A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best Mini Tripod for Your Smartphone

May 22, 2024Elodie Pellet
Young man wearing white t shirt behind a several mini tripods for smartphones

When it comes to smartphone photography, having the right tools can make all the difference. One essential accessory that every smartphone photographer should have is a mini tripod. A mini tripod provides stability, flexibility, and convenience, allowing you to capture stunning photos and videos with ease. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about mini tripods, from their benefits to key features to consider, and how to choose the best one for your needs.

 

Why You Need a Mini Tripod

A mini tripod might seem like a small addition to your photography toolkit, but it can significantly enhance the quality of your photos and videos. Here are some reasons why you need one:

1. Stability and Sharpness

Without a mini tripod, you have to rely on your hands to keep the camera steady. Even the steadiest hands can't match the stability provided by a tripod, especially for long exposure shots or videos. A mini tripod ensures your camera stays still, resulting in sharper images and smoother videos.

2. Versatile Shooting Angles

A mini tripod allows you to position your camera at various angles, enabling you to experiment with different perspectives. Whether you're shooting from a low angle or capturing a time-lapse, a mini tripod gives you the flexibility to get the perfect shot.

3. Small Footprint for Urban Settings

Imagine you're in a bustling city, surrounded by towering skyscrapers and crowds. Finding a stable surface to place your camera on without taking up too much space can be challenging. A mini tripod’s compact design allows you to set up your camera in tight spaces without compromising your shot.

An iPhone standing in a tripod on a rock taking a picture of a car passing by with the city on the background

4. Additional Uses in Home and Studio Settings

Mini tripods are incredibly useful in home or studio settings. When shooting artwork, portraits, or still life, a mini tripod ensures that your camera remains steady throughout the entire session. This stability guarantees that every detail, from the subject’s expression to the intricate textures, is captured with utmost clarity and precision.

5. Portability

One of the biggest advantages of mini tripods is their portability. Unlike their larger counterparts, they are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry around in your camera bag or even in your pocket. Some mini tripods, like the Pocket Tripod, weigh only 11 grams (0.4 ounces)! Transporting it makes no difference to the load you’re already carrying, and you can quickly set up your mini tripod wherever you go, leaving room for spontaneity and creativity.

6. Quick Setup

Picture yourself on a hike, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. You've found the perfect vantage point for a time-lapse video of the sunset. You can easily grab your mini tripod from your pocket or bag and quickly set up your camera at the perfect angle to capture the view while you take in and enjoy the moment.

A phone on a tripod placed on a rock taking a video of a sunset 

Key Features to Consider When Buying a Mini Tripod

When shopping for a mini tripod, it's essential to consider several key features to ensure you get the best one for your needs:

1. Material and Durability

Look for mini tripods made from durable materials like carbon fiber, aluminum, or high-strength polymers. These materials provide a good balance of strength and weight, ensuring the tripod can withstand regular use and various weather conditions. A wobbly tripod won’t do you much good, especially outdoors on unstable surfaces.

2. Weight and Size

Since portability is one of the main benefits of a mini tripod, choose one that is lightweight and compact. This makes it easy to carry around and use in different settings, from urban environments to nature hikes.

3. Stability and Load Capacity

Ensure the mini tripod is stable enough to support your smartphone or camera. Check the load capacity to make sure it can handle the weight of your device without tipping over or wobbling.

4. Flexibility and Adjustability

Look for mini tripods with flexible legs or adjustable angles. This allows you to position your camera in various ways, providing more creative shooting options. Some tripods come with ball heads that enable 360-degree rotation and multiple tilt angles.

5. Ease of Use

Choose a mini tripod that is easy to set up and use. Quick-release plates, adjustable legs, and simple locking mechanisms can make a big difference in your shooting experience.

 

 

Top Mini Tripods on the Market

Here are some of the top mini tripods available, each with unique features that cater to different needs:

 

Now that you understand the importance of mini tripods, let's take a closer look at some top options available on the market.

1. Pocket Tripod (35$ / 11grams)

iPhone on a tripod on the ground with water

Photo credit: Takumi Shyegun 

The most compact, lightest and convenient tripod remains the Pocket Tripod. The foldable design collapses the tripod down to a wallet-sized credit card, eliminating the need for carrying an extra item. It is also impressively lightweight at 11g.

To ensure optimal strength and durability, the Pocket Tripod is crafted from a combination of robust polymers and carbon-fiber. This blend of materials ensures that it can withstand though conditions. 

Adaptability is another key feature of this tripod. It provides great stability on unreliable surfaces. The tripod's unique leg design allows for easy separation for a wider footprint offering even greater steadiness when needed. Moreover, it allows for a wide range of adjustable angles, enabling you to capture shots from diverse perspectives and positions which make it perfect for photography, but also for video recording or as a cell phone holder for all of your daily activities (watching content, FaceTime calls, vlogging, playing games etc).

If you're looking for a versatile and reliable companion for your photography and more, the Pocket Tripod is a must-have. Visit product page ↗

2. GoStand for Iphone ($30 / 25.5 grams)

An iPhone on a mini tripod stand

The GoStand proves to be an excellent choice for a mini tripod, offering portability and convenience with its ability to fit into a small bag or even your pocket. Its compact and lightweight design provides you with great flexibility when carrying it around. If your purpose is to use a tripod for activities like watching content, playing games, or having FaceTime calls, this device is an ideal match.

However, it may not be the best option for photography purposes. The grip on the phone may not be the most secure, and the shooting angle remains somewhat limited. Additionally, the tripod requires a flat surface for proper stability during use, restricting the creative possibilities. 

3. Peak Design Mobile Tripod SLIMLINK™ ($80 / 76grams)

An iPhone with a mini tripod holding it

Peak Design's SLIMLINK tripod combines flexibility and practicality, making it a highly convenient accessory that you can carry with your phone at all times, without the need to constantly think about it. Built from durable materials like aluminium, it offers a perfect balance of lightweight portability and strength, ensuring your phone is securely held while providing stability during use.

With its compact construction and robust design, this mini tripod proves to be versatile, suitable for a wide range of activities. Whether you're into indoor or outdoor photography or simply using it for leisure, it will meet your needs. 

The tripod remains relatively lightweight (76 g), but still takes up considerable weight and volume in your pocket when you're carrying it.

4. Manfrotto PIXI ($40 / 190 grams)

A manfrotto tripod product

The Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod is a popular choice among photographers. Its sturdy build quality and versatile ball head for 360-degree rotation and 90-degree tilt, make it suitable for a wide range of shooting scenarios. It also features a push-button locking mechanism for easy setup and a rubber grip for extra stability. The PIXI's sleek design and ability to fold flat make it easy to transport and set up, making it perfect for both professional and casual photographers alike. However, it still takes a noticeable volume in your backpack. Unlike the above products, you won't be able to transport it in your pocket or wallet.  

5. Joby GorillaPod ($70 / 360 grams)

A Joby tripod

If you're looking for security, look no further than the Joby GorillaPod. This mini tripod features flexible legs that can be wrapped around objects, offering endless shooting possibilities. Whether you're shooting from a tree branch or wrapping it around a pole, the GorillaPod's innovative design guarantees stability and versatility in all situations. However, this tripod doesn't offer the same level of transportability as the others, since you'll need a bag to carry it, and its weight won't be negligible when traveling.

  

Tips for Using Mini Tripods Effectively

To make the most out of your mini tripod, consider these tips:

1. Find a Stable Surface Ensure you place your mini tripod on a stable, flat surface to avoid any unwanted movement. If shooting outdoors, consider using a leveling base to compensate for uneven terrain.

2. Use a Remote or Timer Using a remote shutter release or the camera's timer function can help minimize camera shake when taking photos, especially in low-light conditions or for long exposure shots.

3. Experiment with Angles Don’t limit yourself to traditional tripod positions. Experiment with different angles and perspectives by placing your mini tripod on unconventional surfaces or wrapping its legs around objects. This allows you to capture unique and eye-catching shots that wouldn’t be possible with a regular tripod.

4. Keep It Clean Regularly clean your mini tripod to ensure it remains in good working condition. Dirt and debris can affect the stability and performance of the tripod, so wipe it down after use, especially if you’ve been shooting outdoors.

An iphone placed on a pocket tripod filming the sea from a rock

Conclusion

A mini tripod is an essential accessory for any smartphone photographer, providing stability, versatility, and convenience. By considering key features such as material, size, stability, flexibility, and ease of use, you can find the perfect mini tripod to enhance your photography. The Pocket Tripod, Manfrotto PIXI, Joby GorillaPod, and UBeesize Tripod S are all excellent options that cater to different needs and preferences.

Investing in a good mini tripod will undoubtedly improve the quality of your photos and videos, allowing you to capture stunning images with ease. Whether you’re a professional photographer, an enthusiastic hobbyist, or a vlogger, a mini tripod is a valuable addition to your photography toolkit.

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