The 10 Best Mini Tripods
10. Selens SE-Tmini
- includes ball head
- 180-degree reverse folding ability
- plastic sleeves are brittle
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
9. Benro PocketPod
- made of high-quality plastic
- vertical and horizontal positions
- ball head is difficult to tighten
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
8. Joby GPod
- adjustable tripod neck
- accommodates the 360fly camera
- too small for many uses
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
7. KyJyGy Smart Travel
- can be rotated in any direction
- rubber-coated aluminum legs
- no joints to break or snap
|Brand||KyJyGy Smart Accessorie|
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
6. Pedco UltraPod II
- removable velcro strap
- made in the united states
- can support up to 6 pounds
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. RetiCam Tabletop
- geared center post
- convenient carrying bag included
- large pan head lock
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
4. Tamrac ZipShot
- folds up in seconds
- lightweight at just 9 ounces
- automatic spring-open feature
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. Manfrotto MTPIXI-B
- comes in 4 color options
- corrosion-resistant stainless steel
- universal screw thread
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
1. Avawo Wrapable
- features a gopro mount
- rubberized for strong grip
- release tab for quick dismount
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Stabilize Your Life
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.