The best video tripod will differ from photographic tripods, mostly in the way they move. While photographic tripods will do an excellent job of keeping the camera still, a dedicated video tripod will have a fluid head that lets you pan and tilt smoothly, creating dynamic moving cinematics to your shots. If you're serious about filmmaking it's a good idea to invest in a video tripod as it will make your work look more professional and is always a vital tool on many shoots.
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What we look for in video tripods
Cinematography is a dynamic medium and when you use moving shots it can take good film and make it a great one. There is certainly a place for static shots, but you certainly don't want that to be the only option available. Owning a fluid head where you can adjust the resistance and operate it via a long handle will make all the difference as it'll allow you to be more precise with your movements.
Another key difference between tripods and photographic tripods is the size of the top plate. Video tripods tend to have much longer top plates so that there is more flexibility with the camera's position and weight distribution. When we think of video setups, they are often much more unbalanced than photo setups due to the position of accessories such as a mic, light or external recorder etc. Luckily, video tripods often have an adjustable counterbalance system which helps when you're shooting with one of the best cinema cameras or using a big telephoto lens.
Some video tripods will come with spreaders between the legs for extra stability and for ease of opening. You'll also notice lots of video tripods like photographic tripods that will have spirit levels on them so you can tell if your horizons are straight. It's really important you get this right when shooting video as it's not as easy to correct in post.
There are lots of different types of filmmakers using all sorts of different kit and no two people are going to have the same needs. Vloggers and YouTubers using smaller cameras or smartphone setups won't need something as advanced as someone shooting a documentary. Pro Cinematographers will need a tripod that has a high payload and is extremely sturdy, but they come at a price. We've included sections for each category of video tripod to help you decide what is most suitable.
So check out our guide to some of the very best and latest tripods for different users at a range of price points.
The best video tripod in 2022
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 aluminium 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 aluminium 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 being 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 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 set-up could cause the tripod to become unbalanced.
Best tripods for filmmakers
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 levelling bowl too.
Once you've gotten over the unusual 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.
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 to 163cm in height, but can go as low as 31cm, which is a unique benefit for such a burly bit of kit.
The Libec TH-X tripod kit is a traditional-style video tripod, made by a Japanese company that has lots of experience of 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 maximum payload 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 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 to 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 sets it apart at 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 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 allow 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 first time....
This Vision ENG tripod has precision-engineered two-stage legs, and 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.