Last updated on December 5th, 2020
You may think that hand-held shots are enough in photography, but many shooting styles are not possible in hand-held mode. Time-lapse, long exposure, panorama, and astrophotography are only a few of the many shooting styles that require good camera support.
Image stabilization systems in camera bodies and lenses are getting better, but they are not enough to achieve your desired shots, especially those requiring long exposure, AEB shooting, or HDR photography. The camera needs to be in a still, fixed, and well-supported position to achieve the best results.
The tripod is the simple answer. It’s an essential part of a photographer’s camera gear, and it’s equally important as extra batteries or a spare memory card. Even famous photographers like Ansel Adams used tripods, though it was more required with film and landscape photography.
What to Look For in Buying a Tripod Under $100
There are a lot of factors to consider when picking a tripod. Do you need a lightweight or heavy tripod? Will you be walking around with your tripod often, or will you be staying put for an extended period? The last thing you want is to feel sore halfway through the day.
Another factor to consider is the minimum and maximum height of the tripod. Do you need an ultra-compact tripod, or is extendibility more important to you?
If you travel often, you’ll most probably want an ultra-compact tripod that can fit your luggage or carry-on.
Despite having several factors to consider in buying one, several of the best tripods are under $100.
A good tripod head is rotatable in various directions and angles, providing different perspectives. It’s also good to consider one wherein the camera can be easily attached and detached from the tripod head.
In times when you need to quickly switch from tripod mode to hand-held mode, detaching your camera from the tripod with the help of a quick-release plate will help you get that perfect shot.
A tripod that is easy to set up can save you time. In photography, every second count. A second too late can easily result in an imperfect shot. When picking a tripod, the frame should be easy to set up, extend to multiple vantage points, and pack.
Tripods are made from various materials, but the most common ones are aluminum, carbon fiber, and wood. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages.
Aluminum is known to be durable, has a good strength-to-weight ratio, and is reasonably priced. The disadvantage of aluminum is that it quickly adapts to the temperature of the environment. When you’re shooting on top of a mountain on a cold, cloudy day, aluminum quickly gets cold. When you’re shooting under the heat of the sun, aluminum easily gets hot.
Wood is ecological, can easily absorb vibration, durable, temperature tolerant, and corrosion-resistant. The disadvantage of wood is mainly in portability. Most wood tripods are significantly heavier and don’t fold to compact size. If you travel often, a tripod made of wood is not the best choice.
The last material is carbon fiber. It’s known to have an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, good vibration dampening, temperature tolerant, and corrosion-resistant. The main disadvantage of a carbon fiber tripod is the price. They’re known to be very expensive compared to aluminum and wood tripod. Durability is also a concern with carbon fiber since it’s not quite durable to impact.
Weight of Tripod
The weight of a tripod largely contributes to how heavy the camera and lens it can support. It makes more sense to go for a tripod that has an extra load capacity. Doing so makes your tripod future-proof in case you’ll upgrade to a heavier camera system in the future.
How low or high will you be shooting? Keep in mind that the tripod should meet the height in which you usually shoot. The best photos aren’t always at eye level. Some pictures are more appealing when shot from above or from below.
What’s the total weight of your camera and lens? It’s important to know this so that when you’re looking for a tripod, you’ll know which one to pick. Get a tripod whose max load is more than the heaviest camera and lens combination you have.
How often will you be moving around? Consider getting a tripod that weighs less and folds short when you’re into travel photography. Having a compact tripod that you can pack in your luggage means fewer worries when traveling with your gear.
The Best Tripods Under $100
Tripods are relatively inexpensive photography equipment compared to the cost of the camera body and lens.
Of course, photography is an expensive hobby, or additional expenses can arise when you’re a professional photographer. This list will help you find the best tripod under $100 and keep your expenses low.
1. AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod
The AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod is possibly the best option for those who value a budget price over everything else.
Weighing at only three lbs, this tripod can extend from 25 inches to 60 inches when the center post is fully extended. Having a max load weight of 6.6 lbs, it is compatible with most digital cameras, video cameras, still cameras, action cameras, smartphone adapters, and even scopes.
The two built-in bubble view levels and 3-way head allows for a smooth tilt and swivel motion in both landscape and portrait mode. Its quick-release mounting plate aids in fast transitions between tripod mode and hand-held mode.
At a folded length of 25 inches, it is about 5 to 6 inches longer than the ones advertised as a travel tripod. This length difference is significant if you’re considering strapping it to your camera backpacks while on the go.
Although it does not fold as small as a travel tripod, it’s easy to carry around because it’s lightweight.
AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod is great for hobby photographers, at-home YouTubers, or someone who wants to step up their photography. If you’re into something more serious, then the AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod isn’t the best pick for you.
2. Manfrotto Compact Advanced Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit with 3-Way Head
Built with stability and precision in mind, the Manfrotto Compact Advanced with 3-Way Head Tripod is a rock-solid option that can easily support your standard zoom lens and entry-level DLSR.
This tripod extends from 17.5 inches to 65 inches and weighs only 3.1 lbs. The five leg-sections are secured via flip locks to keep each leg-section in place.
The 3-way pan head has two ergonomic handles that fold on top of each other, which aids in saving space whenever the tripod is not in use. One handle controls the horizontal tilt, while the other handle controls the vertical tilt. In addition to this, the pan head can easily do a 360-degree panoramic rotation.
Aside from its full compatibility with an entry-level DSLR camera, the Manfrotto Compact Advanced is also fully compatible with compact system cameras. This tripod should come in handy for people who would like to take photos while taking a short afternoon hike.
3. Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit with Hybrid Head
Built with high-quality aluminum, the Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod is perfect for entry-level DSLRs with standard lenses. It’s super intuitive, ergonomic, versatile, and specially made for both photo and movie mode.
The ergonomic joystick head of the Compact Action is easy-to-use and has an intuitive scroll-wheel locking mechanism for maximum sturdiness. For buttery smooth, effortless capture of photo and video, take advantage of the comfortable grip.
The quick-release plate on the Compact Action supports a wide range of devices such as DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and compact system cameras. Without needing a screwdriver, you can quickly attach the tripod head across your devices.
Weighing at only 2.65 lbs, the Compact Action Tripod is light and is easy to carry around. The tripod extends from 17 inches to 61 inches, making it versatile for low and high angle shots. It can safely carry a maximum payload of 3.3 lbs, which is more than the average weight of an entry-level DLSR camera.
With a 360-degree panoramic rotation, there are no restrictions. The tripod enables the camera to point directly down, making macro shots of flowers, insects, and the like possible.
4. Vanguard Vesta FB 204AB Compact Travel Tripod with Quick Flip Leg Locks
The Vanguard Vesta FB 204AB Compact Travel Tripod is a lightweight, compact aluminum travel tripod that’s perfect for those looking for maximum portability to go along with their mirrorless camera kit for a maximum load of 6.6 lbs.
It folds down to 14.8 inches and weighs 2 lbs. The 4-section tripod leg has a diameter of 20 mm and extends to a maximum of 51 inches. It features quick-flip leg locks that help in keeping the legs in place.
Whether you’re using it indoors or outdoors, these leg locks let you have the flexibility of setting your height to match the subject you’re shooting.
With three easy-set leg angles at 21°, 50°, and 80°, this tripod is suitable for photographers who are into macro and low-angle photography. The low-angle adapter that comes with the tripod allows for removing the central column and getting low to the ground.
Are you bringing the Vesta FB 204AB with you on your trip? This tripod is great for travel because the legs fully invert, folding 180° to save space when packing.
The Vesta FB 204AB comes with a built-in Vanguard ball head and an Arca-Swiss compatible quick-release plate that allows for 360 degrees of smooth rotation, making it possible to capture various shots. Its oversized ergonomic knob allows easy changes without fumbling.
5. Vanguard VEO 2 235AB Black Aluminum Travel Tripod with VEO 2 BH-50 Ball Head
The Vanguard VEO 2 235AB is another aluminum travel tripod by Vanguard designed for mirrorless cameras, compact system cameras, and DLSRs.
It features a five-leg section that’s extendible through a twist-lock system. The center column is removable so you can take vertical photographs. This tripod folds down to 15.75 inches and weighs just 3.05 lbs. When fully extended, this tripod’s peak height is 57.1 inches.
The multi-action ball head has three independent knobs that control lock, pan, and friction operations. The ergonomic knobs provide 13.2 lbs workload performance.
The tripod leg tubes were designed for smooth and precise extensions. There’s a dedicated suspension loop to accommodate bags or weights for additional stability.
With three easy-set leg angles at 20°, 45°, and 80°, the tripod provides versatility and flexibility to adapt to uneven terrain. The Vanguard VEO 2 235AB is equipped with non-slip, all-weather TPU grips on one leg for the perfect hand grip.
If you’re looking for an easy to set up tripod, then the Vanguard VEO 2 235AB is a strong candidate. Its exclusive and innovative central column system allows setting the central column and tripod legs in less than 15 seconds.
6. MACTREM Professional Camera Tripod
If you are looking for a professional camera tripod that is super lightweight but sturdy, the MACTREM Professional Camera Tripod is a perfect choice. The ball head is easy to set and lock. An exclusive two-knobs locking system allows for quick adjustment while keeping the camera safe from accidents.
Are you taking the tripod outdoors? There is no need to worry since the tripod is corrosion-resistant and wear-resistant. Even though the tripod only weighs 2.9 lbs., it can support a maximum load of 33 lbs. The four-section tripod legs come with three quick-release locks. It folds down to 16.9 inches and extends from 21.5 inches to a maximum height of 62.5 inches.
There are instances when a monopod is a better equipment choice over a tripod. The MACTREM Professional Camera Tripod easily converts to a monopod. In monopod mode, its height ranges from 32 inches to 64 inches. The regular quick release plate and extra phone mount that comes with the tripod set provide universal compatibility.
You can use it with a DSLR camera, micro-single camera, compact system camera, and action camera. You can even use it as a selfie stick for your smartphone.
It’s easy to do macro and low-angle photography with this tripod. You only need to invert the center column to get closer to the ground.
7. Dolica GX700P106 70-Inch Proline Tripod
The Dolica HX700P106 70-Inch Tripod is ideal for indoor and outdoor photography. It is the perfect tripod for portrait, landscape, long exposure, night, and sports photography. This tripod’s design allows for maximum compatibility with mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras, and point-and-shoot cameras.
The aluminum alloy construction of the Dolica HX700P106 Tripod enables it to support up to 20 lbs. Its tripod head allows for pan and tilt movement and comes with a quick-release plate. You can tilt the tripod head from 0° to 90°, and you can pan it 360°.
The flip-lock system secures the tripod legs in place. Each leg independently spreads and configures to four positions. The tripod legs have four sections and come with rubber feet.
This tripod extends to a maximum height of 70 inches and weighs only 4 lbs. The Dolica HX700P106 70-Inch Tripod is not the best choice for travel photographers. However, it’s an excellent choice for photographers looking for an indoor tripod or travel by car.
8. K&F Concept 62” DSLR Tripod
The K&F Concept TM2324 Travel Tripod is a lightweight travel tripod made of magnesium aluminum. At only 2.97 lbs, this tripod holds a maximum load capacity of 22 lbs. Its feet are 180° foldable, perfect for outdoor travel photography. The center column can be inverted, making it excellent for macro photography.
A panoramic rotation is made possible by the 360° ball head. The large 28 mm ball head found in the TM2324 ensures stability. When taking a panoramic photo, the clear scale built-in this tripod provides accuracy and precision.
This tripod has a minimum height of 16.3 inches and extends to a maximum height of 61.6 inches. It folds down to only 18.1 inches, which is about the size of a telescope. In times you need the extra weight to stabilize the tripod, the automatic rebound hook lets you hang heavy objects to enhance stability.
If you are thinking of doing a long exposure shot of a river, the K&F Concept TM2324 Travel Tripod is rust-resistant, which means you can place it in the middle of a river for that natural shot.
9. GEEKOTO 77” Compact Aluminum Tripod for DSLR
At only 3.37 lbs, the GEEKOTO 77-Inch Tripod easily extends from a minimum height of 22 inches to a maximum of 77 inches. With a maximum load capacity of 17.6 lbs, it can accommodate almost any DSLR camera you have.
The tripod’s legs have four sections with a quick-release flip lock system, which allows it to extend from 19 inches to 77 inches in a matter of seconds. To achieve a 360-degree panoramic shot, the GEEKOTO 77-Inch Tripod comes with a specially designed ball head that rotates 360°, allowing you to position your camera for the perfect shot.
It folds down to 19 inches, which makes it easy to carry with a bag. The tripod legs open to three levels of opening angles that allow for quick stabilization in incline levels and varying grounds. As a result, it is suitable for travel photography and outdoor shooting.
The GEEKOTO 77-Inch Tripod quickly transforms into a monopod. All you need to do is to disassemble the central axis screw. Having a tripod that transforms into a monopod in a matter of seconds provides more alternative ways of shooting. When in monopod mode, the minimum height is 35 inches, and the maximum is 81 inches.
10. ZOMEi M5 Camera Tripod Lightweight Travel Tripod Monopod 2 in 1
The ZOMEI M5 Camera Tripod folds down to 13.78 inches, making it ultra-compact and easy to carry with a bag. Bringing it with you won’t be an issue as it only weighs 2.73 lbs. Its legs adjust to three opening-angle levels to stabilize on inclined levels and varying grounds.
The ball head on this tripod can rotate 360°, allowing you to shoot at almost any angle to get the perfect shot. The ball head also makes it possible to take panoramic photos. When going on a short hike, being able to do a panorama shot makes it easy for you to capture an ultra-wide landscape.
With a minimum height of 16.14 inches and a maximum height of 55 inches in tripod mode, the ZOMEI M5 Camera Tripod can shoot at low and high angles. A quick-release flip locks system secures the four-section tripod legs, making it possible to adjust the height in seconds.
The ZOMEI M5 quickly transforms into a monopod by unscrewing the central axis screw. Whenever you need a monopod to support your camera while taking photos, the ZOMEI M5 can do the job right. In monopod mode, the ZOMEI M5 extends from a minimum height of 15.7 inches to a maximum of 56.2 inches.
The maximum load capacity is 17.6 lbs, which makes it the best companion for your DSLR cameras. Not only that, but you can also attach your smartphone, telescope, projector, and other camera accessories to the ZOMEI M5.
11. Victiv 72-inch Camera Tripod Aluminum
The Victiv T72 Tripod is a lightweight, compact tripod that is ideal for travel and blogging. It weighs only 3.3 lbs and folds down to 22.6 inches. The maximum load weight is 12 lbs, which should accommodate most of your camera gear.
Everyone wants to be able to set up their gear as quickly as possible. The flip-leg lock system makes it possible to set up in a matter of seconds. For people who move around a lot, their gear’s durability is valuable. The tripod legs of the Victiv T72 are made of aluminum alloy, making it sturdy enough for any work that lies ahead.
This tripod extends from a minimum height of 21 inches to a maximum height of 72 inches. It’s great for shooting in low and high angles. The four-section legs stretch out to different angles, providing flexibility in various shooting conditions. It can also transform into a 55-inch monopod, which should come in handy when taking slow shutter speed shots.
Although you cannot remove the tripod head of the Victiv T72, you can swivel it 360°, which makes tilting and panning a breeze. The universal Arca mounting plate makes it easy to swap cameras.
A tripod is a necessary equipment in photography. Having one will drastically extend the types of photos you can take. There are many options to choose from, so it gets confusing to choose a tripod that meets your needs while not going above your budget.
The decision ultimately lies in your needs as a photographer. If you’re moving around a lot, you should consider getting an ultra-lightweight and portable tripod. If you’re into shooting macro or low-angle shots, you should consider getting a tripod that can get low to the ground.
If you’re doing long exposures with slow shutter speeds, then you’ll definitely need a tripod.
We hope that this guide of the best tripods under $100 will help you find the right tripod for your camera system and help you photograph aesthetic images.