Looking for a lightweight travel tripod for less than £100? Andy Westlake assesses some lesser-known options to see which offers the best value

Travel tripods – at a glance:

  • Removable head

This allows swapping to a different head type, such as for video.

  • Quick release

Some tripods use easily available plates, which is handy if you need a spare.

  • Multi-angle legs

All these tripods offer three leg angles and reverse folding for improved portability.

  • Spirit level

A built-in spirit level helps to keep horizons straight. Ideally, it should be on the quick-release platform.

  • Weight hook

A weight hook allows you to hang a bag off your tripod for added stability.

  • Low level

Removing the centre column allows really low-level shooting.

 

Sirui-T-005X

Sirui T-005X

Sirui T-005X

Price: £90

Website: www.sirui.eu/en/home

The Sirui T-005X is the smallest tripod in the group when folded, thanks to five-section legs, a two-section column and a slimline head. However, the T-005X extends to 139cm, helped by rather narrowly angled legs and a long centre column. Unfortunately, these features make it a little wobbly, and it’s noticeably more stable with the second column section retracted, giving a 124cm height. The centre column can be unscrewed completely, and the head platform attached directly to the legs for low-angle shooting.

The tripod is very quick to set up, with clever sprung-angle selectors and twist leg locks that can be undone all at once. The removable C-10X ball head is particularly good, with a separate pan lock,
and a small quick-release clamp that accepts Arca Swiss-type plates. Rather than a weight hook, the T-005X has a carabiner, which allows it to be clipped to a bag or belt for carrying.

To top it off, the build quality and finish are superb. Indeed, the biggest letdown is a rather basic draw-cord carry-case. If you want a very portable high-quality tripod, particularly for a small DSLR or compact system camera, the Sirui T-005X is difficult to beat.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Sirui T-005X – Specifications

Closed length: 32.5cm
Max height: 139cm
Leg-only height: 105cm
Min height: 19cm
Max load: 4kg
Weight: 1.02kg
Price: £90
Leg lock type: Twist
Leg sections: 5
Head: Removable
QR plate: Arca Swiss

Benro-Travel-Tripod-IT15

Benro Travel Tripod IT15

Benro Travel Tripod IT15

Price: £90

Website: www.kenro.co.uk

The Benro uses five-section legs to achieve the tallest height here of 147.5cm, but its single-section column results in a similar folded length to the Camlink. One leg can be unscrewed and attached
to the centre column to make a monopod, complete with foam handgrip. However, at 1.52m tall, this will probably be a bit short for comfortable use for anyone taller than about 1.73m (5ft 8in).

The conventional leg-angle selectors are easy to use, but while the legs can be set practically flat, the head can’t be removed from the centre column and attached to them directly. The column can be inverted for low-angle shooting, but this leaves the camera upside-down and awkward to use. The integrated ball head is pretty solid and accepts Arca Swiss-type plates, while the quick-release clamp has a neat design to stop the camera sliding off by accident. It also has a built-in bubble level.

Some compromises have been made to hit the price point, such as the lever-leg locks being plastic, but the fit and finish are pretty good, and it’s reasonably comfortable with an enthusiast DSLR on top. Overall, the Benro IT15 offers a well-judged balance of features and quality at an attractive price.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Benro Travel Tripod IT15 – Specifications

Closed length: 39.5cm
Max height: 147.5cm
Leg-only height: 124.5cm
Min height: 39.5cm
Max load: 4kg
Weight: 1.26kg
Price: £90
Leg lock type: Lever
Leg sections: 5
Head: Removable
QR plate: Arca Swiss

Camlink-Carbon-Fibre-Tripod-1.4m-CL-TPCARB2500

Camlink Carbon Fibre Tripod 1.4m CL-TPCARB2500

Camlink Carbon Fibre Tripod 1.4m CL-TPCARB2500

Price: £100

Website: www.camlink.photo/en_us

Like Amazon (right), CamLink is offering a carbon-fibre tripod at a very low price. In this case, it’s
a four-section model with a one-piece column. While the CL-TPCARB2500 is not very tall, the manufacturer’s specifications claim the highest load rating in this group of 6kg. The centre column can be inverted for low-level work, and the removable head has a separate pan lock. There are even two spirit levels.

The low price comes from the extensive use of plastics where other tripods employ metal, including the central ‘spider’ and the twist leg locks. The chunky ball head uses a proprietary quick-release plate, and its large platform stops the legs from folding back fully. The small press-in leg-angle locks are a bit fiddly, too.

Unfortunately, with an enthusiast DSLR on top, the tripod simply isn’t very stable, even with the centre column retracted. The head is the main culprit, and the legs do much better when used with a different one. This model offers good value, but you’ll really need to use a more solid head to get the best results.

Score: 3 out of 5

Camlink Carbon Fibre Tripod 1.4m CL-TPCARB2500 – Specifications

Closed length: 39cm
Max height: 134cm
Leg-only height: 117cm
Min height: 37cm
Max load: 6kg
Weight: 1.26kg
Price: £100
Leg lock type: Twist
Leg sections: 4
Head: Removable
QR plate: Proprietary

AmazonBasics-Lightweight-Travel-Tripod-52-inches

AmazonBasics Lightweight Travel Tripod 52 inches

AmazonBasics Lightweight Travel Tripod 52 inches

Price: £50

Website: www.amazon.co.uk

The AmazonBasics Lightweight Travel Tripod 52 inches is probably the cheapest carbon-fibre tripod on the market, which presumably has a lot to do with the buying power of one of the world’s largest retailers. In terms of size and design, the AmazonBasics is pretty similar to the Sirui T-005X, with five-section legs and a two-section column, coupled with a removable ball head that has a separate pan lock. The column can be removed completely for low-level shooting.

Unfortunately, plenty of corners have been cut to achieve such a low price. The fit and finish are quite basic, and the bundled head isn’t great, as it tilts the camera when it’s locked. The quick-release clamp looks like it should be Arca Swiss-compatible, but it isn’t. However, where it counts, the tripod does hold the camera pretty stable, although it works best with the second column section down.

The Amazon tripod is incredible value, although I’d advise buyers to check it over carefully when
it arrives, and be prepared to return it if necessary. Personally, I’d also use a better head.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

AmazonBasics Lightweight Travel Tripod 52 inches – Specification

Closed length: 31cm
Max height: 135cm
Leg-only height: 110cm
Min height: 18.5cm
Max load: 3.6kg
Weight: 1.09kg
Price: £50
Leg lock type: Twist
Leg sections: 5
Head: Removable
QR plate: Proprietary