So what is the ideal tripod for the travelling photographer?
During the seven years I’ve been running photography courses in Brisbane I’ve had many “I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear that” moments. “Do I really need a tripod?”, “I’m not taking my tripod on holiday with me”, “I wish I had taken my tripod on holiday with me”, “What is the perfect travel tripod?” are just a handful of the often asked questions.
When it comes to travelling (in particular air travel) we ideally want our luggage to be as light as possible, so I understand why a lot of people may sacrifice taking a tripod for some extra clothing. But a tripod is a must have accessory that will help you capture some amazing images and memories of you travels – so let’s take a look at some travel friendly options……
Firstly let’s recap why we should use a tripod in the first place …..
A tripod is designed to keep the camera from moving whilst using slow shutter speeds (long exposures), this is a common technique used when taking photos at night, in poor light or for effect (such as blurring moving water.) Basically if you are serious about your photography then you’re probably going to need a tripod, and the sturdier and well built the better!! And for some people that is where the problem lies, a sturdy, well built tripod = another heavy object to carry as well as my camera and various lenses. So whilst we may see the benefits of having a tripod they can be a problem when travelling or going on holiday, especially if we also have to consider a weight allowance enforced by the airlines.
So the solution is to find a tripod that is designed with travel in mind and here are our top 3 tripod for travelling photographers . . .
Recommended travel tripods
1. Manfrotto BeFree tripod
If you are looking for a full size tripod that is light, compact and travel friendly then the Manfrotto BeFree is our number one choice. The BeFree comes supplied in it’s own compact carry bag and is under 16 inches (40 centimetres) long when folded down, so you could easily pack it within a suitcase. The tripod’s legs can be adjusted independently and feature two-position leg angle stops. The supplied ball head has a large ergonomic locking handle and supplied QR (quick release) plate.
Consider watching our review video of the Manfrotto BeFree video for more details.
2. Joby Gorillapod
Joby make a range of durable and lightweight tripods that feature flexible legs that can be bent into shape for uneven surfaces and even wrapped around objects like fences or tree branches. The rubber feet stop the tripod slipping and the ballhead allows for easy manoeuvrability of the mounted camera. Look at the SLR zoom version for mirrorless and similar lightweight DSLR cameras or the Focus tripod (with ballhead) which is our choice and is solid enough to hold the heavier cameras and larger lenses.
3. Manfrotto PIXI mini tripod
The Manfrotto PIXI is a marvel of design and will fit easily into the smallest of camera bags. Sturdy enough for mirrorless cameras and lighter DSLR’s, the PIXI features a mini ball head and fold down legs so it can double as a mini selfie stick!
We also purchased the manfrotto smartphone clamp for recording videos and time lapses with the iPhone.
The Manfrotto Pixi is featured in our video ‘5 essential items you should have in your camera bag‘.
Watch Paul from Photo Genius review the Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod on the Photo Genius YouTube channel.