In macro photography a tripod is an essential piece of gear. Keeping your camera stable and secure during shooting is a must when snapping close up photographs. So if you are looking for the best tripod for macro photography you came to the right place. I have reviewed the most popular tripods on the market and after reading you will know the top rated models currently available.
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How to Select a Macro Photography Tripod
Here are the most important aspects to consider when choosing a tripod for macro photography.
Weight and Stability
One of the key factors to consider is the weight and stability of your tripod. There are models that range in weight from ultra lightweight all the way up to extremely heavy. And when talking macro photography, you will be wanting a lightweight model.
Most macro photographers will find themselves hiking and walking many miles in pursuit of the perfect shot and a lightweight tripod is going to make a huge difference preventing fatigue when out in the field.
My favorite build material for a lightweight yet durable tripod is carbon fiber. This material is an excellent balance of strength and low weight and most professional level models are constructed of it. You will see plastic and even wooden tripods out there but they tend to break too easy and be too heavy respectively.
Carbon fiber tripods tend to come with a higher price tag, and they are well worth it, but if you are looking to invest less then an aluminium tripod is a solid low cost option. These tripods are durable and while they weigh more than carbon fiber, they are still lighter than lower quality materials.
If you intend to hike long distances or shoot long sessions I highly recommend a carbon fiber model but if it just is not currently in your budget then aluminium is a solid option too. Aluminium is also a great option for the photographer who plans to only shoot in the studio.
Flexibility is extremely important when looking at macro photography tripods. There have been countless subjects that I have shot that required me to get my tripod all the way down to the forest floor to capture my shot.
Many tripods out there just are not designed to do this and for that reason you must be sure that your tripod is flexible enough to get the shot. One quick way to identify if a tripod is flexible is by checking for a center pole. Tripods with a center column tend to NOT be designed with flexibility in mind. But be aware that there are multiple models out there that are designed to have the center pole removed for added flexibility.
Another way to ensure ultimate flexibility is selecting a ball tripod head. They offer the maximum amount of maneuverability and adjustment of the camera when mounted. But a pan and tilt head is another great head option as it allows real precision in shot setup.
Be aware that the top rated DSLR tripods for macro photography tend to be more expensive than standard studio tripods. The high quality material and flexibility needed by the macro photographer just mean they will come at a higher cost. If you need an ultra lightweight tripod because you spend a lot of time on foot in search of the perfect shot, then you should be prepared to pay up for the tripod that will make you successful. While there are great aluminium models out there you can opt for, be prepared for the added weight when hiking.
And no matter what your price range, I have identified the best of the best with most budgets in mind and you will find those recommendations below.
Best Tripods for Macro Photography: Top Rated Picks
The Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod w/ Ball Head
This is a popular lower cost macro photography tripod. It offers solid performance in a relatively lightweight design. This tripod is flexible allowing you to shoot from more angles than a standard tripod will allow. This is possible thanks to the multi angle central column system that allows you to mount the central column onto the legs at a ton of different angles. This tripod offers nearly every shooting angle possible including super low to the ground angles. Not the lightest on the list but at 5.4 pounds it is possible to take on hikes without breaking your back. I would not tend to use this model if I hike long distances or often though, in those situations I would take one of the lighterweight models. It is incredibly stable with it’s strong legs and rubber tipped feet that can be spiked in. The built in ball head is solid and makes adjustments simple and stable.
- Incredibly flexible
- Offers excellent stability
- Low cost
- Not lightweight enough for long hikes
Benro Mach3 2 Series Carbon Fiber Tripod
The Benro Mach 3 is an awesome tripod and ideal for the photographer who is looking for lightweight and easy to carry models. Weighing in at a low low weight of 3.1 pounds this is much better than the tripod above. This makes long walks and hikes much easier. The carbon fiber construction is how they get the weight so light. On the flip side, the Benro is not as flexible as the model above but it is still no slouch. The no center column design allows for a max height of 15.2″. It also offers solid stability. While it doesn’t offer perfect performance, you get great all around functionality at a relatively low price.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Carbon fiber construction
- Relatively low cost
- Not as flexible as other models
The Benro TAD27C Series 2 Adventure Carbon Fiber Tripod
This Benro tripod offers great stability in a lightweight package. It clocks in at just three pounds making it great for the macro photographer who enjoys shooting out in the field. The carbon fiber construction is also very stable. It worked well under all tested conditions and it is rated to handle up to 26.5 pounds which is more than enough for a macro photographer. Again, this one is not extremely flexible with a low height adjustment of 15 inches. This is a great option for those seeking lightweight and stable tripods but are not as concerned with flexibility.
- Exceptional stability
- Very lightweight
- Not very flexible
- Head not included
Bonfoto B690A Aluminum Tripod
This tripod from Bonfoto is an exceptional performer. It offers great features without the huge price tag I would expect with this level of quality. First off, it is not the most stable tripod but that should only be a problem under high wind conditions. Otherwise it is plenty stable for most conditions. It is very lightweight, 2.6 pounds, making it great for trekking out for miles without tiring you out. It folds up into a compact easy to carry size. In fact, it is one of my favorites for traveling for macro photography. The center column is removable allowing for extra flexibility in setting up your shots even with low angles. This is an excellent all around, low cost tripod option.
- Great low price
- Extra flexibility
- Lightweight and foldable
- Ideal for travel
- Not the most stable on the list
ZOMEi Z669C Portable Carbon Tripod
This option from Zomei is another lightweight, reasonably priced macro tripod great for traveling. Thanks to the carbon fiber construction it is lightweight at only 3.3 pounds. It might not be the lightest on the list but it is light enough for long hikes out in the field. It is fully collapsible making it easy to pack away when traveling. The Zomei really shines thanks to it’s extra flexibility. It even allows for underside mounting allowing you to use the tripod for those shots that you would usually have to shoot in hand. It also allows for conversion from a tripod to a monopod. One trade off is that this flexibility does come at the cost of some diminished stability. But it can handle most conditions so it is not a deal breaker.
- Low price point
- Very flexible ideal for macro photography
- Lightweight and collapsible
- Converts from tripod to a monopod
- Not the most stable
Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3 Section Tripod
This Monfrotto is very popular among photographers thanks to it’s stability and flexibility. The aluminium construction is not the lightest, 5.5 pounds, but is incredibly durable and stable. Because of it’s weight I would use this tripod for short hikes and studio work. It can handle up to 19.8 pounds of gear which is plenty for most photographers. The stable design is what really shines through. It features flexible legs and center column. You can even flex the legs out so it can lay flat on the ground. You can achieve a ton of great angles with this tripod. This tripod offers a noticeable jump in performance over the options above.
- Extremely stable
- Extra flexible legs
- Not as lightweight as other models
Benro GoPlus Travel S1 Aluminum 4 Section Tripod
This Benro is marketed as a travel tripod but it’s well thought out design makes it a great macro tripod as well. With it’s carbon fiber construction you get a lightweight and very stable tripod. It weighs only 3.5 pounds which is in the range needed for travel and long treks. It provides excellent stability without sacrificing flexibility. The legs can be adjusted flat and the center column is removable. This gives you almost limitless angle options. This tripod makes it possible for you to try angles other tripods above can’t achieve. You can also remove legs and convert it into a monopod for added versatility.
- Very stable
- Extra lightweight
- Flexible and great shooting angles
- Can convert to a monopod
- Higher cost than above options
Gitzo GT3533US Systematic Series 3 Carbon Tripod
There is no question that the Gitzo is a professional quality macro photography tripod. This model does not compromise on anything, providing you with the best performance you can get. This tripod is ideal for the serious photography who requires flexibility and stability in a lightweight package. It comes in at a premium price but for those who want the best it is well worth the investment. This is an extremely stable tripod that offers unlimited flexibility. The carbon fiber construction is the best I’ve seen on the market. It weighs in at 4.3 pounds and is the most stable tripod I’ve used. There is no center column allowing you to achieve low angles and it can handle up to 55 pounds of gear. This does not come with the head but that is usually the case with high end tripods.
- Sturdiest on the list
- Low weight and portable
- Very flexible
- Premium price tag
Securing a high quality tripod for your DSLR will improve your macro photography quality. There are still times I will try and shoot in hand but let’s be honest, in hand will never compete with a clarity you can achieve with a tripod.