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Tripod test: These are the best photo tripods and travel tripods


Tripod for a stable position

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A tripod is essential for really good photos with the camera. Basically the tripod has to be stable and safe, after all you want to entrust it to your expensive camera. Travel tripods for on the go have to be light and compact at the same time so that you can transport them easily. In our latest test, we examined ten current models. Our tripod test winner was the Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon. The lavishly equipped and high-quality travel tripod costs around 450 Euro. For our tripod price tip, the Cullmann Mundo 522 TC, on the other hand, you only pay around 110 Euro. Further recommendations and all information about photo tripods can be found here.

We regularly test photo tripods of various sizes in the CHIP test laboratory, the test results were last published in August 2019 updated. You can find tips for buying photo tripods in the video.

Read this in our article: You will find our recommendations for travel tripods first in a table, then we present the models in detail. We also discuss large tripods with and without a center column. Then we give you a price estimate and give you an insight into our test methods. In the general advice you will find out the differences between the tripod models and we will give you tips on buying a tripod. Finally we answer open questions.

These are the best tripods 2020 in the test

The best travel tripods in the test

test winner Price Tip 2. Place 3. Place

Product

Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon

Cullmann Mundo 522 TC

Leofoto Urban RF – 284 CT with ball head XB – 32

Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon large

https://imgs.chip.de/9NEjbUxmYgcaQv0LxkLXrPZ4Bak=/fit-in/300x169/filters:format(jpeg):fill(fff,true)/www.chip.de%2Fii%2F1%2F2%2F6%2F2%2F2%2F6%2F3%2F8%2F7%2Flion-rock-traveler-s-carbon-d735335ee3d634fa.jpg https://imgs.chip.de/FOYg5euyh7cElkxUwGkfZs71FkM=/fit-in/300x169/filters:format(jpeg):fill(fff,true)/www.chip.de%2Fii%2F1%2F2%2F6%2F2%2F2%2F6%2F4%2F1%2F2%2Fcullmann-cbd284810d929089.jpg https://imgs.chip.de/PBrloemkAszSEzV48Cp0CFxINyc=/fit-in/300x169/filters:format(jpeg):fill(fff,true)/www.chip.de%2Fii%2F1%2F2%2F6%2F2%2F2%2F6%2F4%2F0%2F3%2Fleofoto-7c6b5e0697425b6b.jpg https://imgs.chip.de/Fwu7YtmVBEicaPQMiR0F3TNsCSg=/fit-in/300x169/filters:format(jpeg):fill(fff,true)/www.chip.de%2Fii%2F1%2F2%2F6%2F2%2F2%2F6%2F4%2F2%2F5%2Fmanfrotto-9b597a22ef9f7f34.jpg

Price

round 450 Euro

round 120 Euro

round 300 Euro

round 130 Euro

overall rating

1.1 (very good)

1.5 (very good)

1.3 (very good)

1.5 (very good)

Stability

1.2 (very good)

1.5 (very good)

1.2 (very good)

1.5 (very good)

Features / Ergonomics

1.0 (very good)

1.5 (very good)

1.3 (very good)

1.6 (good)

To the shop

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1. Place: Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon (test winner)

  • Source: Rollei

    Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon

    Overall grade: very good (1.1) The Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon is a compact and stable travel tripod with lots of accessories – the price is however quite high.

Benefits
Compact and light
High stability
Lush equipment including spikes
Disadvantage
High price
No monopod function
Center column not swiveling

The Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon is a high quality travel tripod, it is stable and compact. The test winner received the overall rating “very good” (grade 1.1) – but has a proud price. In the test with simulated gusts of wind, the Rollei achieved very good values: 95 percent stability with retracted and 94 percent with the center column extended. The equipment and ergonomics are top marks. With a pack size of 40, 5 centimeters and a total weight of 1. 280 The travel tripod can be easily transported in grams. Tripod and ball head have a load capacity of 10 Kilogram.

The rubberized tripod legs are easy to grip and screw down. Without a central column, the minimum size is 21, 5 centimeters, maximum you come up with a central column 140 centimeters. Under the rubber feet you will find spikes that you can find in the 90 – degree angle can be stuck in the ground. You cannot convert the Rollei to a monopod. The ball head offers a friction screw and a double secured quick release plate. There is also a padded bag and other accessories. However, the quality of this model costs a lot: For the Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon pay around 450 Euro.

The test winner Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon is extremely high quality, but you pay a hefty price for the quality. Picture: Rollei

2nd Place: Leofoto Urban RF – 284 CT with ball head XB – 32

  • Source: Leofoto

    Leofoto Urban RF – 284 CT with ball head XB – 32

    overall grade : very good (1.3) Das Leofoto Urban RF – 284 CT is a very well made travel tripod with reliable stability.

Benefits
High stability
Top processing
Good equipment including spikes
Disadvantage
No monopod function
Risk of pinching fingers on closures
Center column not swiveling

The Leofoto U rban RF – 284 CT can take on the quality pretty well with the test winner and is even cheaper. In our rating, the tripod comes with an overall grade of 1.3 (very good). In the test with the wind machine, the Leofoto scores great, with the center column retracted it shows a 98 – percent stability. With the center column extended, there are still 90 percent. The Leofoto tripod usually comes with the ball head XB – 32, the load capacity is 15 Kilogram. With 47 centimeters packed size and a weight of 1.5 kg, the Leofoto is less compact and a bit heavier than the test winner, but still easy to transport.

The maximum size with the center column extended is 167, 5 centimeters, in the minimal configuration the leo photo comes on 22 centimeters. The rubber-coated carbon tripod legs are well processed, but there is less risk of injury with the leg angle fasteners. The Leofoto also has spikes, a weight can be attached to the hook of the center column for further stability. The tripod cannot be converted to a single leg. The ball head with friction screw and quick release plate is high quality and safe. A robust bag and tools are included in the accessories. You pay for the Leofoto Urban RF – 284 CT with XB – 32 ball head round 300 Euro.

The travel tripod Leofoto Urban RF – 284 CT with ball head XB – 32 can do a lot – and is cheaper than the test winner. Image: Leofoto

3. Place: Cullmann Mundo 522 TC (price tip)

  • Source: Cullmann

    Cullmann Mundo 522 TC

    Overall grade: very good (1.5) The travel tripod Cullmann Mundo 522 TC offers high quality, stability and equipment at a low price.

Benefits
Extremely compact and light
High stability
Additional short center column
Disadvantage
Ball head without panorama axis
Missing spikes for the feet
No monopod function

The Cullmann Mundo 522 TC is the price tip among the tripods currently tested. With a grade of 1.5, the model is still “very good”. He is also not lacking in stability. In the wind machine test it reaches values ​​of 97 Percent with retracted and 90 Percent with the center column extended. The Cullmann is also one of the smallest and lightest travel tripods in the test: the pack size is 31, 5 centimeters and the weight at under one kilogram. But the compact tripod carries a maximum of 5 kilograms, which may not be enough for the heavier DSLR cameras.

The maximum working height with the center column fully extended is 135 centimeters. You can even use a minimal amount of only 16 centimeters, lies for this purpose an additional short center column is included in the scope of delivery. The model does not have a monopod function, and you also have to do without spikes on the feet. For this, the Cullmann has three spirit levels on the ball head as an extra for perfect setup of the camera position. However, there is no integrated panorama axis on the head. A carrying case is included. The price tip is a little less versatile, but generally reliable and mobile. The Cullmann Mundo 522 TC costs around 120 Euro.

The Cullmann Mundo 522 TC is not only the price tip among travel tripods, it is also extremely compact and light. Image: Cullmann

4. Place: Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon large

  • Source: Manfrotto

    Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon large

    Overall grade: very good (1.5) The inexpensive travel tripod Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon is stable, well equipped and as Monopod can be used.

Benefits
High stability
Monopod function available
Good equipment including spikes
Disadvantage
leg extension partly crocheted
Ball head quite simple
Center column not swiveling

The Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon large is the fourth travel tripod in the test with the rating “very good” (grade 1.5) and among the top places the only model with monopod function: from one the tripod legs make you a space-saving monopod. In the stability test with a wind machine, the Manfrotto shows good values: When the center column is retracted, the stability is 96 percent, if this is extended, it is still 91 percent. With a pack size of 41, 5 centimeters, the travel tripod is nice and compact and the weight of 1.4 kg is appropriate. The load capacity of the ball head is 8 kg, which should also be sufficient for normal DSLR cameras.

With the legs and center column extended, the working height of the carbon travel tripod is a maximum 165 centimeters. You cannot get to a particularly low height without a central column, the minimum is 40, 5 centimeters. The legs extend and retract somewhat, which makes the handling less than ideal. But the accessories are nice: there are matching spikes for the feet with the shoulder bag and tools. The ball head has a rather simple design, but serves its purpose. You pay for the Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon large round 130 Euro.

The Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon large travel tripod is versatile: it can also be used as a monopod. Picture: Manfrotto

Large tripods with and without a center column for professional use

It is important for travel tripods that they are compact and light for easy transportation. However, if the focus is on the firm stand and the high resilience, you should use a large tripod for high demands. These models are often twice as heavy as travel tripods and bulky, but your expensive camera equipment is well secured. We tested models with and without a center column in this area. Models without a center column can only reach the required working height with longer tripod legs and are therefore more expensive, more expensive and more material-intensive. In return, however, they have no weak points in terms of stability.

Here too, Rollei was able to assert itself in both test categories. Under the large tripods with center column, the Rollei Rock Solid Beta Mark II Carbon the test winner. The stability in wind is good, but when the center column is extended, the tripod is a little wobbly. A short center column is included in the accessories for replacement. In general, the equipment is lavish and at around 2.2 kilograms, the Rollei has a tolerable weight. A monopod function is available. For the Rollei Rock Solid Beta Mark II Carbon you pay around 400 Euro, that's a fair price.

If you want to do without the center column, the model is Rollei Rock Solid Alpha Mark II Carbon the top recommendation. Among the large tripods without a center column, the Rollei is also the price tip, high stability and top equipment you get here for around 430 Euro. The weight of 2.7 kilograms is appropriate, in addition to the spikes there are even snow plates in the accessories so that the tripod does not sink. The load capacity is 30 kilograms – enough for heavy cameras.

The tripod Rollei Rock Solid Beta Mark II Carbon is prepared for all uses. Picture: Rollei

How much do I have to spend on a good tripod?

There are different sizes of tripods. The travel tripods are more compact and usually a little cheaper. You can find good models here from 100 Euro. While it is even cheaper, you have to ask yourself if you want to entrust your expensive camera equipment to a shaky cheap tripod. You save at the wrong end. For a travel tripod with full equipment you pay a little more, around 300 Euros are a fair price. Premium models for over 500 Euros are rather expensive and have to have a particularly good stability and workmanship to justify this price. Our test winner is just below 500 Euro, the price tip at around 110 Euro.

Large tripods are bulky but stable and have a higher load capacity, there are also heavy DSLR on the ball head -Cameras housed safely. Models with a center column are cheaper because less material is required to raise the camera to working height. You can find good models from 300 Euro, also 500 Euros are still as part of. Our test winner costs around 400 Euro.

Without a central column, large tripods are more stable. In order to still get the right working height, the tripod legs must be extended – this increases the price. Since photo professionals prefer this design, you will find models from 400 Euro to well over 1. 00 0 Euro. Our test winner of the large tripods without a center column is also the price tip, it costs around 430 Euro.

Tripods in the test: How were the models rated?

The CHIP test center simulates wind gusts to measure the stability of the tripods. To do this, we place the tripod at a distance of three meters from the test chart and take test photos with a DSLR camera without external influences as a reference. Then we point a wind machine at the camera and tripod and thus simulate gusts of wind with a force of up to five meters per second (approximately wind force 3). Series of images are produced by remote control in several runs, with both the retracted and the extended center column. The latter offers the wind more surface to attack and the images shake more easily. The manual focus is set on the camera, the automatic image stabilizer is off.

We compare the test photos with and reference photos without the influence of wind using software that detects the loss of sharpness. We convert the deviation into percentage points and subtract it from the maximum value. For tripods with center column are 94 Percent stability is a good value, we expect more for models without a center column. We always use the same conditions and the same camera model for the measurement. With heavier and larger cameras, the center of gravity shifts or the wind has more attack surface. If the camera has an integrated image stabilizer, it can compensate for fluctuations in the tripod.

In addition to the stability, we also assess the equipment and ergonomics of the tripod. The leg extension and the attachments should be easy to handle, the quick release plate for the camera must be well secured. Lush accessories are not absolutely necessary, but spikes for the feet, an additional short center column and a robust carrying case are extremely helpful. Some models can be converted into a space-saving monopod. This is practical, but does not influence our overall rating. The stability measurement makes 40 percent of the final grade, equipment and ergonomics 60 percent. In addition, we also assess the price-performance ratio.

A good travel tripod must also stand in the wind without the pictures blurring. Image: mkos 83 / Getty Images

What types of tripods are there?

  • travel tripod

    The essential requirements for a travel tripod are easy transport and sufficient robustness for outdoor use. As a rule, the models are compact, light and designed for medium-weight cameras with regard to their resilience. A rubber coating protects the tripod legs, further outdoor equipment includes spikes on the feet and a robust carrying case. The material is usually the light but resistant carbon (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) or the slightly cheaper aluminum. The extendable center column ensures a good working height.

  • Large tripod with center column

    If the weight is not so important, the tripod can be made more solid and not only has more reliable stability, but also a higher load capacity. So even the heaviest DSLR cameras are still securely in the ball head. Although the manufacturers also use carbon here, the large tripods are usually twice as heavy as the travel tripods. You will also find models with an extendable center column in this area, but their stability suffers somewhat when used.

  • Large tripod without center column

    In the professional area, there is often no central column. Due to the high center of gravity of the tripod, there is a risk of tipping over, especially with heavy camera equipment. To ensure that the working height is correct even without a central column, the extendable tripod legs must be longer. As a result, the material expenditure is higher, so the models without a center column are heavier and more expensive. The stability is almost perfect because the tripod has a firm footing. The resilience is high.

Camera tripods come in different sizes and configurations. Image: DieterMeyrl / Getty Images

What should I look for when buying a tripod?

  • Purpose

    Whether the tripod fits depends on where you want to take pictures. If you travel a lot on foot to capture the best motif, the tripod should not only be light and compact, but also cope with uneven floors and be padded. This not only serves for protection, but a covering of the tripod legs also increases comfort. Travel tripods are generally suitable for outdoor use, but there are also differences in terms of equipment. However, if you need a tripod for the studio or if the transport takes place in the trunk anyway, you can also choose a large and heavy model. Tripods are sometimes only suitable for a load of up to 4 kilograms, which may not be enough for heavy DSLR cameras.

  • Pack size & weight

    For compact travel tripods, the pack size can be between extremely handy 30 centimeters and still usable 50 centimeters. Some models even fit quite well in the backpack, but a transport bag is almost always included. With large tripods, attention is paid to the size, because the retracted tripod can sometimes 80 Measure centimeters. In terms of weight, the light carbon material has general advantages. Travel tripods including head weigh between about 1. 00 0 and 1. 600 grams, that's a good transport weight. Large tripods use more material and like to double the weight: the models weigh at least 2 kilograms, but can also be over 4 kilograms. Transport is more complex.

  • tripod head

    On the one hand, the tripod head must carry the camera securely, on the other hand, it should also allow for convenient photography. Travel tripods are usually a spherical head. With a friction setting, the resistance at the ball joint can be changed so that the camera does not tip over. The alternative is a three-way head, where all directions of movement can either be released or locked, which enables precise adjustment – for example for architectural photos. The head should have a separate panorama axis for landscape shots. Usually there are one or more dragonflies on the head, which, like a spirit level, facilitate the optimal alignment of the camera. The camera is attached to the tripod head with a quick-release plate, which should be secured against slipping out. The tripod comes in most cases including the head, but can be exchanged if necessary.

  • center column

    With tripod legs pulled out, tripods come to a height of 1 to 1.5 meters. A working height of 1.7 or 1.8 meters is achieved thanks to the extended central column. This is the more economical way to achieve the right size. Models without a center column have correspondingly longer tripod legs, but this makes the tripod bulky and heavy, which is why this design is rare for travel tripods. An extended center column shifts the center of gravity and offers the wind more surface to attack, which has a negative effect on stability. Good travel tripods are sufficiently stable, but only with a large model without a center column do you have perfect protection. Sometimes the center column can be swiveled, but this is usually only the case with large tripods.

  • tripod legs

    The tripod legs are locked on travel tripods with screw caps. With larger tripods you can also find clamp locks. There is essentially no difference in reliability. The material of the tripod legs is now often carbon, but aluminum models are also available and mostly cheaper – but also heavier. Sometimes you have the option of removing a tripod leg and converting it into a space-saving monopod. This can be practical, but a dedicated monopod still makes more sense. Padding or a rubber jacket on the tripod legs provides protection. In addition, many travel tripods have a load hook on the center column. So the tripod can be additionally stabilized by a weight.

  • tripod feet

    The tripod feet usually have a rubber cover so that the legs do not slip on smooth surfaces and are protected on stony surfaces. If the ground is soft or rocky, spikes are often included in the accessories so that the tripod feet find a hold. If they are not included in the scope of delivery, they can be bought again. The shape of the spikes is different, sometimes they are specially angled so that the tripod can be positioned perfectly. In addition, there is special equipment for the tripod feet, for example snow plates, which should prevent sinking in.

  • Equipment

    The standard accessories for travel tripods include assembly tools and a transport bag, the latter being able to differ in robustness and handling between the models. There are also other accessories, some of which are included in the scope of delivery, otherwise you can buy them. This includes a specially short center column, which enables recordings just above the floor. In some cases a second quick release plate is included, more often replacement rubber feet or spikes and other elements for the tripod feet such as snow plates are included. Additional optional accessory arms can sometimes be connected via connections on the tripod.

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Alternative to tripod: gimbal for DSLR cameras

The gimbal is mainly known for use with action cameras and smartphone cameras, but large versions of the device also carry DSLR cameras. Gimbal is the English term for a gimbal, this stabilizes the camera so that it can be rotated to all sides without losing focus or falling out of the frame.

In the professional area, for example for filming, the devices like to cost several thousand euros. In the semi-professional area, however, you get affordable alternatives. A recommendation is the DJI Ronin S for round 600 Euro. The gimbal has a load capacity of 3.6 kg, but also weighs almost 2 kg. So when carrying and taking pictures with the gimbal you have to carry a lot. Models with an additional shoulder attachment are more comfortable, but you pay significantly more for that.

The gimbal DJI Ronin S can also handle DSLR cameras. Picture: CHIP

The gimbal DJI Ronin S in the CHIP test

What do I have to consider when taking photos without a tripod?

Even the most compact and lightest travel tripod can be annoying, for example you don't want to carry the extra weight with you on every city tour or family trip. However, if a great motif appears on the tour that you want to capture without blurring, there are some tips on how to do it without a tripod. First of all, you should of course make full use of the technical possibilities of your camera, i.e. take photos in low-light conditions with high light sensitivity (ISO number) and open aperture (smallest f-number). Many new cameras now also have an image stabilizer that counteracts blurring.

With regard to a direct replacement of the tripod, you should first look for a usable surface, for example a wall or a window sill, and take pictures with the self-timer. With a large lens, however, you have to put something under it so that the camera does not tip over. Here, for example, the wallet is suitable – if it is too thick, you can remove content. When taking pictures from your hand, you can firstly clamp the camera strap under your arm and put it under tension, which means the camera shakes less. But you can also use the arms for stabilization: Cross them and place the lens on your forearm. So you don't have to struggle with the full weight of the camera. The focus ring should not be blocked by the arm. The trick works best with short lenses.

These are the best tripods 2020 in the test

  • Source: Rollei

    1. Place: Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon (test winner)

    Overall rating: very good (1.1) The Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon is a compact and stable travel tripod with a lot of accessories – but the price is quite high.

  • Source: Leofoto

    2. Place: Leofoto Urban RF – 284 CT with ball head XB – 32

    Overall grade: very good (1.3) Das Leofoto Urban RF – 284 CT is a very well made travel tripod with reliable stability.

  • Source: Cullmann

    3. Place: Cullmann Mundo 522 TC (price tip)

    Overall grade: very good (1.5) The travel tripod Cullmann Mundo 522 TC offers high quality, stability and equipment at a low price.

  • Source: Manfrotto

    4th Place: Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon large

    Overall grade: very good (1.5) The inexpensive travel tripod Manfrotto Element Traveler Carbon is stable, well equipped and can be used as a monopod.

The most important questions about tripods at a glance

Which travel tripod is the best?

In the test we chose the Rollei Lion Rock Traveler S Carbon as a top recommendation. The stable and lavishly equipped travel tripod comes with a price of around 450 Euro but quite expensive. Our price tip is the Cullmann Mundo 522 TC, it is also stable and reliable and only costs around 120 Euro.

Which large camera tripod is the best?

Among the large camera tripods, Rollei was twice the test winner: the model R ollei Rock Solid Beta Mark II carbon with center column you get for round 400 Euro. The model Rollei Rock Solid Alpha Mark II Carbon without center column is a little more expensive, it costs around 430 Euro.

Camera tripod made of carbon or aluminum?

The composite carbon (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) is light but robust, it is therefore used especially for travel tripods, but also for large tripods. Aluminum is a bit heavier, tripods made of this material are cheaper. Both tripod types are stable and reliable.

Camera tripod with or without a central column?

The center column is the inexpensive and weight-saving way to increase the working height of the tripod. However, an extended center column shifts the center of gravity and reduces stability. In the case of tripods without a center column, the legs must instead be longer, which increases the price.

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