When it comes to image quality, the one piece of gear everyone recommends is the tripod. A good-quality tripod is one of the most important accessories you can get for your camera, but with so many new brands and options out there, choosing the right one can be a challenge. For this article, I spoke to the experts at the B&H SuperStore and have put my hands on 10 different full-sized tripods and tripod heads and can share with you my opinions on why they are recommended.
If you aren’t familiar with many of the options or components on a tripod, feel free to get some background in The Tripod Explained. The information contained in that article may help you decode some of the terms I will be using here.
This list of recommended full-sized tripods will span a wide range of costs, and are listed from highest to lowest price (as of press time), but rest assured, regardless of the price, these tripods come highly recommended by the sales staff at the B&H SuperStore for all photographic needs and budgets.
1. Really Right Stuff TVC-33 Versa Series 3 Mk2 Carbon Fiber Tripod and BH-55 Ball Head
The old expression was that the best of something was the “Cadillac” of its kind. Well, Really Right Stuff supports are the Rolls Royces of the tripod world. The TVC-33 Versa Series 3 Mk2 carbon fiber tripod is a beautiful unit with a diamond-pattern carbon veneer, twist-locks, and rubber ball feet. The RRS TVC-33 Mk2 has a ratcheting system for the leg angle locks that lets you keep your hands free of pinching once you pull out the stop. Nice! Also, the metal parts are made from a CNC milling process from a solid chunk of metal, not from a mold, for extra strength and durability.
The BH-55 Ball Head looks and feels like pure quality. Movements are silky smooth and the base has panning marks for panoramic work, dual 90-degree cutouts for going vertical, as well as a separate tension adjustment. RRS has different clamp options, but this BH-55 has a screw knob to lock the Arca-type-compatible plate. Both the legs and head have a load capacity of 50 lb and reach a combined height of 62.3″.
For those who do not need the full 50-lb capacity of the BH-55, the BH-40 Ball Head is a fantastic alternative. Really Right Stuff is all made in the USA. The best part of owning an RRS tripod? You will never have to suffer from tripod envy.