Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best monopods 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated May 1, 2019
Best monopods of 2018
There is a wide range of products available on the market today, and below I have reviewed 3 of the very best options. Now, let’s get to the gist of the matter: which are the best monopods for the money? Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon. Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this monopods win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
Why did this monopods come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.
№3 – Yunteng VCT-288 Photography Tripod Monopod WIth Fluid Pan Head Quick Release Plate And Unipod Holder for Canon Nikon DSLR Cameras
Why did this monopods take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
monopods Buyer’s Guide
The Novo Explora MP20 is our top pick because it’s big, tough, rigid and great value for money. But the seven other contenders also deserve a look because they offer intriguing combinations of folded size, value and features that you might just want to know about.
On the heavy side
This is the heaviest leg here by over 200g, but it’s also the tallest. It manages not be especially long when packed, and the aluminium tubing is impressively rigid. Flip clamps make for speedy set-up; they’re a more streamlined shape than the Manfrotto’s clamp design, and they can be user-maintained should they ever work loose. Another nice touch is the oversized 50mm-diameter foot: it offers unrivalled grip on flat surfaces and links to the leg via a manoeuvrable ball joint. If weight is an issue, a 620g carbon version is also available, albeit for well over twice the price.
Slightly small fixed foot
The Stealth could well slip under your radar, with its average weight and size specs, and few frills. But there are hidden depths here. Induro’s nine-layer carbon tubing and generous 21mm minimum leg diameter help make this the stiffest support of the bunch. The tube sections are linked by extra-wide twist-lock clamps that are wonderfully easy to grip in all weathers; and they don’t slip, even when subjected to far more than the recommended 18kg payload capacity. The only minor issue is a fixed foot that’s considerably smaller than Benro’s design, and can’t be changed for a spike.
Not the most rigid
The standout feature of Manfrotto’s entry is its user-serviceable Quick Power Lock extension clamps. The levers extend on both sides of the hinge, creating a push/pull design that’s faster and more satisfying to use than conventional clamps, although they’re also less compact. Overall rigidity is good, if not quite up there with the Induro or Novo legs, partly due to Manfrotto’s slightly narrower 16mm leg diameter. The price is justified by a quality embossed rubber grip that’s a cut above foam alternatives, and a clever camera fixing screw which automatically switches between 1/and 1/inch.
Here we have Gitzo’s lightest and most compact monopod, but it doesn’t compromise on quality despite those attributes. The Carbon eXact tubing is incredibly rigid, even down to the spindly 11.2mm-diameter bottom section. However, Gitzo’s Traveler G-lock twist-lock clamps, while ergonomic and precise, have more lateral play when they’re fully tightened than we found in rival designs, compromising overall rigidity. They hold fast under compression, though, and the Traveler is a joy to use on the go when you need to travel as light as possible. It’s pricey, yes, but a fine travel companion.
Five things to look for when choosing a monopod
Manfrotto’s so-called ‘compact’ monopod is actually quite large, and it’s the heaviest in the group at 830g.
It also boasts a 10kg maximum load rating and is based on a four-section leg that extends from 51-154cm.
With beefy leg section diameters that range from 20-35mm, there’s no shortage of rigidity on offer here.
Considering that the Manfrotto is the same price as the Benro monopod, it’s unfortunate that there’s no tilt facility.
Instead, Manfrotto sells a Monopod Tilt Head separately, available as either the 23or 234RC, the latter of which adds a quick-release plate.
Tripods provide more stability than shooting by hand but they can also be unstable if you are not aware of the centre of the tripod’s gravity. By design the mounting plate for the camera and lens is right in the centre of the legs and therefore places the camera right at the centre of gravity. The weight of the camera and lens is spread out equally through each of the legs and over the ground area between the legs. So having a wider spread of the legs will spread the weight over a greater area and thus increase the stability of the tripod. This is one reason why shooting lower to the ground is much more stable with a heavy camera and lens combination than shooting at maximum tripod height. I have worked with a few professional TV cameramen in my time, and it is interesting to see how they work when shooting. By choice they will always shoot the tripod at its default height; if they extend the legs to shoot higher then they generally place them at a wider angle to spread the weight more evenly.
This is one reason why manufacturers give a maximum support weight for their tripods; this is the maximum weight that they recommend having on the tripod to ensure decent stability at the default height. For most DSLR users with standard / zoom lens and camera combinations these support weights are pretty irrelevant as the maximum weight of your gear will be less than 2KG but for users of long telephoto lenses (i.e 200-400mm, 400mm f2.8, 500mm Fand above) or those with large format cameras, it is essential to choose a tripod that matches your kit.
A few years ago no one had heard of carbon fibre and metal tripods were the norm. The decent ones were made from aluminium, as it is lighter than steel. Then some bright spark invented carbon fibre tripods and their lighter weight (albeit at a higher price) meant that the sales of aluminium tripods crashed. Then, realising that there is a place in the market for decent aluminium tripods, manufacturers like Gitzo re-invented them with lighter and stronger aluminium composites. These days it can be hard decision whether to go for a decent aluminium tripod or shell out some extra cash and get a carbon fibre alternative. On the positive side aluminium tripods are generally cheaper than the competition as they are far less expensive to manufacture. Being slightly heavier, they are, on paper, more stable. On the negative side, as I have already said, they are heavier than the alternatives so you need to decide if you are happy to carry it around with you. Also, if you are going to use it in cold weather you will only make the mistake of holding you aluminium tripod without gloves once.
The Manfrotto 350MVB, with a maximum load capacity of 20kg is ideal for large video cameras, but would be over kill for most DSLRs.
Some people report that aluminium tripods do not dampen vibrations as well as carbon fibre tripods, but I have used a Gitzo Pro Studex aluminium tripod for a long time and I have never found much difference. Here it is a question of the quality of aluminium tripod that you go for. Most TV camera crews use aluminium tripods like the Manfrotto 350 MVB to support heavy TV cameras, as they are so stable. Admittedly for a small camera and digital SLR combo this would be complete overkill, but for a photographer with heavy kit, aluminium tripods are more than just a viable option.
Another problem with centre columns is that they do not permit you to shoot low to the ground, again a limitation for all types of photographer. Of course a centre column can be a Godsend for certain areas of photography, such as macro photography where fine adjustment is necessary. These days there are some very clever centre columns for macro photographers that allow horizontal and vertical shooting. In this case a centre column will be invaluable and vibration will not be so much of an issue as you are generally working with light equipment. I tend to choose tripods without a centre column or one that has the capacity for the centre column to be removed to give me as much flexibility as possible. In my experience most tripods that come with centre columns have them fixed so be aware of this before you buy.
Most tripods have the ability to set the angles of the legs in two or three positions that for most of us works fine. Some areas of photography, macro for one, require a more flexible and creative approach. Uniloc and Benbo make tripods that allow each leg to move independently of the other, thus allowing the tripod to be set in some weird and wonderful positions. A single lever controls the movement of the legs; when you want to move the legs you undo it, set them and quickly tighten the lever again. Some photographers swear by them, I swear at them. The problem that I find with these is that if you are not careful the tripod can collapse when the legs are unlocked, which will send all your equipment crashing into the ground. I should know, it happened to my 500mm lens and after that I took the saw to the legs.
The Uniloc 1600 tripod is the lightest in the Uniloc range. Once you get the hang of the leg hinges, you can position the camera virtually anywhere.
If your tripod comes with a spirit level then this will be useful although be aware that they can smash quite easily, so it is often better to buy an external one. Some tripods come with a hook that you can use to support a bag of rocks underneath. This might sound ridiculous, but for those of us working in very windy conditions or in water, it is amazing how this technique can vastly increase the stability of the tripod.
The benefits of using a tripod (or monopod) for photography are fairly obvious, whether you’re reducing motion for quick snaps or taking advantage of extremely long exposures.
When you’re travelling, however, you want to keep things as light and simple as possible. There’s no shortage of compact tripod choices at your disposal depending on your budget. At the cheapest end of the travel tripod scale you’ll find aluminium tripods. They’re inexpensive and relatively light, but the consequence of their construction means that they’re not that sturdy, which has consequences for both stability while shooting and long-term durability.
If your budget is tight and you’re buying your first tripod there’s something to be said for a simple and cheap tripod — but don’t expect it to last long. If you’re after a lighter but tougher travel tripod, carbon fibre is the way to go, but you will pay more for a tripod with carbon fibre legs — easily into the hundreds of dollars versus a simple aluminium tripod.
Then there’s the truly compact flexible tripod crowd, best exemplified by the Gorillapod brand, although there are off-brand imitators as well. They’re great in terms of flexibility and packing space, but you need to be extra careful when setting them up to ensure your precious camera gear doesn’t topple while shooting. If you’re planning a lot of nature photography where a superzoom lens is a must so as not to disturb the natives, you’ll need to ensure that you pack a heavy enough tripod to take your lens without tipping over — and again secure feet are a must.
For travel, the lightweight alternative to a tripod is to opt instead for a monopod.
You don’t get the full support of a tripod, so you’ll still need steady hands, but a decent monopod will take the brunt of your DSLR’s weight out of your hands, allowing you to concentrate on your photography. It’s not just a question of construction but also of size that’s worth bearing in mind when considering travel photography equipment. That has a bearing both on packing considerations, because ideally you don’t want to assign any of your precious photography gear to baggage handlers as checked-in luggage, but also the kinds of photography or videography you’re planning to do at your destination.
The combinations are near-endless, but within the travel sphere you’ve got to consider whether your tripod suits your plans for shooting, as well as any ad-hoc shots you might choose to take. So for example, a flat footed tripod may be fine if you’re shooting street scenes, but if you’re taking to the great outdoors, spike feet may be more suitable for purpose. A pistol grip on a monopod will add some bulk to your packing, but can make it much simpler to keep your camera steady while taking your shot.
Equally, while you’ll typically pay more for a monopod that has more segmentation, that may enable a smaller packing size, leaving more space for lenses, batteries, filters or other gadgets.
Nothing ruins travel photography faster than running out of power while you’re still partway through a shoot.
There’s a simple rule of thumb here. You should always pack for more power than you think you’ll need, because when you’re trekking through the hills you’re unlikely to come across either a power point or a handy camera shop selling batteries, but you are more likely to spot more points of inspiration than if you’d stayed at home.
At least two spare batteries — which typically won’t add much bulk to your travel pack — should be a bare minimum. If your camera can charge from a mobile-style charger then an external battery pack can also be a wise investment, although you’ve got to weight that against sparing some power to keep smartphones or other mobile gadgets properly charged.
Depending on your DSLR model, it may also pay to include a battery grip rather than (or if space permits, as well as) additional batteries, because they provide a simple all-in-one way to boost your camera’s shooting power while also extending the grip range.
The other thing that can stymie your shooting while out on the road is running out of storage space.
Pack a couple of SDHC cards, preferably class if you’re capable of shooting video (even if you think you won’t) at a bare minimum. There’s also the option of an Eye-Fi card if you want quick transfer and backup out of your camera while you’re out and about, or a full external storage solution such as WD’s MyPassPort Wireless, which includes an inbuilt SD card reader and one-button backup for your photos.
Bags and Straps
Just as there’s a million tripods to choose from, so too are there millions of carrying accessories to compliment your camera.
Your DSLR will have come with a basic functional strap, and at a simple level that should be enough to carry it around with, but standard camera straps can be quite fiddly to shift off your shoulder or neck when the perfect camera moment arrives. A more robust camera strap can make carrying a DSLR around for a long time while travelling considerably more comfortable, as well as offering additional features such as inbuilt tripod mount attachments to ensure a strong hold on your camera equipment.
Likewise, there are literally hundreds of bag combinations to choose from. In most travel situations you’re arguably better off with a backpack style case to enable simple movement rather than a full hard case, although for more extreme travel situations a genuine hard case might be your only option.
Great Support On the Go
The fundamental functionality of a monopod is its ability to create camera stability. It helps to reduce camera shake and ultimately lets you take a sharper shot. It is literally impossible to use slow shutter speed and take steady images without the use of a monopod.
Quick and Easy Setup
All you have to do to set up a monopod is to adjust the height and connect the camera to the connection plate. There is no fussing needed with the adjustment of the legs as you would have to do with a tripod. Pretty easy, right? Also, the quick release connection plate makes the connection or disconnection of the monopod from the camera quite effortless.
Travel Monopod Vs Regular Monopod
Since you can’t include all the accessories and attachments you normally shoot with while traveling, you’ll need to choose the most essential and useful accessories that allow you to travel light while still getting the job done. It’s all about flexibility and convenience. Taken as a whole, compact and lighter travel monopods are always preferable for travel over heavy and bulky, studio monopods.
Even though some travel photographers prefer metallic monopods due to their stability, lighter carbon fiber monopods can be better options compare to those heavy metallic monopods while traveling. However, it always come down to personal preferences and convenience. Try to stick with the attachments that you find functional in reference to your photography needs.
1.6lbs max/min: 16.34″/61.22″ max load: 55.1lbs
Come, all hail the king of the monopods! Not kidding! This next monopod is the most premium and feature-enabled monopod on my list today. According to Gitzo, no one understands the need of outdoor photographers better than they do. Regarding the construction and aesthetic values, Gitzo used the most conventional and practical design for this particular monopod targeted for traveling photographers. It is formulated with 6X Carbon Fiber design for an extremely light and stable monopod.
The leg lock is designed with Gitzo’s G-Lock locking system. This system results in extremely quick set up and a rigid leg lock. It sports a 6-section extending separator for compact portability. This monopod is also equipped with a self-locking removable rubber foot in addition to a belt clip. The ALR (Anti Leg Rotation) System by Gitzo will keep the monopod legs from spinning. It has a pretty high maximum load capacity at 55.1pounds with the weight of only 1.6pounds. The minimum and maximum heights are 16.3inches and 61.2inches respectively.
0.lbs min/max: 21.3″/67″ max load: 6.7 lbs
This Lightweight Monopod from Dolica is one of the best travel monopods for it’s value. It has lightweight structure and all the basic functionalities. This monopod is made of an ultra-lightweight aluminum alloy for easy mobility. This lightweight monopod weighs only 0.pounds and can support up to 6.pounds. It is equipped with four leg sections that can be extended up to 6inches with the minimum operating or folded height at 21.inches.
This monopod features retractable spiked rubber feet so that you can use this monopod on more slippery surfaces. It also includes a NBR foam grip on top for better handling. The built-in wrist strap is added for safety. It even comes with it’s very own carrying bag! This lightweight monopod is ideal for both indoor and outdoor photography.
1.4 lbs max/min: 16″/62″ max load: 20 lbs
A strong build, a compact frame, and lightweight structure, what more do you expect from a professional travel monopod? ePhotoinc To meet market demand, ePhotoinc developed this strong and lightweight travel monopod. This monopod is constructed with aluminum for a stronger and more rigid stability. It weights in at 1.pounds. Even with it’s lightweight structure, this monopod can support up to about 20 lbs of weight.
You have to twist left to loosen them up twist right to make them tight. With a dimension of 20 x 2.x 2.inches, it can reach a height of up to 6inches. This monopod can also be used as a video boom or sound boom. With its lightweight aluminum construction and 5-section extending separator with easy twist tightening, it’s an ideal monopod for outdoor, travel and timed shoots.
0.8 lbs max/min: 21.4″/67″ max load: 6.6 lbs
A ¼ inch universal thread mount is attached to this monopod, in addition to a built-in cushion grip and adjustable wrist strap. The cushion handle and sturdy design can keep the camera super stable. Thanks to the non-skid rubber feet and retractable spikes, you can place this monopod anywhere and everywhere while traveling and leave with crisp, sharp images.
For a highly functional travel monopod at an affordable price point, very few monopods can compete with the ‘MP100 67″ Professional Heavy Duty Monopod’ from Opteka. Opteka is one of the top brands in the field of converter lenses and filters for digital point-and-shoot cameras as well as telescopic lenses for SLR cameras.
No more fussing with blurry pictures or tired arms – with Opteka’s anodized aluminum monopod. The 4-section all-black looks pretty slick. This monopod also features a solid rubber grip, wrist carrying strap, quick action lever leg lock system with 45° flip, large 1.2-Inch camera or head platform with plastic cover and camera screw. Measuring in at x x 6inches, this monopod weighs only pound.
Opteka used their legendary artisanship and technological advances to create this professional monopod for the modern photographer. Whether shooting digital, film or compact video, you can follow the action with this monopod. Also, when you move your camera for a different view, you can reset its level in seconds. With 4-section all-black anodized aluminum alloy construction and 2inches minimum and 6inches maximum length in it is the best travel monopod in this price range.
0.88 lbs max/min: 16″/62″ max load: 22 lbs
Welcome to the premium and lightweight world of carbon fiber! If you’re sick of the cheap monopods that can’t hold your pro camera steady, then nothing can give you more satisfaction than carbon fiber monopods, which are lightweight yet feature a relatively high load capacity. Be it monopod, tripod, ball head or release plate, Sirui has been making some premium products with both aluminum and carbon fibers.
The wrist strap and cushion handgrip will help you to hold the camera and move comfortably. The folded height of this monopod measures up to 1inches. With 8X carbon fiber, a 6-section separator, and 0.8pounds of weight, this is a must buy if you are serious about travel photography.
Choosing The Right Head
Slik SH-736HD: This fluid-effect three-way pan head with quick release is all metal, and features pan-and-tilt drag controls separate from the pan/tilt handle locks. This allows the photographer to fine-tune the tightness of the movement based on the weight of the camera and lens. Weight: 1.lbs; load capacity: 1lbs.
Sunpak Compact Pistol Grip Ball Head: Made of lightweight aluminum and magnesium, with a rubber gripping surface, this pistol grip features a quick-release platform with double activated quick-release lock, and full 360˚ rotation. It also comes with three bubble levels and one bull’s-eye level. Weight: 0.7lbs; load capacity: 15.lbs.
Pistol grip head: Also known as a grip-handle head, this variation on the ball head greatly simplifies operation of the head by providing an oversized squeeze trigger that releases tension on the ball to allow movement in any direction, while letting go of the trigger locks the ball in place. The panning function, where provided, may be primarily intended as an aid to composing stitched panoramas. Even though the camera/lens appears balanced when the friction knob is loosened somewhat, it’s safest to set it to the maximum/locked position (unless there’s a separate locking function) to prevent creep or a drop. Some pistol grips require strong pressure to release the ball joint, which may not be suitable for arthritic hands or a weak grip. I would limit use to lenses no larger than 70-200mm f/with a tripod mount.
Gimbal head: This type of head, somewhat odd looking and usually costly, is relished by bird, wildlife, and action enthusiasts. In contrast to typical tripod usage, you never actually let go of the camera when shooting because the whole idea is to enable you to better and more smoothly track a flying bird or other fast-moving subject, owing to ultra-smooth panning movement in the head and the freely swinging camera seated or suspended in the mount. However, a gimbal head does require time to set up properly, as the camera/lens combo must be correctly balanced so that the head will remain stationary whether level or tilted. Head manufacturers may offer a gimbal conversion head that attaches to any top-quality ball head with an Arca-Swiss-type quick-release mount. work because the three-way geared movement is ultra-precise. What’s more, the head doesn’t need to be locked down, as the geared movement does that automatically.
Panoramic head/base: It could be as simple as a basic rotating platform for stitched panoramas. Etched markings indicate detent positions and may represent degrees or lens focal lengths, as applicable.
Leveling head and leveling ball/base: This device assists in leveling the camera, regardless of the terrain, thereby avoiding the need to splay the legs unevenly and possibly destabilize the tripod. It is especially handy for stitched panoramas.
How to spot a good tripod
The first step is to throw out that horrible plastic thing you got for free with your camera—it’s more frustrating than it is useful. What you should look for is a tripod from a well-known brand with excellent stability and good extras that hits the right price. The Vanguard Alta Pro meets all those criteria.
Let me take a moment to talk about what your tripod should be made out of, which is a tricky thing. Plastic probably won’t serve you well in a traditional tripod. Right now, the most popular materials are aluminum, carbon fiber, and, somewhat surprisingly, wood. Choosing the right kind for you is one of those common compromises. Pick two of the following three: weight, price, or vibration dampening.
Wood is pretty affordable and extremely good at absorbing vibrations, but it weighs a ton. Carbon fiber is light and stable, but you’ll certainly pay for it. Aluminum is affordable and fairly light but prone to channeling vibrations.
The other problem with carbon fiber is its fragility. It’s especially light, which makes it excellent for traveling, and it absorbs vibrations quite well. However, compared with many other materials, it lacks in sturdiness: Whereas aluminum might dent and bend from a sudden shock, carbon fiber can snap dramatically. In addition, its lightness isn’t always an advantage, as that makes for a generally less-stable platform to work with.
We also ignored wooden tripods because they’re too heavy to be practical in most applications.
Its reception was good enough for it to win the TIPA award for Best Accessory in 2009.
We found a shortage of reviews from larger publications but encountered a handful of decent reviews from photographers. The people at Camera Dojo praise how easily the user can adjust the center column to different angles, writing, “With one simple movement, you can easily and securely reposition the center column while maintaining it’s stability.” For an idea of how the column adjustment works, check out this photo review at Photography-on-the.net, which shows it off pretty well. In an older review, Kirk Norbury approved of its light weight and the flexibility of the center column, but he dinged it for being a little too long.
Long-term test notes
If you shoot with a small camera and don’t need anything big, I don’t think I can recommend the Joby GorillaPod strongly enough. There’s a reason GorillaPod designs have been so widely and repeatedly imitated—for cameras that aren’t too heavy, they’re fantastic. You can twist their legs to cling to just about anything, they’re small and light enough to carry around easily, and they’re perfect for use in bizarre situations.
The carbon-fiber legs will provide better vibration dampening than aluminum ones at a fraction of the weight—but at a higher cost, and with arguably worse toughness. But people who spend a lot of time lugging camera gear will appreciate the substantial weight savings.
A high-end ball head will offer significant, tangible benefits, too. It will offer better construction, last longer, allow smoother repositioning, lock tighter, and disturb your composition less when you adjust it.
For a slightly more pricey take, your other option is to look at variants of any of the aluminum tripods we’ve discussed here. Most of the manufacturers sell a carbon-fiber version of all of their legs, so if you run across a specific model that sounds really good, chances are pretty high that you can find both carbon-fiber and aluminum versions.
The lesser competition
It’s surprisingly hard to choose from the lineup of good midrange tripod legs. Frankly, any of a dozen very similar, excellent tripods would do the job well. In the end, the decision comes down to which models are missing certain features that our pick, the Vanguard Alta Pro, has. Sometimes it’s just a matter of one or two pieces of plastic.
The Manfrotto 055XPROB is extremely popular, but it lacks some of the features of the Vanguard. Its center column doesn’t lock to as many angles, and it omits a gear hook. The 055XPROB comes from the most popular tripod brand around, but it simply doesn’t offer the benefits that it should at its price. In its favor is a maximum height of 70.inches, but it’s also a bit heavy at 5.pounds.
Another strong competitor is the Benro A2970F. It supports an impressive maximum gear weight of 2pounds, though the hook on the center column doesn’t retract. It also has everything else you might like, including a carrying case, spiky bits to screw into the feet, and an adjustable center column that goes to just about any angle.
Legged Thing is a relatively young British company worth keeping an eye on. It primarily focuses on making carbon-fiber bodies, but it has also produced a range of magnesium-alloy options such as the X1.Adrian. The Adrian’s legs are a curious set, considering that the company is trying some interesting things with style and color, but it has too many leg segments, and reviews of Legged Thing products are mixed.
Lacking features but coming in at a lower price is the Slik 700DX. It won’t do anything fancy: The column doesn’t swivel or tilt, you get no fancy extras, and it’s a bit heavy at almost pounds. However, for the price you get an incredibly good, simple, stable tripod. Slik has a reputation as being the way to go if you’re seriously on a budget but in need of something that will serve you well through thick and thin. The 700DX has a great maximum height of 70 inches, and it will probably survive the apocalypse.
Another option seriously worth considering is the Oben AC-2320LA. However, despite sending multiple requests for a review unit, we weren’t able to get our hands on one during our previous round of tests. We’ll look into Oben’s offerings again when we next update this guide, but for now it isn’t a pick.
The Giottos YTL line is neat because it offers a redesigned central column that allows the legs to bind in closer. It’s a bit more expensive than our pick, though, and we’ve seen some complaints about quality. While it’s a bit bigger and heavier than our current pick, it’s also capable of growing a fair amount taller and holding heavier gear. However, if you want to use spiked legs for uneven terrain, you have to pay extra for pieces to swap them out, which tacks a substantial amount onto the price.
In the end, the only other tripod we could truly test our pick against was the Giottos MTL9360B/MT9360. The MT variant has a twist lock and a carrying case, whereas the MTL version has flip locks and no case; otherwise the two are nearly identical. The Vanguard Alta Pro and these Giottos models are extremely similar, so I pit the MT9360 against the Alta Pro.
On a feature-to-feature basis, the tripods are nearly identical. Both have the all-important spring-loaded hook and adjustable center column. The Giottos model has a better carrying case, but it also has twist locks on the legs, which I don’t like as much since they’re slower to deploy than flips. If you want flip-lock legs on a Giottos tripod, you have to get the MTL version, which doesn’t come with a carrying bag—a bizarre exclusion. Both brands’ products come with tools for making adjustments to your tripod. The Giottos model features spiked feet, but to get at them you have to remove the rubber tips using a special tool. However, it also comes with a specially designed miniature alternate central column, which you can swap out with the main one to lower the whole rig closer to the ground.
In my mind, the major differences between our pick and the Giottos are twofold: The Vanguard Alta Pro has fewer leg sections, which means it’s sturdier and faster to set up—and it’s only inches longer when collapsed. All in all, I found the Vanguard easier to handle, the legs simpler to adjust, and the configuration of the tripod generally more straightforward. I liked having separate controls for extending and panning the center column, as well as seeing the way they handle adjustments of the central column’s angle. To me, anyway, the Vanguard is easier and more comfortable to use all around.
Both the Manfrotto 190 series and 05series lack gear hooks and convertible feet, so they don’t bring quite as much to the table as our main pick.
In March 2014, Giottos announced a productwide renaming scheme, as well as a new line of tripods called Air. But as of April 2016, neither the new names nor the new models seem to have surfaced.
The models in the Gitzo Mountaineer line and the Benro Combination Series are all carbon fiber, so we skipped them for the reasons I discussed earlier. They also lack a swiveling center column.
The 3Pod Orbit Section Aluminum Tripod (sold exclusively through Adorama) offers an almost identical feature set to that of the Vanguard Alta Pro, for a very similar price. But it lacks the Vanguard’s retractable gear hook, an incredibly useful tool for stabilizing your tripod further.
The SBH-100 is a well-regarded ball head and one of the more affordable models to feature a pan lock, which allows you to rotate the camera horizontally while it’s otherwise fixed. It can also handle 2pounds of gear, which is a lot. This way you’re limited only by what the tripod can hold, not the head. It also includes two spirit levels for easy alignment with the horizon in each direction.
The K and F performs exemplary not only in terms of weight capacity but also on the portability front. This tripod has a folded size of 19.2inches and weighs 4.3lbs only with the head. These measurements mean that you can slide the tripod into your camera bag and carry everything easily.
Comes with a ball head
The best part with the TM2534T camera tripod is that it ships with a ball head in place. However simple this may sound, it eliminates the inconvenience of having to wait a few days longer for a head to be shipped separately.
Another thing that I like about this model is that unlike most low-end units, it does not cap your creativity. The metallic ball head, for instance, rotates 360 degrees allowing you to capture stunning panoramic shots.
The center column that supports the head can also be used either horizontally or vertically. In its vertical position, this column allows low shooting angles thereby bringing additional shooting options.
High loading performance
With the ability to support up to 17.pounds of camera weight, the VEO 265AB might be an ideal option if you are looking for the best travel tripod for DSLRs. This loading capacity also means that your telephoto lenses are safe on it.
Macro-photography made possible
This tripod comes with a fluid-like camera head with a quick-release plate that accommodates different types of cameras from various brands. This head’s ability to rotate 360 degrees plus the hexagon-shaped column that makes 0-180 degrees allow you to make special wide-angle shots with relative ease.
Universal ball head design
Despite its low price, this tripod comes ready to use with a universal head that will take about any of your cameras. This universal head coupled with the high weight capacity means that even your future cameras might be supported by this tripod with good care.
Monopods give you much smoother video.
When I go backpacking, my monopod doubles as a lightweight walking stick. It has a nice soft cushion grip and has the option of using the rubber pad or the steal tip on the bottom. Wildlife and sports photographers find it much easier to pick up from one spot and move to another.
Any action photography like photographing birds in flight, race cars or quickly moving athletes is accomplished better by the ease of rotating your monopod instantly to follow the action.
When using a telephoto setting or a long lens, camera movement is magnified, so the use of a monopod may help you avoid the common photo mistake of a blurry image that you would otherwise get with a hand held photo.
Deep Depth of Field
Another advantage of using a monopod is when you are in a small area, such as in a crowd of people or a confined space. It may not be feasible to spread out the three legs of a tripod.
Before you know it, you may have people asking you for digital photography tips too.
With a monopod you cannot accomplish the same degree of stability as a tripod. One leg is not as good as three.
You are stuck with a horizontal photo composition unless you add a rotating head to turn your camera on its side.
I can avoid this problem when I am shooting portraits because my Canon 70-200 lens has a mount ring on the lens barrel that mounts to the monopod and permits me to rotate the camera to any exact angle I wish.
It’s not possible to let go of your camera when it’s mounted on a monopod. An exception to this is the video monopod that has three small legs and can be stand alone if you use caution.
With a tripod, you can walk away, adjust your subject, your background or your lighting and your camera has not moved at all. Once you’ve composed your photo of a stationary subject, with a tripod you can keep an eye on your subject without looking through the camera.
With a monopod you must look through your viewfinder or at your camera screen to maintain a good composition while holding your monopod and taking the photo.
I’ve never owned a monopod with feet. There are mixed reviews.Some of the monopod reviews of the feet complain that they are quite flimsy and rattle around too much.
The monopod models that only have one foot have very questionable value.
With higher priced models, the feet are heavier and definitely had some stability over a simple one-legged monopod. Essentially what you have is a scaled-down tripod with small legs and a large adjustable center leg.
The Rocketfish ball-head pictured here is the one I use on my monopod as well as my Rocketfish lightweight carbon fiber tripod.
Opteka Monopod Reviews. Reviews of the features, pros and cons of Opteka Monopods.
Manfrotto-Bogen Monopods – Reviews. Higher quality and higher priced line of Manfrotto and Bogen Monopods.
Slik Monopods – Reviews. Slik has won many prestigious design awards and its designs have been copied many times.
Gitzo Monopods. Gitzo makes the best monopods on the planet in terms of the materials, precision workmanship and manufacturing.
Review of the Armpod Monopod. This is a review of a uniquely designed monopod, made for video photographers who don’t want to use a regular monopod or tripod.
Extend to a reasonable height
When stretched out, it should extend to atleast 50 inches before the center column is stretched out (preferably 60 inches when the head is mounted). This will let you extend the tripod to an average eye level height of around 60 inches without necessarily needing to extend center column.
The importance of not needing to extend the centre column comes down to stability in windy conditions. It’s worth noting that the tripod will be least stable when the center column is fully extended and more stable when all the components have not been stretched out.
Mounting head that you can trust
For most people photographing with a micro 4/3, mirorless or light DSLR setup, the head which comes with a travel tripod will be more than sufficient. For those looking to shoot with a DSLR and telephoto or other heavier setups, you may want to consider a different head which is more sturdier and able to confidently hold the extra weight. With that said, if you’re looking at photographing with a heavy setup then maybe a travel tripod isn’t for you.
Tripods and Monopods
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET’s great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums’ Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
The History of Selfie Stick
Once upon a time, an insecure man and his wife tried to take a photo of themselves but had some trouble with the timing of it all. They were too close to the lens in order to press the button and eventually came up with a remote shutter such as sticks and cables. The year was 192Even back then, the selfie stick was in use. Today we readjusted, tried different heights and angles, but the awkward stretched out look of the arm was unavoidable. The selfie stick has been around longer than you might have expected.
In the 80’s a “telescopic extender” was created and patented in the United states. And a book came out called “10Un-Useless Japanese Inventions” which featured the selfie stick. In 201Time Magazine released an issue with “The 2best inventions of 2014” and guess what made the cut? That’s right… the good ole selfie stick.
Why is there a selfie stick? When we take our own photo we can sometimes be too close to the lens making it a very unflattering photo. Quite often there are things in the background we’d like seen as well as our face. And we all know how important the angle of a camera is. The most flattering self photography is taken from above. These are all the reasons why the Selfie stick was invented.
How to Use the Selfie Stick
You attach the stick to your cellphone or your camera at the end of it, hold it up and press a button on the handle of the stick which will then snap the photo. Some are even voice activated. You can also set a timer on your camera so you don’t have to worry about pressing any buttons.
Who to Get a Selfie Stick For
And to those of you who receive this stick as a gift, use it with caution. People are getting smacked in the face by these things all over the place. Everyone’s first priority should NOT be to take the “ultimate selfie”, but if you’re going to use the stick, at least use it wisely.
What to Look for in a Selfie Stick
Different materials are used for different sticks which changes the strength ability. Some coil cables can support up to 3.3lbs of weight. Most of the monopods are made with stainless steel and rubber grips. Metal and silicone. What type of Mount do you need? One that will adjust to fit a smartphone or a GoPro? Or even a digital camera.
A lot of the stick mounts can adjust to fit all kinds of sizes for all kids of devices. When you know what device(s) you need your selfie stick for, then you can purchase based on their adjustment capabilities. The last thing you want is to buy a selfie stick that won’t fit your camera! The standard is a ¼” screw camera mount.
There are some great apps out there for Android and Apple that help you get the best out of your selfie stick photo session.
SelfiShop Camera – With “monopod connection Wizard” at your fingertips, you can zoom in and out, change cameras and adjust tone very easily. The reviews for this app are overall very positive. Requires Android version 2.3+.
Shake! Selfie Stick – As if getting a selfie stick in the first place wasn’t enough of a lazy way to take a selfie, now you don’t even have to stretch your arm! With this app, you merely shake the stick and the picture is taken.
The GoPro Stick
The Most Unique Selfie Sticks
If you’re gonna use a selfie stick, there are some very different, creative looking types that will really show you to be the expert self photographer! Accmor Rhythm Pro Bluetooth Selfie Stick GoPro Monopod with Tripod Stand is a favorite. Can get as small as 12”. It has a handy mid pole grip which allows you to have closer access to the actual lens. Not only can it be used as a selfie stick, but it has tripod legs which can set up a nice, tall, stable shot for you.
The length of your selfie stick pole can make or break the purpose of even having a selfie stick to begin with. But sometimes a shorter stretch is just what you need for certain types of photos. The perfect angle begins with the stretch size.
The Longest stretch: Stealth iPoleXL. Goes up to a whopping feet! That’s about two Oompa Loompas standing on top of each other!! The collapse isn’t exactly tiny, so it doesn’t make it the most convenient travel item. Made with aluminum and has a ¼”-20 camera screw.
The underwater selfie sticks and poles normally do not have Bluetooth or wifi. The best underwater product, as we mentioned above, is the GoPro pole. Extends to 30” and has a sturdy silicone grip so it won’t slip out of your hands under the sea. Has a strong mount to hold lighter cameras and is andodized-aluminum built.
The SeaLife Aquapod mini is a great stick to have underwater because it doesn’t have the length of most and is easier to access and handle under diving circumstances. It can stretch up to 38” in length.
Collapsed Size is the way long the tripod measures with everything folded up. That is essential especially if you traveling long and should package the pod that is ‘ in a bag. This amount will inform you if it’ll fit.
Size – Maximum Height Expansion is the way tall the tripod will stand when every leg is and the center post (a tube the camera sits on, generally flexible) is lifted as far as it is going to go.
Load Capacity – Don’t obnubilate weight with Maximum Load Capacity. The weight is how much the tripod weighs. The Utmost Load Capacity is the heftiest camera and lens combination the tripod (or tripod head) can handle. In case you place a camera that’s heavier compared to Maximum Load Capacity on a tripod, you run the possibility of a piece breaking or collapsing, causing damage to both the tripod and the camera. It ’s significant to know your camera weighs with its most heavy lens and flash attached, and buy a tripod that can manage it.
Head Sort – Most tripods include a head, but nevertheless, it may not function as the ideal one for your own intentions.
Feet – Leg locks are available in Twist (twist the leg to pull it out, twist it in reverse to lock it in location), Lever (open a lever to pull a leg out, shut it to lock it) and custom alternatives.
Common Material – (Which is what most of the tripod is created of) is either plastic (the least inexpensive, it’s not quite long-lasting), aluminum (economical and most generally employed, but in heavy duty tripods can add a great deal of weight), carbon fiber (a comparatively new stuff for tripods, it’s durable, lightweight, and flexible–ideal for the majority of uses–but it’ll cost ya), and wood (normally used by nature photographers who don’t mind toting large-format cameras).
We can divide them into five basic groups: Pocket, Tabletop, Mobile, Medium Duty, and Hardy Obligation/Studio while you will find many different kinds of tripods. Their primary applications are suggested by the category names. Follow the blue links to browse each category to find the best Tripod prices at TransFilm.
Journey Tripods will bring your camera well off the bottom, but fail to an easy-to-carry size. Compact video cameras could also be properly used on these tripods. But be cautious should you make use of a very long zoom or telelens that is substantial, particularly if it’s front heavy– the camera could be caused by it to tip over! Most to just shy of eye-level, but the trade-off is incredible portability.
Hint: Should you prize lightweight yet desire a sturdy stage, check into the models which have carbon fiber legs. They join the very best of both worlds, and they have a tendency to be a little more pricey although they’re worth it.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your monopods wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of monopods
- №1 — Sirui SUP204SR Photo/Video Monopod
- №2 — AmazonBasics 67-Inch Monopod
- №3 — Yunteng VCT-288 Photography Tripod Monopod WIth Fluid Pan Head Quick Release Plate And Unipod Holder for Canon Nikon DSLR Cameras