Whether you are a landscape photographer or simply like taking photos while traveling? You are probably looking for the best travel tripod for mirrorless camera or your DSLR camera. What is the difference between a travel tripod and a regular one? Mainly, it’s size. Travel tripods are usually smaller in size and some of them even can be carried in a backpack. Some tripods fold in a particular way so that to become as compact as possible.
Besides, tripods designed for traveling are lighter in weight than standard three-legged stands. A travel tripod is always a trade-off between compactness and portability on one side and steadiness on the other. In this review, we are about to present the products, which managed to combine these opposite characteristics in the best way possible.
Best Travel Tripod for Mirrorless Camera in 2019
1. Feisol Tournament CT-3442 Rapid – The Best Tripod for Outdoor Photography
It’s safe to say that Feisol Tournament CT-3442 is an ultimate combination of light weight, compactness, and stiffness. Many wildlife and destination photographers have appreciated the advantages of this three-leg stand. Professionals value it for excellent quality and infallible performance.
Feisol Tournament is built of aerospace-grade aluminum alloy and advanced carbon fiber, which is considerably stronger than the material used in most other tripods. Such a combination of materials has allowed achieving superior strength and the lightest possible weight. Without the head, this tripod weighs only 2.31 pounds. Besides, Feisol designers have eliminated one part that is commonly considered as necessary, but in fact, can be spared – a center column. Of course, there times when you cannot do without it, but very often it can be sacrificed for lightness and compactness, which are more important.
Another thing that makes this camera stand preferable for field projects is a convenient size. When the legs are folded up, the head gets locked inside the construction, which measures only 19 inches long. Besides, the gravity center (a plate with a head) winds up as close to the middle of the folded device as possible, making it easier to manage.
Just like many other tripods, this one has four leg sections with the twist-locking mechanism. This type of locking is easier to manage than flip-lock mechanism, but equally as reliable. Three independently manageable leg angles help you achieve perfectly positioned shots on any terrain.
- A number of leg sections: four.
- A number of angle positions: three.
- 1” center plate.
- Twist-lock leg mechanism.
- Maximum load: 55 pounds.
- Total weight: 2.31 pounds (without head).
- Aluminum alloy combined with specialized carbon fiber.
- Backward-folding legs.
- Feisol Tournament is among the most lightweight tripods available.
- Exclusive materials are responsible for its rigidness and durability.
- Rigid and stiff thanks to the reliable leg locking design and the widest possible leg diameter – 1.1 inch.
- Rather compact when folded up.
- Compatible with nearly any tripod head available.
- Features an exclusive technology that prevents unwanted leg rotation.
- Supplied with a convenient case for transportation and storage.
- Due to the specific way this tripod folds, its compactness can be compromised if the head is too large.
- A center column is not included.
2. Manfrotto 055 – The Best Tripod for Travel Photography
This is a product of a renowned Italian brand Manfrotto. It can be a versatile helper in all kinds of creative photography and videography projects. This device boasts several distinctive features that make it stand out from the competition. First of all, it’s the 90-degree center column that can be extended horizontally when needed. It gives you an opportunity to switch between vertical and horizontal shooting position in mere seconds without even having to detach a camera.
Another great feature of this tripod is easy leg angle selectors. There are four angles to choose from and the best part is that each leg can be locked at a different angle independently. That will provide the ultimate stability on any terrain, including uneven and inclined surfaces. Each led has three sections, equipped with flip-lock mechanisms. The locking levers are somewhat stiff, but that is not an issue. That means they are reliable and won’t loosen with time.
The stand is rather tall – almost 67 inches with a column extended up. This is a convenient height for most people to operate without bending. However, a fully extended column might compromise stability, so we do not recommend to position it that way unless absolutely necessary.
This tripod supports different accessories, such as a flash, a reflector or an LED light. There is an easy link connector on the top section of the device, to which you can attach an arm with additional equipment. Perhaps, this is not exactly the feature you would readily use while traveling, but still, it’s good to have the option in case you decide to settle in a studio.
- 90-degree column.
- Leg angle selector with 4 angles available.
- 3 telescoping sections with a power lock mechanism.
- Rotating spirit level.
- Easy-link attachment for additional equipment.
- Rubber cleats.
- Max load – 19.84 pounds.
- It is easy to set up and position. Most of the operations can be performed with one hand.
- Allows for unlimited creativity in photography and video filming.
- Stiff locking mechanism and stable construction ensure perfect shots.
- A rotating level allows a photographer to achieve better framing from any position.
- Suitable both for traveling and studio work.
- Can support rather heavy equipment.
- Tall enough for average-height people.
- This device is rather on a heavy side and somewhat oversized.
- The finish is vulnerable to scratching.
3. SLIK Pro 824 CF – The Best Lightweight Tripod for Travel
Designers of this tripod managed to make it as lightweight as possible without overly compromising stability and load capacity. It is made of high-quality carbon fiber, which is lighter in weight as compared to aluminum, but just as sturdy and durable.
Slik Pro 824 CF has four-section legs with a twist-lock mechanism. The legs are rather easy to unfold. Each section is tightened independently by turning of a tightening collar. There are three options for leg angles, and each leg can be positioned independently from two others.
This tripod has a reversible center column. That means you can get low-angle shots without increasing the leg angle (sometimes that can be impossible due to the limited space). Besides, the column can be detached whatsoever. Not only that will reduce the total weight of your traveling load, but also allow you to take shots from as low as 7.6” above the ground. Not all stands have this feature, so that makes Slik Pro 824 CF rather special.
In spite of its compactness, Slik Pro 824 CF is a full-sized tripod. Its maximum operating height is 64 inches, which is rather comfortable for most people. The tripod can support up to 18 pounds. That is quite impressive for such a lightweight device. Speaking of which, this item weighs only 3.5 pounds and even less with a center column off.
With a tripod, this compact and lightweight stability become a major concern for most professionals. At Slik, they managed to resolve this issue. There is a hook at the lower end of the center column, on which you can hang something heavy to lower the center of gravity and thus increase the stability of the tripod.
- Reversible and removable center column.
- 4-section legs with a twist-lock mechanism.
- 3 leg angles available.
- Made of carbon fiber.
- Max load: 18 pounds.
- Total weight: 3.5 pounds.
- Exceptionally lightweight.
- Allows for extremely low-angle shots.
- Stability can be increased when needed (for instance, if the equipment is too heavy or when shooting on a windy day).
- Strong and durable.
- Easy to set up.
- Leg sections can be taken apart for easy cleaning.
- Less stable than its heavier counterparts.
- Rubber cleats are non-removable, so you won’t be able to replace them with spikes.
4. MeFOTO Globetrotter A2350Q2K – Best Inexpensive Tripod for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras
This is a professional tripod designated for destination photographers. It is very compact – only 16 inches in length when folded. Such compactness comes courtesy of particular design features. The legs have five sections, while most other tripods have four or three. Unlike other travel tripods, this one features backward-folding legs, which hide the head inside. Such a design takes several more inches off the total length of the folded item.
MeFOTO Globetrotter tripod features a fully-functional ballhead with a bubble level. The head can lock a camera at any angle to enable smooth panning for high-quality panoramic shots. This head can support any type of camera or lenses thanks to the Arca-type quick-release plate.
The legs are secured in place with the help of the twist-lock mechanism. Rubberized tightening collars provide a safe grip and allow for easy set-up and folding down.
The tripod has only two leg angles to choose from. That does not give enough flexibility, as compared to other models, which offer three or even four angle options.
What really makes this tripod stand out is the monopod option. The monopod is hardly suitable for professional use but will help you make some great shots on your mirrorless camera during a vacation or a hiking trip.
- Removable column.
- Five-section legs, two angle options.
- Integrated ballhead.
- Twist-lock legs.
- Maximum load: 24.6 pounds.
- Total weight: 4.6 pounds
- Monopod option.
- Really compact and comfortable to travel with.
- Sturdy aluminum construction.
- This tripod is completed with a ballhead, which ensures smooth 360° panning at any angle.
- Secure and ergonomic leg fixation mechanism.
- Outstanding load capacity.
- Supplied with a set of metal spikes and a textile bag.
- Rather heavy for its size.
- Lacks flexibility in leg positioning.
5. Neewer – A Lightweight Camera Tripod for Hiking
This model form Neewer is a real workhorse and great value for the money. It is made of lightweight and durable carbon fiber. Just like MeFoto Globetrotter, this tripod features a swiveling ballhead with a QR plate. The head also has two separate locks: for panning and the head position itself. In fact, this product is rather similar to the Globetrotter. Neewer is also convertible into a monopod (which, by the way, is very lightweight, since all the tubing is made of carbon fiber) and has the same twist-locking leg fixation system.
Still, there are some features that distinguish this camera stand form the competitor. Its legs have four sections, as opposed to Globetrotter’s five sections. Having fewer leg sections means better stability, while more sections provide compactness. The Neewer tripod has three leg angle positions, which provides more flexibility when shooting on rough terrain.
Neewer features a removable center column, which can be reversed to allow for low-position shooting. Besides, you can position its legs perpendicularly to the center column, giving yourself an opportunity to place a camera only 9.5 inches above the ground with unobstructed 360-degree view.
Telescoping legs are equipped with anti-skidding cleats with spikes, which are great for mixed terrain. A lightweight nylon bag makes traveling with this tripod even more convenient.
- Removable center column.
- Four leg sections.
- Three angle positions available.
- Swiveling ballhead.
- Twist-lock legs.
- Maximum load: 26.5 pounds.
- Total weight: 3.4 pounds.
- Lightweight design, but very impressive load capacity.
- Comes in a carrying bag for traveling and storage.
- Provides multiple options for camera positioning.
- Perfect for shooting panoramic photos.
- The legs are adjustable for different types of surfaces.
- Can be transformed into a lightweight monopod.
- Some positions are less stable than others, so you will have to make some adjustments to ensure movement-free shots.
- Unless locked in place, the head will provide proper support of a heavy camera.
How to Choose the Best Travel Tripod – A Buyer’s Guide
As you can see, there is a vast selection of tripods available on the market. But even the greatest ones might not suit particular needs, so you want to be certain about your plans regarding a tripod. Here you will find some advice on how to pick out a proper camera stand for traveling.
To start with, you should define where your needs are on a “portability-performance” scale. The truth is you can’t have it all. There is always a price you have to pay for some excellent features.
What you should to do is decide what features are the most valuable for you. For instance, if your photography projects require traveling by foot, you definitely need a lightweight tripod. In this case, you can discard some design features, such as a center column. Most lightweight tripods lack stability. As a result, require additional stabilizing techniques. In high-end devices, this issue is mitigated as much as possible, but still occasional failures might occur.
On the other hand, if you travel from location to location mostly by car, you can buy a heavier tripod, which will provide better stability at any conditions. The decision is yours to make, but you need to understand your preferences clearly.
Useful Specifications and Recommendations
Besides, you might want to take the following characteristics into account:
Compactness when folded.
If compactness is your priority, you should choose a tripod one with more leg sections. Besides, if it has backward-folding legs, it will get even more compact.
The majority of the tripods are made of either aluminum or carbon fiber or their combination. Aluminum tripods are heavier and stiffer, but carbon fiber ones are more lightweight and manageable.
More leg angles mean better flexibility at shots positioning. If your usual locations have mostly even surfaces, multiple leg angles are not that important. But once you step on rough terrain, you will appreciate the ability of your camera stand to adjust to the conditions.
Leg fixation mechanism.
We know of two most common leg-locking systems: twist-lock and flip-lock. Both of them can be rather reliable (depending on the quality of materials and manufacturing). The only distinction is that flip-lock mechanism requires somewhat more physical power to lock and undo. A twist-lock mechanism is usually easier to handle.
Tripod height vs. your height.
Here is a simple formula that can provide a general comprehension of how to commensurate a tripod height with our own. You should measure your eye level, subtract the height of your camera viewfinder (or a digital screen) and subtract the head height. This figure would be the approximate maximum height of your camera stand. However, there are more things to consider. You shouldn’t focus only on maximum height since at this position most tripods offer moderate stability at best.
A great travel tripod is rather hard to find. It’s nothing like getting a tripod for a small digital camera. The truth is you will never know whether it is right for you unless you give it a try. Professionals usually change several different models before they find ‘the one”. But don’t worry: now you understand what to look for in a tripod. All the tripods discussed above are decent options for destination and wildlife photographers. Of course, there are so many options left to discover and we encourage you to embark on this exciting journey.