Best Tripods and Monopods for Creators (2022)

Need legs for your camera? Try these tripods and monopods on for size.

The humble tripod is an often forgotten but vital part of crafting beautiful shots. Even if you want all the shots in your work to be locked-off and rigid, you need a tripod capable of at least holding the camera still while you do that. If you want any kind of smooth movement, you'll need a well-built tripod head that enables you to manipulate the camera to craft truly pleasing imagery.

It's most often forgotten while budgeting. So often people get so excited to put together a new camera package and focus so much on the body and the lenses and then decide to skimp on the tripod.

Bad idea. Nothing is more painful than needing to do 20+ takes because the tripod head is not smooth enough.

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To avoid this we recommend that people be prepared to spend 20-30% of the cost of their camera body on a tripod. There are certain rare scenarios where this doesn't hold true, but generally speaking, it's a good rule of thumb.

The floor on tripods is around $300, which you should not go below. Even with a $500 camera, a $100 tripod may not get the job done. Let's highlight some of our favorite tripods.

Best Overall: Sachtler Aktiv with Flowtech Legs

Our current pick for a tripod that will give you amazing shots, faster, and last you through several camera cycles is the Sachtler Aktiv with Flowtech legs.

This combination, often sold as a set, offers you the ability to execute smooth, beautiful shots with a wide variety of cameras and setups. Currently available in multiple weight classes, with more to come, the combination features a bowl-mounted connection to make leveling fast and convenient.

Where this combination really shines is not just in function, panning, and tilting (where it excels, but that's just the start), but its really amazing ease of use. Sachtler has done a deep look into how tripods are actually used day-to-day on set and refined a lot of the common tasks of the operator to make them faster and easier in a way that feels revelatory.

The Flowtech legs allow for adjusting the height of all stages from the top without bending over. It seems simple, but after a lifetime of bending over to adjust your sticks, it's really quite wonderful to do it all while being up by the camera.

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The same is true for the tie-down for leveling the ball mount. You can adjust it while standing upright and watch your image at the same time. It's great, especially if you don't want to use the ball mount for level, but to create an off-level shot for special purposes.

Sachtler has taken this one step further with the SpeedSwap system to make it easier to move back and forth with a slider. This system solves one of the biggest frustrations of working with a ball head; how to quickly move back and forth with the ubiquitous sliders that dominate film production today. Without the speed swap, you need to either take your ball mount off (time consuming if it is even possible), or use a ball-to-flat adapter, which adds height and, worse, instability.

With SpeedSwap, you put a nubbin on your slider, and you can move your whole head and camera setup over to the slider in literally seconds.

It's a complete game-changer on busy shoots.

Table of Contents

  • Best Overall: Sachtler Aktiv with Flowtech Legs
  • How We Picked
  • Best Budget:SachtlerAce
  • Best High-End:O'Connor 1040 and 2575D Fluid Heads
  • Best Monopod: The Manfrotto XPro
  • Best Alternative Monopod: Steadicam Air
  • Final Thoughts

How We Picked

We've used in tests and on shoots tripods from all the major manufacturers, including Manfrotto, Miller, Sachtler, O'Connor, and Vinten. We follow the current lineup and offerings closely and make sure we evaluate the newest gear as it becomes available.

Best Budget:SachtlerAce

An alternative to the Aktiv is the Sachtler Ace. It uses plastic pieces in areas where the Aktiv is metal, but otherwise, it's a very similar unit. For lower-weight camera/lens combinations it will treat you well.

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If you are going for a Canon C70 or a Sony FX6, you can likely get away with the biggest Ace units. If you are going for an URSA Mini Pro, various RED cameras, or anything else larger, the Aktiv will treat you better.

Best High-End:O'Connor 1040 and 2575D

If money is absolutely no object, the O'Connor 1000 and 2575D fluid heads are absolutely stellar, especially as your camera package gets larger. There is really no comparison to the kinds of slow, beautiful moves you can choreograph for those heads.

However, these are primarily rental items for most filmmakers, and unless you've invested in a personal ARRI Alexa LF or similar camera body, it's likely overkill.

They also tend to cost more than most of us spend on our camera and are frankly slower to work with. Moving from dolly to sticks to slider will take more time, and these heads are really designed for traditional narrative production, not fast-paced events, sports, or indie work.

Best Monopod: Manfrotto XPRO Series

Monopods offer a single adjustable tripod leg for camera support and are more popular in still photography than video. They do have a great place in filmmaking when you are working with smaller camera packages, especially when working on action, documentaries, or red carpet events.

They allow you to move more quickly, repositioning yourself with great ease. Once you master operating with them, you can get some great shots. While they do take some effort to use well, they have their place. If you're framing a shot that should feel "semi-handheld," they're a great tool to take some weight off your shoulder while still giving you the flexibility to create the feeling you're looking for.

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Currently, the best monopod for video shooters is the Manfrotto XPRO series. Available in both aluminum (less expensive, heavier) or carbon fiber (more expensive, lighter weight), the Manfrotto XPRO setup is robust enough for the heavier weights of video fluid heads and video cameras and lenses.

The quick power flip locks are designed for fast and easy adjustments from a variety of positions. There's an optional attachment for the bottom to create a more secure grip. Manfrotto makes a variety of fluid tripod heads you can purchase along with the monopod if you are looking for a combo, though many filmmakers use a monopod without a head at all. This, combined with Manfrotto's reputation and price point, makes this the top choice for most.

Best Alternative Monopod: Steadicam Air

Another option to consider for a monopod is the Steadicam Air lineup. This uses an innovative gas chamber system to help lift the camera and a foot pedal to release the gas to make it easier to adjust from a standing position.

The gas system means the monopod is more expensive than the competition. In addition, to refill the gas chamber you need to push down while collapsing than section, which is easier with a heavier camera package. With a lighter camera package pushing down the monopod to a lower height is an effort. It comes in two strengths, with the heavier model having a hefty 25lb payload capacity.

Final Thoughts

It's rare that there is so unequivocally a leader in a space. Generally, there is so much competition in a market that as new features roll out, competitors are offering similar or identical functionality almost as soon as it appears.

For usability alone, we find the Aktiv tripod the easiest to use. You'll be faster on set, and over the course of a day that can really add up.

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A tripod (or monopod) is an investment you can comfortably make with confidence that it will continue to hold your camera for years to come. If you end up with a lot of tripods, we have a fun hack to help you store them!

FAQs

Best Tripods and Monopods for Creators? ›

Best Tripods and Monopods for Creators
  • Best Overall: Sachtler Aktiv with Flowtech Legs.
  • How We Picked.
  • Best Budget: Sachtler Ace.
  • Best High-End: O'Connor 1040 and 2575D.
  • Best Monopod: Manfrotto XPRO Series.
  • Final Thoughts.
Jan 25, 2021

Should I get a monopod or a tripod? ›

Tripods are more stable, while monopods are more mobile. Tripods are ideal for long exposure photography and macro work. Monopods are great for steadying long lenses while on the move sports photography. You might need both stability and mobility.

Are monopods good for photography? ›

Photographers like to use monopods because they fold up compactly and can be carried into crowded events discreetly and extended when needed. And when you do need to use your monopod, they are much less obtrusive than a tripod that extends outward in three directions!

Can a monopod replace a tripod? ›

Depending on usage such as event coverages, a nimble monopod is better than a tripod. There are monopods that have leg extensions that make them stand on their own. However, it is not enough to replace a tripod.

Are monopods effective? ›

Monopods can also help if you're filming video, allowing for smoother panning and steadier fixed shots. Another use for monopods is often seen on the sports field, where photographers simply use their monopods as a support, to hold up the weight of their camera and telephoto lens.

What tripods do influencers use? ›

Best Camera Tripods for Influencer Mobile Photography
  • ULANZI Camera Tripod with Mini Stand and Hidden Phone Holder.
  • UEGOGO Camera Tripods with Remote Shutter and Universal Clip Mobile Phone Holder.
  • PIVO Face Body Motion Tracking Camera Tripod for Mobile.
Nov 18, 2021

What phone tripod do Youtubers use? ›

Best Vlogging Tripod
TripodPrice
1. Joby Gorillapod With QR Plate – Best OverallCheck Price
2. Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Black – Highest Quality MaterialsCheck Price
3. Sirui Handheld Tripod With Ball Head – Best For TravelersCheck Price

Which tripod is best for mobile vlogging? ›

The best smartphone tripods available now
  1. Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Kit. A simple but well made phone tripod that nails the basics. ...
  2. Joby GorillaPod Mobile Rig. This smartphone tripod can hold much more than just your phone. ...
  3. Joby GripTight PRO TelePod. ...
  4. Joby GorillaPod Mobile Mini. ...
  5. Manfrotto Compact Light Smart.
Mar 29, 2021

How much is a good tripod? ›

The tripod would cost between $75 and $150 for the legs and the head, which is a good price for a simple tool. Next, they purchase a longer and heavier lens and add more weight to the setup. All of a sudden, they find that the cheap tripod is not good enough and they need something more durable and stable.

How good are Manfrotto tripods? ›

Manfrotto tripods are well respected in the industry as a quality and cost-effective choice for tripods. Judging from my own anecdotal experience, I would guess that 50% or more of advanced amateur photographers choose the 055XPROB as their first quality tripod.

What tripod height is the best? ›

A tripod should be tall enough to hold your camera steady at your eye level. 60 inches is tall enough unless you're shooting on a hill, you want to take a higher perspective, or you have objects at eye level that are blocking your view.

Do you need a head with a monopod? ›

While using the monopod without a head is preferred by many sports and wildlife photographers, if one desires, a head can be used but just be certain that the head and the screws can support the weight of the camera and lens. Heads range from a simple tilt to a ball to a gimbal head.

How do I choose a monopod? ›

Here are the most important features to think about when choosing the best monopod:
  1. Load Capacity. ...
  2. Maximum Height. ...
  3. Weight. ...
  4. Material. ...
  5. Leg sections. ...
  6. Feet. ...
  7. Accessories. ...
  8. Manfrotto Element MII 5-Section Aluminum Monopod.
May 10, 2017

How tall should your monopod be? ›

Height/Weight

If you are 6 feet tall, you'll want a monopod that extends to at least 5 feet, and 5.5 feet is better. Note that a good monopod should also be useable when sitting or kneeling, so choose one that is compact enough when not extended that it suits you at both ends of the spectrum.

What is the point of a monopod? ›

A monopod, also called a unipod, is a single staff or pole used to help support cameras, binoculars, rifles or other precision instruments in the field.

Why do you need a monopod? ›

Weight - One primary benefit of a monopod is to reduce the weight of handholding all your camera gear. This is particularly useful when shooting sports and wildlife, where you'll want something to alleviate the weight of the larger telephoto lenses that you'll likely be using.

Can a monopod stand on its own? ›

It's a lightweight, easy to operate monopod that can stand on its own. The HFMP has three feet that can lock a small lightweight camera up, without leaning or being propped up by anything. We've found that using monopods while on the go is the easiest way to get better footage.

How do you keep a monopod steady? ›

Spread your feet to about the same width as your shoulders are wide. Place the bottom tip of your monopod in front of you to form a triangle with your feet., also at about the same distance as your shoulders. Lean forward slightly to put a small amount of pressure on your monopod. Squeeze your shutter gently.

Should I use image Stabilisation with a monopod? ›

Tim's Quick Answer: When using a monopod under typical circumstances I recommend keeping the stabilization feature of your lens (or camera body) turned on. More Detail: While a monopod certainly provides a degree of stability for capturing photos, that stability is not as stable as what is provided with a tripod.

Does monopod help camera shake? ›

Shooting with a camera support like a tripod or monopod can reduce the possibility of camera shake but its not always possible. If you need to shoot handheld, try to achieve a fast shutter speed, and use image stabilisation if you have it.

What is the point of a monopod? ›

A monopod, also called a unipod, is a single staff or pole used to help support cameras, binoculars, rifles or other precision instruments in the field.

Why do you need a monopod? ›

Weight - One primary benefit of a monopod is to reduce the weight of handholding all your camera gear. This is particularly useful when shooting sports and wildlife, where you'll want something to alleviate the weight of the larger telephoto lenses that you'll likely be using.

Can a monopod stand on its own? ›

It's a lightweight, easy to operate monopod that can stand on its own. The HFMP has three feet that can lock a small lightweight camera up, without leaning or being propped up by anything. We've found that using monopods while on the go is the easiest way to get better footage.

How do you use a monopod for wildlife photography? ›

Wildlife Photography | Tripod-Gimbal, Monopod or Hand-Held - YouTube

Videos

1. TOP 5: Best Monopods [2022] | For DSLR, Video, Travel & More!
(Unbox Daily)
2. ▶️ Tripods and Monopods under $20: Top 5 Best Tripods and Monopods For 2021-[ Buying Guide ]
(Moms Fantacy)
3. ✅ TOP 5 Best Monopod [ 2022 Buyer's Guide ]
(Techs You Can't Live Without)
4. ✅ Best Monopods for Great Photography & Film Making in 2020
(TechEmpire)
5. The Best Cheap Monopod of 2020 - What I love About This Carbon Fibre Beast
(Fairclough Studios)
6. All About Tripods | Tomorrow's Filmmakers
(Tomorrows Filmmakers)

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