If you regularly shoot outdoors, especially in nature, chances are you’re aware of the limitations of a photo tripod. While tripods provide unparalleled stability and support, they’re not always practical if you are, for example, trudging through a marsh trying to capture footage of an exotic bird. For travelers, tripods can take up a lot of space in a bag, and they’re a hassle to set up. Plus, tripods are often forbidden in crowded public places. If you’re a photographer or videographer who’s constantly on the move in search of the perfect shot, it’s worth considering a monopod.
A monopod is an extendable rod that attaches to your SLR or point-and-shoot, as well as to many other kinds of cameras. The best-known kind of monopod among non-photographers is a selfie stick, but professional monopods are designed with stability, security, and flexibility in mind, and they’re often made of durable but lightweight materials like carbon fiber. They also have to be able to support the often substantial weight of a camera. After all, no photographer is going to take a chance attaching their thousand-dollar camera to something that’s as secure as a curtain rod with duct tape on it. That’s why it’s often worth spending a little extra.
A monopod can’t provide the level of stability that a tripod can, but they can still be propped up on the ground to capture a still shot. This vastly reduces shakiness over handheld photography. While the great outdoors never sits still, you can at least invest in something that’ll make your camera as still as possible for your next nature photoshoot.
1. SIRUI Monopod
This monopod is made from durable, lightweight carbon fiber, which makes it great to travel with. It has six extendable sections, making it easy to get to the right height. The padded grip and lanyard-style wrist strap make it comfortable to hold.
Pros: Lightweight carbon fiber construction, six extending parts with secure twist locks.
Cons: Twist-lock design can be more time consuming than flip locks.
2. Benro Aluminum 3 Series Flip-Lock Monopod
This monopod can be operated as a monopod, but it also has three mini fold-out legs, combining the best features of a monopod and a tripod. It has four extending sections that are secured by quick-release flip-locks.
Pros: Has three detachable legs capable of functioning as a mini tripod.
Cons: Joints can become loose over time, and will need to be tightened.
3. AmazonBasics 67-Inch Monopod
Amazon’s in-house brands have been go-to’s for people looking to save money while getting a decently made product. This monopod has four sections that are secured with snap-locks, and the grip is cushioned and has a wrist lanyard. Plus, it comes in a carrying bag with a shoulder strap.
Pros: Considerably less expensive than comparable options, comes with a carrying bag.
Cons: Doesn’t have an adjustable head, which would need to be bought separately.