead of twist locks. It has a simple ball head with one locking knob for both the pan and tilt movements. A quick-release plate and carrying case are included with the tripod, and it is also available in a kit with an Advanced Travel Backpack. The backpack can hold a DSLR with an attached lens, two additional lenses, a flash and accessories, as well as a 13" laptop, and an expandable side pocket will carry the BeFree tripod.

Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber Tripod

An upgrade to a classic line of tripods, Manfrotto’s MT055CXPRO3 is best suited for photographers for whom portability isn’t as important as the extensive features that this support offers. It’s a three-section tripod with a load capacity of 19.8 lb and extends from 3.5 to 66.9", with a folded length of 24". This updated tripod features Quick Power Locks, which increase the tripod's rigidity by 50% compared to its predecessor. Its newly designed center column offers "one-finger" operation, and quickly adjusts to be parallel to the ground for unique angles. It has an Easy Link 3/8"-16 attachment for attaching accessories, such as an LED light or a reflector via a compatible arm. Unlike the previous tripods in this list, the MT055CXPRO3 does not include a head, allowing you to choose your preferred head, or attach one you already own.

Gitzo GT1545T Series 1 Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod

An updated Traveler tripod from Gitzo, the GT1545T uses Carbon eXact tubing for added strength and rigidity over previous models. It is a 4-section support that extends to 60.2" high and has reverse-folding legs that let it fold down to just 16.7". The compact folded height, combined with its light weight of 2.3 lb, space-saving G-locks, and the high load capacity of 22 lb makes this an ideal travel tripod. An included short center column enables a minimum working height of 8.6" for low-angle work.

Gitzo GT3542L Mountaineer Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod

By far the most heavy-duty and largest tripod on this list, the GT3542L has a 46.3 lb load capacity, making it ideal for photographers who use heavy lenses or large-format cameras. It extends to a maximum height of 70.1", and folds down to 23.2" for transport. Its center column is removable for Ground Level Set, allowing it to get down to just 6.3". The G-Lock Ultra twist locks have internal O-rings, preventing dust, sand, or other particles from getting between the leg sections. There is a ballast hook on the center column, and the mounting platform has a 3/8"-16 mount for attaching a head.

You should now be prepared to choose the tripod that best suits your needs. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online for a Live Chat.

Read more about tripods in these explora articles, 12 Recommended Travel Tripods and the Tripod Buying Guide.

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I have a Canon 5D Markll and do mostly landscape and wildlife photography. I use lenses up to the Canon 100-400 USL while shooting long distance wildlife but am also considering purchasing larger ultra zoom lenses in the future. I also hike extensively and need a lightweight (carbon fiber?) tripod that is easily packable yet able to handle the weight of the camera and lenses. I am also wanting to do some time exposure shots so stability is also required.

Can you suggest the best choices for a tripod based on the above?      Thanks

For this, your best option would be to contact our Photo Department directly.  In the email, you would also want to include your height and if you have a rough budget.  You will likely be looking at a carbon fiber option if you need something that is both extremely light weight for hiking, but also sturdy enough for longer/heavier lenses and longer exposures.

hey i was curious if you guys have come to a conclusion as to which tri pod is the best fit for extensive hikers as I enjoy natural landscape photography as well! much thanks, victoria 

There are quite a few great options on the market for travel tripods and tripods that are designed to be light weight/compact for hiking.  For recommendations, I would suggest sending us an email letting us know what camera you have, your longest/heavies lens, and how tall you are.  We would then be happy to make a recommendation or two.  Without knowing one’s height or gear, it is difficult to make a recommendation.

I have brought a tripod LVG,it is very convenient and stable

I wish photography, especially macro photography, was a passion or even a hobby but for me it's a necessity.  I will be taking pictures of vintage costume jewelry for posting on any or all of  - my own website, Etsy, and Ruby Lane.  I put away my Canon PowerShot and now have the right camera and lens for the job.

My next purchase will be a tripod and head.  I've found numerous tripods geared toward portability, variety of positions and even action shots.  I just need a good, sturdy tripod that will be set up i& probably never moved.  Load capacity (at least 12 lbs) and steadiness are my biggest concerns.  I don't care how portable it is and I don't need it to accommodate taking pictures 6-12" from the floor so I'd prefer not to pay for those features while still getting a high quality "studio" tripod.

I would be so grateful for suggestions.

For a sturdy tripod for studio usage, I would recommend the Vanguard ALTA PRO 263AB TRIPOD w/HEAD, B&H # VAAP263AB,  It supports up to 15.4 lbs and has the benefit of the center column being able to be used laterally for macro photography usage.  If you do not need a lateral center column and need a more economical option, then the Oben AC-1361 3-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-117 Ball Head, B&H # OBAC1361117, or the Sunpak 423PX2 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with Compact Pistol Grip Head, B&H # SU423PX2, may work for your needs.


I have a D-750 with a Sigma 105mm Macro lens, I need to take photographs completley paralel to the floor. What would you recommend?

There are quite a few options on the market with center columns capable of being positioned horizontally.  Manfortto makes some solid tripods, and their 055 series would be a good option for the D750 with the Sigma 105mm macro lens.  You might look at the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 Aluminum Tripod with 054 Q2 Magnesium Ball Head Kit, which has a center column which can be positioned horizontally. 


I frequently use a Nikon D750 with the 70-200mm 2.8. I want to buy a good tripod that I can trust with my lens. I looked at Vanguard VEO 265AB Aluminum Tripod With TBH-50 Ball Head and Vanguard Alta Plus 263AGH Aluminum Tripod with GH-100 Pistol Grip Ball Head. What would you recommend ?. It need not be of the same brand. Any brand would do as long as My lens is safe on it. 

Thank you in advance!

Hi Dilanjan -

Either system will work well with your camera and lenses. Both offer fine, sturdy support. You need to decide if the pistol grip will be something you will find useful.

hi, i'm looking for a tripod for outdoor, mostly like beach, hillside... which one is good for 5DM3 with a 24-105 lense and easy to carry around?I'd be prepared to spend up to $200 AUD and was wondering if anyone could give me their suggestions?

Hi -

The TR654C-36 Traverse Carbon Fiber Grounder Tripod with Ball Head from David & Sanford is a compact support that extends to 65", weighs 3.25 lb, and can hold up to 12 lb of gear. It features 180° reverse-folding legs that fold around the ball head allowing it to fold down to just 18.5".

The tripod's four leg sections are independently adjustable and held in place with twist locks. The grounder feature comes into action when the included short center column is installed, enabling the tripod to get down to just 9" above the ground.

The included ball head has separate locks for the panning and ball movements, allowing you to pan your camera without losing your level position. An Arca-type compatible quick-release plate attaches to your camera's tripod mount for fast mounting. A carrying bag is included with the tripod to protect it during transport.

8-layer carbon fiber legs

Magnesium and aluminum components

Easy Glide center column

Three independent leg angles

Foam grip cushioned insulated leg

Rubber feet with retractable spikes provide stability on a variety of surfaces

A ballast hook on the center column allows for hanging equipment or adding weight to increase stability

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:

HI, I am looking to update my tripod. I shoot landscape and wildlife mainly and have a Canon 6D with up to 100mm-400mm lens.

I bushwalk a fair bit so weight is a factor. I'd be prepared to spend up to $300 AUD and was wondering if anyone could give me their suggestions? Also what is the advantage of twist handle as opposed to pistol grip? Self level tripod would be great but I'm thinking that would be out of my range.

Hi Paul -

The Vanguard Alta+ 263AGH Aluminum Tripod W/Pistol Grip Ballhead provides the stability, durability and reliability you want in your gear. The aluminum alloy legs have settings for 25°, 50°, and 80° with easy-release buttons for quick set-up. This lightweight (4.75 lbs/2.15 kg) tripod collapses to 26.375" (67 cm) and can be extended up to 5.38' (1.64 m)--and it supports up to 15.4 lbs (7 kg). All-weather foam grip legs, magnesium die-cast canopy and head, non-slip, spiked rubber feet and a removable hook for hanging camera accessories make this tripod a great addition to your kit bag.

The included GH-100 pistol-grip ballhead has one-handed operation--depressing the handle allows 360-degrees of panning movement, -32 to +90-degrees of side-to-side tilt and -8 to +90-degree back-to-front tilt movement all round. It instantly locks into place with simple release of the handle. A tripod bag for transport and storage is included, as is a stone bag which can hold nearly any kind of weight to provide ballast for the tripod.

Lightweight--4.75 lbs (2.15 kg)

Maximum height is 5.38' (1.64 m

Load capacity is 15.4 lbs (7 kg)

Compact--folds to 26.375" (67 cm)

Enables low-angle photography--legs can be quickly set to 25°, 50° and 80° positions at the touch of a button

Quick-flip leg locks

Advanced camera vibration and shock control

All-weather foam grip legs

Non-slip, spiked rubber feet for changing terrains

A removable hook for hanging camera accessories

Innovative pistol-grip ballhead

 Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:

I've been reading the recommendations and there's a lot of good information here.  I'm looking for a low cost ($200 or so) tripod with a one touch grip (pistol?) - so I can pan and zoom with my Nikon DSLR.  I use it out and about - typically indoors.  Do you have thoughts on what I can put together?

Thank you

Depend on the specific gear you would be supporting the Vanguard Alta+ 263AGH Aluminum Tripod W/Pistol-Grip Ballhead would be suggested. This tripod will come with the GH-100 Pistol-Grip Ballhead and will support up to 15lbs. 

I have been an amateur photographer for about 10 years. I bought a few cheap tripods that I never used over the years. When I started doing studio photography a few years ago, I started shopping for a reasonably priced tripod and purchased the 263AGH. It was about $250 when I purchased it and it is now $200.

The AGH version comes with the pistol grip to allow for fast aiming. This tripod made me into a tripod guy. My 5DM2 with 24-70L, battery grip and flash weigh in at 6 pounds. It has no problem holding any position I put it in.

Victoria Christophe

Hi Victoria, thanks so much for writing in. If you really like tripods you might also enjoy reading our buying guide about the best tripods for travel:

Happy Trails!

I have a Canon 5D Mark III and I will be mounting a Tamron 150-600 on there along with my other light lens. What Tripod can I get that will not shake and shimmer with a ball head that will not slip when using my Tamron lens? I do astrophotography at times so I can't have any shaking or slipping. I will be doing nature and landscape shoots as well.  I will be switching from my long lens to my light lens often at times.

Can I get a tripod and ball head less than $300.00 that will fit my needs?

The Benro TMA27A Series 2 Mach3 Aluminum Tripod paired with Benro V2E Triple Action Ball Head would offer the support and stability needed for the Tamron 150-600mm and the 5D Mark III near the price range you were looking to stay within.

I realize I may be asking more of a religion vs technical question, but I need to know the pros and cons of twist locks vs flip locks. I have 1 hand...

After thinking it through, in my own opinion it would be easier to work with a flip-lock style release vs twist-type, as the twist-type really requires that you hold the tripod with one hand, and twist the lock with the second.  With flip-style locks, one could hold the tripod just below/above the flip-lock, and use only their thumb to flip it open, and to close simply reverse the process, but it could all be done with one hand.

Yossi O wrote:

After thinking it through, in my own opinion it would be easier to work with a flip-lock style release vs twist-type, as the twist-type really requires that you hold the tripod with one hand, and twist the lock with the second.  With flip-style locks, one could hold the tripod just below/above the flip-lock, and use only their thumb to flip it open, and to close simply reverse the process, but it could all be done with one hand.

AsIChina, there is a new tripod &monopod brand which i konw so famous,but all this tripod brand have not release to internaional is LETO which applid for first-class photographer use it. i think it will be more famous in global. LETO

About a year ago I went to a camera shop specifically to buy a Manfrotto tripod. This shop also stocked a good range of Sirui tripods and while waiting to be served I idly compared the 2 brands side by side. For the same weight and specs the Siruis were much more stable, and significantly cheaper. I ended with a Sirui and I have not regretted it.

Don't look down on the Siruis just because they are a Chinese brand. They are quality tripods!


I have a few nice tripods but each time there is a new feature that seems to be critical for my needs.  My two main nature tripods are two Carbon Fiber tripods, a very large Gitzo, something like the Gitzo Series 3 6X Systematic Carbon Fiber Tripod (Long) and an older carbon fiber Manfrotto from the 190 ceries.  My biggest issue now is fltying (I don't really like to have to pay an extra $50 just to bring a tripod with me in checked luggage)  and trying to get something that will fit in my camera bag and must be under 17 inches to fit in my Lowepro ProRunner Tripod. I am a serious nature photographer and  have an absolute need to do lots of macro and handle up to a 4.5 lb 150-450 lens on a ~2 lb camera body.  The tripods that I'm most interested in are Sirui series 1004/1204 (load capasity 18lbs) and 2004/2204 (load capasity 26.5 lbs). Both of these tripods look like they can handle my needs, so right now the issue is to consider if 1) 18lbs LC  is enough to meet my maximum needs and 2) If it is worth the extra expence to go carbon fiber over alumunum. So will the smaller series be okay for my needs or should I really be looking at the larger 2000 series?

Also if there is another tripod that you would recommend that meets my needs I would be happy to consider it as well.

The collective weight of your tripods is right at approximately 7lbs (+/-).  Having a tripod that accomodates 26lbs is overkill in my own opinion however the good thing is that these days many common and popular tripods are coming with a weight capacity far greater than most users will be able to take them to. 

Carbon fiber models will tend to shave a fraction of a pound or so off the weight off the same aluminum models, the greater benefit not being the weight reduction, but the nature of the carbon fiber alloy.  Carbon fiber is able to dampen vibrations much better than aluminum, and in cold weather it is does not retain cold the same as an aluminum model, i.e. you can work with a Carbon fiber model with a glove off the hand and not be punished for it.

The models you have selected are all suitable for your criteria.  You could save some money by going with the 1004/1204 series if you wanted.  I would also recommend considering the MeFoto Globetrotter model also discussed in this article.  It can hold up to 26lbs, fold down to 16" and one of the legs can be remvoed and combined with the center column to create a monopod.  See the link below for details on those options on our website:

I apprecated the tripods article and will save it for I'm in the market for a travel and a studio tripod.  However, it would have been  appreciated if the artcle had included estimated retail prices. When shopping for a tripod I look for the tripod's height, weight (how mch load it will support), material it is made (aluminum or carbon) and price. Your article included those items except price.

In general we do not include pricing in these types of articles as they can can serve as pertinent information for a very long time, and the price/availability are always subject to change.  We do provide links to each of the items discussed on our website where we have our real time pricing posted for each item.  If you scroll up and view the section at the end of the article labled "Items Discussed in Article" you can link to any of the options here. 

none of your recomendations seem to help someone who is above average hight *sigh*

Most of these tripods go to nearly 5' or more, and at least one goes up to 6' high. Are you taller than 6' and need a tripod that reaches your eye leve while you're standing up straight? That's really important. *sigh*

I bought a new manfrotto MT055PROX for my real estate work and i broke the center column screw after only 3 weeks on the job. The center column wouldn't lock tight enough and I kept getting movement between shots. My previous 055prob lasted 7 years and except for a broken leg lock it was solid. The new mafrottos are rubbish! I even know another photographer who is a friend who just broke the center column screw on his new manfotto as well!

Can suggest the most stable tripod to hold a 650-1300mm zoom lense for wildlife still photos.

Below are links to recommended tripods for you to consider using with your 650-1300mm lens:

check out Wimberley tripods /gimbal. The only drawback is that you need to level it (2 axis only) and not really designed to mount from the base of the camera. Totally an awesome system for large lens.

Seems as if Manfroto bought and paid for this article. Finally, while reading the comments, the Vangard tripood is mentioned. Finest tripod on the market. A little heavy, but stands up to field conditions, rain, snow, wind. Much sturdier than my photo buddy's carbon fiber. Personally, I have no use for the twist leg locks or the pan head that has levers poking me when ever I get within 6 inches of it.

"Seems as if Manfroto bought and paid for this article." Lol, why, because 3 out of the 10 products are this brand? I'd want better than 3/10 if I were Manfrotto. And in case you haven't been into a camera store lately, Manfrotto would be the most popular stocked tripod brand by a long shot so it makes perfect sense to feature more than 1 in this article. 

One of the basics in selecting a tripod, that wasn't mentioned, is it's height without the center column.  Being 6'8" tall (80"), and frequently working on uneven surfaces, this becomes a issue.  Tripods in the 50 to 66 inch range, don't cut it.  My Gitzo GT3542XLS has plenty of reach and, so far, has handled everything I've asked of it.  I have used shorter tripods, and it doesn't take long for my back/neck to let me know that this is a bad idea.

You are right, height is something to think about. I am 4'10 tall and I need a smaller tripod and light. I am thinking of a monopod.

Excellent choices especially for me who is shopping for a carbon traveling tripod with a ball head!

   All good tripods on this list but way too many Manfrotto models.  A friend told me about the tripod he purchased and I had never heard of it but now after seeing it and looking at the specs cannot believe it is not on this list.  It is the Induro CT-213 and the model above it also.  Nice lightweight carbon fiber tripods but they can easily hold up to a super heavy 8x10 view camera :-)  The same with the Induro Ball Heads. Great products that you don't have to sell your house to purchase.  Remember that a great Tripod is forever, it either does it's job or it doesn't. Even if you like Manfrotto you can always put a Manfrotto head on these Induro tripods. The only thing I wish they had was a  bubble level. 

I researched tripods and heads lots recently.  Wanted to get a Manfrotto CF tripod and geared head - for architectural work, mostly interiors.  The Manfrotto legs were very unimpressive, even the newly released models.  Too spindly and rickety for my purposes.  And the geared head, a standard piece among architectural photographers, was clunky.  So I looked at an Induro 5-D head, the  PHQ-1.  It has a known problem or two but otherwise is great.  While checking it out, I fell in love with the Induro tripods.  Surprise!  I ended up buying the biggest, heaviest Induro tripod, even though it would be nothing like a CF Manfrotto.  Now that I've been using the Induro tripod and head for several months, I'm delighted with my choices.  Even though it's Made in China, it seems to be made well.  It certainly works very well.  Some of the Manfrotto gear is just soooo amateur by comparison.  My experience, at least.

Hey, you missed the best tripod around Vanguard ABEO Pro 283CT with GH-300T pistol grip! 

An accurate tripod according to your needs is the only answer to get the right one. quality has a lot to do with it, some of them have some problems to extend everyone of the legs or to keep them in the place you need it. Sometimes it becomes useless  and complicated, It is much better to get some references  before shopping. I have own and used a MASTERPRO- I  for more than 25 years and it still works like new. It is a pity they don´t produce it anymore.


Good summary of several tripods

Triposds Recommended

I am rediscovering semi-serious photography after a 40-year absence. Working with two pros, I have been taught the importance of having a good tripod. Sorting through the literally thousands of possible combinations of legs and heads is mind-numbing. I borrowed a Manfrotto 190X with a pistol-grip ball head for a macro workshop. I had to take an Aleve after lugging it around all day. The carbon fiber models seem to be a good solution, but all the reviews say you need to attach weight to the center post for stability. My question is - if you have to carry the additional weight anyway, why not buy a less-expensive, more-stable aluminum tripod? Good article on tripods - just what I was looking for.

You have to carry around a heavy camera bag anyway, and that weight is plenty to add the needed stability to your tripod.  Why carry the extra weight of a heavy tripod when you have the things you need to make a light one stable?

If you're not carrying the tripod far or not moving it much, then a heavier (and cheaper) one is a fine solution.  

It's a good question, and the answer all depends on your personal requirements, finances, etc.

I have two workhorse tripods; one a compact, carbon fiber that weighs a little over 3 pounds (including ball head), folds down to less than 17"  and supports over 17 pounds. I use it primarily for travel / hiking. (It also has a screw-off monopod.) The other is an aluminum 'pod with a geared head that weighs twice as much, doesn't fold down as compactly and supports less weight (but all that I need). It's primarily my studio 'pod.

Anyway, if you need a lightweight tripod, but require additional weight to stabilize it, you can buy empty weight bags that can be filled on-site with sand, water, etc., to provide the stability you need, so you don't have to lug the extra weight around with you. You just have to have a ready source of weighting material to fill the bag(s) with on-site (works in many, if not all, situations).

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