Looking for a Better Video Tripod? You May Want to Watch This

If you are into videography and you feel the tripod is not a tool to just hold your camera in place, you are not alone. Getting a tripod that is sturdy enough, smooth enough, and easy to work with enough is a worthwhile investment.

When I started with video, everything seemed very, very expensive. Several years after that, it still seems expensive, but on another level. In the beginning, I thought tripods that cost about $200-300 too expensive and high end. The tripod serves you well until you reach its limitations or you try a more expensive one that feels much better and probably costs at least $1,000. That's the moment when you reset your level of understanding of what "expensive" means. If you are on the journey of upgrading tripods, you know what I mean. In the video above, you will see a similar experience. While you can make a great video with an even basic tripod, it's not about being a better filmmaker. It's a tool that makes your work easier and more comfortable when you upgrade to a better model.

If you haven't put your hands on a fluid head tripod yet, you better try it. If you have one and wonder how much "more fluid" a tripod can get, well, it can. It gets sturdier and safer for your gear the higher the price tag gets. The more expensive ones are often a lot easier to work with. Buying a tripod is like buying a vehicle. It gets you somewhere, but depending on your direction, you might need a better one.

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10 Comments

Lee Christiansen's picture

Quality costs... My tripod is also approx $10,000 (£7500) but it is a thing of beauty.

Yesterday saw me shooting on a 17x lens requiring constant tracking for a very active stage show. Never a moment where the shot "bounced back" after a movement, perfect balance throughout and a joy to move. I can set the tensions at minimum, tilt the 12kg camera at 45 degrees with one finger and it will stay put without any settling.

Unlike many heads systems, I can change tensions on the fly and live with no little "kick" on the next movement. Unlike one of the heads (Sachtler), in the video, the counterbalance is infinitely variable so I can get things perfect and not close.

There are cheap options to be sure, and I'm sure they'll all very good for the money. But a tripod / head system is like an extension of our arn, and I couldn't dream of using anything else.

For the record, I use a Vinten Vision 100 on 2-stage carbon fibre legs with a trusty ground-spreader.

My tripod head is now 20 years old with just one service in that time. I'd say it was a cost effective choice. Buy a quality system and it can stay with you for your whole career.

cameramanDop Shanghai Hong Kong's picture

The are few item where you should spend a lot of money. Tripod is THE one you should care for video work.
Camera and lens get updated every years. Tripod will be on your back for 20 years+. Choose wisely once. It will hurt your bank, but any shot after that will be a bliss.
(I have Vinten 5AS and 3AS Carbon system)

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Great info Lee. Thanks. I'm glad you shared all that.

Yes, quality really costs. What I didn't understand from your comment was the "infinitely variable" counterbalance. I'm asking, because I'm planning to get a Sachtler as an upgrade to my current humble $1K tripod.

Lee Christiansen's picture

The Sachtler system has clickable, preset levels of counterbalance and pan / tilt resistance.

However the Vinten system employs a more variable method with no steps in the adjustments - so you can have anything you want.

I've used both systems and have been frustrated by the preset steps on the Sachtler, often I want something between the steps when setting counterbalance to get things perfect - but my Vinten allows me to get things absolutely perfect.

Also, if I need to change resistance whilst live, the Vinten doesn't introduce a slight click on the movement just after I've changed the setting - so I can dial the tensions on pan / tilt any time and not worry about a small jolt that the next time I move the camera.

I find the Vinten system is a little lighter and less bulky.

I've always been a ground-spreader person rather than the "hot-pod" or off-ground spreader. Most manufacturers offer both options but I find resetting heights quicker with a ground spreader and don't need to worry about the feet not sitting flat to the ground.

I initially got a Vinten many years ago because I couldn't afford a Sachtler. But I'd never choose anything other than Vinten now - I've found it far superior.

Hope that helps.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Thanks for the clarification. That was helpful.

Hmmm so another person connected to PM and MH getting posts every week. So this is a paid ad for the Youtuber to get on Fstoppers?

There is a pattern of promotion connected to those guys.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I don't have an idea. I found the video interesting to me personally and decided to post it as an article.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Whether or not the youtuber is sponsored, that doesn't have any relation to the current article. We don't have any relation to the youtuber either or any sponsoring or commissions they might have for that particular video.

I don't know many people who are buying $10K tripods. An ad for a $10K tripod "on sale" won't capture the eye of the audience that much :)

Lee Christiansen's picture

Most of the people working in broadcast TV and the quality end of corporate would quite happy build in this sort of £££ for a quality tripod. Watch any news crew and you'll most likely find them with Vinten Vision100's or Sachtler 18's