General Use Large Tripod Shoot-Out and Comparison

Tripods are not the most interesting photography tool to research and debate over the positives and negatives of their features, but chances are, you will own and use that tripod for at least two camera upgrades. This makes your tripod something you will end up relying on for quite some time. 

There are a lot of tripods available these days and some exceptional ones made for very specific tasks, but every photographer needs a sturdy and reliable general use tripod for most day-to-day jobs. So, Chris and Jordan over at DP Review grabbed four similarly designed large tripods from popular brands to test. They demonstrate all the features for each and even come up with some creative tests to see how they compare to each other. The brands covered in this video are Gitzo, Manfrotto, Sirui, and Leofoto

While they only tested a few of the many options available, I think they did a great job of giving viewers some ideas of what they should look for in a new tripod and also what features may be more important for your specific needs. Even though we don't often associate tripods with having new tech, anyone who owned a tripod from 20-30 years ago can attest that tripods have come a long way. 

I own three different tripods, two of which are for dedicated purposes like video, astrophotography, and travel, while I have a quality and rugged large tripod like the ones reviewed for more general use. They also happen to be from three of the brands reviewed here: Gitzo, Manfrotto, and Sirui, all of which are brands I've found to be equally reliable and well-made products even though they each have widely different price ranges. 

Also, don't forget to disassemble and clean your tripod after heavy usage or periodically throughout the year. A good tripod isn't always cheap to purchase, but if you take a little time to take care of it, it will last that much longer. 

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Chris Pizzitola's picture

I have the Leofoto 324c and same ball head. I really like the 324c over the 284. 284 seemed just a tad thin at the legs for me and short. Although a tad heavier I think the 324 is a much better and stiffer tripod and is more comparable to the others in your video. Leofoto also has a very nice lightweight fluid head that is worth looking into.

Bryce Milton's picture

Leitz Tiltall and done ;-)

Deleted Account's picture

Oh come on. Pinching content from competitors' websites is lazy journalism.

Timothy Gasper's picture

I use the Bogen 3036 tripod with a 3047 3 way head to support the Fuji GX680. I use the Manfrotto 055X ProB for my other stuff. No problems. Gimbal head for long lenses.

John Nixon's picture

I’m still using the Benbo mk1 with a Gitzo head that I bought second hand in the 1990s. It seems that, for me at least, it’s more versatile and quicker to set up than a centre-column design. I don’t plan on replacing it. That said, a modern redesign with carbon-fibre and titanium would be nice!

Chris Rogers's picture

I've been using an aluminum induro AT-213 tripod with a BHD-3 Ball Head for the past like...7 years. I still can't believe this thing is still kicking. It's still rock solid. I think I only paid $200 for it way back then with a 3 way pan head. The legs were only $143. The Legs are freaking awesome. The pan head was alright. It had a proprietary mounting plate and stopped holding tight after about a year of use. I learned from the pan head that proprietary mounting plates suck and it's a huge reason I've never looked at manfroto tripods. I eventually upgraded to the BHD-3 ball head a few years later with an acratech leveling base. it's been one rock solid set up. I've been lookin for comparable tripod setups these days and all of them are at least $600 or more. So I suppose i'll be using this thing until it falls apart lol.