Selecting a tripod, isn’t hard or expensive if you avoid getting caught in the vortex of forums and Facebook Groups. When you start out in photography it is easy to get caught up in so much information, lots of BS and misinformation or snobbery about brands and gear that can get you get frozen into inaction.
Every week I see newbie photographers asking questions on forums, Facebook is rife with this. 99% of the time the answers they get back are the worst kind of junk and they just get confused.
Using a tripod is so important for low light situations like sunrise or sunset, waterfalls and many more landscape photography situations. For me as a professional landscape photographer it is the second most important piece of kit after my camera and lens.
It isn’t complicated or hard to get the right tripod. Firstly, one of the most critical questions is budget, how much can you afford. The good thing is that if your budget is anywhere between $25 - $1000 there is a tripod to fit your budget.
But even better news, that today you can buy a great quality tripod suitable for most cameras for well under $100. Recently I have been on the hunt for new gear to add to the Adventure Photography kit, we offer beginner photographers a camera and tripod to hire if they don’t own one.
So that has led me on the search for quality tripods under $100. Not too long ago that would have only led to flimsy tripods not capable of carrying a heavy DSLR, my camera and main lens is about 2.5kg.
My main tripod is a 3 Legged Thing Brian, yes I know it is a weird name for a tripod, it is Carbon fibre, full height and compact when folded and comes in under 1.5kg. I have taken it around the world several times and it is brilliant. But it also retails for over $400 here in Australia. So really not a great tripod for a beginner, if you have that sort of spare cash available I would suggest you invest that in a better camera or lenses.
I have recently bought and tested the Zomei Q555 Professional Tripod. Honestly, this is an awesome and sturdy tripod even with my Nikon D850 and 16-35mm lens (roughly 2.5kg) on top. The results speak for themselves, the shot below is an 8 second exposure captured on top of the Zomei.
It is sturdy and solid, packs up to a compact size and even has a great carry bag, has a standardised base plate (Arca type), comes in at 1.3kg. Finally it can be bought online for under AU$60 delivered to your door. That is awesome.
Previously my recommendation on a small and great value tripod was the Manfotto BeFree, a wonderfully small, compact and lightweight tripod but the BeFree retails for around AU$200.
I can’t see any clear advantages of the Manfrotto over the Zomei. In fact the BeFree is a bit short at 123cm high, the Zomei comes in at 136cm high.
In the end it is your decision, but I will be investing in a couple more of the Zomei’s.
A tripod is an essential tool for landscape and other low light photography, at Adventure Photography we specialise in helping photographers, particularly beginners build their confidence and skills at landscape and nature photography.
If you want to learn more in a supportive environment then our weekend photography courses or our workshops may be for you. Click here to learn more about our upcoming photography courses and workshops.