Best tripod alternatives: 5 budget options for the photographer travelling light

Best tripod alternatives: 5 budget options for the photographer travelling light

If you want sharp images at slower shutter speeds you’ll need to support your camera. But a tripod isn’t always a practical option. We round up 5 of the best tripod alternatives for photographers on the go.

Best tripod alternatives: 5 budget options for the photographer travelling light

Shooting handheld gives you plenty of freedom, but there are occasions when you need to support your camera in order to capture sharp shots.

Tripods prevent camera shake when you’re shooting long exposures – whether it’s in low light, or for creative effects such as blurring water – but there are times when it’s just not practical to use one: perhaps you’re on holiday and travelling light, or are taking a short afternoon stroll and don’t want the hassle of lugging a tripod.

Cue the tripod alternatives. While still providing solid support for your camera and lens, they’re lighter and more compact than conventional tripods, making them easier to transport and set up.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from simple bean bags to cleverly designed multi-position mounts, to suit different shooting situations.

So whether you need something to help support your camera and a heavy lens while waiting for action to unfold, or simply something to stabilise your camera for pin sharp shots in low light while out and about, there’s something for everyone.

We sourced five tripod alternatives, all of which cost under £90, weigh less than 1.2kg and will support a maximum weight of at least 1.5kg.

Thinks to consider in a tripod alternative

Practical uses
When choosing a support, think about what types of photography you’ll be using it for, as some supports may be restrictive.

For example, if you tend to shoot in a portrait format a monopod will be of no use unless you have a ball-head attachment, and if you’re on location with a beanbag that needs filling you need to make sure you can get hold of materials to fill it.

If you choose a product like the Fat Gecko or GorillaPod, you’ll need an appropriate surface or object to fit it to: you may not be able to find a car window if you’re shooting wildlife in the middle of nowhere!

Using Live View
Once your camera is mounted to a support you don’t always have easy access to the viewfinder, and this is where Live View comes in handy for composing shots.

Another advantage of Live View is for focusing: you can zoom in on key areas, and adjust the focus precisely using the focus ring.

PAGE 1 – Thinks to consider in a tripod alternative
PAGE 2 – Best tripod alternative: Manfrotto MP3-D01
PAGE 3 – Best tripod alternative: Velbon Ultra Stick L50 Monopod
PAGE 4 – Best tripod alternative: Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom and Ballhead
PAGE 5 – Best tripod alternative: C14F-ST Standard Double Bean Bag (filled)
PAGE 6 – Best tripod alternative: Fat Gecko Triple Mount


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