Avoid the cheapest, stick-thin tripods and you can still buy sturdy supports on a budget
benro a500f-n1 £105/$140
Compact but sturdy, this lightweight tripod kit has a maximum height of 156cm and a load rating of 5kg for the legs (enough to support a D810 and 400mm f/2.8 lens). The ball head features an adjustable friction damper, too.
manfrotto 294a3+d3rc2 £105/$140
At 2.5kg, this kit feels reassuringly substantial and offers good stability on a tight budget. At 181cm when fully extended, it raises the camera almost a foot higher than the Benro, while the three-way head boasts a handy bubble level.
velbon sherpa 200R £60/$130
If you’re not after bells and whistles, then this kit represents solid value (in the UK). The legs operate smoothly, although they don’t offer multi-angle positioning, and at 1.9kg it’s easy to carry all day, so you’re more likely to use it.
vanguard nivelo 245bk £120/$150
This five-section tripod offers a pivoting centre column that can be used either upwards or downwards – the latter is useful for low-level macro shots. The Nivelo is a great option for travel photography, as it folds down to just 37cm.