Review: AmazonBasics Travel Tripod (used for iPhone)

Wow. Time flies when you're having fun. I originally posted this review of the AmazonBasics Travel Tripod in November 2014. Now, almost five years and a few discussions later I checked the market if this tripod is still the perfect travel tripod for iPhone photographers. Long story short: Yes, it is and here's why. But as always, here are a few sample photos I took with iPhone mounted to the AmazonBasics Travel Tripod

 

Requirements for a travel tripod.

As I travel light with only carry on luggage, my requirements for a travel tripod are straightforward:

  • As small as possible when folded and as big as possible when extended
  • Weight should be as little as possible.

The AmazonBasics Travel Tripod comes with the following specs:

  • 12,5 inch / 31.75 cm when folded
  • 52 inch / 132 cm when fully extended
  • 2.4 lbs / 1.2 kg

I travel using the Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack and for optimal utilization of space, I usually put the tripod in first. It goes right at the bottom of the backpack and the available room there (width) is something between 12" and 13". The AmazonBasics Travel Tripod just fits in perfectly here.

As for the weight, this tripod is made of carbon fiber, and it doesn't get much lighter than that. I've looked at roughly two dozen different travel tripods that were recommended by other photo and travel blogs. None of those could beat the AmazonBasics travel tripod in all of the three metrics. Either the folded size was too big, or if the folded size was within the required range, the extended size was shorter. When it comes to weight, they all play in the same area.

So if you find a travel tripod that's in the 12"-13" range when folded and longer than 52" when extended at the same weight, please sound off in the comments. I'll happily look at it.

AmazonBasics Travel Tripod features and what's in the box

Each leg of the carbon fiber AmazonBasics Travel Tripod has 4 segments, and each of them is locked into position with a rotating leg lock. The feet are made of rubber and provide an excellent footing on all kinds of surfaces.

AmazonBasics Travel Tripod on stone wall in Yosemite

AmazonBasics Travel Tripod on stone wall in Yosemite

The center column has two segments, also with rotating locks, and is invertible. It comes with a hook that you can use to attach a stabilizing weight in windy situations as I did with my backpack at the Hraunfossar waterfall in Iceland.

AmazonBasics Travel Tripod with iPhone mounted using Joby Griptight with my old backpack used as a stabilizing weight.

AmazonBasics Travel Tripod with iPhone mounted using Joby Griptight with my old backpack used as a stabilizing weight.

The small ball head allows you to fully rotate your iPhone 360 degrees and tilt it 90 degrees for using the iPhone in portrait mode. I shoot exclusively in landscape mode so I don't really use this that much.

It has a bubble level that helps you to adjust your iPhone camera for perfectly leveled photos. The head has three screws to lock your iPhone into position firmly. The first one is for horizontal rotation. The second for fixing the ball head itself and the third one for the quick release plate.

A small but significant detail is that the quick release plate has an additional knob to prevent it from accidentally sliding out. After unscrewing, you have to press the knob to remove the plate. So your iPhone is perfectly safe. You also get a carrying bag; and this is my only criticism: The shoulder strap of the bag is a little too short for my taste.

Tripod mounts

To mount the iPhone to the tripod, you have several options. I use two different Griptight mounts from Joby, depending on the situation:

  • Joby Griptight One (Until 2016)
  • Joby Griptight Pro (starting from 2016)

As both of those mounts are flexible, you don't need to buy a new one when you upgrade your smartphone. No matter if the phone becomes a little bigger or smaller, the Griptight will still work.

What I really like about the Griptight mounts is that they work even if your smartphone is in a case! Some tripod mounts require you to either remove the case or use a particular case which is an absolute no-go for me as I have to use the Moment Case to attach the Moment lenses.

Conclusion

I own this tripod for about 5 years now. It was with me on over two dozen trips and served me well in many cities, the untamed nature in Iceland and in many lost places including the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

The only thing that happened so far is, that the rubber that's located at the top of the quick release plate came off. But this isn't really a show stopper for me as I usually keep the Joby Griptight Pro mounted to the plate all the time but I do understand that it may be a problem for photographers, that use a DSLR.

Because of the size specs and the weight, the AmazonBasics Travel Tripod is the perfect travel tripod for iPhone photography and for people who, like me, prefer to travel Wirth carry on luggage only - no camera bag needed.

As you may have guessed, the AmazonBasics Travel Tripod is only available from Amazon.