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A sturdy tripod for heavy lenses is an essential piece of equipment to add to your camera gear checklist if you take photos with large telephoto lenses and bulky DSLRs.

With a solidly built tripod, you will get sharper images when photographing in low light, capturing long exposures, panoramas, and panning shots.

But such heavy-duty camera tripods are available in different designs and budgets, and choosing your ideal fit can be quite overwhelming.

If your travel photography gear includes DSLR cameras and heavy lenses, use our guide to find the best tripod to meet your needs:

  • The top 10 sturdy tripods for DSLRs and heavy lenses for all kinds of budgets
  • How to choose the best sturdy camera tripod for your type of photography
  • Insights for buying the best tripod for travel, portraits, weddings, sports, and wildlife photography
  • How to get the most out of your tripod: maintenance and storage tips especially for the frequent travelers
  • Our Favorite Pick: The best tripod for heavy lenses and DSLRs that we recommend for travel photography!

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We get asked this question often. There are two places where we buy our cameras, lenses and other accessories: Amazon and B&H Photo.

B&H Photo is our go-to company for buying the high quality cameras, tripods and lenses. They are a reputable company that’s been in business for over 45 years. Their customer service and knowledge about photography equipment gives us peace of mind when spending money on higher ticket items.

→ Check out Photography Gear at B&H Photo

Amazon is where we buy most of our camera accessories like filters, memory cards, etc. The free two-day shipping is always a plus. We have bought cameras, lenses and tripods from Amazon with no problem as well. They are good about returns, but won’t be able to answer gear-specific questions.

→ Check out Photography Gear on Amazon

Sing up to take Wow photos with any camera.


TripodMaterialLoad CapacityHeight RangeFolded LengthWeightPrice
MeFOTO GlobeTrotterAluminum24 lbs16.1” to 64.2”16.1”4.6 lbsB&H PhotoAmazon
Manfrotto MT055XPRO3Aluminum19.8 lbs3.5″ to 66.9″24″5.5 lbsB&H PhotoAmazon
Cayer BV30LAluminum13.2 lbs33.3″ to 72.7″35″8.8 lbsAmazon
Feisol Tournament CT-3442Carbon Fiber55 lbs6.69″ to 55.12″19.29″2.51 lbsB&H PhotoAmazon
Benro Mach3Carbon Fiber35.3 lbs15.2″ to 63.6″24.6″4.1 lbsB&H PhotoAmazon
TYCKA Rangers 56”Aluminum26.5 lbs15” to 56”14″2.89 lbsAmazon
GEEKOTO 77”Aluminum17.6 lbs19″ to 77″18.8″3.4 lbsB&H PhotoAmazon
Induro CLT104Carbon Fiber30.9 lbs11.4″ to 56.5″19.7″2.8 lbsB&H PhotoAmazon
Neewer Camera Tripod Style IIIAluminum26.5 lbs24.4” to 75”19.7″4.38 lbAmazon
VILTROX VX-18MAluminum13.2 lbs33″ to 74″36.4″10.8 lbB&H PhotoAmazon


1. Overall Best Tripod for Heavy Lenses and DSLRs

→ MeFOTO GlobeTrotter

MeFoto Globetrotter tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Aluminum Alloy

Load Capacity: 26.4 lb (12 kg)

Max. Height: 64.2” (163 cm)

Min. Height: 16.1” (41 cm)

Folded Length: 16.1” (41 cm)

Leg Sections: 5

Leg Lock Type: Twist Lock

Head Type: Ball Head

Functionality: Tripod and Monopod

Weight: 4.6 lb (2.1 kg)

The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter tripod is a favorite of most travel photographers. It stands out for its lightweight design, short folded length, and a sturdy leg design that will virtually support any DSLR and heavy lens combination.

It comes in two designs: carbon fiber and aluminum. The carbon fiber version sports a much lighter construction that only weighs 3.7 pounds. It’s the one we use in our hiking and travels and always recommend it to anyone looking for a compact, lightweight, and sturdy tripod.

However, if you wouldn’t mind traveling and hiking with a 4.6 pounds tripod in your gear, we would advise getting the aluminum version. That’s especially if you’re on a budget! It’s still as compact and sturdy, but way less expensive.

What we like more about this tripod is its ability to easily convert to a monopod. One of its legs unscrews from the main hinges to combine with the removable center column, thus making a full-sized monopod. The “monopod leg” has a foam grip that provides for safety and comfort during extended use.

NOTE: MeFOTO GlobeTrotter tripod comes with the MeFOTO Q2 ball head that features separate head and pan locks, an integral bubble level, and a 360° panning range. The kit also includes an Arca-Swiss style quick release plate with a 1/4″-20 camera screw.


  • Compact and lightweight with a sturdy and durable design.
  • It comes with a bigger ball head that will effortlessly support larger DSLRs and heavy lenses.
  • Includes attachable ground spikes for use in slippery grounds and a spring-loaded hook to hang a heavy object for extra stability.
  • Strong tripod legs with a reliable leg locking mechanism.
  • It comes with a nice, durable carrying bag with a shoulder strap.
  • The legs can be spread independently and provide two-position leg angle stops.


  • At 4.6 pounds, the aluminum version is a little heavier for the frequent on-the-go photographers.
  • The carbon fiber version is quite expensive compared to the competition.
  • The locking mechanism lacks an efficient weather-sealing as it allows elements like sand and dirt to get inside.

The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter tripod is the perfect tripod for the on-the-go adventure enthusiasts who work with bulky cameras and lenses. It’s compact, lightweight, and sturdy for portability and stability while working.

Best Value Tripod Kit for Wildlife Photographers

→ Manfrotto MT055XPRO3

Manfrotto tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Aluminum Alloy

Load Capacity: 19.8 lb (9 kg)

Max. Height: 66.9″ (169.9 cm)

Min. Height: 3.5″ (8.9 cm)

Folded Length: 24″ (61 cm)

Leg Sections: 3

Leg Lock Type: Flip Lock

Head Type: Ball Head 

Functionality: Tripod only

Weight: 5.5 lb (2.5 kg)

Wildlife photography lenses come in longer and bulkier designs than the common portrait and travel lenses. And such lenses like the Nikon 80-400mm VR tag along with larger DSLRs like the Nikon D500 and the D5 cameras. 

To sturdily support such lenses and cameras when shooting, you’ll need to invest in a highly reliable, heavy-duty tripod. And that is just about what the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 aluminum tripod was designed to do! It comes as a complete tripod kit with an XPRO Magnesium ball head and a quick-release plate.

The ball head uses a ball-and-socket joint that provides a 360° of swivel control and a 90° angle downward tilt. It comes with bubble levels for portrait and landscape orientations. With a load capacity of 22.1 pounds, this ball head is compatible with tripods and support systems that feature a 3/8″-16 mount.

TIP: The Manfrotto XPRO Magnesium ball head features an integrated RC2 quick release cam lock. It is compatible with the included 200PL-14 Quick Release Plate that offers a 1/4″-20 mount screw and a 3/8″ bushing adapter.


  • A sturdy, versatile, and highly reliable tripod.
  • It provides a 3.5” minimum working height for ground-level shooting.
  • Quick power locks that offer high locking power to ensure maximum camera stability.
  • Its 4 leg angles and 0 degrees column offers the versatility to work at any position.
  • Manfrotto offers this tripod in carbon fiber leg design that only weighs 4.4 pounds but it’s a little more pricey. 


  • It doesn’t convert to a monopod.
  • At 5.5 pounds and a 24” folded length, it’s quite heavy and bulky for hiking and frequent traveling.

The Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 aluminum tripod kit will effortlessly support heavy wildlife DSLRs and huge telephoto lenses. It’s such a versatile tripod with sturdy and durable construction and its usefulness spans outside wildlife photography.

Best Heavy Duty Tripod for Studio Applications

→ Cayer BV30L

Cayer tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Aluminum

Load Capacity: 13.2 lb (6 kg)

Max. Height: 72.7″ (184.5 cm)

Min. Height: 33.3″ (84.8 cm)

Folded Length: 35″ (89 cm)

Leg Sections: 3

Leg Locks: Quick Release Locking Knob

Head Type: Fluid Head

Functionality: Tripod only

Weight: 8.8 lb (4 kg)

Not everyone can afford a $300 tripod. And that’s why Cayer designed an affordably priced aluminum twin-tube heavy-duty tripod. Despite its below $150 price tag, the Cayer BV30L ticks all the boxes of a reliable, high-quality sturdy tripod.

It comes as a complete tripod kit that includes the aluminum tripod legs, a K3 fluid head with two quick-release plates, and a carrying bag. This tripod will steadily support as much as 13.2 pounds of load and it can extend as high as 72.7 inches.

Our favorite feature in this tripod is the K3 Fluid Head. It features separate pan and tilt lock levels and comes with an inbuilt bubble level indicator. This tripod head offers 360° panning and +90° to -70° tilt angle adjustments.

NOTE: The major drawback of this tripod is its weight. It weighs 8.8 pounds, including the K3 fluid head that weighs 2.5 pounds. While the weight helps in providing extra tripod stability, it renders it quite heavy for travel photography.


  • An affordable, sturdy, and versatile tripod.
  • The dual fluid motion head offers smooth and precise camera motions.
  • An inbuilt mid-level spreader that helps in preventing instability when working on uneven surfaces.
  • A 75mm half ball adapter with 3/8″-16 stud that provides for a quick head leveling.
  • Inbuilt carrying-handle for easy handling when moving around.
  • The kit includes a removable tripod head handle that allows for smooth and precise control.


  • The K3 fluid head might not be the best tripod head design for the absolute beginners. 
  • Apart from being quite heavy, the folded length of 35 inches also makes it rather bulky for hikers and travelers.

The Cayer BV30L is a professional tripod that will work best in a studio setting. It’ll do an excellent job in any type of photography and videography that doesn’t involve frequent movement. If you’re on a budget and looking for a lightweight alternative, we advise buying the TYCKA Rangers 56” compact travel tripod.

The Ultimate High-Performance Sturdy Tripod

→ Feisol Tournament CT-3442 Rapid Tripod

Feisol tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Carbon Fiber

Load Capacity: 55 lb (25 kg)

Max. Height: 55.12″ (140 cm)

Min. Height: 6.69″ (17 cm)

Folded Length: 19.29″ (49 cm)

Leg Sections: 4

Leg Lock Type: Twist Lock

Head Type: Ball Head (Not Included)

Functionality: Tripod only

Weight: 2.51 lb (1.14 kg)

The Feisol Tournament CT-3442 Rapid 4-section carbon fiber tripod is a masterpiece of incredibly great engineering. It is a solid, heavy-duty tripod that only weighs 2.51 pounds but supports a load capacity of up to 55 pounds!

Truly, this is a tripod that has been made to offer the best possible performance when it comes to working with heavy lenses and DSLRs. The CT-3442 will steadily support virtually any long lens and heavy digital camera combination.

Its body frame has been constructed with aerospace industry-grade CNC-milled 7075 aluminum alloy. While the legs are made of specialized, top quality carbon fiber. These are exceptionally high-strength materials that are made to last!

NOTE: The CT-3442 doesn’t come with a ball head, and you will need to purchase one separately. We recommend getting the Feisol CB-50DC ball head for the best shooting experience. The ball head has a maximum load capacity of 41 pounds and comes with a QP-144750 quick release plate.


  • Designed with top-quality materials to offer unmatched strength and durability.
  • Super lightweight and very portable, it retracts to just 19.29”, a length that should easily fit in your backpack.
  • Made with a wide base place to enhance the overall tripod stability when working with heavy camera setups.
  • A wonderful set of water-resistant legs and you can take it just about anywhere, in the river, mud, to the ice, salty water, mention them!
  • The height can be extended with the optional center column to 68.5” (174 cm).
  • The legs have preset angles of 25, 50, and 75 degrees to suit working at different shooting angles.


  • The legs show scratches really easily, for a tripod of its price range.
  • When using the long leg spikes, the tripod is prone to vibrations while working in windy surroundings.
  • You’ll have to get the ball head, center column, and leg spikes separately despite the tripods expensive price tag (well, but it’s worth it). 

The Feisol Tournament CT-3442 offers the best combination of an incredibly lightweight tripod with a high load capacity, an extended working height, and a compact folded length. It’s impressively designed to last and will suit photographers who want to work with the maximum strength but carry around the minimum weight!

Best Sturdy Tripod for Travel Photography

→ Benro TMA37C Series 3 Mach3 Carbon Fiber Tripod

Benro tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Carbon Fiber

Load Capacity: 35.3 lb (16 kg)

Max. Height: 63.6″ (161.5 cm)

Min. Height: 15.2″ (38.6 cm)

Folded Length: 24.6″ (62.5 cm)

Leg Sections: 3

Leg Lock Type: Twist Lock

Head Type: Ball Head (Not Included)

Functionality: Tripod and Monopod

Weight: 4.1 lb (1.9 kg)

Benro tripods are known to offer stability and versatility that any photographer needs to take their work to the next level! And the Benro TMA37C Series 3 Mach3 carbon fiber tripod is a no exemption to this. It comes with 3 leg sections that offer a maximum working height 63.6”.

To suit working at lower angles, a shorter center column has been included as part of the tripod kit. With it, you can shoot from as low as 15.2” from the ground. This is such a great height for capturing ground-level static landscape photography. 

NOTE: Just like the Feisol CT-3442, this tripod doesn’t come with a ball head. It has been designed with a 3/8″-16 threaded camera mount where you can hook up a tripod head of your choice. We recommend getting it with the Benro IB2 Triple Action ball head for the best shooting experience.


  • Its legs are secured via twist locks that are solidly designed for stability. 
  • Designed with 9-layers of carbon fiber for maximum strength and durability.
  • The rubberized tripod feet can be swapped with the included metal spikes to suit working on slippery surfaces like on ice or lawn.
  • An inbuilt hook on the center column where you can hang extra weight for enhanced stability.
  • The kit includes a nice carrying bag for tripod storage and transportation.


  • At 4.1 pounds in weight without the ball head, it’s quite heavier than the competition.
  • Its folded length of 24.6” makes it rather longer especially if you’re a frequent traveler or hiker.

The Benro TMA37C Series 3 Mach3 carbon fiber tripod stands out for its superb build quality. It comes with one detachable leg that combines with the removable center column to make a full-sized monopod. It’s such a pretty solid heavy-duty tripod that will perform well even in the most extreme environments!

Best Budget Sturdy Tripod for Travel

→ TYCKA Rangers 56”

Tycka tripod for heavy lenses

Material: High-Density Aluminum Alloy

Load Capacity: 26.5 lb (12 kg)

Max. Height: 56” (142.2 cm)

Min. Height: 15” (38.1 cm)

Folded Length: 14” (35.6 cm)

Leg Sections: 4

Leg Lock Type: Flip Lock

Head Type: Ball Head

Functionality: Tripod and Monopod

Weight: 2.89 lb (1.3 kg) – Includes Ball-Head

The Cayer BV30L professional tripod will appease the budget buyers who do their photography and video in a studio setting. But if you do a lot of hiking and traveling, we recommend the TYCKA Rangers 56” compact travel tripod.

For starters, this tripod sells at a price way below $100. And it’s price tag might be the only “cheap” feature about it! It comes as a complete tripod kit, with a 360° panorama ball head and a nice carrying bag.

The tripod weighs just about 2.89 pounds including the ball head. Yet, it can steadily support a load capacity of up to 26.5 pounds. With this tripod as part of your travel photography gear, you can comfortably work with heavy lenses and DSLRs.

Our favorite feature of the TYCKA Rangers 56” is its short extra tube (3.6”). With it, you can achieve a lower angle to shoot with a minimum height of 7.87”. Moreover, it’s center column can be inverted for macro and ground-level photography.

What’s more, this tripod can convert into a monopod! It features a removable leg with foam grip for comfort during extended use. It combines with the center column to make a monopod that can extend up to 57” high.


  • Super lightweight and compact in size (folds-up to just 14.17”) to fit in an everyday backpack.
  • The center column comes with a hook where you can attach extra weight for enhanced stability.
  • A versatile ball head that provides 360° panning and +90° to -45° tilt range.
  • Excellent leg locks for a tripod of its price range.
  • Very convenient for the frequent traveler, hiker, or on-the-go photographer who is on a budget.


  • With a maximum working height of 56”, the tripod is quite short.
  • You can’t rely on the second extension of the center column as it makes the entire setup wobbly.

The TYCKA Rangers 56” is an affordable, lightweight, and compact tripod that we recommend to hikers and travelers who are on a budget. It’s feature-rich and quite sturdy, something that makes it such a reliable piece of photography equipment.

Best Under $100 Tripod for Heavy Lenses and DSLRs


GEEKOTO tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Aluminum Alloy

Load Capacity: 17.6 lb (7.98 kg)

Max. Height: 77″ (195.6 cm)

Min. Height: 19″ (48.3 cm)

Folded Length: 18.8″ (47.45cm)

Leg Sections: 4

Leg Lock Type: Flip Lock

Head Type: Ball Head

Functionality: Tripod and Monopod

Weight: 3.4 lb (1.54 kg)

Like the TYCKA Rangers 56”, this is yet another high-quality tripod that sells at a price range of under $100. And it’s also designed for portability and reliability. This is a perfect fit for the frequent traveler or hiker, who is looking for a tall, sturdy budget tripod.

GEEKOTO 77”‘ only weighs 3.4 pounds and has a folded length of 18.8”. Which makes it such a lightweight and compact tripod that will easily fit in a hiking backpack. It extends to a height of up to 77” inches and will steadily support a maximum load capacity of 17.6 pounds. 

Just like the tripod legs, the included 360° panoramic ball head looks well-designed. On top of the 360° panning range, it also provides a 90° degrees vertical tilt range. It comes with a quick-release plate with a 1/4″-20 threaded mount that offers an easy camera and lens mounting.

TIP: The GEEKOTO 77”‘ also converts into a monopod. One of its legs is detachable and has been padded with foam. It combines with the center column to make an 81” monopod. Such a long monopod can be quite handy, especially when hiking in wet areas, like on the ice!


  • Affordable, lightweight, and compact, which is convenient for the everyday traveler or hiker.
  • Quite sturdy and with a load capacity of 17.6 pounds to suit working with heavy lenses and bulky DSLRs. 
  • The center column can be inverted for low angle and ground-level shooting, which is great for static landscape photography.
  • The tripod kit comes with a good quality carrying bag and a separate cover for the ball head.
  • A working height range of 19” to 77”, makes it rather versatile and convenient for the tall users.


  • While the tripod looks well-made, the legs don’t feel as durable, they are a little thinner to last for so long.

The GEEKOTO 77”‘ is superbly designed and affordably priced. It is lightweight and folds-up compact enough to suit the needs of the on-the-go budget photographer. We can confidently recommend it to backpackers and hikers who are constantly on the move with all their photography and personal gear.

Best Heavy Duty Tripod That’s Easy to Carry

→ Induro CLT104 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod

Induro tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Carbon Fiber

Load Capacity: 30.9 lb (14 kg)

Max. Height: 56.5″ (143.5 cm)

Min. Height: 11.4″ (29 cm)

Folded Length: 19.7″ (50 cm)

Leg Sections: 4

Leg Lock Type: Twist Lock

Head Type: Ball Head (Not Included)

Functionality: Tripod only

Weight: 2.8 lb (1.3 kg)

The Induro CLT104 falls within the same price range as the Benro TMA37C carbon fiber tripod. They also have almost the same features and characteristics! But the Induro CLT104 carbon fiber tripod is much lighter. It only weighs 2.8 pounds and folds-up more compactly (19.7”) compared to the Benro TMA37C (24.6”).

What we like more about the Induro CLT104 is its versatility. This tripod is solid and sturdy enough to work in a wide range of environments. And despite its lightweight design, it has a load capacity of 30.9 pounds. It will steadily support virtually any heavy lenses and DSLR camera combination.

NOTE: Just like the Benro TMA37C, this tripod doesn’t come with a ball head. But for the best shooting experience, we recommend purchasing the Induro BHL2S ball head. With just a weight of 1.1 pounds, this ball head will support a maximum load capacity of 26.5 pounds. Installing and using it is also pretty easy!


  • Super lightweight and compact to suit the on-the-go photographer.
  • Designed with carbon fiber legs and magnesium alloy spider for strength and portability.
  • It comes with a nice carrying case for storage and transportation.
  • Inbuilt center column hook for hanging extra weight for enhanced tripod stability.
  • The kit includes two center columns, one short and one long.
  • Interchangeable feet: metal spikes and rubber.


  • Its 56.5” maximum working height is relatively shorter, especially for the tall tripod users.
  • Prone to vibration, especially when working in windy environments.

The Induro CLT104 is yet another sturdy tripod for travelers and hikers who work with bulky photography gear. It’s super lightweight and folds-up compactly to warranty packing it in your carry-on luggage bag. Such features allow it to stand out as one of the best tripods for heavy lenses and DSLRs.

Best Under $200 Tripod for Heavy Lenses

→ Neewer Camera Tripod Style III

Neewer tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Aluminum Alloy

Load Capacity: 26.5 lb (12 kg)

Max. Height: 75” (191 cm)

Min. Height: 24.4” (62 cm)

Folded Length: 19.7” (50 cm)

Leg Sections: 4

Leg Lock Type: Twist Lock

Head Type: Ball Head

Functionality: Tripod and Monopod

Weight: 4.38 lb (1.99 kg) – Including Ball Head

The Neewer tripod is not only sturdily designed but also very affordable and feature-rich! It comes in solid construction that’s made of aluminum alloy for stability and durability. And its non-slip feet design will keep it steady on virtually any surface.

This tripod kit packs some unique features and characteristics that are quite handy. It’s designed with a center column that can rotate at 360-degrees horizontally. A feature that can be quite useful when shooting panoramas.

What’s more, the center column can be inverted to warranty shooting at lower angles. This feature is extremely useful when capturing ground level shots, static landscape photography, macro photography, and panorama.

The tripod’s ability to easily convert into a monopod is a feature that you’ll find very convenient. One of its legs is padded and detaches from the tripod to combine with the center column to make a full-sized monopod.


  • A solid design that feels quite sturdy when put into use.
  • Relatively lightweight and folds-up compact (19.7”), which is great for portability.
  • It extends as tall as 75” high and supports a maximum load capacity of 26.5 pounds.
  • The tripod kit includes a 360-degrees swivel ball head with a bubble level and a quick-release plate.
  • The center column comes with a hook where you can hang extra weight to enhance the tripod’s stability.


  • While it feels stable even with a heavy lens and DSLR camera, it doesn’t look that durable.
  • There are other heavy-duty budget tripods that offer almost everything this tripod has to offer.

The Neewer tripod provides an excellent value for money! It retracts into a compact length that will perfectly fit in a hiking backpack or a carry-on luggage bag. At work, this tripod feels quite sturdy! We would recommend it to backpackers and hikers who want an affordable tripod that easily converts into a monopod.

Best Professional Heavy Duty Studio Videography Tripod


Viltrox tripod for heavy lenses

Material: Aluminum

Load Capacity: 13.2 lb (5.99 kg)

Max. Height: 74″ (188 cm)

Min. Height: 33″ (84 cm)

Folded Length: 35.4″ (89.92 cm)

Leg Sections: 3

Leg Lock Type: Quick Release Locking Knob

Head Type: Fluid Head

Functionality: Tripod only

Weight: 10.8 lb (4.90 kg)

Last in our round-up list of the best tripod for heavy lenses and DSLRs is the VILTROX VX-18M. This is a professional heavy-duty tripod that will work best in a studio setting. At 10.8 pounds in weight and with a load capacity of 13.2 pounds, it’s the ideal tripod for digital camcorders.

It comes as a complete kit with the VT-01 Fluid Head and a padded carrying bag. The fluid head provides a 360° panning range and +90° to -75° vertical tilt range with independent locks for pan and tilt. It features a balancing system and an inbuilt bubble level that provides for smooth, precise movements.

To enhance the user’s convenience, it comes with an interchangeable pan bar handle with angular adjustments. The handle attaches to the right or left side of the fluid head. With it, you should effortlessly make smooth and very accurate pan motions and tilt motions to best capture your scenes.


  • Affordable, robust, and specially engineered for studio applications.
  • A 60mm ball diameter that allows you to quickly and easily level the head without the need for readjusting the legs.
  • It comes with a sliding quick release plate with 1/4″-20 and 3/8″-16 camera screw mounts.
  • A decent working height that ranges between 33” and 74”.
  • A mid-level spreader that helps in preventing tripod instability when working on uneven surfaces.
  • Horseshoe-shaped footpad with flexible non-slip rubber outsole for durability and stability in virtually any working surface.


  • The load capacity could be better for a tripod of its weight.
  • It doesn’t feel quite as sturdy especially when panning quickly.

The VILTROX VX-18M is a tripod we recommend investing in if you’re looking to work in studio settings. This is a profession heavy-duty tripod that will do a great job, especially when doing studio videography. But you can still take it with you to your travels and hiking if you move around with a car.


The fact that you are here tells you may already know why tripods can benefit your photography. Tripods provide a stable camera and lens support. And with enhanced stability, comes endless photographing possibilities.

You can easily capture long exposures, shoot in low-light, take panning shots, or document surreal panoramas. Regardless of your type of photography, you’ll be stunned by how a tripod can make a difference!

When working with heavy lenses and DSLRs, you will need to find a heavy-duty tripod to support the extra weight and bulk. Keep in mind that such a robust tripod doesn’t need to be heavy or bulky.

In this section of the guide, we will take you through the process of choosing the best tripod for heavy lenses and DSLRs.

Load Capacity 

The first step to finding your ideal heavy-duty tripod is determining the amount of load that you’ll be putting on the tripod. That includes your camera, lenses, and any other accessory that hooks on your camera setup when shooting.

In most cases, you’ll be dealing with heavier and bulky DSLRs and telephoto lenses that weigh as much as 5 pounds each. That’s especially if you’re into wildlife, wedding, professional portrait, or sports photography.

Your ideal tripod should comfortably support at least 1.5 times the total weight of your heaviest lens and camera. While most of the high-quality tripods in the market will safely hold standard DSLRs, only a few can accommodate long telephoto lenses.

If you’re going to work with greater load capacity, consider getting a premium tripod. One that has been designed with high-quality material to work in the most demanding environments like the wild.

You can easily find a budget heavy duty tripod. But there is no point in risking your Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-400mm VR wildlife photography gear on a $50 tripod when you can afford the more robust MeFOTO GlobeTrotter tripod.

You don’t want to shoot from a tripod shaking under the weight of your camera setup. Actually, this contradicts the initial point of getting a tripod. It not only negatively affects the quality of your shots but also risks crashing the entire setup. 

Material and Durability

The performance of a tripod is hugely determined by the material that is made of. In fact, it also in some ways determines its maximum load capacity. The two main materials used in the construction of tripods are aluminum and carbon fiber.

Aluminum Tripods

Aluminum is a tough, lightweight metal. Making it the widely used material in the construction of most travel tools. Well, including aircraft!  It’s also inexpensive something that allows for designing and pricing the end product affordably.

In the construction of tripods, aluminum is used to make the heavy-duty models as it adds a lot of weight to offer more load-bearing support. Its main drawbacks include getting hot in hot weather and cold in cold weather.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is extremely lightweight, durable, and flexible, making it the most preferred material for top-quality tripods. And it is essentially weather resistant. It won’t get cold in the freezing winter nor hot under the scorching summer.

Yet, while aluminum is affordable, carbon fiber will cost you more. But with it, you will enjoy a virtually indestructible sturdy tripod that is super lightweight to easily carry along with your heavy photography lenses and DSLRs.

NOTE: There are many tripods out there made of wood and plastic. Wood is mostly used by nature photographers who don’t mind carrying bulky loads with them. Plastic tripods, on the other hand, are inexpensive and terrible in outdoor environments as they can get easily warped and damaged.

Size and Weight

Notwithstanding your type of photography, you most likely want to invest in a lightweight and easily portable camera equipment. That’s especially if you’re an on-the-go photographer looking to fit all your gear in a backpack.

As such, you should consider investing in a reliable lightweight tripod that affords to bear high load capacity while maintaining stability. Such a tripod should also be durable enough to last you through your most extreme photography adventures.

TIP: Some tripods will come hooks that give you the option to add extra weight to maintain steadiness by preventing vibrations. Keep in mind that heavier tripods are usually more stable!

Apart from weight, you should also consider the size of your ideal tripod. If it doesn’t fit in your carry-on bag or backpack, how will you bring it to the scene of photography? Ensure it can fold into a length that perfectly fits in your bag.

A small, lightweight collapsed tripod is especially useful for adventure photographers who are going to trek for long distances. And even if you’re going to travel by bus, vehicle, or air, you don’t want more weight and bulk in your luggage.

Working Height

Apart from the foldable height, tripods usually have minimum and maximum working heights. Maximum working height is how tall the tripod will stand when all the legs and center column are fully extended.

We always recommend buying a tripod that can extend as tall as your height, to avoid bending when looking into the viewfinder. Keep in mind that tripods with maximum heights higher than your height are still okay since you can always adjust the legs to match your needs.

However, a shorter tripod will give you a poor photography experience. If the tripod height is much below your eye level, you will be forced to bend all the time. This can be exhausting especially if you are waiting for some kind of action that requires you to look through the viewfinder all the time.

Minimum working height is important if you’re looking to do some ground-level shooting. Some tripods allow you to get very low on the ground by extending the leg angles out so wide that the center of the tripod gets to as low as a few inches above the ground.

Some models allow you to remove the center column and then reinsert it upside down so you can lower the camera to the ground level. These tripod models are especially useful when you’re looking to shoot different angles of certain scenes.

Center Column

Some tripods come with a center column. That’s a single leg in the middle of the tripod that lets you decrease or increase the height of the camera by simply moving it downwards or upwards.

NOTE: Extending the height of the center column upwards creates some wobbling. Actually, most of the seasoned photographers widely assert that tripods with center columns don’t deliver sharper results, even when it’s not extended at all.

Some photographers find the center column a good feature that’s quite convenient. Yet, we strongly advise against buying a heavy-duty tripod that features the center column unless you really need to have it.

TIP: If for whatever reasons you can’t do without the center column, ensure that it can fully retract to the same level where the legs of the tripod meet. At this point, there should be no wobbling, especially if it’s a sturdily designed tripod.

The negative effects of a center column may go unnoticed when using wide-angle lenses. But if you’ll be working with long telephoto lenses, it causes too much vibration that severely affects the sharpness of your photos.

Legs and Feet

Just like humans, tripods have legs and feet. Tripod legs typically come in two forms, tubular and non-tubular. While all carbon fiber legs are tubular, aluminum legs will come in different shapes.

Tripod feet will either be metal spikes (for outdoor) or rubber (for indoor use). Most premium tripods will allow you to alternate the feet depending on your working conditions by just screwing back the rubber tip to reveal a spike.

TIP: Not unless you are planning to work in uneven or slippery (rainy or icy) conditions, the standard rubberized tripod feet should work just fine.

Leg Sections, Angle, and Locks

Tripods legs may have 3 to 5 leg sections. The larger the number of leg sections, the shorter the tripod folds up. That’s, tripods with more leg sections will fold up to a short length that is more portable.

TIP: More leg sections also means that you will take quite long to set up the tripod, especially when dealing with flip locks. And for the budget models, many leg sections can render them unstable when fully expanded.

Tripod leg locks come as either flip locks and twist locks. All carbon fiber legs have a threaded twist-lock system. They are quicker to use and take up less space. You can easily operate them by a single movement when setting up the tripod.

Aluminum legs come with flip locks that are a little slower to operate since they are operated individually. But keep in mind that aluminum tripods are not only more affordable but also quite heavier and hence more stable!

Most tripods feature legs that can be angled independently, which is very useful when working in cramped areas or sloping sites. For regular use, the standard leg angles will often work just fine. 

TIP: Spreading one or more legs further apart will often enhance its stability while allowing you to work on a much lower angle.

Head Types

A tripod head is arguably the most important part of the tripod. It’s responsible for holding the camera system securely and controlling its movements. Some tripods come with the head included, but others require you to purchase it separately. 

When choosing your ideal tripod head, ensure that it can support at least the same load capacity that your tripod legs can. The most common tripod heads are ball heads and pan-and-tilt (also known as three-way) heads.

Ball heads are compact in size, easy to use, and quick to operate making them ideal for beginners. But they are also less precise especially when you’re looking to adjust a large camera with a heavier lens in small, slow movements. 

Three-way heads are more accurate and feel quite solid when you are looking to adjust your camera in tiny, controlled movements. They can also be adjusted on each axis independently. But unlike ball heads, they are quite bulkier and larger.

NOTE: Depending on how you are looking to do your photography, you can always change one head for another. Keep in mind that there are other specialized heads like gimbal heads. They are useful when shooting with heavy, long telephoto lenses that would otherwise unbalance the tripod.

Which one should you buy? Well, for the simple answer, if you are looking for speed and/or a compact design for portability, buy a ball head. But if you need precision and you don’t mind an extra bulk in your gear, buy a three-way head.

A ball head will suit fast-action photography like wildlife and sports where you need to keep moving your camera quite a lot and quickly. While a three-way head will work perfectly in landscape and panoramic photography since the “land” doesn’t move and precision is very important.

Quick-Release System

Every modern camera and long telephoto lens is designed with a thread at the bottom that allows you to attach it to a monopod or tripod. The threaded system requires you to either rotate the tripod or the camera (or lens) when attaching them together.

This process can be very inconvenient, especially when you want to get them attached quickly. To make it more convenient and easier, manufacturers came up with a simple but extremely useful solution called the quick-release system.

The system works by attaching a small, removable plate on the lens or camera, and then securing it tightly on the tripod head. Budget tripods come with cheap plastic plates that will do more harm than good when working with expensive cameras and lenses.

Premium tripod heads will come with more durable plates that are more sturdy. Today, the Arca-Swiss Quick Release System has become the standard quick-release system among most manufacturers. 

Arca-Swiss Quick Release system has proven to be not only durable but also quick and easy to operate. It’s made of very strong aluminum and with a simple locking mechanism that offers for attaching the camera on the tripod head without rotating anything.

Monopod Functionality

Most tripods with a center column allow you to convert them into a monopod. This can be a useful option as it offers added flexibility when you are shooting with a heavy camera and lens while moving around.


Using a tripod is about precision and stability, and you should pick a model that gives you just about that! That said, if you’re on a budget and looking to buy your first heavy-duty tripod, we recommend investing in an affordable aluminum tripod system that comes with an integrated head.

Such a tripod should cost you less than $150. But it will offer you with impressive benefits as you look to capture sharper photos with heavy lenses and DSLRs. If this is where you’re looking to start, we recommend getting the TYCKA Rangers 56” or the GEEKOTO 77” budget travel tripods.

You can later upgrade to the premium tripods that are designed for top-notch performance and durability. Such tripods come with solid construction to warranty working even in the most extreme environments. They are very sturdy and will provide rock-solid stability with minimal to no vibration.


The MeFOTO GlobeTrotter has made a name for itself as the travel photographers’ favorite tripod! It comes in carbon fiber and aluminum designs. The latter weighs much heavier at 4.6 pounds but costs about $150 less.

If you can manage, we always recommend getting the sturdier carbon fiber version that only weighs 3.7 pounds. It’s the model we use for our travels and hiking and has time and again proved to be quite a worthy investment!

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10 awesome tripods for heavy lenses and DSLR cameras