For a lot of photographers, the idea of lugging a tripod along with them on their nature walks and expeditions may seem like more hassle than it’s worth. But there are a whole host of techniques that a tripod enables that are perfect for landscape work.
From precision tweaking to long exposures, contrast framing to a rich and expansive depth of field, there’s just no way you’re going to be able to get anywhere near as creative using only hand-held.
I know once in a blue moon, you take that gorgeous hand-held shot that does all it needs to without any of the clever things a tripod offers, and you didn’t have to fiddle around for hours on end in the cold and dying light to get it.
However, if you’re serious about your photography, you’re going to want to change ‘once in a blue moon’ to once every trip.
So, for those of you who are willing to slow things down a bit for the sake of finesse and forget the Instagram frenzy that encapsulates our existence at the moment, let’s have a look at the best five best tripods for landscape photography.
Then, we’ll shoot through an in-depth buyer’s guide and finish with a little FAQ section.
Don’t worry; here’s our top pick right here.
Best Tripod for Landscape Photography – Comparison Table
Best Tripod for Landscape Photography – Reviews
Best Tripod For Landscape Photography – Buyers Guide
By now you’ve probably realized that photography isn’t exactly the most cheap and cheerful hobby or profession in the world. It can downright devastate your bank account in minutes.
That said, try your best to come up with a budget. It will reduce your research time significantly, and the more you save, the sooner you can splurge on that beautiful new camera you’ve been drooling over for months.
Obviously, you can’t always drive right up to those perfect views, and if you’re going to be trudging through forests and mountaineering your way to those empyreal shots, a heavy tripod will have you on your knees in the dirt before you’ve half-way reached your destination.
What you need is an incredibly lightweight tripod that you hardly remember you’ve brought with you.
Carbon fiber is considered the lightest and strongest tripod material but because it’s so fantastic and perfect for the job, it tends to cost quite a bit more.
Aluminum is your next best bet. It’s still strong, a little heavier but not the heaviest, and it’s a more affordable option.
Materials to avoid are steel and wood due to their weight, and plastic because it’s not as durable.
I know l said it’s good to have a budget, especially if photography is your main income, but ideally, you want a tripod that’s going to last you forever.
While you might be in peak shape right now, it might be worth forking out for the carbon fiber tripod so that when you’re a little bit older, you’ll still be able to lug it across the countryside.
Minimum and Extended Height
Here’s where it’s really going to pay off having that carbon fiber option. It means that you’re going to be able to choose a slightly larger tripod which can be very beneficial to landscape photography.
Although you do want a tripod that can reach almost ground level for some shots, a small tripod won’t fit the bill because you might not be able to sit comfortably, and kneeling for a long time is just going to wreck your knees and back.
If you can’t sit, lying down’s probably not an option either.
A medium to large tripod will allow you to hold yourself more naturally so you can focus on what’s important: taking breathtaking photographs.
I recommend buying a tripod that extends to a maximum height of 5ft or above. This will allow you to shoot over unwanted scenes in your immediate environment and push back the foreground of the photograph to get that expansive, distant, and ethereal aesthetic.
Stability is another massive factor to consider when you’re going to be setting up frame on challenging terrain, in all kinds of weather conditions and temperatures.
A tripod, at its core, in its essence, is stillness. That’s why it’s paramount that it’s made from strong, rigid materials that resist flex under pressure, and has securely fitted joints and connections.
I recommend using a tripod with no than four leg sections as beyond that you’re going to lose out on a bit of stability.
Another aspect of stability when it comes to tripods are the feet. The burden of the landscape and nature photographer is that there isn’t going to be a one-shoe-fits-all product.
Different kinds of terrain require vastly different kinds of feet, in shape and material.
So, unless you plan to only shoot on one surface, you need to find a tripod with interchangeable feet.
Rounded Rubber – Rounded rubber feet are great for flat concrete, wooden, or carpeted surfaces because they grip extremely well, but grip won’t save them from sinking in sand or snow or slipping over craggy rocks.
Saucer Rubber – These rubber feet have wide circular surface areas that prevent any sinkage in soft-pack terrain.
Claws – Claw style feet are also good for soft, shifting surfaces. They dig into the surface while a rounded rubber head with a larger surface area sits stable above ground. Claw feet can be quite effective on icy surfaces as well.
Spikes – Spiked tripod feet are perfect for inconsistent and jagged rocky terrains, as the points can settle in easy in divots and crags. They can also be very useful in penetrating soft ground in order to find a steady sub-surface.
A good tripod is built to handle all different kinds of cameras and should be more than capable of shouldering anything you can throw at it, but particularly portable tripods may have a reduced capacity, so be sure to check it out before purchase.
Your tripod is going to have to be able to hold your camera securely in some pretty unorthodox positions and angles, so it might actually be worth getting something with a load capacity that exceeds the weight of your camera quite a bit.
Both twist and lever locks are fine for landscape photography; however, the quality of the lock will normally depend on the quality of the tripod.
Now, this ties in with the Weight section as well and is a no brainer really. You should be looking for tripods that are highly collapsible or have telescopic legs.
The smaller you can get it, the easier you’re going to find transporting it to your favorite spots.
Anything over 24 inches is going to be quite cumbersome.
At the same time that you’re shopping for tripods, you should be shopping for a lightweight but durable tripod bag or, even better, something that will fit nicely in your camera bag
If you already have a go-to head in mind for all your landscape work, make sure you find out if the tripod you’re thinking about purchasing is compatible.
The last thing you want to do is spend a small fortune on what you think is the perfect tripod, get excited, then have to return it and postpone that trip you had planned.
I recommend a lightweight ball head for landscapes as it will offer you greater freedom of movement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all tripods fit all cameras?
Most tripods will fit most cameras; however, not always.
It’s always best to either take your camera with you when you’re shopping for a new tripod or tell a shop assistant what make and model you plan on using.
What mm lens is best for landscape photography?
Generally speaking, a 21mm lens will be the most suited to a wide array of landscape uses.
Anywhere between 35mm to 14mm lenses are great for landscape photography, albeit very different approaches.
The 14mm is going to be a very wide and expansive shot, whereas the 35mm will best suit more localized and detailed shots.
Is there a market for landscape photography?
Yes, there is definitely still a market for really good landscape photography.
The problem is that every man and his dog is a photographer these days, which means neither he nor his pooch are likely to buy other people’s shots.
And because so many people are shooting the same places, why would someone choose your work over the bazillion other photographs of the exact same landscapes.
The trick is to either be more creative with a common shot (which a tripod will allow), or be more creative, period. Find out where the most commonly used vantage points are at any given location and avoid them like the plague.
If you can frame a familiar landscape from a different vantage point, in a completely new light, that conjures different moods and textures, it will stand out a mile among all the sterile copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy shots.
As far as actually selling your work, you can use stock photo sites, print on demand sites, or use them to bolster your portfolio and online presence – people are more likely to be interested in your shots if you seem to have a buzz about you online.
You could also try selling to publishers of magazines and books, or even sell to some galleries. There are fairs, market events and flea markets, and businesses are often looking for high-quality local shots to decorate their buildings.
Out of Film
There it is, lovely shutterbugs, the best tripods for landscape photography.
Now, you can get out into the wild, find those special undiscovered vantages and views and share them with the world.
You can do this imbued not only with photographic accuracy, but, thanks to a handy tripod, with some of your own feeling and creative spirit too.
To quote my father,’photography is all about seeing what others miss’, and he couldn’t have been more right.
Last Updated on 2020-11-28 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates