As a follow up to my Tripods for Mirrorless Cameras article I will now also take a look at some of the Mini tripods available (often referred to as table top tripods). Even the smallest tripod is better than no tripod at all, so let’s have a look at some ridiculously small ones you won’t find an excuse not to carry around all the time 🙂
- Why would I want to use a mini tripod?
- Mini Tripods I have used
- Mini tripods I know of but didn’t use (much)
- Further Reading
Why would I want to use a mini tripod?
Many of you might have never even thought about using a mini tripod. I think there are many good arguments to have one in the bag and here are my top 3 reasons why you should have and use one:
Before: handheld waist level shooting | After: camera on Manfrotto Pocket sitting on the ground
This is the reason I am carrying around one of these small tripods all the time even when having a real tripod strapped to my backpack. Waist level shooting is not always favourable for the composition, take a look at the example above and decide for yourself which perspective you would prefer.
With most travel tripods it is somewhat possible to get to ground level by mounting the center column upside down or doing some funny things with the legs but most of the time you will avoid the hassle and pass on what might be a nice shot. Nothing is more convenient for ground level shooting than a ground level tripod.
3. Go where bigger tripods don’t go
There are places where bigger tripods are not allowed due to security (or whatever other) reasons. With mini tripods you ususally won’t encounter any problems in churches, museums and other tourist hotspots.
Mini Tripods I have used
1. Joby Gorillapod Hybrid
There are several different versions of the Gorillapod, this is the Hybrid which is still rather portable, has a non detachable ballhead with a quick release system built in and is said to hold cameras up to 1000g.
This is more of a wobbly mini tripod, you can use it for your A7 cameras with small lenses but be sure it isn’t windy and you use the 10sec self release and of course EFC all the time.
I merely use it with smaller cameras like compacts or for my flashes.
+ you can mount it on rails or branches
– rather bulky for a mini tripod
Cost: 33$ for Gorillapod Hybrid with built in Ballhead*, weighs 190g (*affiliate links)
2. Novoflex Micropod + Ball 19p
Novoflex really likes to produce tripods where you can detach the legs. I am not a fan of this approach as it costs too much time in the field so I only (and rarely) use this small tripod for my flashes. The legs only have one angle which further reduces the usefulness. The ballhead Ball 19p is quite okay but in this combination the dedicated panning function is only useful on a flat surface, as you can’t use the legs to level the tripod.
+ if you disassemble it very small
– takes too long to set up
– legs can’t be posed
Cost: 54$ for Micropod + Ball 19* + 14$ for Neewer Fish Bone clamp*, weighs 210g (*affiliate links)
3. Manfrotto Pocket + Arca quick release clamp
This is the one I am mostly using nowadays. While it is not as easily posable as the Joby Micropod Hybrid it holds much more weight, I was even using this with the A7rII + Voigtlander 10mm 5.6 + 150mm Filtersystem. I paired it with a “low budget” Neewer Arca Swiss compatible quick release clamp as can be seen in the photos above.
+ very small
+ gets your camera very close to the ground
– posing the legs is not straightforwareded and needs some practice
Cost: 20$ for Manfrotto Pocket* + 15$ for Neewer Clamp*, weighs 143g (*affiliate links)
4. Joby Micro 800 + Kirk QRC-1
If they ever make a slightly bigger version it would be my first choice. According to Joby this one is suitable for cameras with a maximum weight of 800g which is quite realistic. It works well with smaller lenses like the Loxias (21, 35, 50) and also relatively light ones like the FE lenses 28mm 2.0, 35mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.8. I paired it with the Kirk QRC-1 Arca Swiss compatible clamp which was once the smallest available. I still use it from time to time but prefer the Manfrotto Pocket most of the time because it is somewhat sturdier.
+ very small/lightweight
+ camera easily posable
+ gets your camera very close to the ground
– not for bigger lenses
Cost: 18$ for Joby Micro 800* + 40$ for Kirk QRC-1 (cheaper clamps available now), weights 107g (*affiliate links)
5. Ball Pod (red)
Albeit this thing costs next to nothing it was a total waste of money for me. It is not possible to align any camera, regardless of weight and size.
+ nothing, really
– camera can’t be aligned, carefully composing a frame is next to impossible
Cost: ~8$, weighs 280g
Mini tripods I know of but didn’t use (much)
In case the 5 aforementioned mini tripods are not what you are looking for here are a few more that might be worth a look. I came across these during my workshops or on my hunt for a mini tripod. Remember though I haven’t used them (as much) as the ones mentioned before.
6. Manfrotto Pixi EVO 2
I got the chance to take a closer look during a workshop at one of these and it does not look bad at first sight. This is the second incarnation of the Pixi and the length of the legs is now adjustable which makes this tripod much more versatile than the first version. Unfortunately I have now read many reports stating the screw for mounting the camera tends to come off, so I really can’t recommend this one.
Cost: 50$ at amazon.com*, weighs 260g (*affiliate link)
7. RRS TFA-01 Pocket Pod
Quite expensive and not very flexible but I expect very good build quality and sturdiness.
Cost: 100$, weighs 146g
8. Sunwayfoto T1A10 Mini Tripod
Similar to RRS TFA-01, but this one is way cheaper.
Cost: 33$ at amazon.com*, weighs 171g (*affiliate link)
9. FLM CP10-A1 Tabletop Tripod
Has a clever “memory” function for the legs (you can set the desired angle for each leg, close it and next time it will open up to the same angles), but it is even more expensive compared to the RRS.
Cost: 140$ at amazon.com*, weighs 140g (*affiliate link)
10. Novoflex Basic Ball
As already stated above Novoflex loves tripods with detachable legs. This is the bigger, more expensive and more stable brother of the Micropod. There are 3 angles for the legs but it is still rather unflexible and a pain to set up.
Cost: 100$ at amazon.com*, weighs 390g (*affiliate link)
|Joby GP Hybrid*||Novoflex Micropod*
||Manfrotto Pocket*||Joby Micro 800*||ThePod Ballpod Red||Manfrotto Pixi Evo 2*||RRS TFA-01||Sunwayfoto T1A10*||FLM CP10-A1*||Novoflex BasicBall*|
|Flexibility of legs:||++||––||+||–||––||+||–||–||o||o|
I tried to summarize my findings in the table above. Some ratings are of course rather subjective and also keep in mind I haven’t used the tripods numbered 6-9 as much as the others.
My test setup consists of an A7MKII body and smaller manual lenses up to a 90mm 2.0 (lens + adapter ~ 600g), the stability ratings are based on this setup. Compared to tripods 1-6 you can mount much heavier setups on tripods 7-10, including heavier tele lenses (when featuring a tripod mount).
Flexibility of the legs is important for me as it is possible to pass on a dedicated head when having posable legs, which will also get you closer to the ground.
I mostly use theses mini tripods alongside a full fledged travel tripod (see also this article) so saving weight as well as a small folded size are very important for me as well.
I hope you find this article useful and may have spotted a mini tripod for your needs. In case you think I have missed one please tell me in the comment section, I am always looking for new and better ones 🙂
- Filters for digital photography
- User guide to wide angle lenses for A7 series
- Manual lenses on the A7 cameras – A beginner’s guide
Latest posts by BastianK (see all)
- Review: Leica 50mm 1.4 Summilux-M Asph - June 5, 2023
- Analogue Adventures – Part 20: Kodak Color Plus 200 ECN-2 processed - June 3, 2023
- Review: Viltrox FE 16mm 1.8 AF - May 30, 2023
26 thoughts on “Mini tripods for mirrorless cameras”
Thanks for this interesting and useful overview of the different choices for mini-tripods! I use the one from Novoflex and have to say I am quite happy with it. The time to put it together and then back in the bag is really short.
Thanks for the nice overview Bastian. Have you tried the gorilla SLR -zoom which takes up to 3kg? I own it and think it is okay stable. It is also convenient to use in rubble and rocky surface.
I have been using the SLR zoom with my Nikon DSLRs in the past,
I would second that it is ok stable but the legs become loose over time
and I think it is somewhat big for a mini tripod.
Of course it is more stable than the Gorillapod Hybrid I inculded 🙂
I use a Benro monopod with a detachable small tripod as feet. Only a screw fitting and fixed angle but has been useful.
Another vote for the Manfrotto pocket. The feature that sets it apart in my experience is that its mounting position on the camera can be adjusted by about an inch, so it can be placed partly in front of the camera, closer to the center of gravity of body+lens.
And it’s very stable – placed on the tripod collar of my Nikon F adapter, it even supports the 2.8/180 ED at full extension. Looks a bit ridiculous, but works.
I absolutely have to second that, I have my quick release clamp mounted a bit backwards for the same reason 🙂
“Really Right Stuff” has a tiny table tripod that is very well made indeed and can hold 55 pounds. (!) They also make several different excellent tiny ball heads that work very well with it. I have used mine for years and I see no signs of it wearing out. No plastic whatsoever.
I mentioned that one already, Really Right Stuff = RRS 🙂
It’s the best one, hands down. Solid as a rock and they make compact ball heads for it that have all the advantages of the full-sized ones. A little $ly, but it shows.
I have to recommend the Pedco Ultrapod II. I have been using it for almost 2 years now and it goes everywhere with me. It’s reasonably sturdy and I’ve never had the camera fall, has a strap so you can strap it to poles/trees/branches, etc., and it’s small enough to fit in my bag. And it can hold 2700g.
Thanks for sharing!
The tiny Minox tripod has its place. Fixed leg angle and the built in ballhead requires a strong grip to get it tight enough, but it is TINY – about the same size as a fountain pen. That means I can have it with me when no other tripod is a practicality at all, and it is up to the task of handling a not-too-hefty mirrorless with the sort of lens that you would have with you: if the only tripod I have room for is one that small, I’m hardly likely to be packing any big and heavy glass either!
What de you think of the Platypod Ultra & Max.
You can use it with your favorite ballhead.
This is the small one, will do for an A7 with small lenses. (there is a video by Scott Kelby using it with a DSLR and 70-200mm
Ah to be honest for my kind of photography it I consider it pretty much useless.
With the screws it is too bulky, when you remove the screws it is too fiddly.
With 4 “legs” you need to adjust it all the time.
For me it can’t do anything the Manfrotto Pocket couldn’t also do.
So I ordered the Manfrotto Pocket!
Thank you for all the advice!
I would like to mention also the Manfrotto Pixi first version (not EVO), that was not in the list. It’s small, well built and the setup is very fast. I’ve read of many people that use it with bigger full frame dslr body and lenses, so i think with A7 cameras would be good too. By design you cannot use the camera in portrait orientation, but with an L bracket you can overcome this limitation.
Got the Manfrotto Pocket MP3-BK!
Very small and light. Without QR plate & clamp, folded under the camera you hardly notice it!
Very easy to level with the three ajustable feet. With the A7R III plus FE 55mm f1.8, you have to put the feet rather steep, otherwise the spring coils to hold the feet are not strong enough. But the whole unit is stable enough.
Thank you BastianK! This is a much better solution then a Platypod where you have to screw in legs to get the whole setup leveled. And, much smaller and lighter!
Hello, thank you for the great article. Is the Manfrotto Pocket MP3-BK still your most used mini tripod?
Is the QR plate a must or optional?
I also use the Gitzo Mini with the RRS BPC-16, hard to say which one I am using more, but this MP3-BK is surely the better deal.
The QR plate is optional. Actually Manfrotto advertises it as something to leave on your camera all the time.
For me it is mandatory though, as I have an L-bracket mounted on the camera all the time.
Thank you. Ordered one using the link on this page.
Which L-bracket do you use? I am tempted…
They are offered by several companies at varying pricepoints.
I prefer the shape of the Sunwayfoto ones as they do not obstruct the battery door or demand
to put the battery door on the L-bracket and then add some foam to keep the battery in place…
Got the Manfrotto Pocket MP3-BK. It doesn’t really add much weight or bulk though the camera is now tilted a bit when i set it down.
I am enjoying it though and have already used it for a few photos. Thanks for the recommendation.
Hi, just a quick follow up. I have been using the mini-tripod a lot and keep it on my camera all the time. It helped take some great shots including several long exposures on long distance flights. I got some nice photos of the aurora and of the night sky from high high up. Thanks again.
Glad you like it 😊