Capturing high-quality photographs is a process that requires a lot of things to go right. You need the perfect lighting, the right lens, focus, and of course, let’s not forget about the setting. However, even an amateur photographer knows that image stabilization is one of the most important aspects of taking the perfect photo. And I am not referring to digital stabilization, but the use of supports such as tripods and monopods. While the former is a standard piece of equipment, the latter enjoys some appreciation as well.
High-quality photography relies a lot on equipment. The better the equipment, the more good photos you can take. And it all starts with a professional camera and ends up with the support the camera stays on during use. The monopod can somewhat provide that stability. It may not be as stable and reliable as a tripod, but since not all situations require the latter, a monopod is the next best thing. There is an entire debate on whether the monopod is the right piece of equipment, especially when you can use a tripod. However, the answers depend on who is giving them and the setting in which you need to take the photo. Unfortunately, you cannot use a tripod in any given situation, and here enters the monopod.
The pros and cons of using a monopod
There is no such thing as a perfect piece of equipment. You know how it is, you win some you lose some. However, the monopod is on both sides. It is the ideal tool in some cases, and lousy in others. To understand which is which, you need to explore the pros and cons of a monopod.
- Lightweight and portable – the first and the most appreciated advantage of a monopod are that it weighs a lot less than a tripod. You will never find a tripod that weighs under a pound, but a monopod with that weight is entirely possible. Of course, a monopod with that weight will not have a large capacity, but still. An item that lightweight is incredibly portable. You can find yourself in a big crowd with a monopod without having to worry about.
- You can stabilize long, telephoto lenses – personally, I refer to them as canons, and no, the brand has nothing to do with it. I do not know if you have ever worked with one of those, but a tripod will not suffice. There is a significant amount of weight in the front of the camera, and the center of gravity is not located in the same place as the regular That is why you need something to support the front weight and not only the base of the device.
- You have an easy time installing it – this is something that probably does not interest you as much, but I find it quite Unlike a tripod, a monopod is quicker to set up. I think that the reason is self-explanatory. You have one leg instead of three. Of course, some monopods have three legs at the base, but it is not the same as a tripod.
- You need to practice using a monopod – while a monopod is easy to use and set up, you need to get the hang of it. It is not something you get right from the first try. You need to learn and practice stabilization techniques until you get it right. Do not go on thinking that you need classes or anything, but you do need to invest some time in the whole thing. It is definitely more difficult than with a tripod, but you will catch on eventually.
- It is not a tripod – many amateur photographers think that if they buy a monopod, they are all set. They could not be more wrong. While the monopod is ideal in certain situations, it can never replace a tripod. Especially in dark conditions. There is a time and a place for each of them, and a part of you educations as a photographer is to learn when and where that is.
How to choose the best monopod
There are so many monopods online that it will make your head spin. However, not all of them are suitable for you, and if you buy a random product, you may end up with a poorly-made monopod that can do anything but satisfy your needs. That is why you should pay attention to what you are buying. Plus, you need to take into consideration the next factors:
- Weight – a heavy monopod will beat its own purpose, which is why you should always go for a lightweight monopod. There are several of them out there that can be as lightweight as 9 ounces, but in my opinion, a monopod that exceeds 4 pounds is not something worth investing in. And 4 pounds is a lot. A heavy-duty professional monopod weighs that much. After all, you look for portability in a monopod, not something that will drag you down.
- Capacity – not all monopods can withstand the same amount of weight. Some are made to support 11-pound cameras, while others can hold only 5-pound cameras. So basically, the capacity of the monopod you need depends on the weight of your camera. You can usually find that information in the specifications. Look at that and take it from there. Just make sure that you do not forget to do it before you make a purchase.
- Construction – a well-constructed monopod will feel sturdy when you hold it in your hand. It is not wobbly. That is a common issue with cheap monopods. Since most of them are telescopic, the different sections must behave as one. You cannot possibly tell that just by looking at the product online, but you can always read some reviews. It will help you to determine the construction of a particular
- Material – the material a manufacturer uses to build the monopod determines its weight. With that being said, the most lightweight materials are aluminum and carbon fiber. Most people go for the former because carbon fiber can be very expensive. If you can afford it, then by all means, go for carbon fiber. It is a lot more resilient than aluminum. Even so, aluminum is pretty durable as well.
- Non-slip base – what you are looking for in a monopod is stability. You cannot have it if the bottom is not coated with some kind of non-slip material. After all, you will position the monopod on many surfaces, and not all of them are adherent. A non-slip base is a must in my opinion.
What are the best monopods?
As I mentioned earlier, the monopod offer on the market is enormous. Choosing one may be confusing sometimes, especially if you have no experience in the matter. However, as long as you read the specifications and follow the factors you need to consider I wrote about above, you should do just fine. You can also read some monopods reviews online to learn about some of the products you like. If you do not feel like it, you can always go for one of the products presented below.
Digiant MP-3606 Professional Camera Monopod
If you are looking for a professional version of a monopod, then this monopod from Digiant is what you need. It features a 3-way pan head with a quick release plate and a built-in bubble view levels that pivots up to 180 degrees. The screws on the mounting place are suitable for SLR, DSLR, video cameras, and camcorders. However, the weight of the device you are mounting cannot exceed 11 ppounds/5 kg.
This is a compact video fluid monopod. The quick twist lock secures and ensures very fast set up. The system is reliable, and you get to enjoy rapid rotation movements. The height of the monopod varies from 29 to 70 inches, which gives you an excellent angle for overhead shooting. The Digiant monopod also swivels 360 degrees, and it can tilt 15 degrees in any directions. That is possible thanks to the ball joint at the stand base. More stability is ensured by the 9.4-inch retractable feet.
The Digiant monopod is incredibly portable and is ideal for traveling. It features a wrist strap and a foam hand grip for a comfortable and secure hold. The package includes a carrying bag for safe transportation. All of its incredible features will make you enjoy it. It may be a bit pricier than most monopods. But in my opinion, it is worth every single penny.
Altura Photo 62-Inch Camera Monopod
If the previous monopod is too pricey for you, take a look at the Altura Photo monopod. It is among the cheapest monopods you can find online, but the quality-price ratio is more than satisfactory. It has a lightweight aluminum design, but it still manages to withstand a lot of abuse. It can collapse down to a very compact size of only 16.75 inches. From 67 inches, that is not bad at all. The monopod weight only 8.8 ounces, which makes it one of the most lightweight monopods on the market.
The Altura Photo monopod features a universal thread mount. You can attach any camera or DSLR, video camera scope, and you can even buy the ball head (separately). However, the weight of the device must not exceed 5 pounds. The capacity is pretty low, but what else can you expect from a 0.59-pounds monopod?
This monopod ensures a pretty comfortable grip. The soft foam grip and the safety wrist strap will make sure of that. The built-in non-slip rubber foot and the retractable leg spike will help you stabilize the camera as best as you can. This may not even begin to compare with the previous product, but at the price you can buy it, you get more than enough.
Amazon Basics 67-Inch Monopod
If you are looking for another affordable solution, then I suggest you take a look at the AmazonBasics Monopod. It is a simple but efficient monopod that can help you stabilize your camera or any other device as best as you can. It can support video camera, still camera, and scopes, but the condition is that neither of them exceeds the 6.6-pound weight limit.
The AmazonBasics monopod features a ¼-inch universal thread mount. The length of the item is adjustable, and the four leg sections are able to come together to form a 62-inch monopod. That is pretty well considering its price. You can still use it on many occasions, including overhead shooting.
The retractable spikes at the base of the monopod, together with the non-skid rubber foot make this monopod incredibly stable. It will not slip no matter on which surface you choose to put it on. The built-in cushioned handle ensures a secure grip, and the adjustable wrist strap will make holding it a lot easier. As for the construction, the AmazonBasics monopod is made of durable aluminum, and it weighs less than a pound. In fact, it weighs only 12.6 ounces, which is among the most lightweight monopods you can find. The package includes a carrying bag for safe transportation and storage.
If you are a photographer who wants to explore the benefits of a monopod, then I suggest you go for the Digiant MP-3606 Professional Camera Monopod. Even if it is a professional monopod, I think that as a beginner you can use it just as well. It has all the features you are looking for. In my opinion, it is one of the best monopods you can find for under $100.
Searching for the best monopod should not be such a hassle. A professional photographer will have no issues in searching and finding the best product for his or her needs, but a beginner may have some trouble. Even so, I am sure that no matter which of the three products you choose, you will enjoy a lovely and educative experience. Click here to buy on Amazon
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