I understand this is probably one of the phrases people hate most 'good but reasonably priced' because I realised that most often you get what you pay for. Nonetheless I am looking for my first tripod for a Canon 600D.

I am planning on doing some nature shots, but I don't think I'll be using a tripod all that much. So I'm looking for something that can handle the body and a lens such as the 70-300mm lenses from Canon.

Ideally I'm looking for something light and easy to carry/set-up and hopefully around £30.


Having considered spending more now, I've narrowed it down to hopefully some better ones now: Manfrotto Compact Series tripod

Slik Sprint Pro II

I believe these to be better tripods and while I understand they aren't the best, hopefully they will serve their purpose well


A good carbon fiber would seem to be the choice. Brand is another matter with some friends choosing Slik legs with Really Right Stuff Ballheads. Myself I have an Adorama carbon fiber with a ballhead (at the moment I can't recall the #'s but it can handle my D-700 with vertical grip or my D3S with no movement).

A monopod is also a good and wise investment.

Keep also in mind that HDR, were you to try it, should always be shot with a sturdy tripod to be sure that all images are in alignment.

One more thing: try to get a remote trigger so all settles down when it fires. Doesn't have to be a fancy name brand or aftermarket: but they really do help avoid shake, even with the strongest tripod, which can become an issue.

Now for some personal comments on the choice of the lens, since you mention the 70-300 in your question: my current lens of choice, believe it or not, is the Nikon 28-300mm VR for it gives all, except for the 17-35mm, the focal lengths needed except macro and that is reserved for the 105mm.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    The question was for a "reasonably priced tripod" around $50. Even the most basic(cheap) Adorama carbon fiber legs are $150. – dpollitt Aug 31 '12 at 2:49

I've got a tripod very similar to this one from Dolica. It's not without its faults. The ballhead doesn't move quite as nicely as I'd like, and I can count on just a bit of movement as I lock it in place. Once it's set, though, I'm happy with the results. Just as no lens is without its faults, no tripod is without vibration, and good technique helps improve your results, too. Keep the center column down if you can, extend the legs only as far as you need to, hang some weight on the center, use mirror lock-up and a remote shutter release -- all the normal stuff applies.

There's no doubt at all that higher-end tripods would perform even better, but I've lugged this one up and down any number of trails, set it up in streams, plopped it into snowbanks, stuck it in the mud, used it as a walking stick -- you name it. No worries. For less than $50, it's miles ahead of the tripods you'd find at Wal-Mart for $30 or $40.

I typically use this with a Canon 40D and a 15-85mm lens. I've used it with my 70-300 lens without incident, as well. This was my 50mm lens, set up on a bunch of jagged rocks for 30 seconds.

O'Shaughnessy Flowage

| improve this answer | |
  • That tripod is certainly very close to an exact copy of the Manfrotto 055XPROB, which runs $150 just for the legs. I wonder if anyone has done a comparison of the two. If you look at the amazon reviews I bet you could find some comparisons. – dpollitt Aug 31 '12 at 1:37
  • I'd expect at $150, you'd be able to see some areas where the Manfrotto is a little better. I'm not disputing at all the idea that you get what you pay for, but I also believe this is a steal at $50. I think I paid $40 for mine on sale. – D. Lambert Aug 31 '12 at 1:51

For $50 US, or your £30, you won't be getting much of a brand. So just buy something you like in the local camera store and use it. Consider it the "learners tax" in that once you learn how to use a tripod, you won't be happy with one under $100 or so. Once you get to $150, they start to be reasonably solid.

As the Strobist says: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2010/03/most-powerful-light-in-your-bag.html

"A tripod is not worth a hill of beans if it won't hold your camera rock steady. Seriously, what's the point? If you cannot leave your shutter open for 30 seconds and get a sharp frame, the tripod is not doing the one job it was designed to do."

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    ok well you've succeeded in convincing me not to go cheap... I think I'll try to find one thats used and going for about $100. Would you think something like this might be a good choice? bhphotovideo.com/c/product/614698-REG/… – Toby Seers Aug 30 '12 at 21:33
  • That looks awfully light for that 300mm lens, let alone your next one. Its got an old-style tilt-pan head, most folks these days prefer a ball head. When you read the reviews on B+H, even folks who like it say they legs are flimsy. I went with this one, about $160. bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/… but its mostly a personal choice. – Pat Farrell Aug 30 '12 at 23:51
  • 30s is easy with a remote release even on a light tripod, unless there is wind, external vibration, extreme highlights, or progressing sag. 1/3rd is hell with the light ones unless you have a silent shutter :) – rackandboneman Feb 26 '19 at 20:26

When I started out as a landscape photographer I just went to local store and bought one of the cheapest tripods for my height. That was some $50 Chinese Fox TD150 tripod or something. Pros - easy to use, easy to carry, not afraid to break it down.

I used it for almost a year, repaired it a few times, but generally I was happy with it - it helped me to understand what do I need for good landscape, so recently I've bought a Manfrotto tripod with a ball head.

Don't be afraid to buy something cheap for a first time. Learning curve is endless in photography, so you can always find something better suiting your needs if you will be still into it a year later. At least you will better understand what that needs are.

| improve this answer | |

I recently faced the same decision. I wanted a lightweight, cheap and low-wobble tripod. I thought the rule is, pick one (or at most two) from three: lightweight, cheap, low-wobble. Yet, I am still satisfied with my decision. It's cheap. It's lightweight. It has also in my opinion low enough wobble for my use cases.

The three tripods I considered were:

  • Slik Sprint Pro II (like you considered)
  • Manfrotto Compact Light (like you considered)
  • Velbon M43

I took a risk and purchased the cheapest Velbon M43. My reasoning was:

  • The parts from which Manfrotto Compact Light and Slik Sprint Pro II are built are very similar to the parts from which Velbon M43 is built. I mean, the technology in the tripods seems identical.
  • I can always use the Velbon M43 as a flash stand if I decide to purchase a better tripod. It doesn't matter if a flash stand wobbles somewhat. One problem with Velbon M43 as a flash stand is obviously the limited maximum height, but in some cases a M43 can function as a good enough flash stand.

Now, the review:

  • It isn't excessively wobbly. I watched this slightly amusing cheapo tripod test video and the wobble of my tripod is much much closer to Gitzo than to the tested cheapo tripods.
  • The spirit level is useless because it's measuring the levelness of the stand, not the levelness of the camera. As a manufacturer, I wouldn't have included the spirit level.
  • The carrying bag is poor: you can't adjust the length of the strap.
  • I don't even need the claimed 2 kg max load or 1.5 kg ideal load; I'll be planning to use only 1.0 kg load. In your case, 600D with 70-300mm would weigh about 1.2 kg unless you're planning to use the heavy L lens.
  • There is a quick release plate.
  • The screw on the quick release plate has a rough head, making it possible to tighten it by hand, but to get it really tight, you need a large screwdriver. Fortunately, I don't see any reason to tighten it to the maximum tightness.
  • This is a stand for still photography, not for video photography.
  • 2 sec selfie timer or Android phone based remote Wi-Fi shutter (with camera in Wi-Fi access point mode) is very useful if you're planning to use a lightweight tripod. I mean, a lightweight tripod won't be completely wobble-free, and therefore, you don't want to make the camera in the tripod vibrate. 0.5 seconds would be enough, but most cameras have only 2 sec and 10 sec selfie timer.

As summary, some wise photographer once said "the best camera is the one that you have with you". I would say "the best tripod is the one that you have with you". In this case, Velbon M43 is lightweight (check) but the carrying bag strap length can't be adjusted (you can only decide yourself if this is a problem).

You can purchase a better tripod bag from eBay with the $30 or so you save by choosing Velbon M43 over Manfrotto Compact Light or Slik Sprint Pro II.

I think my next purchase will be a new tripod bag.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.