16 Top Tripods, Stabilizers and Gimbals
July 17, 2018
Novoflex TrioPod PRO75
The sturdy Pro75 features a carbon fiber build and four leg segments strong enough to keep 143 pounds of gear aloft (a three-leg section version is also available). If you own earlier models of the TrioPod, those legs can also be used with the Pro75. The legs can be placed in up to seven positions at four different angles (23, 45, 65 and 87 degrees). A tripod leg can also be set at a 155 degree angle for balancing it against a wall or other vertical surface. The base plate is removable and can be replaced with an optional leveling ball or geared center column. A pair of mini tripod legs are included and the PRO75 can extend to a max height of 79 inches.
The Benro Slim is a lightweight carbon fiber tripod kit which features a slim shoulder profile, allowing for the tripod legs to be more compact when folded. The Slim can keep up to 8.8 pounds of gear upright with anodized aluminum twist locks on the legs that will lock or unlock with just a half turn. Its grooved center column can be reversed for low-to-the-ground shots. Each of the tripod’s three leg positions can be independently positioned and there’s a bubble level on the shoulder and quick-release clamp to help you stay level. The removable single-action ballhead has an oversized ratchet-style lock knob and includes an Arca Swiss-style quick release plate. The Slim has a minimum height of 15.7 inches and a max height of 57.6 inches.
Manfrotto BeFree Advanced
The aluminum-based BeFree utilizes Manfrotto’s M-Lock twist-lock system for quickly extending or collapsing the legs. The leg angle selectors have been designed for use by either lefties or righties, and each leg can be positioned independently. The BeFree also features the company’s Easy Link attachment for adding accessories, plus a hook for hanging stabilizing weights. The BeFree Advanced ships with the 494 center ball head with three independent controls (main knob, a panoramic knob and a friction knob). The 494 head can mount Arca Swiss-style plates and Manfrotto RC2 plates. It can support payloads of 17.6 pounds with a maximum height of 59 inches. It folds down to 15.75 inches.
Gitzo Fluid Gimbal Head
One of several exclusive products released for Gitzo’s 100th anniversary late last year, the Fluid Gimbal Head uses a fluid cartridge to keep movements smooth and precise. It also absorbs vibrations, to keep camera shake to a minimum. Thanks to its Whip-Pan fluidity control system, the gimbal automatically applies friction (except on the panoramic axis) as you move. The gimbal can be mounted to Gitzo’s Systematic (pictured) and Mountaineer series tripods. It can support up to 17.6 pounds of camera gear.
3 Legged Thing Punks Brian
The Punks Brian is forged from carbon fiber and weighs in at 3 pounds. It can bear loads up to 30 pounds. It folds down to a transportable 16.5-inches and can extend to a maximum height of 74 inches. One of the tripod’s legs can be detached and used as a monopod and the legs can be splayed at an 80-degree angle for those low-to-the-ground perspectives. You’ll find 3 Legged Thing’s tri-mount plate for attaching accessories and a removable/reversible center column. You can attach the removable center column to the removable tripod leg to elongate the monopod to 75.5 inches. The Punks Brian ships with an AirHed Neo ballhead, which features a pair of spirit levels. It also includes a drawstring carrying bag and rubber attachments for the feet.
Zhiyun Tech Crane Plus
The Crane Plus is designed to hold camera and lens combos up to 5.5 pounds. A MotionMemory feature lets you save camera movements for later retrieval (a nice touch for time-lapse). A POV mode delivers up to 45 degrees of synchronous motion on the roll access so that as you roll left or right, the camera rolls with you (up to 45 degrees).
As the name suggests, the Globetrotter is designed for portability. The legs reverse to make the tripod more compact for travel. The video head is removable so you can use it on other tripods, sliders, half-ball adapters and more. It has a minimum working height of 21.9 inches and a maximum height of 65.7 inches with a carrying capacity of 8.8 pounds. There’s a bubble spirit level and twist lock legs with a removable leg that can be converted into a monopod. The MeVideo has rubberized feet that can be pulled back to reveal metal spikes.
Tiffen Steadicam Air Monopod
The Air earns its moniker thanks to its gas-lift spring, which is used for height adjustments. Simply press down on the foot pedal and you can extend or collapse the monopod with ease. There are three sections with a single twist-lock leg that can be rotated 360-degrees. The Air itself is forged from carbon fiber and weighs in at 3.5 pounds and has a foam-padded grip. The removable aluminum top plate has a reversible screw head with ¼-20 and 3/8-16 threads. The foot pedals are rubberized to prevent slippage. The pedals fold up to make the Air easy to transport. The monopod is available in two configurations: the Air-25, which is capable of holding 25 pounds and the Air-15, which is rated at 15 pounds.
The PIVOT offers complete 360-degree movement on all three axes for smooth, cinematic camera movements. The gimbal can support camera/lens combos up to 8 lbs. Thanks to its angled arm, the camera sits above the roll motor so nothing’s blocking your view. You can control camera movement using a pressure-sensitive joystick. There’s an OLED status display to read out battery life, operation mode, and joystick direction. The gimbal is compatible with Manfrotto’s 501PL series mounting plates so switching from the gimbal to a tripod is simple.
Gudsen MOZA AirCross
This compact stabilizer can support cameras weighing under 4 pounds. It has a DC output connector so you can add battery packs to deliver extra juice to your power-hungry mirrorless. The AirCross also has a DC input, so you can add extra power to prolong the gimbal’s life. Even without extra batteries, the AirCross can operate for up to 12 hours on its rechargeable lithium ion batteries. It ships with a universal quick-release plate and is compatible with plates ranging in size from 50.5 to 55mm. You can operate the gimbal with one hand or attach the optional two-handed mount (pictured) for greater control. A companion smartphone app lets you auto-tune the gimbal to balance your camera of choice. The app also supports time-lapse recording, remote control of the gimbal and shooting mode selection. Speaking of shooting modes: The AirCross offers four different follow modes plus an inverted mode. It re-centers the camera with the push of a button.
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CGHT
This kit features a new pistol-grip ball head (the Alta GH-300T) that’s designed to let you lock, unlock or reposition your camera with one hand. It supports 360-degree pans with 72 click points and up to 90-degree tilts. The kit also includes a carbon fiber-based tripod with three leg sections and a 15.4-pound carrying capacity. It has ¼-turn twisting leg locks and has a max height of 68.25 inches and a minimum working height of 9 inches. It includes triggering cables for Nikon (TN1) and Canon (TC1) cameras so you can fire your camera using the pistol-shaped ball head.
ProMedia Gear Katana Jr. Gimbal
When you need to balance the big glass, ProMediaGear’s Katana Jr. Gimbal Head can support any lens up to 50 pounds. You can pan and tilt using a pair of independent knobs that are large enough to be rotated with gloved hands. Your camera will glide along on weather-sealed ball bearings for smooth movement no matter the conditions. There’s an Arca-Swiss-compatible cradle clamp and a standard mount for placing the gimbal head on most tripods.
Miller Tripods Solo 75 with CX2 Ballhead
The Solo is a two-stage carbon fiber tripod built for payloads up to 17.6 pounds. It has a working range of 9.2-63.5 inches with twist-lock legs. It includes the CX2 75mm ball head, which offers 60mm of camera plate travel room, 16 counter balance positions and three selectable fluid-drag positions. There’s an illuminated bubble level and a pan handle, plus the kit includes a soft case.
Sirui SR Series
This new series of heavy-duty tripods feature a twist-lock leg system that extends with a half turn. The SR models can pull double duty as both a stills and video tripod, thanks to the 75mm ball base hidden below the flat-top spider. The spider features a bubble level and a ¼-inch covered socket for adding accessories. The tripods are built from 10-layer carbon fiber or aluminum and are sold in three-leg sections (carbon fiber only) or four-leg sections (carbon fiber and aluminum). All versions are capable of holding up to 55 pounds of gear and extend to 59 inches. They ship with stainless steel spiked feet.
The Glidecam HD-Pro can carry up to 10 pounds of gear. It features a Dovetail Camera quick-release plate that slides into the top of the stabilizer, plus a spring-loaded quick release lock with a push button to release the plate. There’s a tool-less three-axis gimbal and a manual base platform that extends from the HD-Pro’s shortest length of 14 inches up to 25 inches. The base platform features a ¼-inch mount for adding accessories, like monitors, to your rig. You’ll get 12 counter-weight plates (0.272 pounds each) for balancing the gimbal.
DJI Ronin S
The Ronin-S is a three-axis gimbal and the company’s first single-handed stabilizer for interchangeable-lens cameras. It will be sold in two frame sizes, to fit different camera sizes. The S features a Push mode to adjust the pan and tilt axis by hand. There’s also a Sport mode to help you track fast-moving subjects. If you need to choreograph more advanced camera moves, you can connect the Ronin-S to your mobile device and use the app to access modes like Panorama, Hyperlapse, Track and CamAnchor. The stabilizer’s battery can be hot-swapped during use and there are buttons for camera and gimbal control.