Top 10 professional tripods for DSLR cameras.

You're looking for a list of best professional tripods for DSLR cameras.  If you start by compiling posts from the top photography blogs on the internet, and then cross reference them with actual ratings by hundreds of everyday photographers, you get the best answer.

This post gives you the top 10 pro tripods for DSLRs.

My new professional tripodMe and my Oben pro tripod

The top ten tripods are not listed in order because your needs will be different than professional photographers.  I chose the last tripod listed (Oben CT-2491) to buy as my professional tripod. I'm glad I did. I really like it for several reasons.


what tripod do pro photographers use

Professional photographers need dependable professional performance when it comes to picking the right tripod and are willing to invest top dollar to get the consistent, high level use they need. Depending on the genre of photography, pros will invest significant money in their mirrorless and DSLR tripods.

PRO LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHERS. More than any other kinds of pro photographer, landscape shooters choose heavy duty tripods and use Gitzo, Really Right Stuff, Feisol, and 3 Legged brands of tripods. They need the ultimate in steadiness for those long exposure photographs in the outdoor environment. These are the most expensive professional tripods on the market.


WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS. Wedding shooters don't use tripods as much as they used to because of the ability to use high ISO camera settings and image stabilization technology, but when they do they want compact and light. Professional wedding photographers need to be able to move and carry their tripods easily.

They don't need the same level of stability as landscape photographers and turn to tripods made by Manfrotto and Benro.


PRO PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHERS. As a long time pro portrait shooter I used a Bogen tripod for many years and recently went a little lighter with a carbon fiber Oben tripod. See my post on the best tripod for portrait photographers.


VIDEO PHOTOGRAPHERS. Video shooters need a professional fluid head on their tripod legs to make those smooth sweeps to follow the action. Professional tripod legs give them the sturdiness they need for smooth video. Manfrotto is a top layer and the BeFree tripods are easy to use on location.


PROFESSIONAL MACRO PHOTOGRAPHERS. There isn't as much data available for pro macro photographers favorite tripods because they're aren't as many of them around. Most macro shooters are hobbyists and don't invest in professional tripods. The best macro tripods have screwdriver type of handles for small adjustments of the tripods.

Many macro shooter use Vanguard tripods because of their design and tilting center post to get those unique angled views of their subjects.


Here is the list of the top ten professional tripods for DSLR cameras curated from tripod posts and buyer ratings.

1. VANGUARD
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2. BENRO
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3. GEEKOTO
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4. INDURO
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5. MANFROTTO
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6. LEOFOTO
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7. FEISOL
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8. 3-LEGGED THING

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9. OBEN
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10. MeFOTO
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Okay, I admit it. It's time for a confession. Although I currently own a total of 7 tripods right now, I can tell you that only one of them would qualify as a true professional tripod-and I've had that one since 1982. We're going to keep this post on only the best and highest priced tripods in the photography market.

"You can't base your choice of the best professional tripod on the opinions of just one tripod reviewer. It makes sense to get a collection of opinions and then adopt them to your own situation." - Bruce Lovelace

This article is about quality professional tripods and their ball heads that require a significantly higher investment. We've covered a lot on other medium and budget tripods in an extensive collection of tripod articles elsewhere on this blog.

So, what about the various professional brands of tripods made by companies that focus on more sophisticated designs, stricter standards, and higher performance? Let's have a look.


What's The Best Tripod Brand For Professional Photographers?

What brand of tripods are for professional DSLR camera photographers? That's a tough question to answer because the line between professionals and advanced enthusiasts has all but disappeared. Not only has every soccer mom been empowered to take great photos, but so has Uncle Harry. You know him. He's the guy that you can count on to show up at every family event and shoot all those photos.  

With all that said, there are companies that stand above all the others in terms of quality and durability. These brands are associated with professional photographers who demand the absolute best performance with their tripods. Here are 5 brands of professional tripods to consider. 

Gitzo Logo
Induro Logo
Feisol Logo
Really Right Stuff Logo
3 Legged Thing Logo

This is a selective group of high-end tripod brands, but there are other companies that sell professional tripods, like Vanguard, Sirui, and Benro, where you don't have to spend so much and still get a great tripod.


Q and A for professional DSLR tripods

tripod legs with no center pole

DO PROFESSIONAL TRIPODS HAVE A CENTER COLUMN? Many of them don't, particularly with landscape photographers. Landscape photographers often do long exposures and shoot at ground level, which is often impossible when you have a center pole extending downward below the tripod head.

Some tripods have center columns that can swing out of the way horizontally. You'll love this feature if you like to shoot outdoor macro photography.

CAN PRO TRIPODS BE FOLDED DOWN COMPACTLY? Transportation can be a big hassle if you are traveling, particularly by plane. Usually pro tripods are too long to pack into a camera case. The best and sturdiest tripods do not have a bunch of  shorter leg sections, enabling them to compact down to a compact length. Long section tripods are sturdier and have less moving parts to break down.

tripod leg locks

WHAT KIND OF TRIPOD LEG LOCKS ARE THE BEST QUALITY? I like twist locks the best in terms of performance and durability. Some photographers prefer the quickness of flip locks. I think the time savings are minimal when using  flip locks versus twist lock when adjusting the leg length.

I try not to be in a hurry when composing anything other than a hand held snapshot. When I'm taking the time to compose a photograph and I'm using a tripod, I take my time and choose stability and versatility over speed. 

CAN I GET A PROFESSIONAL TRIPOD FOR MY DSLR THAT'S UNDER $200? If you really can't afford to go with one of the high end pro models, there are a few compromises that might work for you. These might not be classified as professional, but they are definitely high quality and without question more affordable.


tripod legs on a scale

HOW MUCH DO DSLR TRIPODS WEIGH? You guessed it. The heavier it is usually mean the more stable it is and also the more expensive it is. Professional tripods with professional quality tripod heads attached generally weigh 4 lbs. or more. You also need to know how much your lens and DSLR camera weigh together.

Those that are made with carbon fiber are a little lighter. You can also save a little in weight by going with a smaller ball head, but you sacrifice at least some performance by doing that.



Best Professional Tripods Under $300

I narrowed down to these 4 pro tripods under $300. You're probably wondering why under $300. For the most part, for under $300 you're not blowing out your piggy bank and you're still getting a helluva tripod.

Manfrotto 055X 

Vanguard Alta Pro 

Sirui T2205X TX Series

Induro Alloy AT-114

 

  • With the Manfrotto 055X you can get a number of different heads for. The link below just shows you one with with a 3-way that has nice short handles for adjusting your camera's angle.
  • The Vanguard Alta pro comes in several different models, along with some variation in price. I first heard about the Alta Pro from my friend, Mike Moats.
  • The Sirui T2205X TX Series isn't the tallest of pro photographers, its legs coming in at a short 49 inches maximum height.
  • Oddly enough, my favorite feature of the Induro Alloy 8M Tripod AT-114 is its half-turn quick twist leg locks. It's also well equipped to handle adverse weather conditions.



I hope this guide helped you with learning more about professional tripods for DSLR cameras.

Stay inspired. Keep shooting. 


Article published by Bruce Lovelace

ABOUT BRUCE LOVELACE

Bruce is the publisher of Better Digital Photo Tips. Read more on the About Page. He's been known as The Traveling Photographer ever since he started his location photography business in 1994.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram.   Visit the Facebook Page. Watch him on YouTube.  Bruce runs photo workshops for kids and adults, and provides one on one digital photography coaching.


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Your best portrait tripod is one that will serve you for a variety of portrait taking situations. You need it to work for standing family portrait poses, sitting poses of individuals, and maybe even at floor level for toddlers and babies. Whether you want to use it for other types of photography may affect your decision on which tripod is right for you. 

Are you looking for the very best tripod head to go along with your tripod legs? Pat yourself on the back because you're doing the right thing. Many photographers neglect the importance of the tripod head in the stability and usefulness equation of getting the most from their camera tripods.


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