Best budget tripods: 6 top models tested and rated

Best budget tripods: 6 top models tested and rated

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH + GH-100 head

Best Budget Tripods: Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH + GH-100 head

Price: £195, $300
Buy it:

Aluminium-based Alta Pro 263AT tripod legs are combined with a GH-100 pistol-grip ball head.

These have load ratings of 7kg and 6kg respectively, and the folded height of 73cm extends to a maximum operating height of 175cm. The kit weighs 2.7kg.

Advanced features include three-position multi-angle legs, each of which is based on three sections. There’s also a neat 180-degree centre-column pivot facility.

However, while the legs are extremely stable and easy to use, the pistol-grip ball head is a bit fiddly and lacks a firm clamping action. We’d prefer the legs with Vanguard’s SBH-100 ball head.

We say… The feature-packed aluminium legs are let down by the awkward ball head.

Features: 4
Build Quality: 4
Image Quality: 3
Value for money: 3

Score: 3/5

PAGE 1: Best budget tripods – Benro FlexPod A297EX + BH2-M head
PAGE 2: Best budget tripods – Giottos MTL9361B + MH1311-652 head
PAGE 3: Best budget tripods – Hama Omega Carbon II
PAGE 4: Best budget tripods – Jessops Major Carbon Fibre
PAGE 5: Best budget tripods – Manfrotto 055X PROB + 496RC2 head
PAGE 6: Best budget tripods – Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH + GH-100 head
PAGE 7: 5 things to look for in a budget tripod


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  • David

    These are not budget tripods; these are midrange tripods, if not near high end.
    Me, I got my tripod for £5 because I looked around. Sturdy aluminium, extends to about 6′ legs can be detached from central ‘holder thingy’ if you want one leg (or them all, but prepare to sacrifice plenty of stability) to be at a very obtuse angle (in relation to the vertical), has a detachable baseplate and has two settings of air cushioning for the crank. Total cost £5 because the person who had it didn’t know it’s actual (about £50, new) value.
    Only problem for me now is that in getting it to fit into a suitcase I had to take the base plate off (which involved fully unscrewing the pan-handle), sadly I lfet this with family and have yet to ask for it to be posted back (though I’ve found a screw that fits the threads, so it still works; albiet awkwardly)
    I’ve thought of getting a new one because this one is by no means the latest model (though there really isn’t much R&D going into tripods, unless it’s for a telescope and designed to track an object) and the handle may be lost for good. These are by no means budget ones, you’d have better luck checking ebay and having a max price set (and a minimum; as trusting £10 of cheap aluminium to hold up hundreds of pounds (GBP) of gear is a little risky) and seeing what you can drag up. Buy one second hand by all means, there isn’t much that can go wrong with a tripod; the more cosmetically battered and scraped the better I’d say, at least it shows it can take a beating and still work.
    Or you could just call into every charity shop in your city. One is bound to have a decent tripod or you’ll find one with lots of photography kit; which you can either give your number to and ask to be told if anyone drops in a tripod, or just call in every so often. Sadly finding bargains in charity shops is getting rarer and rarer; the owners usually look the items that may be worth something up online and if they find it’s worth lots they buy the item themselves. That said, finding something like a Leica for £20-50 would be an amazing find and although unlikely for the above reason; still a good enough one to poke your head into a few places. If you live in a city do some street photography while going from place to place.