When it comes to landscape photography, strong, sturdy tripods are incredibly important.
Lets face it, tripods are not the most exciting accessory to talk about in the photography world. One thing that cannot be denied though is just how important it is to have a strong, sturdy tripod when you head outside to do landscape photography.
When you want to get the absolute sharpest images possible, you must use a tripod, there is simply no way around this, the problem though is that we don’t always want to be carrying extra weight with us when we hit the trails and head into the wilderness. The tripods listed below are not only sturdy, they are also relatively low in weight so strapping one to your camera bag will not add much more weight to your load. Lets take a look at these four tripods that are all under $300.
Vanguard VEO 2 235CB Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod with VEO 2 BH-50 Ball Head
Vanguard are known for producing top quality products, and this tripod carries on that fine tradition. The Vanguard VEO 2 235 CB is a lightweight tripod that could well be the perfect companion for you on the trails this fall. For under $200 you will be getting a carbon fiber tripod that is incredibly sturdy, weighs just 2.63lbs, and offers all the controls that a landscape photographer could need and want.
In our review we said:
“At a bit under $200, you’re getting a solid deal. If you’re a landscape photographer, travel photographer or an urban explorer, this is the tripod that you’ll most likely want to bring with you.”
The VEO 2 235CB can hold up to 13.2lbs worth of gear, so you can be safe in the knowledge that this tripod will support the weight of a Full Frame camera and a heavy lens. When folded the tripod is just 15.87 inches long which makes it easy to carry around. When unfolded the VEO 2 has a maximum height of 57.1 inches. The twist lock legs are easy to deploy and they feel as solid as rock when planted on the ground. The VEO BH-50 ball head is easy to use, offers smooth control and has a bubble level built in so that you can compose your shot perfectly. This is a great tripod to take along with you on your adventures, and being under $200 makes this hard to pass up.
Buy now ($199.99): Amazon
Vanguard VEO 2 235CB Image Samples
Pro Tip: Tired of losing tripod plates? If so you should consider using an L bracket. A quality L bracket makes switching between landscape and portrait orientations on your tripod a piece of cake. You can buy them for your specific camera or you can buy universal ones like this.
MeFOTO Roadtrip Leather Edition
If you want a tripod that does not cut any corners in quality, the MeFOTO Roadtrip is the tripod for you. MeFOTO really tried to elevate the Roadtrip by wrapping the top of the aluminum legs in hand stitched Italian leather. You might be asking why anyone would wrap a tripod in leather, well there are two reasons. The first reason is that it looks really good, secondly it does serve a purpose. Thanks to the leather, the tripod is easy to grip and it’s not as slippery as other tripods. If your tripod gets wet and you need to make a hasty retreat, having a firm grip on your tripod could prove to be critical.
In our review we said:
“The MeFOTO Roadtrip Leather Edition is built very well overall with its incorporation of rubber, aluminum or carbon depending on which version you go for, and the leather stitching is also very expertly done. What this translates into is holding the tripod at a great spot with some extra grip instead it being smooth and slipping out of your hand on a humid day.”
The MeFOTO Roadtrip weighs in at 3.7lbs so it’s a little beefier than other tripods, but what you get in return for that weight is a seriously sturdy tripod that can hold a whopping 17.6lbs of gear. You can put any combination of gear on this tripod and it won’t even break a sweat. Fully extended the Roadtrip reaches a height of 61.8 inches, and at its smallest it’s 15.6 inches. The MeFOTO Roadtrip can quickly convert into a monopod as well thanks to it’s unique design. The included ball head uses an Arca-Swiss style quick release plate which and has separate controls for pan, drag and friction. Make no mistake about it, this is a whole lot of tripod for under $200, and it may be the best looking of the bunch. You’ll be stylin on the trails with this tripod.
Buy now ($199): Amazon
MeFOTO Roadtrip Image Samples
Pro Tip: If you want to take your landscape images to the next level you should incorporate graduated Filters. Graduated filters (both ND and Solid) will allow you to get the perfect image in camera rather than in post. Not only do they make your images look more natural, they will save you time when it comes to processing. This set of filters for just $20.99 is a must have for landscape photographers.
Manfrotto BeFree Compact Aluminum Travel Tripod
Manfrotto are synonymous with making quality tripods and have been in the game for years. The Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel tripod is just another little gem that they Italian manufacturer has made. The BeFree is the cheapest tripod on this list, coming in at under $150, but believe me when I say it punches well above it’s weight.
In our review we said:
“There’s a whole lot of praise to be given to the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod. It’s sturdy, well built, nice to the touch, lightweight for travel, and gives photographers a whole lot of what they need at a fair price. The photographers who will enjoy this tripod are landscape photographers and adventure shooters.”
The Manfrotto BeFree weighs just a hair over 3lbs and offers outstanding build quality. The Aluminum alloy can take pretty much anything you can throw at it, which is what you need when you will be out in the great wide open. The BeFree can hold 8.8lbs of gear, has a maximum height of 56.6 inches, and folds up to a svelte 15.75 inches which makes it easy to attach to the side of your camera bag. The included ball head is simple, easy to use, and features a two-way locking system to make sure your camera stays nice and secure. The Manfrotto is a tripod that does not feature a lot of bells and whistles, but what it does, it does well. For under $150 you will get a sturdy, solid, reliable tripod that will make it a perfect landscape photography partner.
Buy now ($142.93): Amazon
Manfrotto BeFree Compact Product Images
Pro Tip: Before you head outside make sure your camera bag is up to the task of not only carrying and protecting your gear, but that it’s comfortable for you to carry on a long trek. Don’t skimp when buying a bag. They can really be the difference between having a good time, and having a torturous adventure. If you need a new camera bag, check this one out.
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CT Carbon Fiber Tripod
The Vanguard Alta PRO 2+ 263CT is the most expensive tripod our list, but it’s one of the most feature packed you can buy for under $300. There is one caveat with this tripod. Unlike the others listed, the price does not include a head of any kind, so you will have to supply your own. If you do buy the Alta PRo 2+ VEO 2 263CT though, you’re going to be getting one of the best tripods in this price range.
In our review we said:
“Like pretty much every tripod I’ve ever used, the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CT Tripod simply requires you to spend some time with it. It’s very standard when you consider what a lot of demands are these days. The center column coming out is very nice and this tripod is bound to be really great for a variety of photographers.”
The Vanguard Alta PRO 2+ 263CT weighs 3.6lbs and has a load capacity of 15.6lbs. Fully extended it has a height of 63.8 inches, and when collapsed it has a length of 24.6 inches. The legs of the tripod are made out of carbon fiber so they offer incredible strength and durability. The most unique feature about this tripod is the center column. The column can be adjusted to just about any angle so there is no reason why you cannot get the composition you desire. The feet on the legs adjust to the terrain you are on for extra security, and the counter weight suspension loop ensures that no matter how you use the tripod it will not tip over. This is a serious tripod for those who take hikes in challenging locations and conditions, and is definitely one of the best tripods you can buy for under $300.
Buy now ($269.95): Amazon
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CT Product Images
What tripod do you use when you hit the trails? Let us know in the comment section below.