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The Best Tripods and Monopods

Years ago when I wanted to up my game as a photographer and start capturing and producing high-quality, professional-grade images, I started diligently studying ways to improve my work. One of the suggestions I read again and again from all the top pros was the importance of using a tripod whenever possible…even when you think you can get a solid, steady shot without one. As I quickly found out, it’s amazing the difference a tripod will make in the quality of your photos. Using one will greatly improve the clarity and sharpness of your work. Not to mention, it’s simply impossible to capture certain styles of images without the use of a tripod, such as long exposure shots. Even on fast moving subjects, I still try to use a tripod, or at least a monopod, to ensure a solid mount or pivoting point from which to shoot, which again, makes a world of difference. Now there are some situations and circumstance that I do without one and try to rely on shooting at higher shutter speeds and ISO settings to compensate for not having a solid mount. However, as is usually the case, those photos come out looking either slightly blurred, grainy, or both.

A tripod allows you to shoot at optimal camera settings to produce optimal images. Also, using an external shutter release in conjunction with your tripod-mounted camera will allow you to essentially take photos without even touching your camera…which is especially important for long exposure shots, as even the slightest movement of your camera will result in a flawed photo.

The best tripods and monopods on the market today are manufactured from a variety of materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum tubing…which greatly reduce the overall weight that a photographer has to lug around and also eliminates the rust and corrosion that may develop on tripods made from steel tubing. However, in some instances, such as shooting in windy locations or in the water, a heavier tripod is actually desirable. To compensate for their lighter weight, many popular carbon/aluminum tripods have a feature that allows for attaching weights/anchors for greater stability and footing. Another feature of major importance is to be able to set up and adjust a tripod quietly and quickly, especially for wildlife and nature photography when the action is happening fast! This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way and is why I only use and recommend tripods with smooth, quiet leg adjustment features.  I generally prefer quick-release levers to adjust the legs, but there are many great screw-tighten designs available as well. I especially like the models from Geekoto, which can be transformed from a tripod to a monopod.

Below are some of the best tripod brands on the market today for nature and wildlife photography that meet the above criteria. Click on the photos below to learn more and order yours today through our Amazon affiliate service.