We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Standard tripods are ideal in professional, controlled settings, but what if you’re constantly on the move in a fast-paced environment? These mini models are a nice solution, as they’re highly portable, yet sturdy enough to let you capture a quality, stable shot. Frequent travelers and amateur outdoor photographers and videographers are especially big fans of these. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.
10. Benro PocketPod
The durable Benro PocketPod is, as the name suggests, small enough to fit in your pocket, making it a convenient option for quick setups. Its feet offer enough traction to be set up on a variety of surfaces, eliminating the risk of it sliding and ruining some of your gear.
Built with versatile foam legs that are coated in rubber for grip and durability, the UBeesize Premium is simple to configure into pretty much any position you can dream up. Thanks to its sturdy ball joint, it can handle relatively heavy cameras.
If you’re into blogging, take a look at the ZaxSound Pistol, which is creatively designed for a speedy setup. Its legs lock securely to provide a stable surface for capturing quick still images or shooting short personal videos while on the go.
The Altura Stand has padded feet for stability and an intuitive one-button locking system for quickly installing and removing your camera from the mount. Its legs fold up neatly, which helps you fit it into a backpack or purse for transport.
Not only does the Pedco UltraPod II look super stylish, it also offers reliable stability on most surfaces, which is surprising given how lightweight it is. It’s quite compact when folded, too, making it simple to store or tote from place to place.
Designed with a universal holder that accommodates a vast array of the most popular smartphones and mini cameras, the Avawo Wrapable is agile and trendy. Its bubble level is useful for taking beautiful horizon shots and its legs are flexible and sturdy.
The high-strength metal components that make up the Bestshoot Desktop should give you confidence that this model won’t succumb to general wear and tear anytime soon. It can reliably accommodate cameras weighing up to six pounds.
Thanks to a variety of configurable height levels and a 360-degree swiveling head, the Neewer Portable gives you the freedom to unleash your creativity without restrictions on whatever project you’re tackling next. It even comes with a carrying bag.
Featuring a push-button locking head for rapid camera angle adjustments, the versatile Manfrotto Pixi is solidly constructed, so it can stand up to heavy use by active photographers. If you’re working on a documentary or a news story, this will definitely come in handy.
The RetiCam Tabletop has a robust aluminum build with multiple useful features, like an extendable center column and easily adjusted leg locks. It’s also equipped with a built-in bubble level, which takes the guesswork out of finding the right setup.
I often think about the photo albums collecting dust in my mother’s basement. Since the dawn of consumer photography, we’ve had to save our photographs in thick, sticky albums or cram them into old shoe boxes–I even had a kitchen drawer in my house growing up that was filled with photographs.
We do the best that we can to collect memories, even if it means going to these silly lengths. My kids aren’t going to have quite the same experience though. They’re going to think of a specific, electronically partitioned collection of digital images whenever they hear the words ‘photo album.’
However the medium changes, one thing remains a challenge: stability. When you pour back over the hundreds or thousands of photos you took or had taken of you growing up, some of them are probably a little blurry. If you look back at any home video footage from those days, I’m sure it’s a little shaky. Well, go check your Instagram feed. Go watch some YouTube videos shot on the fly with a cell phone. The technology has come a long way, but the same old problems of blurriness and shakiness remain.
To capture your memories with the greatest possible clarity and steadiness, you’d do well to invest in one of these miniature tripods, each one of which sports a male 1/4″ 20 thread mount. That means that no matter the camera–so long as you don’t exceed the tripod’s weight limitation–you can undoubtedly hook it up.
The reason these tripods provide so much stability is that they utilize the very simple mathematical fact that the triangle is the sturdiest of all shapes. Made three-dimensional in the build of a tripod, you gain more stability from three legs than you would from any other organization.
Standing On Your Own Three Feet
You might be surprised by how many favorable surfaces you discover on which you might set up a mini tripod. One of my most fervent suspicions about them before trying them out for myself was that their working height would present endless challenges, but everything from a table-top, to a stack of books, to a mantle by the fireplace will come to your immediate and reliable rescue should you need any extra shooting height.
With that in mind, the act of choosing one tripod from among the ten on our list comes down more to weight restrictions, head style, and portability.nAs far as weight consideration goes, any of the tripods on our list should support every cell phone and point-and-shoot digital camera on the market.
Some smaller DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses might even come light enough to operate on a mini tripod without too much worry. Whatever you want to mount on your tripod, make sure you have all the potential weight data in place before you take the plunge, less your camera take the plunge for you.
Seven out of the ten tripods on our list come equipped with ball heads, which allow you to loosen and adjust the positioning of your camera with ease and alacrity, though leveling a camera without an internal virtual horizon can be a challenge, and ball heads aren’t great for video if you want to pan or tilt.
For a little more articulation, especially in video, you want to investigate a mini tripod with a video head, which you can distinguish from the ball type by the long, straight handle jutting out from its underside.
Finally comes the question of portability, which is one of the most important aspects in a tripod of such Lilliputian stature. Measure out the open space in your camera bag or luggage that you plan on dedicating to your new tripod. If one of the tripods on this list won’t fit, keep moving down the list until you find one that will.
Small And Sturdy Wins The Race
In the earliest days of photography, the methods of exposure necessitated incredibly slow shutter speeds. These days, if you find yourself opening your shutter for anything more that 1/20 of a second, you’re liable to get significant blurring in your subject. Yet, the photographers of yore often had their subjects sitting for upwards of several minutes just to snag a simple portrait.
So it was that photographers very quickly reached for a standard piece of equipment used in land surveying: an elongated wooden tripod. By this time, the surveyors had figured out how to create tripods that could collapse on themselves, so photographers could, if they could afford to, invest in a tripod that was portable enough for them to take along with their outfit on horseback.
Those early cameras, in addition to having such long exposure times, were also pretty darn big. Since those days, providing quality photography in smaller systems has been one of the primary drivers of the industry. After the digital revolution of the 1990s led photography into an unprecedented consumer age, a slew of companies developed tripods geared toward the most casual shooters.
These consumers had much smaller cameras in their arsenal, and limitations in low-light performance often resulted in blurry or grainy pictures. To battle against this, several companies put out tripods specifically for smaller, lighter, consumer digital cameras, empowering shooters the world over with a stabilizing force for their photography.