A good tripod doesn't just free up your hands or let you put yourself in the picture. It stabilizes your camera to keep photographs sharp, gives you a wide range of options for positioning your camera, and maintains precise framing -- in fact, it can even make you think harder about your composition. The best tripods strike a sensible balance of portability, stability, and versatility. The models on this year's Editor's Choice list run the gamut in their size, weight, and features, but they all have a lot to offer for their price. And all are compatible with a wide range of tripod heads, which are sold separately.