Our hands are never steady, and no matter how good of photographers we are, shaky hands will always end up ruining our beautiful photographs.
One of the most basic and straightforward camera tools is a tripod, a three-legged stand that can support a camera. A tripod is an essential tool that I believe all photographers, especially landscape and astrophotography shooters, should have.
Tripod will also vastly improve your quality. Content captured with a tripod appears far better compared to the content captured handheld; if you don’t want your content to look like a 10-year-old YouTube video, invest in a tripod!
Don’t worry though, thanks to the market’s big portfolio of offerings, you may cherry-pick them, yes, even those priced under $100.
To make things easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of the best tripods under $100 in this article.
Let’s get started without wasting any more time.
Top 5 Best Tripods Under $100
5. Dolica AX620B100 – Best for Traveling
The first on the list is a tripod that will accompany outdoor photographers on their travels. Yes, it will do so at a low cost while providing you with the results you expect.
This aluminum tripod by Dolica has a maximum load capacity of 13.2 Pounds. So, if you’ve been hunting for a portable tripod to support your bulky setup, you’ve just found one.
It has a removable, invertible middle column (macro shots) that keeps it rock solid and extends at a maximum of 62″, while it folds down to a minimum of 21.5″. The tripod legs are pretty durable and stable.
It’s simple to deploy and fold thanks to quick-release flip latches. The single-lever ball head, on the other hand, is a unique feature; it comes with a quick-release plate with a 14″ mounting screw and allows for 360-degree panoramic pictures with marks. Personally, i don’t really like the ball head on this compact tripod, and if you have a bit of extra money, i would recommend replacing the ball head with something more advanced.
Don’t get me wrong, for the price, the ball head is fine, but it wobbles and doesn’t stay in place like it should.
Two bubble levels on the plate ensure accuracy on every occasion, and a knob twist locks the pan and helps you tilt.
To be honest, at this price, I couldn’t be happier with the Dolica tripod. Most people would doubt the durability of a low-cost tripod, which is why Dolica provides us with a 5-year warranty.
- Great Portability
- Great Load Capacity
- Single lever ball head
- Stable tripod legs
- Easy To Use Flip Locks
- The quick-release design might be lacking
- Build Quality Could have been better
4. Joby GorillaPod 3K – Best Gorillapod
Next up is a Gorillapod from Joby, which is a really unique choice. To keep it short, i’d say its the best tripod in its category.
The Joby Gorillapod sticks out for its flexibility, size, ease of use, and mostly the low price. Despite the fact that it isn’t your typical tripod, this “big” boy sure stands out for its versatility.
The GorillaPod is easily recognizable from any other tripod on the market. It’s well-loved by photographers and vloggers because it can be installed on practically any surface or projecting object, such as a tree limb, pole, table — pretty much anything that comes to your mind.
It has a ¼”-20 tripod mount and weighs less than 3 kg (6.6 lbs). You can pretty much take portability for granted here. It’s also quite sturdy for a little tripod capable of supporting 6.6 pounds of weight.
Yes, I am well aware that it doesn’t have the same maximum capacity as the above alternative, but this mini tripod was designed with vloggers in mind, and their setup generally comes in a compact and lightweight form factor.
A strong point of this tripod is its ball head. The ball head on this tripod is very good and stable. When a budget tripod is in question, most manufacturers try to save costs on the ball head, but i think that Joby did a really good job in this field, and included a great ball head on this tripod.
It also has a 360-degree panning bed, a 90-degree tilt, and a bubble level for precise positioning, the bubble level promises to bring great landscape photos. It can grow to a maximum height of 30 centimeters and a minimum height of 11 centimeters.
Overall it is a great tripod for those who seek a Gorillapod or a tabletop tripod. You will be hard-pressed to find a better alternative.
- Really Versatile
- Great ball head
- Limited on height.
3. Magnus VT-300 – Best For Videographers
Next, we have a tripod for videographers, don’t worry I didn’t forget you fellow video recorders on budget.
Yes, I know this might be a video recording tripod, but it can easily hold your DSLR or your full-frame camera. It has a maximum load capacity of 15 lb.
However, It is not exactly a portable tripod, which is understandable why. It has a folded length of 26.5″ and a weight of 5.8 lbs; looking at the bright side, this is more of a pro than a con. We all know that its extra weight will hugely contribute to the stability of the tripod.
Magnus VT-3000 can extend up to 64.3″ in height. Magnus didn’t forget to include a tilting and panning tripod head either. It’s not a geared tripod head, but still gets the job done.
Because of the non slip rubber feet, it is extremely stable. On the tripod, there’s also a bubble level, which helps you get the appropriate angle when photographing on rough terrain.
If you were to ask me, for the price it comes with, I am already sold. The Magnus Vt-300 can be used to create 4k video camera content. It’s incredibly stable and durable, and the action is silky smooth and professional-grade. Although it may be a little too big to travel with.
In its category, this is probably the best tripod under $100.
- Great Tripod for Videography
- Extremely stable feet
- Great for DSLR Cameras
- On the heavy side
2. The Victiv T72 – Best Value
The Victiv T72 is the second tripod on the list, and it has a lot of functions for a low price.
This one appeals to me because it has a great maximum height of 182 cm, making it ideal for eye-level photography. If you want to learn more about this, read my essay on how tall a tripod should be.
In any case, the tripod may be folded down to 22.4 inches and can support up to 8.8 pounds of weight. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s also not awful. It sure can carry a reasonable amount of weight. The tripod alone is 3.3 pounds in weight.
In addition, it comes with two quick release plates, which is uncommon. This is perfect for photographers who use a variety of cameras because it allows you to switch between them in a couple of seconds.
The flip locks on the legs of this tripod is also a strong point of it, and it left me impressed, especially because of the cost of this tripod.
When it comes to the head, it has a three-way swivel that enables 360-degree panning and tilting.
Overall, it’s a tripod with a lot of features at a price that’s just under $50. This is indeed something that should be on your wish list.
- Very affordable
- Can be transformed into a monopod
- Comes with an extra quick release plate
1. Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum 5-Section – Best Overall
If you’re into photography, I’m sure you’ve heard of Manfrotto, one of the “Big Dogs” when it comes to tripods.
The Manfrotto compact advanced tripod is a small tripod that comes at an affordable price, and it is one of their best tripods.
It is made of high-quality aluminum and weighs 2.65 pounds. It’s a pretty lightweight tripod, which makes it easy to carry around.
When it comes to the tripod’s weight, it’s among the lightest in its class; even at its maximum height, it doesn’t feel flimsy or unstable.
It has a 4.4-pound load capacity, which is not quite the number we want to be at. But yeah, It should be noted that it will struggle with large cameras with telelens; it was designed with beginner/mid-entry DSLRs in mind.
It reaches 17.3 inches in fold mode, or minimum height, and 61.02 inches at maximum height.
The joystick grip is located on the top of the tripod and allows you to hold and move the tripod. It is made of ABS plastic and fits nicely in your hand.
There’s also the innovative circular fast release plate, which allows you to attach the camera quickly and easily without having to fiddle with the settings. If you’ve came this far, you probably know that the ball head on most budget tripods is the weak point. In this dslr tripod, the ball head works perfectly fine on this tripod and gets the job done without any wobbling.
Despite having a low load capacity, it pretty much ticks everything you seek on a tripod, it even brings features from Manfrotto’s high-end counterparts at a really affordable price. Definitely the best tripod in its category.
- Extremely compact
- Very sturdy and durable
- Great for indoor photographers
- Lightweight Tripod
- Max weight capacity is 3.3 lbs
- Can’t be transformed into a monopod
Buying Guide: How To Choose The Right Tripod For You
Build Quality and Construction
The phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t hold true when it comes to tripods.
Most of the time, the material used to construct a tripod distinguishes a high-quality one from a low-quality one.
Tripods made of aluminum and carbon fiber both have advantages and disadvantages.
Aluminum tripods are reasonably strong and sturdy, and their major selling point is that they come at a much more affordable price than their counterparts.
While in the other hand carbon fiber is the best material available, and tripods built with it typically cost several hundred dollars, due to being the strongest material. More on this, in my article, aluminum vs carbon fiber tripod
You should also check other parts of the body, such as the legs and feet, to see if they are sturdy and secure. Or, more significantly, how solid is the tripod and how smooth is the panning?
The feet are very important, and you should always check if the tripod has rubber feet, plastic feet and aluminum feet. Around 90% of the tripods in the market today have rubber feet, since this is the cheapest and best material.
When choosing the best tripod, the load capacity is extremely crucial. Simply put, it refers to how much weight can your tripod bench.
Jokes aside, the weight or say load capacity, refers to the maximum weight that your tripod can support before collapsing.
If you often use a hefty camera body and an even heavier lens, a tripod with a large weight capacity is a must. Even if your setup is lighter than 15 lbs, having the added stability is beneficial.
Minimum and Maximum Height
What makes the tripod’s height so important is that you can avoid some bills on backpain physiotherapists if you can look right into the viewfinder without bending, which I think is rather nice and comfortable.
A tripod with a good range of extensions will provide us greater freedom to perform things like the overhead photo, or even better, one with macro capability. When you think about it, it’s really hard to keep the camera steady in a low position when photographing a small insect, but it’s won’t be an issue for your tripod.
You also don’t want to extend the tripod too high because it will most likely lose its stability.
The weight of the tripod is also important, especially if you are shooting outside. You want your tripod to be as light as possible so that it can be carried around easily. The lighter it is, the easier it is to transport, so keep in mind that if you travel a lot, this will be your main treat.
You don’t want to carry around a bulky tripod, do you? You can simply go to the gym if you want to lift weights.
However, if you flip the coin, a heavier tripod will always be more stable than a light tripod.
That’s why each tripod is different. For example, an over-head tripod has to be very lightweight, whereas a wildlife tripod has to be very heavy and stable.
Hopefully, you now have a clear grasp of the best tripods under $100 and which option would suit you best.
Even if none of the above appealed to you, I am sure that the further reading section and the buying guide will be helpful in the long run.
Always keep in mind that a tripod is a necessary tool, not a luxurious one.
As for Sony A7s III users, I have listed some wonderful gimbals that you must check out. Oh, you don’t need a gimbal since you own a tripod? I got you cover, with some lenses that will work wonders on your Sony camera.
This concludes the article, hopefully, everything was clear and you were able to grab a tripod from the listing above.