For high-qual­i­ty video shoot­ing, it is very impor­tant that the cam­era does not shake. Sta­bi­liza­tion is often built into mod­ern mod­els, which gives a smooth pic­ture with­out addi­tion­al devices. There are also inex­pen­sive steadicams on sale: they allow you to shoot hand­held and change the direc­tion of the cam­era using elec­tron­ics. But best of all, video tripods fight vibra­tions. What to look for when buy­ing and how to choose the best one, read in our mate­r­i­al.

All addi­tion­al body kit of the cam­era can be mount­ed on a tri­pod. Source: www.unsplash.com

To begin with, let’s deter­mine what fea­tures of a video tri­pod can affect its oper­a­tion.

Fluid head with smooth rotation

When shoot­ing video, one of the clas­sic tech­niques is pan­ning. When you move the cam­era hor­i­zon­tal­ly, the pic­ture should move smooth­ly, with­out jerk­ing. How­ev­er, the move­ment of the human hand is not con­stant in speed, so spe­cial tri­pod heads are used for smooth rota­tion. They have a spe­cial damper with a heavy sil­i­cone flu­id that cre­ates resis­tance to the move­ment of the head. A sim­i­lar effect can be observed if you immerse your hand under water and move it: you need to make more effort, so the move­ment slows down and becomes mea­sured.

The video heads are so mas­sive pre­cise­ly because of the flu­id damp­ing sys­tem. Source: www.unsplash.com

In pro­fes­sion­al mod­els of video tripods, the resis­tance can be adjust­ed: increase or decrease. This is nec­es­sary, for exam­ple, to adjust the tri­pod for users with dif­fer­ent mus­cle strengths.

High rigidity

When shoot­ing video, any move­ment should be car­ried out exact­ly as the oper­a­tor intend­ed: for exam­ple, when pan­ning, it is impos­si­ble for the cam­era to twitch ver­ti­cal­ly or tilt. Sta­t­ics is also impor­tant when shoot­ing with a tele­pho­to lens.

The rigid­i­ty and sta­bil­i­ty of a tri­pod is direct­ly relat­ed to its weight and size. There­fore, video tripods are equipped with dou­ble sec­tions of legs made of strong steel and hor­i­zon­tal struts. A weight of 5–10 kilo­grams is nor­mal for a video tri­pod.

A large and expen­sive cam­era requires a stur­dy and reli­able tri­pod. Source: vistek.ca

There are also light­weight video tripods for trav­el or blog­ging. They are con­ve­nient when the com­pact­ness of the device is more impor­tant than sta­bil­i­ty. Light tripods are a sep­a­rate top­ic, you can also read about them on our web­site in the arti­cle “How to choose a tri­pod and mono­pod”.

A com­pact tri­pod is rel­e­vant when using mir­ror­less cam­eras. Source: www.unsplash.com

In addi­tion, you can buy a sep­a­rate tri­pod head for video shoot­ing and put it on a tri­pod with a detach­able head. This will allow you to get the best of two types of tripods: smooth rota­tion and ease of trans­port.

Long handle

All tri­pod heads and video tripods have only one long han­dle. Why is that? The fact is that when shoot­ing video, it is impor­tant to accu­rate­ly set the angle of rota­tion of the cam­era, and such a han­dle allows you to slow­ly, with­out jerk­ing, turn the head of the tri­pod.

Oper­a­tors have long real­ized that it is much more con­ve­nient to con­trol the cam­era with a long han­dle. Source: www.unsplash.com

The han­dle on a video tri­pod is usu­al­ly remov­able. It is screwed onto a spe­cial thread on the right or left (for left-han­ders) at dif­fer­ent angles to the site. If desired, you can buy a sec­ond han­dle and install two on a tri­pod.

Hemispherical head base

We have already men­tioned that hor­i­zon­tal pan­ning is one of the basic tech­niques in video shoot­ing. In this case, the tri­pod head rotates around a ver­ti­cal axis in a hor­i­zon­tal plane. But if you set up a tri­pod and mount the cam­era on it, this plane will not be per­fect­ly flat. It is nec­es­sary to set the plane to a hor­i­zon­tal posi­tion using the built-in bub­ble lev­el or sen­sor in the cham­ber.

On pho­to and many video tripods, the head is fixed or has a flat bot­tom sur­face. Then the hori­zon must be set by chang­ing the length of the met­al legs. But keep in mind that the process is not con­ve­nient, and the height of the tri­pod will decrease.

Anoth­er, more com­fort­able option is when the tri­pod head is con­nect­ed to the tri­pod using a hemi­spher­i­cal sur­face and fixed with a screw. This allows you to set the hor­i­zon­tal posi­tion of the pan plane with­out chang­ing the posi­tion of the legs.

Head with a flat (top) and hemi­spher­i­cal (bot­tom) base. Source: imaging-resource.com

Then the tri­pod has anoth­er char­ac­ter­is­tic — the diam­e­ter of the hemi­spher­i­cal head mount. It must be borne in mind that in order for the head to be com­pat­i­ble with a tri­pod, this para­me­ter must be the same for both devices.


If you unlock the video head tilt and try to tilt the head of a pro­fes­sion­al tri­pod, you can feel the resis­tance of the springs, which tend to return it to a hor­i­zon­tal posi­tion. This is the work of the so-called counter-bal­ance sys­tem. It is designed to bal­ance a heavy cam­era and lens.

A coun­ter­bal­ance spring that tends to keep the tri­pod head in a hor­i­zon­tal posi­tion. Source: youtube.com/David Wal­termy­er

Not all video tripods are equipped with coun­ter­bal­ance. Most often it is found in pro­fes­sion­al mod­els, but in the bud­get seg­ment this bonus is not pro­vid­ed at all. If you choose a tri­pod in the mid­dle price cat­e­go­ry, you need to make sure that there is a coun­ter­bal­ance in advance. For exam­ple, Ben­ro S4Pro, Man­frot­to MVH500AH, Kingjoy VT-3510 heads have a coun­ter­bal­ance.

Platform with longitudinal sliding

The cen­ter of grav­i­ty of a movie cam­era is always shift­ed for­ward or back­ward rel­a­tive to the tri­pod sock­et. If you ignore this and mount the cam­era on a tri­pod, the cam­era will tend to tilt when the head is unlocked. You will have to con­stant­ly pre­vent this by hold­ing the han­dle. It will be incon­ve­nient to con­trol the move­ment of the head (like a car whose steer­ing wheel spon­ta­neous­ly turns in one direc­tion).

There­fore, for the con­ve­nience of shoot­ing, it is impor­tant to move the cam­era rel­a­tive to the tri­pod head at an arbi­trary dis­tance. To do this, video tri­pod plat­forms have an elon­gat­ed shape and can move back and forth in the recess of the tri­pod head in an unfixed state.

Ben­ro S4Pro, Man­frot­to MVH500AH, Kingjoy VT-3510 are exam­ples of such tri­pod heads. Almost all pro­fes­sion­al mod­els are dis­tin­guished by such a plat­form.

Two mount­ing screws on the video tri­pod plat­form. Source: ebay.com

Next, we will give exam­ples of good video tripods for every taste and bud­get.

Best Budget Video Tripods

Falcon Eyes Cinema VT-1500

For begin­ner video­g­ra­phers or those who don’t plan on spend­ing a lot on a video tri­pod, the Fal­con Eyes Cin­e­ma VT-1500 is a good choice. The tri­pod head is non-remov­able and made of plas­tic, which reduces the weight and cost of the tri­pod. The cen­tral col­umn is lift­ing — con­ve­nient for quick height adjust­ment. The cam­era can be rotat­ed to por­trait posi­tion by tilt­ing the plat­form 90 degrees.

The tri­pod has a design typ­i­cal for mod­els up to 3 thou­sand rubles. Source: falcon-eyes.ru

Advan­tages of Fal­con Eyes Cin­e­ma VT-1500:

  • allows you to enter the world of videog­ra­phy with­out any spe­cial expens­es;
  • light — only 1.3 kilo­grams;
  • you can shoot from a tri­pod in por­trait posi­tion — more expen­sive mod­els do not have this func­tion.

Dis­ad­van­tages of Fal­con Eyes Cin­e­ma VT-1500:

  • slight cam­era shake when shoot­ing video due to the low rigid­i­ty of the plas­tic head and the flex­i­bil­i­ty of the tri­pod legs (this can be reduced if the cen­ter col­umn is not extend­ed and the cam­era sta­bi­liz­er is used).

GreenBean Videocraft 316

Green­Bean Videocraft 316 weighs 2.1 kilo­grams — heav­ier than the pre­vi­ous mod­el. The rigid­i­ty of the tri­pod will be high­er than that of the VT-1500 due to the more mas­sive head.

The head on the Green­Bean Videocraft 316 tri­pod rotates more smooth­ly than on the pre­vi­ous mod­el. Source: gbvideo.ru

The rota­tion of the head is smooth thanks to the hydraulic damper. But you can not turn your head to por­trait posi­tion.

Ben­e­fits of Green­Bean Videocraft 316:

  • good work­man­ship of the head for its price;
  • smooth­ness of head rota­tion;
  • easy to car­ry and use.

Dis­ad­van­tages of Green­Bean Videocraft 316:

  • the plas­tic latch­es of the leg clamps are a poten­tial­ly weak point that can fail at the wrong time.

Falcon Eyes CinemaPRO VT-1800B

When choos­ing equip­ment for shoot­ing, some­times there comes a point when ama­teur solu­tions are no longer suit­able, and you start using a heavy cam­era for long-term work. Here you can not do with­out a sol­id tri­pod with coun­ter­bal­ance.

With a rel­a­tive­ly low price — about 8 thou­sand rubles — Fal­con Eyes Cin­emaPRO VT-1800B has the desired char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Fal­con Eyes Cin­emaPRO VT-1800B is equipped with every­thing you need for a video tri­pod. Source: falcon-eyes.ru

The head here is made of durable alu­minum-mag­ne­sium alloy, there is a coun­ter­bal­ance. In addi­tion, the tri­pod is equipped with a slid­ing plat­form and an adjustable han­dle.

Advan­tages of Fal­con Eyes Cin­emaPRO VT-1800B:

  • a full set of basic video tri­pod func­tions at a min­i­mal cost;
  • met­al video head;
  • excel­lent max­i­mum height — 1.84 meters.

Dis­ad­van­tages of Fal­con Eyes Cin­emaPRO VT-1800B:

  • there are no rub­ber pads on the legs, only small stops, so they can move apart on a slip­pery floor.

Best mid-budget video tripods

Sirui SH25-CN

Sirui SH25-CN is a tri­pod with ball head base, which makes it easy to adjust the hor­i­zon­tal posi­tion of the pan plane. It costs much more than the pre­vi­ous mod­el — about 17 thou­sand rubles — but the Sirui brand has a bet­ter rep­u­ta­tion and qual­i­ty con­trol.

Sirui makes pro­fes­sion­al grade tripods. No dis­counts on the fact that this is a rel­a­tive­ly young brand by the stan­dards of its niche. Source: store.sirui.com

The legs end with spikes, which allows the tri­pod to main­tain sta­bil­i­ty on uneven and soft sur­faces. And the rub­ber pads on the feet are suit­able when used on a smooth sur­face.

Rub­ber pads on the legs pro­vide bet­ter grip on the sur­face. Source: store.sirui.com

Advan­tages of Sirui SH25-CN:

  • spher­i­cal base of the head with a diam­e­ter of 75 mm;
  • reli­able two-sec­tion design of legs with screw clamps;
  • good build qual­i­ty and a five-year man­u­fac­tur­er’s war­ran­ty.

Dis­ad­van­tages of Sirui SH25-CN:

  • there is no coun­ter­bal­ance adjust­ment, that is, its resis­tance can­not be increased or decreased;
  • The tri­pod han­dle can only be mount­ed on the right.

GreenBean HDV Elite Combo 4

The Green­Bean HDV Elite Com­bo 4 is a three-func­tion video tri­pod: tri­pod, mono­pod and mini tri­pod.

The tri­pod itself is quite light (2.1 kilo­grams), with a sim­ple leg design and con­ve­nient met­al clamps. It is not as rigid as the pre­vi­ous mod­el, but is much more com­pact when fold­ed.

In terms of design, we have a pho­to tri­pod with a video head. Source: gbvideo.ru

If you unscrew one of the legs and attach it to the head, you get a video mono­pod. It is good because it is much more mobile than a tri­pod.

The mono­pod rests on the ground with only one low­er end, and its upper point at this moment can be moved along with the cam­era. In the video, it will look like a smooth flight of the cam­era.

On a mono­pod, the cam­er­a’s flight path will not be as smooth, and the move­ment will not be as per­fect as on a motor­ized slid­er. But this imper­fec­tion gives a spe­cial dynam­ics to the move­ment and serves as a sep­a­rate artis­tic tech­nique.

A mono­pod is anoth­er option for sta­bi­liz­ing the cam­era when shoot­ing. Source: gbvideo.ru

The kit comes with a mini tri­pod that can be used to sup­port the mono­pod or as a sep­a­rate mini tri­pod (with­out or with a video head).

A com­pact tri­pod can be placed on a table or oth­er plat­form, or used as a low shoot­ing point — from the ground. Source: gbvideo.ru

Ben­e­fits of Green­Bean HDV Elite Com­bo 4:

  • this is a uni­ver­sal set, it con­sists of a video tri­pod, a mono­pod and a mini tri­pod, which allows you to use many video shoot­ing tech­niques;
  • durable met­al con­struc­tion;
  • the price is low­er than that of the near­est com­peti­tors.

Dis­ad­van­tages of Green­Bean HDV Elite Com­bo 4:

  • in the­o­ry, in the event of a break­down of one of the leg mount­ing axes, the tri­pod com­plete­ly los­es its struc­tur­al integri­ty, which can lead to the cam­era falling.

The best video tripods


The Man­frot­to MVTTWINFA pro­fes­sion­al video tri­pod is the tool for those who need max­i­mum reli­a­bil­i­ty.

Man­frot­to MVTTWINFA is the heav­i­est tri­pod in this arti­cle. Source: manfrotto.com

The max­i­mum load of the tri­pod is 25 kilo­grams, which guar­an­tees a large mar­gin of safe­ty dur­ing use. And this is with a dead weight of 3.9 kilo­grams, achieved through the use of light but durable mate­ri­als.

The upper and low­er leg clamp mech­a­nisms are syn­chro­nized here, which means that one clamp allows you to con­trol the block­ing of the leg.

The tri­pod can be used with 100mm or 75mm ball heads, expand­ing the choice of tri­pod heads.

Ben­e­fits of Man­frot­to MVTTWINFA:

  • high strength, reli­a­bil­i­ty and pre­mi­um qual­i­ty;
  • syn­chro­niza­tion of the upper and low­er leg lock­ing mech­a­nism reduces the time of fold­ing and unfold­ing;
  • three fixed leg width posi­tions.

Dis­ad­van­tages of Man­frot­to MVTTWINFA:

  • slight­ly more expen­sive than direct ana­logues.

Benro A673TMBS8PRO

If you need a tri­pod with a com­plete head but with­out com­pro­mis­ing on qual­i­ty, we can rec­om­mend the Ben­ro A673TMBS8PRO.

The tri­pod has a reli­able clas­sic design. Source: benrousa.com

The base of the tri­pod head is flat, which allows you to rearrange it on oth­er tripods or monopods. A 75mm hemi­spher­i­cal adapter allows you to quick­ly set the hori­zon. The coun­ter­bal­ance is equipped with 7 lev­els of resis­tance, and can also be turned off com­plete­ly. The bub­ble lev­el has a back­light for pre­cise adjust­ment in low light con­di­tions.

Advan­tages of Ben­ro A673TMBS8PRO:

  • high head smooth­ness with the abil­i­ty to fine-tune the coun­ter­bal­ance allows you to con­trol the move­ment of cam­eras for pro­fes­sion­al-lev­el shoot­ing;
  • all-met­al con­struc­tion for max­i­mum reli­a­bil­i­ty and dura­bil­i­ty;
  • tele­scop­ic han­dle with angle adjust­ment and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of dou­ble-sided instal­la­tion;
  • addi­tion­al thread­ed mounts for acces­sories (on-cam­era mon­i­tor, recorder, light­ing and sound equip­ment).

Dis­ad­van­tages of Ben­ro A673TMBS8PRO:

  • the max­i­mum load on the head is 8 kilo­grams — not the largest in the class.

Bottom line: which tripods are suitable for video shooting

If you’re going to shoot video with your smart­phone, with­out tilt­ing and pan­ning, you don’t need to buy a video tri­pod. It is enough to pur­chase a spe­cial smart­phone hold­er and an inex­pen­sive pho­to tri­pod.

If you need to pan and tilt your cam­era or smart­phone while record­ing video, you need a video tri­pod.

Entry-lev­el video tripods may also have the fea­tures of a pho­to tri­pod, such as the Fal­con Eyes Cin­e­ma VT-1500. It is light­weight and allows you to shoot in por­trait posi­tion.

If you need a tri­pod with smooth rota­tion, the Green­Bean Videocraft 316 and Fal­con Eyes Cin­emaPRO VT-1800B are good options. The first is worth choos­ing if the cam­era is light, and the small weight of the tri­pod itself is a plus for you. The Fal­con Eyes Cin­emaPRO VT-1800B is, of course, much clos­er to pro­fes­sion­al mod­els thanks to its sol­id con­struc­tion, coun­ter­bal­ance and lon­gi­tu­di­nal slid­ing deck.

Sirui SH25-CN, Man­frot­to MVTTWINFA and Ben­ro A673TMBS8PRO are pro­fes­sion­al mod­els. The qual­i­ty here is at a high lev­el, they can be safe­ly rec­om­mend­ed. But Man­frot­to MVTTWINFA will have to buy a head.

Green­Bean HDV Elite Com­bo 4 is suit­able for those who are ready to use a wide arse­nal of shoot­ing tech­niques and use a cam­era that is not too heavy.

Note that the design of a clas­sic video tri­pod will not become obso­lete for many years. There­fore, sav­ing on it is not worth it.