We tend to think of tripods first when we need support for our cameras. While tripods are amazing and improve the photography experience, there are situations when they are not ideal. In such situations, you’ll benefit immensely from using a monopod. I believe you’ve already figured out the difference between a tripod and a monopod. Tripods have three legs while monopods have – you guessed it – one leg. Well done Einstein.
The most obvious benefit of monopods is their lightweight design. You can strap a monopod to the outside of your carry-on luggage. Yes, that’s how lightweight they are. You can even use it as a walking stick when you are outdoors. And this can provide you a bit of relief on a long hike.
You can also set up monopods pretty fast. And that can mean the difference between getting a perfect shot or a blurry mess. Monopods also let you react fast to changing circumstances like when tracking animals.
Monopods are accepted in several places where tripods are prohibited like museums. This is because tripods are considered trip hazards because of the crowd there.
If you want a satisfying photography experience, you can’t just buy any type of monopod. Here, you’ll know all you need to know about monopods so you can make an informed decision when buying one.
Guide Contents Overview
Why Do You Need a Monopod Stand?
By now, you know that there are situations that require the use of a monopod. Monopods are super portable, fold compactly, and can be used in crowded places.
If you are into sports or wildlife photography, you need a monopod more. This is because a monopod will allow you to react faster and change positions quickly.
Monopods are also good for videography as they let you add motion to your videos. Also, you can maneuver monopods easily. The ball head and the base allow you to achieve 360 degrees of movement and capture pictures and videos from multiple angles.
They can also be great to use with 360 cameras.
How To Choose Your Monopod Stand
Aluminum vs Carbon Fiber
Monopods are either made with aluminum or carbon fiber. Each material has its pros and cons which you’ll have to weigh against your needs to determine which material you’ll go for.
Aluminum is a very durable metal and monopods made using it are stronger and heavier than their carbon fiber counterparts. Apart from being rugged, this type of monopod is also more stable. Aluminum cannot withstand the elements of the outdoors well. It’s affected by both high and low temperatures. The metal heats up at high temperatures and cools down at low temperatures.
Also, aluminum can undergo rusting especially when exposed to water. So make sure to properly clean your aluminum monopods after using them in wet conditions.
A major advantage of carbon fiber aluminum is that it’s lighter than aluminum. Also, it is more resistant to the elements of the outdoors than aluminum. However, it’s not as durable or stable as aluminum. Some models incorporated aluminum feet on carbon fiber monopods for better stability and durability.
Portability – Weight and Max Folded Length
One of the benefits of monopods is their lightweight and portable design. There are models that are as light as 1.8 lbs. The materials used will also have an effect on portability with carbon fiber monopods generally lighter than aluminum ones.
Monopods also fold compactly and will easily fit into carry-on luggage. You can even attach your monopod to your luggage.
Comfort of Use – Maximum Height
The height of your monopod matters as it has to be at eye level for you to use it comfortably. And that’s why monopods have different maximum heights. So you’ll have to consider your height when choosing a monopod. Also, taller monopods allow you to reach higher and take overhead pictures when there’s a crowd or shooting something you can’t reach normally.
The grip of your monopod is also important. Many monopods have padded grips for comfort.
Maximum Load Capacity
Your monopod has a weight limit. And you’d do well not to over the weight limit so you don’t break the monopod. And a broken monopod can easily result in damage to your camera. So always go for monopods that will be able to support the total combined weight of your camera/lens/accessories setup.
The major advantage of having a ball head on your monopod is that your camera will be able to undergo an almost infinite range of motion. And this allows you to take shots from multiple angles and different perspectives.
Some monopods on our list already come with high-quality heads that perform well and also last long.
Your monopod leg needs to have some sort of locking mechanism for stability. This is to prevent the monopod from crashing down after you extend it. And the most common types of locking mechanisms are the flip-lock and the twist lock.
I personally prefer the flip lock because it’s easier to use than the twist lock. A flip of a lever will help you secure the monopod leg after extending it. For the twist lock, you need a twisting movement to lock the leg in place.
As you already know, monopods are applicable to certain situations. And you’ll do well to use your monopod in those situations. We hope that our buying guide was useful to you if you are trying to decide which monopod is best for you.
Get one today and experience comfort, flexibility, and functionality like never before.