Don’t cheap out on tripods.

We all know those three legged things called tripods. They come in different sizes, colours, weights, material and so on. Some come with, and some come without a head. You can can tripods for around 20€, and there’s no real end to prices.

Where colours and height are more personal preferences, I would never again buy a 20€ tripod. I had one, so I know what I’m talking about.

Cheap tripods are usually not very versatyle, allowing only for one, usually very narrow, leg angle restained by a spider. You can’t really use them in less than perfect terrain. You wont be able to set it up on the side of a mountain. And I also wouldn’t recommend doing so, because they also tend to be less stable.

With a camera worth hundrets to thousands of Euros (or Dollars), you don’t want it come crashing to the ground because your tripod broke Or because it’s cheap plastic head broke. You just don’t want that to happen.

You also wouldn’t want those nice long star trail exposures to come out all wobbly, because your tripod wasn’t up to the task. I had that experience. The tripod head kreeped  down on me. Didn’t look good.

Here are things I looked into before I got my new tripod last year:

  1. Height: I’m 1.72m, so I chose a tripod that’s about my hight.
  2. Weight: I wanted to travel with it, so it had be light.
  3. Maximum Load: You don’t want your camera come crashing down on you.
  4. Packed size: Again, because I wanted to travel with it.
  5. Prize: I was on a 200€ budget at that time.

In the end, it came down to two choices for me.

Choice 1 was the Cullmann Concept One 625, but it came without a bag. With the bag it would have been around 190€ back in the day. Choice 2 was Manfrottos Befree Red for 160€ with bag. I chose the Manfrotto, mostly because it packed down smaller, and because it came with a bag. The Cullmann also has twist-lock legs, and I’m more the lever-lock guy.

Before you wonder: Yes, they both have variable leg angles.

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