The key to the best video tripod is movement, and that's the main thing that sets them apart from photography tripods. A good photographic tripod is all about keeping a camera rock-still – for video, you want it to have a fluid head that lets you pan and tilt a camera smoothly, giving your shots a dynamic, fluid, cinematic quality. Whether you're a vlogger or a filmmaker, a good video tripod is one of the wisest, most effective investments you can make.
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Video tripods also tend to have longer top platers than photographic ones, giving you more flexibility in camera positioning. Another common feature is a counterbalance system that makes it easier to attach accessories like a mic, light, or external recorder, without overbalancing the tripod. Some also have leg-spreaders for extra stability, and spirit levels for perfectly straight horizons. Check out our rundown of 7 ways video tripods are different from regular ones for a more thorough look at the key differences.
We've split this guide up into sections for different types of users. First, we've picked the best lightweight video tripods for vloggers and travel filmmakers who want a minimal footprint. If you're using a small camera, or even a smartphone, start here. Next, we list the best tripods for filmmakers, more advanced models that are designed to take a few accessories, and heavier camera rigs. Lastly, we've picked out some money-no-object tripods for professional cinematographers, which can take mega payloads.
So, wherever you're in your filmmaking journey, here are the best video tripods you can buy right now.
The best video tripod in 2023
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Best tripods for vlogging
Manfrotto is one of the biggest names in tripods and they have something to suit all needs and budgets. The BeFree Lever-Lock tripod kit uses three-section aluminum legs that are clamped down using lever locks. You can also get this kit with a twist-lock leg if you prefer that style or if you're feeling really flush, there's a carbon fibre version that will reduce the weight, perfect if you're always traveling for your filmmaking.
However, we think the aluminum version offers the best balance of weight, price, and features, plus it can be packed down into a small bag. The ball head isn't the best quality as there is no pan or tilt drag adjustment but it still gives smooth results.
If you want an entry-level tripod designed for video and aren’t bothered about the old-school looks, the Velbon DV-7000N Video Tripod with PH-368 Fluid Head is a decent bit of kit. The three-section legs are braced from the center column to keep the tripod from twisting, which adds to the traditional aesthetic.
The head has separate locks for pan and tilt and the damping is adjustable, although the knobs are a bit tricky to get hold of. But the movement is surprisingly smooth and well-damped for a budget tripod, and with a load capacity of 6kg, it’s more than enough for a mirrorless camera, lens and mic, and even a small monitor too.
It's good to see the entry-level end of the video market is catered for, and this video tripod from Libec is pitched exactly for that end of the market. Released in 2020, this is a lightweight, straightforward tripod that's designed for light setups weighing no more than 3kg.
Its industry-standard sliding plate is broadly compatible with widely used heads from the likes of Manfrotto and Sachtler, and its one-touch flip locks are designed to allow the user to make quick adjustments to the height on the fly.
Only having two leg sections to play with does hamper versatility a little, however, it's still a solid tripod for a fantastic price, making it a great addition to any vlogging setup.
If you want to shoot from a high angle, the max 173.5cm shooting height of this Vanguard tripod is perfect. It reaches this altitude with legs incorporating only 3 sections, which is good news for overall rigidity, as fewer joints equal less shake, though it does inevitably make the folded length fairly long at 77.5cm.
The included PH-38 pan head is handy for video as the tilt motion can be independently locked off to leave you with smooth, level panning motion. The head itself sits on an extendable center column which can also be rotated to sit horizontally.
You could use it as a rudimentary slider at a push, but it's intended to be clamped at pretty much any angle (not just horizontal) so you can shoot from all sorts of angles. Be careful though, as with the column jutting out at an odd angle, a heavier camera setup could cause the tripod to become unbalanced.
Best tripods for filmmakers
The SmallRig AD-01 3751 does a convincing impression of a high-end product while being highly affordable. Eschewing any expensive materials, it’s entirely constructed using aluminum alloy and plastic, which makes it best considered for use with mirrorless cameras.
With lots of advanced features for a low price, we think that the SmallRig AD-01 3751 deserves consideration by anyone on a tight budget who’s just starting out in videography and filmmaking and needs a capable entry-level tripod for a mirrorless camera.
Read our full SmallRig Heavy-Duty Fluid Head Tripod review for more details
Make no mistake, the 3 Legged Think Nicky is a professional-level tripod for a discerning audience. Made for photographers and videographers working with heavier kits, it’s strong, straightforward to use, tall, and adaptable.
It’s a base, not a kit, however, so unless you have these things already (many photographers will), you’ll also need to budget for a head and, for video, perhaps a leveling bowl too.
Read our full 3 Legged Thing Nicky review for more details
It is possible to spend a lot of money on a video tripod. The ProMediaGear TR344L certainly won't be for everyone, with a four-figure price tag that rules out casual users and those on a strict budget, however, it really is an excellent video tripod.
With a strong but lightweight carbon fibre build, it's great for run-and-gun filmmaking, with an option to swap out its flat plate for the ProMediaGear 75mm Bowl Head Adapter. It can be manipulated into all sorts of unusual configurations, for those difficult shots, and its rubber feet conceal little spikes for a bit of extra grip.
Read our full ProMediaGear TR344L Pro-Stix review for more details
Benro has packed lots of modern technology into this good-looking tripod kit which mates the A373F aluminum single-tube tripod with a 75mm half bowl fitting to the newest S6Pro head. The head is impressive as it has a five-step counterbalance system to keep your camera from tipping forwards or back, and adjustable drag for pan and tilt with large and easy-to-use adjuster knobs.
The camera plate is long m making it easy to make adjustments, and the pan bar can also be fitted to the left or right. The tripod reaches 163cm in height but can go as low as 31cm, which is a unique benefit for such a burly bit of kit.
Once you've gotten over the unusually long name of this British-designed tripod, you're faced with a rather good bit of kit. The three-sections legs are made from carbon fiber which massively helps to keep weight down. These can also be detached for, a monopod or boom arm or alternatively, splayed out so the head is positioned very close to the ground, perfect for wildlife filmmaking.
3 Legged Thing even sells accessories that will convert the head to a hi-hat style tripod just 13.5cm from the floor, which is a great feature to have in a single tripod. It also features an Arca Swiss-style base plate and there are a variety of feet to choose from depending on what surface you're using it on.
The Libec TH-X tripod kit is a traditional-style video tripod, made by a Japanese company that has lots of experience in making tripods for filmmakers. It has a twin tube leg set-up, which is fast to use and stable, as well as a mid-level spreader to get it set up quickly. It’s not too heavy and takes Manfrotto-fit tripod plates which are very popular.
It has a relatively basic fluid head that’s the limiting factor in both the maximum payloads of just 4kg and its basic design. The pan and tilt movements are good, but the drag is not adjustable and there’s no counterbalance adjustment. The tripod is a 65mm bowl fitment, so putting on a better head in the future is the best option.
Best tripods for cinema
The Sachtler Flowtech 75 MS Carbon Fibre Tripod comes equipped with a mid-level spreader that is very different from the regular single or double carbon fiber tube designs as it has very wide, almost flat legs. Each leg features a single clamping lever that locks and unlocks the sections, so you can set the whole lot up with just three locks, which all sit together at the top of the tripod, making slight adjustments on the fly a breeze.
Each leg extends independently and when detached from the spreader, each leg can pivot without affecting the other legs. It’s designed to be comfortable to shoulder-carry, too. Of course, you need to budget for a suitable head, such as the Sachtler Ace XL or FSB 8 T.
When your tripod and head costs more than many people’s whole camera rig, you know you are buying the very best that will perform impeccably and last for a very long time. The Miller kit is a dream buy for many, but if you are shooting big-budget productions on an expensive cinema camera with lots of accessories on it, you want something that is up to the job.
The counterbalance has 16 different levels of resistance and the pan and tilt are adjustable too. The kit doesn’t offer significantly more technology than other tripods, but it’s the way it handles the movements that set it apart as the best in the business. Silky smooth with no judder at the end of the pans or tilts gives your films a totally professional edge good enough for Hollywood itself.
The Vision 100 gives precise movement and excellent camera control during the critical slow start-up of your shot, with a seamless transition into whip pan and instant recovery to the original drag setting at the finish of the movement. Calibrated with variable adjustment and a single turn rotation from fully on to off, the drag knobs are backlit for easy viewing and detented to give a "dial-in feel" and to ensure settings are always maintained. Offers perfect balance throughout its payload range and allows heads to tilt through the full range of ±90°, without being anxious that the tripod will tumble.
For smooth movement and total control - imperative to provide those perfect shots the first time...
This Vision ENG tripod has precision-engineered two-stage legs, is made of carbon fiber to reduce weight, and offers a 100mm-bowl fixing, attached to an innovative hip joint that eliminates play and gives more rigidity to provide an exceptionally stable camera platform.
How we test video tripods
We test and review at Digital Camera World by subjecting photo and video equipment to a range of in-house lab tests and in-the-field shooting exercises, designed to give us a thorough sense of how a piece of gear performs. For video tripods, we check stability, ease of setup, smoothness of operation, portability and height range, and use our findings to inform our comments in buying guides like this one.