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10 Best Tripods for Heavy Lenses in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

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aluminum tripod_Oleh Morhun_Pixabay

We all know the struggle of trying to find a tripod for a camera with a heavy lens. The tripod starts to droop, and even those that can handle the weight don’t provide the high-quality photos that you want.

That’s we highlighted and created reviews of the 10 best tripod options out there for heavy lenses. All these tripods will give you top-notch results, and they’ll last for years. There’s also a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help answer any questions that you might have so you can get the perfect tripod! 

telescope divider 2A Glance at Our Top Picks (2022 Update)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Manfrotto X-PRO Manfrotto X-PRO
  • Great mix of price and quality
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • High-quality construction
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Field Optics Research Microlite Tripod Field Optics Research Microlite Tripod
  • Lightweight option
  • Portable design
  • Affordably priced
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Peak Design Travel Tripod Peak Design Travel Tripod
  • High-quality product
  • High weight capacity
  • Decent height range
  • Vanguard VEO3X Vanguard VEO3X
  • Rigid carbon-fiber construction
  • Great value
  • Lightweight option
  • Vanguard VEO 2 PRO 263CV Vanguard VEO 2 PRO 263CV
  • Easy to transport
  • Lightweight option
  • Rigid carbon-fiber construction
  • The 10 Best Tripods for Heavy Lenses

    1. Manfrotto X-PRO — Best Overall

    Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod

    Weight capacity 19.8 pounds
    Construction material Aluminum
    Maximum height 66.9”
    Minimum height 55.1”
    Item weight 5.5 pounds

    If you’re looking for the best overall tripod for heavy lenses, it’s hard to top the Manfrotto X-PRO. It’s a great mix of price and quality, and it can support camera equipment up to 19.8 pounds.

    Paired with its maximum height of 66.9”, there are not many jobs that you can’t complete with this tripod. It’s lightweight and easy to use and has a high-quality construction.

    With a Manfrotto tripod, you’re getting a reliable product that will last for years and give you top-notch results. The complaint with this tripod is the limited height range. While it goes quite high, the minimum height is on the higher side of things at 55.1”. But for most applications, this won’t be a problem.

    Pros
    • Great mix of price and quality
    • Great maximum weight capacity
    • Lightweight and easy to use
    • High-quality construction
    Cons
    • Limited height range

    2. Field Optics Research Microlite Tripod — Best Value

    Field Optics Research MicroLite FT5017C 5-Section

    Weight capacity 26 pounds
    Construction material Carbon fiber
    Maximum height 50”
    Minimum height 12.2”
    Item weight 1.7 pounds

    With the Field Optics Research Microlite Tripod, you won’t need to break the bank to get a reliable tripod for your next adventure. Not only is it affordable and the best tripod for heavy lenses for the money, but it also has tons of features that you’ll love.

    For starters, Field Optics used carbon fiber to build this tripod. This adds to the overall durability and gives it a rigidity that’s great for heavy lenses. It can support up to 26 pounds, which is more than enough for most setups.

    Finally, it’s lightweight and folds down to just over 12”, making it easy to take from place to place. The tradeoff for all this is twofold, though. First, the maximum height is much smaller than we’d like at just 50”. Second, while it’s a stable option, it’s not as stable as more expensive options. But for most amateur applications, this tripod has everything that you need.

    Pros
    • Lightweight option
    • High weight capacity
    • Portable design
    • Rigid carbon-fiber construction
    • Affordably priced
    Cons
    • Small maximum height
    • Not as stable as more expensive options

    3. Peak Design Travel Tripod — Premium Choice

    Peak Design Travel Tripod

    Weight capacity 20 pounds
    Construction material Aluminum
    Maximum height 60”
    Minimum height 15.5”
    Item weight 2.8 pounds

    If you’re looking for a tripod that does it all and you don’t care how much it costs, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is an outstanding choice. It’s expensive, but it’s still not a bad deal for everything that it offers.

    It’s a lightweight option that’s easy to transport, especially considering that it folds down to just 15.5”. Despite the compact size, it expands to a full 60”, and it works for every height between those two measurements.

    Even better, it officially supports up to 20 pounds, although there are plenty of reports out there saying that it can actually handle much more than that. It’s a great tripod option, but there’s no denying that you’ll need to spend more to get it.

    Pros
    • Lightweight design
    • High-quality product
    • High weight capacity
    • Decent height range
    Cons
    • Expensive 

    4. Vanguard VEO3X

    Vanguard Veo3X Lightweight Compact Travel Kit

    Weight capacity 13.2 pounds
    Construction material Carbon fiber
    Maximum height 57.1”
    Minimum height 15.75”
    Item weight 3.3 pounds

    There’s quite a bit to love about the Vanguard VEO3X. First, it’s a great price considering everything that you’re getting, especially the carbon-fiber construction.

    Furthermore, it’s incredibly lightweight, and it has a wide height range. While the maximum height of 57.1” is a little shorter than we’d like, it’s incredibly easy to transport this tripod because it folds down to just 15.75”.

    However, while a 13.2-pound weight capacity is nothing to sneeze at, it is quite a bit lower than some other options. But if your rig is lighter than that, you can’t go wrong with the Vanguard VEO3X. 

    Pros
    • Great value
    • Lightweight option
    • Rigid carbon-fiber construction
    • Collapses down well and is that portable
    Cons
    • Low maximum height
    • Slightly low maximum weight capacity

    5. Vanguard VEO 2 PRO 263CV

    Weight capacity 11 pounds
    Construction material Carbon fiber
    Maximum height 57.5”
    Minimum height 22.8”
    Item weight 4 pounds

    Vanguard makes high-quality tripods that you can count on year after year. The Vanguard VEO 2 PRO 263 CV is no exception as a carbon-fiber tripod from the company. Not only does this make it durable, but it also adds rigidity that helps out with large lenses.

    Additionally, it’s a lightweight option, which makes it easy to add to your gear and move from site to site. However, while there’s much to love about this tripod, it’s not perfect.

    First, with a maximum height of 57.5”, it’s a bit short. Second, while the minimum height of 22.8” is small enough to complete most jobs, it’s not as compact as some other options.

    Finally, the Vanguard VEO 2 PRO 263CV regarding this list has an 11-pound weight capacity. While this is large enough for most setups, it’s not exactly the highest weight capacity for a tripod.

    Pros
    • Rigid carbon-fiber construction
    • Outstanding mix of price and quality
    • Lightweight option
    • Easy to transport
    Cons
    • Low maximum height
    • Not the highest weight capacity

    6. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP

    Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminum Tripod

    Weight capacity 11 pounds
    Construction material Aluminum
    Maximum height 69.88”
    Minimum height 57.63”
    Item weight 5.73 pounds

    The Alta Pro 263AP is a high-quality tripod that delivers extremely precise results year after year.

    One of its top advantages is the extremely high maximum height. Sitting just under 70” at 69.88”, it’s one of the tallest tripods on this list. It’s also easy to set up and use, and while the minimum usable height is on the higher side of things at 57.63”, it does fold down to 28.5”. 

    But while 5.73 pounds isn’t exactly heavy, it is on the heavier side of things for a tripod. It also has a weight capacity of just 11 pounds.

    Pros
    • High maximum height
    • Easy to use and set up
    • Precise tripod
    Cons
    • High minimum height
    • Not the highest weight capacity
    • Slightly heavy

    7. Benro Mach3 Long Carbon Fiber 3 Series Tripod

    Benro Mach3 Long Carbon Fiber 3 Series Tripod

    Weight capacity 35.3 pounds
    Construction material Carbon fiber
    Maximum height 69.69”
    Minimum height 5.34”
    Item weight 4.52 pounds

    The Benro Mach3 is an expensive option, costing almost twice as much as many other tripods.

    But once you look at everything that it offers, it’s worth considering. First, it has a maximum weight capacity of 35.3 pounds, which is more than enough for almost any setup. Second, the carbon-fiber construction makes this a rigid and durable option.

    It also has a maximum height of 69.69”. While that’s impressive in its own right, the minimum height is even more so. It folds all the way down to 5.34”, making it one of the easiest tripods to transport.

    However, not only is the Benro Mach3 expensive, but for a carbon-fiber tripod, it is slightly heavy at 4.52 pounds. Many other options weigh closer to 2 pounds.

    Pros
    • High weight capacity
    • High maximum height
    • Rigid carbon-fiber construction
    • Easy to transport
    Cons
    • Expensive 
    • Slightly heavy for a carbon-fiber tripod

    8. 3 Legged Thing Leo 2.0

    3 Legged Thing Leo 2.0 Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod

    Weight capacity 66 pounds
    Construction material Carbon fiber
    Maximum height 54.2”
    Minimum height 17.56”
    Item weight 3.3 pounds

    The 3 Legged Thing Leo 2.0 not only has an interesting name for a tripod, but it also has a high weight capacity. It can support up to 66 pounds, which is higher than any other product on this list.

    However, it has a low maximum height. It only extends up to 54.2”, which is on the smaller side of things. It does fold down and operates at just 17.56”, but even that’s not as compact as some other options.

    In the end, it’s a great lightweight tripod with a carbon-fiber construction, but it’s just a bit too expensive for what you get. You can do better for less, although you won’t be disappointed if this is the tripod that you end up getting.

    Pros
    • Lightweight option
    • Rigid carbon-fiber construction
    • High weight capacity
    • Folds down small
    Cons
    • Low maximum height
    • Expensive for what you get

    9. Benro Long Mach3 4 Series

    Benro Long Mach3 4 Series Aluminum Tripod

    Weight capacity 44.1 pounds
    Construction material Aluminum
    Maximum height 70.87”
    Minimum height 27”
    Item weight 6.83 pounds

    If you need a tripod with a high maximum height and you have a heavy setup, the Benro Long Mach3 4 Series might be exactly what you need. It has an impressive maximum height of 70.87”, and it can support up to 44.1 pounds.

    It’s extremely stable, and it has spiked feet that enable it to easily grip soft outdoor surfaces for maximum stability. It is a great mix of price and quality and a top-notch option to consider.

    Still, it’s not perfect. At 6.83 pounds, it’s quite heavy, and it doesn’t fold down to be that compact. The minimum working height and the height that it folds down to is 27”. While that’s a great working range, it is higher than most other options.

    So, while it works great in outdoor settings, it’s not easy to get out there due to its large size and high weight.

    Pros
    • High maximum height
    • Great weight capacity
    • Stable product
    • Great mix of price and quality
    • Spiked feet for outdoor use
    Cons
    • Slightly heavy
    • Doesn’t fold down that small

    10. Neewer Camera Tripod Monopod

    Neewer Camera Tripod Monopod

    Weight capacity 26.5 pounds
    Construction material Aluminum
    Maximum height 75”
    Minimum height 22.41”
    Item weight 5.2 pounds

    The Neewer Camera Tripod Monopod is worth considering if you’re using a video camera. While this tripod can support up to 26.5 pounds and has a maximum height of 75”, it’s the fluid head design that sets it apart. It enables you to pan and tilt with the smoothest possible operation, which is a huge deal if you’re recording with a video camera instead of taking still shots with a DSLR. It’s also easy to use, making it a beginner-friendly option. 

    However, it doesn’t fold down as compact as some other options, although it’s still usable down to 22.41”. But it’s heavy at 5.2 pounds, and it’s simply not that durable.

    Pros
    • High maximum height
    • High weight capacity
    • Fluid head design for smooth operation
    • Easy to use
    Cons
    • Slightly heavy
    • Not that durable 

    binoculars 2 divider

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Tripods for Heavy Lenses

    With so many great choices and different specifications for tripods, it can be challenging to figure out what each thing means and what you need. This comprehensive buyer’s guide will walk you through everything that you need to know.

    Aluminum vs. Carbon Fiber

    When you’re picking out a tripod, one of the most important decisions that you need to make is whether you want a carbon-fiber or an aluminum tripod. Carbon fiber is generally considered the better option, but it also usually costs more.

    Carbon fiber is lighter, more rigid, and generally more durable compared to aluminum. However, aluminum is more affordable.

    Also, while carbon fiber shatters when it’s overwhelmed, aluminum dents. Neither option is great for a tripod, but a shattered tripod is completely useless.

    Finally, while carbon fiber is typically considered superior to aluminum, if you’re not a professional photographer, there’s a good chance that aluminum will give you everything that you need and save you money too!

    aluminum tripod

    Image Credit: eriger, Pixabay

    Why Weight Capacity Matters

    This guide is about getting a tripod for big lenses, and what that translates to is a guide on tripods with a high weight capacity. Big lenses are heavy, so you need a tripod that can handle this extra weight and keep everything stable for you.

    If you exceed the weight capacity, what usually starts to happen is that the seals holding each leg up will start to give out. When this happens, the tripod will start to sag, making it near impossible to get a good shot.

    The tripod might also vibrate a little when you take the photo, and that leads to a less-than-ideal result! Get a tripod that can support large lenses by getting a tripod with a high weight capacity. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that you’re just wasting your money.

    tripod summit

    Image Credit: Aliko Sunawang, Pixabay

    Thinking About Portability

    While you might be getting a tripod for a studio, there’s also a good chance that you’ll eventually need to take it somewhere. So, you want a tripod that enables you to transport it relatively easily.

    You should check two things when considering how portable a tripod is. First, look at the item’s weight. This is the actual weight of the tripod, and it matters because it tells you how much weight you’ll have to lug around from site to site.

    The other number to look at is either the minimum height or the foldable height, whichever is smaller. The more compact the tripod is, the easier it is to put in a bookbag or whatever else you have when moving your gear around. When you’re thinking about portability, you want the tripod to be both lightweight and compact.

    Finally, no matter what tripod you go with, if you plan on traveling with it, we highly recommend getting a padded case to help protect everything so you don’t accidentally damage the tripod when carrying it around!

     

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    Conclusion

    If you’re still confused about what tripod is right for you after reading through the buyer’s guide and the reviews, consider the Manfrotto X-PRO — you’re not going to find a higher-quality choice out there.

    Of course, if your budget isn’t that high, the Field Optics Research Microlite Tripod is a great choice too. Any of the tripods on this list will take your photography to the next level, and they’ll all last an extremely long time!


    Featured Image Credit: Oleh Morhun, Pixabay

    About the Author Robert Sparks

    Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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