Facebook Pixel 9 Best Tripods for Landscape Photography in 2021
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9 Best Tripods for Landscape Photography in 2021

the best tripods for landscape photography

What’s the best tripod for landscape photography you can buy today? When considering the perfect landscape tripod, there are literally hundreds of products to choose from – the tricky part is narrowing down all the options to find one that’s right for you!

This guide will help you wade through the various tripods on the market to find the one that fits your needs. Of course, as with many aspects of photography, it’s difficult to offer a black-and-white best tripod to purchase. It depends on your goals, your gear, and whether features like budget and portability matter more than height and durability.

I would, however, caution you against getting a very inexpensive, do-it-all model like the kind you might find at a local department store or online retailer for $25-$50 USD. These tripods might seem good, and some have long lists of features, but they are often made with cheap materials that will not hold your camera steady and will break very quickly. So if you’re after a genuinely good tripod for landscape photography, scour this list; you’re certain to find a much better option that suits your needs.

Let’s get started.

landscape photo from a mountain using a tripod
Fujifilm X100F | 23mm | f/8 | 1/60s | ISO 200
There’s no way I would have gotten this shot without a tripod.

1. The Peak Design Travel Tripod (Best overall)

Peak Design Travel Tripod

When Peak Design released their Travel Tripod in 2019, it sent shockwaves through the photography community. The tripod was (and is!) small, light, and incredibly versatile, which made it appealing to a wide range of photographers.

All was not sunshine and roses, and shutterbugs quickly took note of some important downsides. This new tripod was expensive, limited in certain ways, and included some highly unconventional design choices. But despite the drawbacks, the Peak Design Travel Tripod earns my recommendation as the absolute best tripod for landscape photography you can buy.

I have used this tripod extensively, from mountaintops in the southwest United States to remote hiking locales along the USA-Canada border, and there’s simply nothing else like it. Its diminutive size when fully collapsed, coupled with the extremely low weight, is a boon to landscape photographers who value quality as well as portability. The built-in ball head is flexible, the legs are stable, and with the center column extended, the entire package is nearly as tall as any other tripod on this list.

I wouldn’t recommend the Peak Design Travel Tripod for use with heavy cameras like the Canon 1D X or Nikon D6, since the thin (but very strong) construction can’t quite keep up when you start attaching pounds of gear. But for most landscape photographers, this tripod hits the sweet spot between size, features, and portability.

Pros

  • Outstanding portability
  • Highly flexible
  • Lots of little design touches, like the cell phone holder tucked into the center column, that display a high attention to detail

Cons

  • The carbon fiber version is very expensive
  • Not as tall as other tripods
  • Not designed for very heavy camera/lens combinations

2. MeFOTO BackPacker S Aluminum Travel Tripod (Best budget)

MeFOTO BackPacker S Travel tripod

If you’re a landscape photographer on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the MeFOTO BackPacker S Travel Tripod. It’s not as compact or versatile as other items on this list, but it offers amazing flexibility – especially considering the price.

The legs fold up around the ball head to save on space, and you can lock them into several positions during setup. The lack of a true center column limits the overall height of this tripod, but it still suits the needs of many landscape photographers quite well.

The legs each have a series of twist-lock mechanisms to extend the sections and keep them in place. I’m personally not a big fan of this style and instead prefer the clip-lock or twist-lock systems found on other tripods, but again, the main point of this tripod is to serve a more budget-conscious audience.

One nice feature is the ability to convert it to a true monopod by removing a leg and attaching it to the center column, though that’s not highly relevant for landscape shooters. It does speak to the overall versatility of this tripod, and for photographers who want one inexpensive option for landscapes plus other situations, the MeFOTO BackPacker S is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Flexible
  • Can be converted to a monopod

Cons

  • Not as tall as other options
  • Twist-lock extension mechanisms aren’t to everyone’s liking

3. Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 with Manfrotto 496 Center Ball Head (Best semi-professional)

Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 tripod

There’s a bit of a paradox with camera gear: the more you spend, the less you get. Whereas many less expensive tripods come with everything you need to go out and start shooting, higher-end tripods often come as two separate pieces: legs and heads. The Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 is an outstanding set of tripod legs, but it also needs a head, and for that I recommend the 496 Center Ball Head.

The Manfrotto legs aren’t small and light so they might not be the first choice for travelers, but they are strong, sturdy, and tall enough to give you unique landscape photos you can’t get with shorter tripods. The legs can be locked into several positions, and adjustments are quick and easy thanks to the clip-lock leg extensions. My favorite feature is the center column adjustment, which lets you extend the column and then reposition it horizontally to capture photos in entirely new ways.

The 496 Center Ball Head refines the design Manfrotto has used for years, and while it doesn’t offer anything particularly revolutionary, it does give you stability and impressive ease of use. Large, chunky knobs let you easily reposition the ball head and then lock it firmly in place, and it’s designed to hold over 20 pounds of gear.

Bottom line: This setup is great for landscape shooters who use professional-grade cameras and lenses and don’t to trust their gear to a flimsy support system.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Easy to adjust ball head position
  • Simple but effective leg locking mechanisms

Cons

  • Bulky and not ideal for backpacking
  • Not as tall as other tripods

4. Gitzo GT2545T Series 2 Traveler (Best professional tripod)

Gitzo Traveler Tripod

For landscape photographers who want a no-compromise solution to the tripod problem, it’s hard to beat the Gitzo GT2545T Series 2 Traveler. It’s small, lightweight, extends to over five feet, and is designed to take a beating.

Gitzo has made a name for itself in the photography community as a maker of tough, reliable gear for the most demanding situations, and this tripod is no exception. While it’s not quite as small and compact as the Peak Design Travel Tripod, it folds down small enough to fit in most backpacks or suitcases, and the carbon fiber construction keeps it lightweight for hiking out to your favorite landscape photography spots.

This tripod frequently comes paired with a ball head, but you’re free to just buy the legs and choose your own head to fit your needs. However, the often included ball head is great for landscape photographers and one I strongly recommend. Its huge knobs are easy to loosen and tighten, and the head can be moved into nearly any position you need. Unlike some less expensive ball heads, this one is coated with a special material to minimize sticking – perfect for photographers who shoot in inclement weather.

Pros

  • Extremely high-quality build
  • Very lightweight but capable of supporting large cameras and lenses
  • Folds down small for portability

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not as compact as others on this list
  • Height is decent when fully extended, but not outstanding

5. JOBY TelePod Pro (Best small tripod)

JOBY TelePod Pro tripod

Large tripods that extend high up into the air are great for capturing nature and landscape shots, but sometimes you just need something small and versatile. And if you prioritize compactness over everything else, I recommend the JOBY TelePod Pro.

Designed for small setups like a consumer-grade DSLR or mirrorless camera paired with a lightweight lens, this tripod folds down smaller than a water bottle so you can literally take it anywhere. It has sturdy, rubberized feet and a fairly unique design element: an extendable center column instead of extendable legs. This comes at the cost of stability, but helps maintain the outstanding size and portability.

Of course, with the JOBY TelePod Pro, it’s important to keep expectations firmly in check. It’s almost like a selfie stick with three feet, and that makes it unappealing for a lot of longtime landscape photographers. But for those new to this type of photography, or people who don’t have big cameras and lenses, the TelePod Pro is just about perfect.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Incredibly compact
  • Highly portable
  • Easy to use in a wide range of landscape situations

Cons

  • Not ideal for large cameras
  • Extending center column design limits overall stability

6. Feisol Elite Tripod CT-3472LV M2 (Best heavy-duty tripod)

Feisol Elite Tripod

In landscape photography, wind, snow, rain, dirt, dust, extreme heat, and cold are all par for the course – and in such conditions, it helps to have a tripod that will never let you down. That’s where the Feisol Elite Tripod comes in.

It’s a great option for those who value build quality and durability over all else, thanks in part to thick legs capable of holding over 60 pounds, which eclipses just about everything else in its class. The carbon-fiber construction results in a high price tag but a reasonable weight, which is great if you’ll be carrying this on your back or over your shoulder for long distances.

While not as versatile as some other options on this list, the Feisol Elite Tripod does have one key advantage: its size. It’s certainly no tiny, compact device like the Joby TelePod Pro. The Feisol Elite Tripod is approximately two feet long when folded, and it reaches a towering height of nearly six feet to help you get the shots that other landscape photographers can only dream about.

Pros

  • Large chunky legs offer amazing stability
  • Can support far more weight than other tripods

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Does not include a ball head
  • Not ideal for photographers who value portability

7. Manfrotto MK055XPRO3-3W (Best full-size tripod)

Manfrotto MK055XPRO3-3W tripod

The Manfrotto MK055XPRO3-3W tripod packs everything but the proverbial kitchen sink. Yes, it’s large and definitely not appropriate for long hikes or tromping around through the backcountry, but if you’re a landscape photographer who wants to buy one single tripod that includes everything you need for rock-solid stability, this one is it.

You won’t get a carbon fiber build, and good luck stuffing this beast in a backpack – but it is rock solid, has easy-to-use flip locks to extend the legs, and reaches a stratospheric height of more than 72 inches. It will handle any situation you can throw at it as long as you’re able to lug it to your location.

While you can customize this tripod with a different ball head, the included 3-way pan/tilt head is excellent for landscape photography. It offers a more careful, considered approach than the knob-turning of other ball heads, and the large adjustment handles connect you to the tripod in a way that I really like. As with other high-end Manfrotto tripods, the center column can be repositioned horizontally for even greater maneuverability.

Pros

  • Great compromise between features, flexibility, and price
  • Sturdy, supportive legs
  • Can extend over six feet

Cons

  • Included pan/tilt head is not suited for everyone
  • Not very portable
  • Load limit is good but not great considering the size

8. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP (Most flexible tripod)

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP tripod

The Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP is an excellent option for landscape photographers who want advanced features at a much more reasonable price point than Gitzo or Feisol tripods. It’s relatively compact – though not as diminutive as the Peak Design Travel Tripod – and extends to a very respectable 70 inches. The center column can be positioned in a variety of ways, and the ball head can be rotated and repositioned in almost every manner imaginable.

What I really like about this tripod for landscape photography are the little touches that make your shooting experience just a little more pleasant. The feet have metal tips for maximum stability (especially out in nature). The center column can be repositioned while also adjusting its height, allowing you a near-unprecedented level of versatility.

And while some photographers would rather have a more traditional ball head, I do appreciate the large, easy-to-use handles that let you adjust pan, tilt, and rotation separately. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this tripod to most photographers, as it is well suited to almost any photographic situation.

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive compared to some others on this list
  • Highly versatile
  • Great for a variety of situations, not just landscapes

Cons

  • Included tripod head is not to everyone’s liking
  • Not very small when collapsed

9. Joby GorillaPod with smartphone mount (Best mobile phone tripod)

Joby GorillaPod

It’s often said that the best camera is the one you have with you, and for many people, that means their mobile phone. Extend that maxim just a bit, and we might say that the best tripod is the one you have with you. For landscape photographers who rely on their mobile phone to create images, this tiny Joby tripod is one that I’m always happy to recommend. Its unique wraparound legs let you capture stable images on just about any surface imaginable, and the entire tripod can be wrapped around objects, including trees, fence posts, benches, and more.

While I wouldn’t recommend a GorillaPod to anyone who shoots with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, it’s ideal for mobile phone shooters. The tripod will sit firmly in place with a phone attached, and the ball head is great for repositioning your phone to get your shot just right. It’s small, light, highly portable, and comes at a very reasonable price.

If you shoot landscapes with your mobile phone, there’s almost no reason not to get this tripod. And despite some limitations, it’s a great solution and a welcome addition to your gear kit.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Small
  • Flexible
  • Highly portable

Cons

  • Very short
  • Not well suited for dedicated cameras
landscape image taken with a tripod
Nikon D750 | 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II | 70mm | f/16 | 1/60s | ISO 160

The best tripod for landscape photography: final words

While you don’t necessarily need a tripod for landscape photography, it will get you consistently better results. You can use lower ISO values, narrower apertures, and longer shutter speeds, plus you can capture shots you just can’t reach when shooting handheld.

If you’re looking for your first tripod, or if you already have a tripod and are aiming to upgrade, hopefully one of the options on this list will be just right for you!

And remember, these are my personal picks for the best tripods for landscape photography, but if you have a favorite I would love to hear about it – so leave your thoughts – and share any of your own landscape photos – in the comments below.

Landscape tripods FAQs

What is the best tripod brand for landscape photography?

Try to not think about this in objective, black-and-white terms. There are pros and cons to every tripod brand and plenty of tradeoffs. Instead of thinking about which brand is best, think about your needs, then choose a tripod that fits your budget.

Do I need to pay more for a weather-resistant tripod?

Some tripods advertise features like weatherproof knobs and dials, but I really don’t worry about this sort of thing too much. I wouldn’t recommend paying more for these features unless you have a specific use case in mind. Outside of using using your tripod in torrential rain every single day, any model will probably be fine.

Do I need a special type of camera for landscape photography?

Any camera will work for landscapes, from mobile phones to point and shoots to high-end mirrorless and DSLR models. Landscape photographers generally prefer wider lenses to capture more of the scene, but it’s also possible to get great landscape shots with a telephoto lens. Your camera is almost certainly not the limiting factor in landscape photography; no matter what camera you shoot with, a tripod will almost certainly help.

What type of head should I use on my tripod?

Some people prefer ball heads, while others prefer pan-and-tilt heads. There’s no one answer to this, but I personally gravitate towards ball heads simply for the size and convenience factor. One thing I do not recommend is using a tripod head designed for videography when shooting still photos. They generally do not allow the same level of free-form movement and positioning as a head designed for still images.

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Simon Ringsmuth
Simon Ringsmuth

is an educational technology specialist at Oklahoma State University and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for photography on his website and podcast at Weekly Fifty. He and his brother host a monthly podcast called Camera Dads where they discuss photography and fatherhood, and Simon also posts regularly to Instagram where you can follow him as @sringsmuth.

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