I want to start off with product photography. I am new to product photography and don't want to pay too much as of yet for equipment.

I want to start off with a tripod. Which tripod would you guys recommend for my kind of shooting that is in budget?

I need it to:

  • Take photos at various angles
  • Take photos from above
  • Be high enough to take shots of mannequins

I don't think that you want to use a tripod at all.

For easier work, you want to place the product on some kind of table. Adjusting a tripod to point the camera on something on the table can be hard. Even if the middle column of the arm can act as a boom and be adjusted at an angle.

A tripod provides a sturdy base at the cost of the space for three legs, which limits you even further on how you can place your camera. And you already have a sturdy table, so sturdiness is not your biggest problem. You are not on the top of a mountain after all.

I think a better solution would be some kind of arm. Manfrotto makes one called "Magic Arm". (I'm neither affiliated nor do I own this product, but as far as I can tell this brand specific name became synonymous for that kind of product, which will allow you to identify it and find alternative manufacturers)

The arm basically allows you to freely move it around and lock it in place with a lever. If you attach a quick release clamp for your camera at one end and a big clamp at the other, you should be able to clamp your camera to the arm and the arm to the table top in turn. I think this setup will give you more freedom in positioning the camera and won't get in the way as much as a tripod.

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    or a Gorillapod or tabletop tripod may also be suitable, depending on table space, camera weights etc – laurencemadill May 18 '15 at 16:05

Like null said, you don't want a tripod. In a studio environment it's just in the way too much. What you want is a camera stand. A camera stand has a small base with wheels to move it easily and a vertical pole that a platform and/or arm hangs off of to which you can mount your camera. Takes up little space, is very maneuverable in the tight spaces of a studio, and lets you get the camera just where you need it.

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