After numerous requests, we have now made it much easier to navigate through this article. Below, you will find links to various sections throughout (a bit more broad compared to the Table of Contents) - and by clicking on them, it'll take you to that section immediately.
This article has also been broken down into usage types: travel, intermediate/beginner, and professional.
Comparison Tables (Below This Section)
Before you even jump into the list of best tripods for sony - I recommend stepping back and asking (and answering) a few questions that pertain to the use of the tripod. It will determine what type of tripod you should get along with the quality of the tripod. I mean, think about it - you wouldn't want to spend a ton of money on something you use now and again or purchase the very best travel tripod, but you only travel once a year.
This will eliminate the possibility of overbuying or underbuying. Make sense? Good.
This question is one of the most important. The Sony Alpha iii isn't limited to what it's able to shoot. You can be successful in any photography with it. But narrowing that down to what you shoot the most will probably tell you what you'll be using the tripod for the most as well.
Don't confuse this question with, 'well, I'll use it to shoot everything'... which may be true! But, what will you be shooting the most?
Or maybe you plan to shoot real estate where durability is paramount (because you shoot tons of homes over the year), and a geared head suits your workflow better.
The same idea applies to all other genres like video, product photography, studio portrait photography, etc. Answer this, and you'll be that much closer to knowing what you need.
Or should I say - are you going to be walking/traveling long distances?
The weight only matters (or you notice it) when you've been put in that situation. For instance, it will matter greatly to those who travel or have to walk long distances with it in a downtown environment.
If it does, you should be considering carbon fiber along with one that collapses to a small form factor. You can stick with sturdy aluminum if it doesn't, though I still recommend carbon fiber for its strength over aluminum.
I can only assume you either have a tripod currently or have had one in the past.
With this being either a replacement or a step back into the tripod market - how long are you planning for your next tripod purchase to last?
Hopefully, that answer is yes - and hopefully, even after your sony alpha is gone, your tripod will still be going strong.
If this is you, continue reading. The tripods recommended in this article do just that.
On the other hand - if you're looking for something to 'try' or have for a random occasion - I would suggest looking for intermediate tripods instead.
If you're here out of pure curiosity, that's cool too!
Those are the three major questions you should think about or ask yourself as you decide/purchase.
They're essential in determining the type of tripod you'll need - and ultimately the price.
Now, let's go over why you'd need a tripod in the first place.
There are many reasons to own a tripod. However, regardless of the reason or type (travel, video, traditional, etc.), you need a solid tripod to achieve certain looks and achieve a crisp image.
For example, long exposure shots require the shutter to be open for an extended period of time (30+ seconds). With your shutter open that long, the slightest of movements will result in your image being blurry. It's crazy how much camera shake plays into long exposure, but it does!
This could be long exposures around water to achieve that 'milky' look. Another would be Astrophotography. You can't do it without an excellent tripod (that can support a lot of weight for a star tracker).
Another major reason is sharpness itself. A tripod keeps your camera very still. So if you've found that you miss a lot of your shots (no in focus) or you can't seem to get anything to get create sharpness.... you may want to look in a tripod. Of course, other factors could cause this (shutter speed, for instance), but a tripod is a great start to such a frustrating problem.
Here we will go over a list of important features and ultimately make your tripod the best.
The most important 'feature' is that it's sturdy and can be anchored down, so they don't move when it's windy out. It should be able to support the A7 iii without any issue. This includes windy days. One of the most important features is the hook at the bottom of the center column. This allows you to hook your bag or sandbags to the center column. This 'pulls' the tripod to the ground, anchoring it in place. It can also save you if you're clumsy like me and happen to bump into the tripod when walking around.
Another stability feature is the feet. Again, the feel plays a big role in keeping the tripod anchored and stable. Being able to change them is a huge plus -, and an even better one is if they come with them (some do on this list!). Spiked feet add a great deal of stability in wooded/environmental terrain - while wider disk-like feet add stability in level/indoor environments.
The majority of us know the benefits of carbon fiber. But, unfortunately, there was a time when it was challenging to manufacture, which made it incredibly expensive.
Well, times and technology have changed. This advance in technology has made it so tripods can be made out of it.
As you'd expect, anything made of carbon fiber can be 2-5x the amount that something made of aluminum is.
With that being said - if you can afford a carbon fiber upgrade for your a7 iii tripod... you should do it. It'll last so much longer, and it'll be lighter than the aluminum version too.
While the A7iii isn't exactly a large camera, it's larger than your average point and shoot.
Carrying around a full-sized tripod can be difficult at times - especially when traveling. You need to check it or carry it on board with you (which can be uncomfortable). This is why small form factor tripods are the most popular tripods with DSLR/Mirrorless cameras.
The smaller the form factor when collapsed, the better. When you combine the small size/weight of the a7 iii with a tripod that's sized equally in comparison - you've got yourself a great combination.
You can purchase a tripod by itself or with a ball head/fluid head/geared head already attached.
Generally speaking, anything that comes with something or is presented as a 'kit' is hardly ever as good as building that kit to your needs. Usually, these kits are sold to maximize cost over return - meaning they will make a lot more money selling them together as a kit instead of selling them individually.
These are great for beginners/intermediates who need it occasionally or want to learn and get the feel of something.
Now, if you're in the market for a tripod/head combo - no worries, there are great combos out there - but the head should be of good quality. If it has a ball head, the tension/friction knock should be made of metal and easily locks the head into position. It shouldn't have a problem holding the camera at any angle for an extended period of time.
Pan/tilt/geared heads - same idea. It should do what it's supposed to over and over again, over a long period of time.
A warranty is something that some folks don't think about when purchasing something outside of the 'camera gear' bubble. But, yeah, we all think about the warranty of the camera, the lenses, drones, lighting equipment, even the computer we edit on...
But many don't think about the warranty of our tripod. Well, today should be the last day you don't. Going forward, you'll know the great brands and models that not only offer amazing a
Don't you think you would feel more comfortable purchasing something with a 5 or 10-year warranty vs. something with only a 30 day? I mean, what does that say about the company and their belief in their product? Is it going to fail shortly after the 30-day warranty? Do they not believe in their own product past 30 days?
These are all the questions everyone should be asking themselves when seeing products with short warranties.
Now, on to the tripods!
So all the long-winded topics talked about above have led us to this point. You've thought about what you'll be using it for the most and about the features that actually matter. Let's start talking about the travel tripods.
First thing - Peak Design's travel tripod comes in two forms - either aluminum or carbon fiber. You can refer to the section above to see the difference. We recommend carbon fiber over aluminum since it is the best - but with the starting price of the aluminum being high and the difference been nearly as high ($250) - I can totally understand. Regardless of the version, they're both amazing at what they do (and lasting you a long time).
The Peak Design Travel Tripod is the perfect solution for photographers who want to travel light. It’s lightweight, compact, and sturdy enough to hold your camera with a telephoto lens attached. Photographers designed this tripod, so it has all the features you need in a professional-grade product.
The ball head is engineered to allow for nothing to 'protrude' from the tripod and adds to the form factor. It's also easier to operate with an Arca-compatible quick release plate and a quick-release clamp.
Refer to the comparison table below to see the difference between the aluminum and carbon fiber versions.
I say this with complete integrity - this is literally the best travel tripod on the market today. It'll do anything you need it to do - at a fraction of the size and weight of most others on the market. The design and engineering behind this thing are phenomenal. Oh, and before I forget, it has a few tools that allow you to break down the entire tripod and clean/replace anything you may need to.
Also, it's guaranteed for life. Yes, for life.
Purchase Via: Adorama
While not the best in terms of design or "coolness factor," - the RRS Ascend-14 Travel Tripod is the most durable on the market today, hands down.
You may have never heard of them... that's because their entire business has been built around word of mouth. They let their product speak for them - they've been this way since the beginning.
The air vents in the legs prevent pressure gradients from building up, allowing smoother leg extraction and collapse. Their carbon fiber is produced using a unique weave pattern. This leads to a stronger and stiffer tube while also staying lightweight. Sealed twist locks minimize fouling, extend twist-lock life and simplify maintenance. In addition to the pre-installed rubber feet, RRS manufactures two additional types of feet; rock claws and spike feet (sold separately).
Where aluminum is present, it's machined from the best materials and has features designed to make them better than other brands. The legs have an air-venting feature that prevents pressure gradients, which allows smoother leg extraction and collapse. They use a unique weave pattern when producing carbon fiber; this leads to stronger tubes with less weight for your tripod needs! In addition to rubber feet preinstalled on every model, RRS also offers two types of optional feet: rock claws or spike, so you can find just what fits your shooting style best!
The center column is quickly adjustable and removable using their clamp design. You can easily remove it and replace it with a different column or flip it over to take super low shots with you a7 iii.
It weighs in at about 3.2 lbs - but supports a total of 30 lbs. You'll never run into a weight capacity issue with your Sony a7 iii.
That was quite a bit of info - but it's needed when discussing something of such quality and price. Yes, this travel tripod isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for most of the time. And paying for this... well... you're getting the most durable and long-lasting travel tripod out there!
Last but certainly not least is the Gitzo Series 1 Traveler. This could be the perfect travel tripod for your sony a7 iii (if the other two haven't been already).
If you haven't heard of Gitzo - you're going to learn a thing or two from this section. I like to think of Gitzo and RRS as leaders of the top-tier professional tripod market. Neither one takes the lead, in my opinion. Each of them has its pros and cons, but they come out equally great for what they do and represent when put to the test.
You will receive Gitzo legs and a Gitzo ball head - with a 20lb capacity for about half of the RRS model mentioned previously. So it's 10lbs less in capacity and a head that's not quite on RRS's level - but an excellent alternative to the expensive RRS.
It’s made from carbon fiber, which means it’s both light and strong. This kit includes an Arce-type compatible ball head that can hold up to 22 pounds of weight and height ranges from 12 to 58.5 inches. Plus, thanks to its removable safety pin, you won't have any trouble mounting other brand plates or removing them if they're blocking the safety catch on the base plate.
If you want a travel tripod that'll last you a lifetime while not breaking the bank as much as other top-tier travel tripods - The Gitzo Series 1 Traveler might be the option for you!
Now that we have the travel tripods out of the way let's talk about tripods for the beginner/intermediate photographer. Now, remember, these are quality tripods that will last you quite some time. While not exactly professional - they're much better than the cheap beginner tripods recommended by others out there.
Leofoto has been around for quite some time, offering moderate to professional-grade tripods of all types.
The Leofoto LS-324 is the perfect balance of durability, functionality, and price. It's the perfect tripod for the beginner to intermediate using the a7 iii. While a bit pricey for a beginner or intermediate - with it being carbon fiber with high-quality materials, it'll last you years. Did I mention it comes with a great ball head?
It’s made of high-quality carbon fiber and aluminum alloy, so it’s lightweight but still sturdy enough to hold up your heaviest camera equipment. Plus, with its 3 position leg locks at 25° 55° 85°, you can adjust the height of your tripod to suit any situation.
Again, this is a great buy for the beginner to intermediate that'll allow you to shoot just about any type of photo and, most importantly, it'll last.
I haven't recommended a Manfrotto product in years. Over the past 5 or so years, the quality of their products has decreased significantly. This applies mainly to their light stands and lower-end tripods.
With that being said - their Befree model remains a great product.
It’s lightweight, easy to carry, and fits easily into backpacks or luggage. The center ball head has three independent control knobs that allow you to adjust your camera with just one hand. You can set it up in seconds thanks to its quick setup system with a side pull selector. And at 16 inches minimum height and 59 inches maximum height, it’s versatile enough for any situation!
It's made of carbon fiber and comes equipped with a great ball head.
While it only supports setups up to 17 pounds - 17 pounds is more than enough capacity to support your a7 iii.
Vanguard, along with the other brands mentioned, has been around for quite some time. They make and sell beginner to intermediate tripods with a focus on quality and versatility.
With that being said - the Alta Pro 2 is the best 'most affordable tripod for the a7 iii.
To save some cash - you won't get carbon fiber. So with that - the weight capacity is only 15 pounds.
The Vanguard Alta Pro 2 is the perfect tripod for any photographer. With its multi-angle center column, you can shoot from any angle without having to adjust your camera or the tripod. It's also got an ergonomic ball head with 360° panning and two bubble levels so that you can get the perfect shot every time.
Again, if you're ok with not having the best materials (Aluminum instead of Carbon Fiber) - and you aren't going to need the added capacity of the tripods listed above... This could be the best purchase for you.
Now for the best of the best. These are best suited for those who plan on using their tripod on a very consistent basis - and by very, I mean daily or every other day throughout the entire year. So if you're using your a7iii on a tripod on a daily or semi-daily basis, you really should have one of these tripods as they're built for durability and longevity.
Also - with tripods on the pro level - you'll purchase the tripod separate from the tripod head. Therefore, tripod head recommendations will be below the tripod legs in this article.
Regarded as one of the best tripod legs on the market today - the RRS TVC-34L is made a stand the test of time. You won't find any others like it using proprietary carbon fiber (between 8 and 10 layers, most likely).
It comes in at 3.84lbs while being able to support a whopping 70lbs. That's near 20x its own weight.
I have been a part of photography and film groups throughout the years of multiple types. I know real estate photographers that have used these legs for more than 6 years without a single issue. So this isn't just one photographer, but multiple.
The vented clevis design allows legs to collapse faster without pressure buildup and the solid ring apex provides strength and reliability. Plus, it has ergonomic spring-loaded pull tabs with visual lock/unlock so you can easily adjust your camera angle on the fly.
If you're interested in these legs, feel free to read our related article, Geared Head Vs. Ball Head: Full Comparison, where you can narrow down if you need a geared head or a ball head.
You can also check out the last section of this article specifics on recommended heads for the a7 iii.
Recommended heads for the RRS TVC-34L: Arca Swiss D4, RRS Ball head
Also considered one of the toughest and most versatile, the Gitzo GT3543 is designed for heavy cameras and long lenses.
Seeing as the former doesn't pertain to the a7 iii - this is geared for those shooting with longer lenses or other 'heavier' setups.
A great example of this would be astrophotography. You'll need a solid tripod (and head) to mount a startracker, lens, and camera. This can get quite heavy and need something like the GT3543 to get the job done correctly and safely.
It features a standard height, which makes it versatile in many situations. It can be configured with different center columns to suit your needs. It also has an Easy Link attachment that will allow you to attach any other Systematic accessories like leveling bases or video half-balls without having to remove the top casting element from the tripod itself.
If you want high-quality equipment for your photography needs, then this is the perfect product for you. It's versatile enough to meet all of your needs while durable enough to last through years of use.
Considered the 'entry-level' tripod in the professional tripod line-up - the Benro Mach3 is a cost-effective alternative to the tripods mentioned above.
Not only do you get a 9 layer carbon fiber construction capable of supporting upwards of 30 lbs - you can get it at a fraction of the cost of the tripods already mentioned.
I will say - something with such an awesome deal does come with its downsides. Benro does cut a few corners in terms of quality to make the price possible and profitable on their end. There are numerous cases of weak legs and joints after a couple of years of heavy use. The main complaint is that you have to tighten the legs every 1-3 months, depending on how often you use it.
If you don't plan to use the Mach3 and your a7 iii daily - it's quite possible you won't run into the issues mentioned above. Meaning, the Benro Mach3 could last you for years without a single issue. However, if you need to tighten the legs consistently, word within the real estate photography community states that it may be possible to replace the hex screws with locking screws to eliminate this problem. I'll keep this article updated if I hear any further word on the matter.
I thought it would only be fitting to include a few of the best tripod heads to accompany the tripod legs mentioned previously. These are considered some of the best on the market for both functionality and durability. Be sure to check our related article, Geared Head vs Ball Head: Full Comparison, to get more detailed information.
The BH-55 Ball Head with Full-Size Lever-Release Clamp is made in the USA and has all the features that professional photographers need. It's crafted from aluminum and stainless steel so that it can handle a maximum load of up to 50 pounds! This ball head will be able to hold your camera steady no matter what position you put it in.
This is a very affordable (in comparison) ball head from Arca - who is known for consistently high quality - along with high price tags such as the Arca Swiss D4. This is comparison is much more affordable while maintaining the quality that Arca is known for.
The GX25 is a much more affordable version of the Arca Z1 - with slightly inferior materials and a different brand, of course. However, it has similar capacity limits (55lbs) and even an Arca-style quick release plate.
I know, this was a super wondered article - but I hope you got a lot out of it. At least, I hope you have a better understanding of the types of tripods for the Sony a7 iii - and understand that you have options. You should now have a better understanding of what tripod will work best for you and your needs.
Be sure to check out my other related articles, The Best Geared Tripod Head Of 2021 and Geared Head vs Ball Head: Full Comparison - and while it is not exactly Sony a7 iii related - I shoot on the a7 iii daily and was a Real Estate Photographer with one. It's just another great way to use your camera to make yourself some great money.
Until next time, take care and keep creating!