Travel Tripod - Landscape / Wildlife

Started 4 months ago | Questions thread
Malling Contributing Member • Posts: 735
Re: Travel Tripod - Landscape / Wildlife

RedDragon_BZ wrote:

crowley213 wrote:

RedDragon_BZ wrote:

Hello All -

Just upgraded from a 77D to a Canon R5 and am looking to get a tripod. I would prefer not to break the bank ($100 - 300ish) and keep the price reasonable as this is my first tripod and I am still learning a lot. Was wanting to stay around $100 but my quick trip to the camera store showed that may not be viable. I want to have a tripod that is at least 6'3" in height fully expanded (I am tall) and is light weight so I can take it backpacking on my packs to capture landscape scenery. I'd also like to use it to shoot wildlife. I imagine my general uses will be as follows:

  • Canon R5 with RF 15-35mm
  • Canon R5 with EF 100-400mm with 1.5x extender and conversion ring

Stopped by my local store today but they were closing and didn't have great time to look. Ultimately for wildlife want it to support the 100-400mm so I don't have to hand hold the entire time. Also want stability as I love shooting nighttime skies when I am out in the back country.

Thank you in advance for your time!

Hmm, no offense intended at all, but are you really serious???

Do I really get it right that you are looking for a tripod

- where you can mount and use camera-lens combos that cost north of $6,000?

- that enables you to shoot wildlife with focal lengths up to 600mm

- that enables you to shoot nighttime skies, means long exposure

- that can reach an extended height around 1.90m as you are that tall

- that is lightweight so you can take it backpacking

and you want to spend just $100 to $300, stating that this will be your first tripod and you are still learning a lot?

Again, are you really serious?

Okay, let's try to get some facts straight...!

The most important task and aspect of a tripod is to keep your gear safe and stable, period! Everything else is secondary and it doesn't matter at all if it is your first tripod and you are still learning. If the tripod is not up to this main task it is just obsolete and a waste of money. Even worse, the perceived saving buying a "cheap" tripod can turn quickly into a very painful and expensive experience when the tripod cannot fulfill this main task...!

A tripod is always a compromise in between the competing requirements regarding stability and mobility and the most deciding factor to which degree a tripod can satisfy both of these requirements is cost. In easy terms: Considering the requirements regarding stability, mobility and economic cost, pick two of them and accept the sacrifice you have to make regarding the third aspect.

Shooting with long focal lengths, long exposure shooting, tall tripods, all these aspects shift the priority regarding requirements to stability and will have a negative impact on mobility which can (only) partially be compensated by higher cost. You will barely find at all a travel tripod that can fulfill these your stability and dimensional requirements and if so then way above your stated budget.

Honestly, I simply don't get it when people spend serious money on cameras and lenses, to get the best possible image quality, and then completely cheap out on accessories that are also absolutely substantial for specific shooting conditions. The best camera and lens don't get you the desired long exposure shot when your gear is sagging on the tripod (head) or the slightest breeze is moving your complete setup. No, not everybody wants to spend $1,000 and more for a really good tripod setup, but there are a lot of options and possibilities between a setup for above $1,000 and below $300.

No specific recommendation from my side at this moment, just this: Maybe have a look into this webpage (, there you can find a lot of good information regarding tripods and heads. You will also find reviews, tests and prices to get a better picture of this topic. Then maybe start thinking about your budget...!


Good Morning Herbert, and thank you for the reply. The breakdown and context were value added, but not sure about the rest as much. We all start somewhere and I have a lot to learn, think I was pretty up front and open about that.

With that said, I had done a bit of research after posting to solicit advice, and came across several options, all roughly within a 300-500 range. As I stated in my post, my initial hope was to keep it in that 100-300 range, but the more I researched, the less viable it seemed. Folks who are learning and looking into things don't always know the details or in's and outs. The fact that tripods can even cost $1k was simply mind blowing to me outside of complex stabilization rigs. Hell, if you aren't into offroading, I'm sure it would come as a shock to other folks that to often times run complex electrical setups like winches, lights, air compressors you need a $500 - $1000 electrical controller on top of them.

I also don't think the request was very unreasonable for someone starting off. Yes, I have an expensive camera, you are correct. It is what I decided to spend a little of my bonus on. However, the EF lens is one I bought my wife four or five years ago who has hand held it with the 77D to shoot birds in our backyard, and the RF I do not own yet and will purchase eventually, renting it as needed from a local shop.

With all of that said, yes, I am serious and I could be 100% wrong, but I don't think the stated goals were unreasonable, but the price seems to have been low, but not significantly, maybe a hundred dollars or two. Either way, looking at some quick reviews from DPReview, I think I will end up purchasing the below. Let me know if I am missing something, but it seems to check the boxes. Less than $300, holds over 20 pounds, did great in vibration testing and stability testing, and packs down nicely to about 4.5 pounds. Was one of the recommended units from the video review on this site. I mean heck, another $30 gets me the carbon fiber version, but it is shorter which I don't want. There were also 3 other tripods on that review in the same approximate price range.

I understand you want to keep the price low, I guess most people have that desire. But what your expecting to be a viable option, simply isn’t.

$400-600 is the absolute minimum amount I would recommend that you spend if using expensive equipment and you still need to carry it, but that only bring you up to a moderate high, that isn’t the best for stabilisation of large heavy lenses on large heavy DSLR, but actually better suited for Mirrorless with moderate heavy lenses like a 70-200/2.8, especially if these also have  to have some sort of transportability.

Stable Tripod below that threshold are massive and heavy, there is no chance you would ever want to go anywhere with these other then tossing them into a car.

We are in all fairness around or above $600 with your requirements and that is for the legs only!

Go look at Leophoto, FLM and Benro tortoise, you get allot of quality for the money but these are still no where near your initial request.

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