Filming on a tight budget? We pick the best affordable video tripods you can buy right now
Video is an expensive gig, but getting hold of an affordable video tripod is one way to make it a bit less so. While it’s perfectly possible to spend thousands of pounds on a professional-grade video tripod that’s capable of supporting the heaviest professional camcorders, if you’re working with a lighter setup and to a tighter budget, you’ll probably want to consider a different option.
To that end, we’ve put together a list of the best affordable video tripods on the market right now. Made by a range of manufacturers, with various different features and specialties, we’re confident that all budget-conscious filmmakers will be able to find something here that they can use.
We’ve ordered our selection of tripods from cheapest to the most expensive, so you can easily find the level that’s appropriate for your budget. So, without further ado, let’s get to the list!
Video tripods priced under £100
Sony VCTR640 Tripod
If you’re using a lightweight mirrorless setup, or even a small DSLR rig, as long as it weighs under 3kg, the Sony VCTR640 is an ideal support that you can pick up for a ridiculously good price. It ticks a surprising number of boxes for its price – it has a 3-way pan head, quick-release functionality and a respectable maximum height of about 1.44m. A solid aluminium construction ensures a stable hold, the Sony brand name assures you that you aren’t getting something cheap and flimsy, and the whole ensemble weighs just 1.2kg, making it easy to transport. For the price, this is a fantastic video tripod.
Velbon Videomate 538 Video Tripod with PH-358 Head
Another tripod with a maximum payload of 3kg, the Velbon Videomate 538 Video Tripod is a little more expensive than the Sony, but you get a number of advantages for your money. Not least of these is the maximum height, which extends to an impressive 161cm, expanding your shooting angle options. The PH-358 head makes smooth panning and tilting movements a matter of ease, while the QB-5RL camera plate makes it easy to detach the camera quickly for handheld work. The ensemble also packs down to 61cm in length, which is a useful touch for travelling videographers.
Video tripods priced under £200
Camlink TP Professional Video Tripod
The 3-section Camlink TP PRofessional Video Tripod also features tri-legs, which help remove the “whip” at the start of panning and allow the user to produce smoother camera movements. Its fluid-effect pan/tilt head gives you real creative freedom when adding movement to your shots, and the maximum payload capacity of 6kg means that the tripod can take heavier DSLR- or camcorder-based setups. The adjustable legs with rubber feet also allow the tripod to maintain a more secure footing on even rough or uneven surfaces.
Video tripods priced under £300
Manfrotto Befree Live Lever Kit
An extremely compact and well-engineered video tripod kit, the Manfrotto Befree Live Lever Kit is stuffed to the brim with useful features. It borrows a lot from Manfrotto’s professional 190 and 055 series of tripods, such as the Easy Link functionality that makes it simple to attach accessories such as reflectors, and the QPL Travel lever that makes setup a fast and straightforward process. It can support a maximum payload of 4kg, so is well suited for CSC and DSLR setups, and it packs down to just 40cm.
Benro A2573F Video Tripod Kit with S4 Head
The amount of functionality you get for your money with the combination of the Benro A2573F Video Tripod Kit with S4 Head is really quite impressive. To name a few: adjustable leg angles; quick-lock legs with an anti-rotation system; a closed-cell foam grip for easy, comfortable carrying; a wing nut-style center column-locking knob for fast height adjustments on the fly; a QR plate system; pan and tilt drag/lock levers; stainless-steel spiked rubber feet – and more. Phew! Its 4kg capacity is well-suite for mirrorless and small DSLR setups, and let’s not forget the impressive 177cm maximum height. Terrific stuff all around!
Libec TH-X Tripod
The Libec TH-X Tripod uses a sliding plate that’s compatible with Manfrotto and Sachtler heads, and is a good choice if you’re shopping for a tripod that you want to work well with gear that you already own. It folds down nicely, with a diameter of just 105mm when folded, and it weighs just 1kg, making it easy to transport. It’s also a good choice if you’re heading into extreme temperatures, capable of operating in a temperature range of -20°C to 60°C, and its newly designed rigid legs and leg locks make for an extremely sturdy support system. An ideal choice if you’re heading on an intense location shoot.
Video tripods priced under £400
Manfrotto 546B Pro Video Tripod with Mid-Level Spreader
Moving up a little in terms of premium quality now, we have the Manfrotto 546B Pro Video Tripod, which has a carbon fibre construction and can hold a payload of up to 20kg – more than enough for even heavy camcorder setups. It features a die-cast aluminium crown with 75mm bowl, spiked feet with optional rubber over-shoes for indoor use, a two-stage design, and a mid-level spreader that gives it extra stability and improves the speed of setup. Carbon fibre provides an optimal balance between strength, lightness and stability, making this an excellent choice for those whose budgets will accommodate it.
Video tripods priced under £500
Manfrotto Aluminium Twin MS Tripod 100/75mm
Finally, we have a new professional-grade tripod from Manfrotto that is still pretty affordable – the Manfrotto Aluminium Twin MS Tripod, which can take a maximum payload capacity of 25kg. It extends up to 153cm and features a 100mm bowl that can be converted to 75mm when needed via an adapter. Like the previous tripod it also has a ground-level spreader, which not only improves stability and rigidity but also has telescopic arms that make it easier to set leg levels with accuracy. Built to peerless Manfrotto quality, this is a premium tripod that you can have full, complete confidence in no matter where your shoots are taking you.
About the Author
Jon Stapley is a professional journalist with a wealth of experience on a number of photography titles including Amateur Photographer, Digital Camera World and What Digital Camera. See more of his writing on Jon's author page.