Photographers, especially beginners, often have a mini tripod. Compact tripods come as a freebie for entry-level cameras. It is even included on some smartphone purchases.
From a photography standpoint, the mini tripod included in your beginner camera kit is not ideal. These types of compact camera tripods are bendy and flimsy. The built-in ball head cannot even support a small mirrorless camera properly. But it is still handy when it comes to smaller accessories such as microphones and lights.
If these small tripods are far from great, is there any benefit from using them? Are mini tripods useful? Let’s find out by looking at their advantages.
Compact tripods are portable.
Tabletop tripods are small enough to be used anywhere. You can carry it in your pocket and bring it out whenever needed. The size makes it perfect for bringing whenever a full-sized tripod is not ideal. It does not take too much space in a camera bag too, which is nice.
Use it for shooting down low.
There are times when shooting down low gives an exciting output. However, you will risk scratching your camera if you leave it on the ground. Besides, using a compact tripod provides stable support on uneven surfaces.
Attach your camera vertically
Compact tripods with bendy legs can wrap around a post for added support. You can attach your camera to any vertical post available. Just make sure that the bar can accommodate the flexible legs.
Take stable shots
The higher the tripod, the less stable it gets. It is the reason why some photographers shun tripods with an extended center column. It is the same reason why small tripods are usable for taking steady shots.
A small and compact tripod has a lower center of gravity; thus, it has a stable base. That is assuming you have a sturdy tabletop tripod and not the flimsy giveaways. With a lower center of gravity, the camera is not affected by wind or slight movements in the ground.
Use it for your accessories
Standard photography accessories such as microphones, LED lights, or flashes use a standard tripod mount. These accessories can easily fit any mini tripod with a 1/4-20 screw.
If you are in a shoot and need a small microphone stand, a mini tripod will do. The same goes for portable LED lights and external flashguns.
The most enticing aspect of buying a mini tripod is its price. For around $100, you can buy a portable, lightweight, and durable camera support. Just like carbon fiber tripods, mini camera tripods at this price range last a lifetime and can support hefty setups. Just be sure to get one from a reputable brand.
Can a mini tripod support a DSLR?
One of the concerns before buying a mini tripod is its weight limitation. Can a mini tripod support a DSLR or a mirrorless setup?
The short answer is yes.
To explain further, manufacturers have placed a weight limit on their tripods. Some mini camera tripods with a traditional design can handle up to 11-pounds. Models with flexible legs have a smaller weight limit of up to around 6-pounds only.
Just to be sure, it is better to weigh your ideal setup before making a purchase.
What’s the best mini tripod to buy?
Out of the mini camera tripods sold in the market, one design stood out - the ProMediaGear TR01 Mini Tripod. By looking at it, you can quickly notice that it has a different design far from what is seen in the market.
The unconventional design makes it the perfect ground tripod that is capable of handling heavy setups. Besides, it has an Arca-Swiss clamp that is convenient for those invested in the Arca system. Switching from a standard tripod to the TR01 is more accessible because of this clamp.
The friction arm is 7-inches long with one knob for easy adjustment. ProMediaGear says that it can carry up to 5-lbs on each leg. It is more than enough for medium-weight setups. This lightweight tripod can even handle a Canon 5D Mark IV, a battery grip, with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached.
ProMediaGear also includes a hook-n-loop velcro to attach it to posts, fences, or table legs.
For only $119.95, the TR01 Mini Tripod is an excellent buy because of its durability and flexibility.
In comparison to cheaper compact tripods, the Arca-swiss clamp is already a considerable advantage. Competitors often use their ball head that is not Arca compatible. The TR01 is also more compact when folded.
Check out more TR01 photos below.