Without stability, images can turn out unfocused and blurry. Having some sort of camera support, whether a tripod or a monopod, is absolutely essential for a photographer.
While most of us know what a tripod is, a monopod is exactly what it sounds like – a tripod with only one leg. This may not make sense to some, and in certain situations, a monopod might be outright silly. How can a monopod be more useful than a tripod? In what situations should you choose a monopod?
Sometimes your camera kit can be particularly large and heavy. This is especially true for wildlife or sports photographers shooting with long heavy zoom lenses. If weight is your main hindrance, a monopod sounds like a good solution. If your problem is low-light and long shutter speeds, then a tripod is going to be more useful to you.
A good sturdy tripod may provide more image stability, but they are much bulkier, often difficult to transport, and harder to deploy. By the time you successfully set up all this equipment using a tripod, someone with a monopod will have already taken their shot and moved on to the next subject.
Monopods are simple, lightweight, and easy to use. Though tripods are praised for their superior stability, monopods can perform just as well when used properly. This is why journalists, travelers, and wildlife photographers prefer using monopods while they’re on the go. The compact size of a monopod not only makes carrying it a breeze but also makes setup much less complicated.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best monopods out there so you can choose one for yourself. No matter what your need or budget, there’s a monopod in here for everyone!
1. 3 Legged Thing ALAN Professional Monopod (Overall Winner)
The 3 Legged Thing ALAN is a professional monopod that outshines all its contenders in terms of performance and durability. Formed from 100 percent pure carbon fiber and aircraft-grade alloys, the ALAN monopod is lightweight at only 0.6kg. This monopod is also robust, with a maximum load capacity of a massive 60kg! So you can be absolutely certain of 3 Legged Things’s ability to support your gear!
The ALAN can be used as a camera boom or a microphone – so it can suit multiple needs. However, this monopod happens to be one of the pricier monopods and is not suited for everyone since it can only extend to 58.7 inches. The ALAN is ideal for action and sports photography, as well as stabilization for videographers.
Brand new from Manfrotto is the XPRO. The XPRO is a professional monopod designed for photographers who want an expanded their shooting range by leveraging the heights of their monopods.
The Manfrotto XPRO Carbon Fiber 5-Section Monopod is rigid, portable, and boasts better absorption of micro-movements for excellent image quality. Made with 100 percent carbon fiber, the Manfrotto XPRO is sleek and weighs only 0.7kg.
Its Quick Power Lock (QPL) system is an ergonomic mechanism that strongly locks all levers to eliminate undesired jerky movements for a clearer, more focused image. The Manfrotto also has a new rubber leg warmer that ensures fast and secure movement and reduces the chances of the monopod slipping from your hands.
The XPRO is easy to carry with a height of only 16 inches when folded and can reach a height of 69 inches when extended. It can carry a weight of 11 lb and has three retractable feet which allow even better image stability.
This monopod is compatible with Manfrotto’s full fluid base (MVMXPROBASE) and enables you to convert your photo monopod into a full-fledged video monopod.
3. Sirui P-326
The Sirui P-326 is not only incredibly lightweight, weighing less than a pound, but it is also ultra-compact, folding to only 15.6 inches and opening up to a whopping 61.4 inches. So carrying it around is quite easy. The monopod is made with eight layers of 100 percent carbon fiber and contains a retractable stainless steel spike with a foam grip on top for extra hold.
The foam grip makes this monopod easy to use in wet or cold weather, ensuring a firm hold. The Sirui P-326 is robust and corrosion-resistant. This monopod is great for travel, sports/action, landscape, and wildlife photography.
The Sirui P-326 has a five-stage leg extension for adjusting it to the ideal working height. The mounting plate comes with a double-headed, reversible screw that accommodates 1/4″ and 3/8″ tripod sockets.
Designed for easy operation and longevity, the iFootage Cobra 2 C120 monopod is a Red Dot Design Award Winner and boasts three adjustable feet. iFootage’s patented quick release system is included in this new 3-in-1 monopod. A quick-release plate and removable tripod stand provide three options:
- Fixed video monopod with adjustable feet
- Portable monopod
- Low angle camera pod for a multitude of uses.
It has a compact design with a folded height of 28 inches and an extended height of 71 inches. The iFootage Cobra 2 C120 also has an award-winning buckle design which makes it very easy to switch between the two heights. Made of premium carbon fiber, this lightweight monopod weighs only 2.98lbs and can carry a maximum load of 22lbs.
The best feature of this monopod is its three-footed pivoted base that enables 360° swiveling and 90° tilting in all directions. This feature makes the Cobra 2 C120 excellent for both taking pictures and making well-focused, clear videos.
The Libec HFMP is an aluminum, robust, professional video monopod. It has a dual base video head and is specially designed for free-stand operations. The monopod has a foldable height of 29 inches which extends to 69.29 inches.
Though not as compact as some of the other monopods, the Libec HFMP makes up for what it lacks through the numerous extra features it carries. One such feature is the Libec ZFC-L Zoom and Focus Control for LANC Video Cameras. It has a payload of 8kg and weighs only 1.8kg.
The video monopod is designed for hands-free operations and has a free-stand base with an innovative Step Lock/Release Foot Pedal which instantly switches from shooting mode to a locked vertical position.
With the HFMP, you can multi-task and make equipment adjustments in between shots, without having to put the monopod down or lean it against a wall. A built-in lubricated ball joint system aids in capturing smooth panoramic shots. The monopod’s user-friendly folding legs also help in swift setups.
The Benro MAD38C Adventure 8X Carbon Fiber Monopod combines classic design with new-age materials to bring you an amazing monopod. The MAD38C incorporates flip lever locks for easy deployment and simple packing. This monopod is made of 8X carbon fiber and has four section tubes which extend to a maximum height of 62.4 inches.
It weighs only 1.1 lbs but can support a weight of 35.3 lbs. A stable vari-angled rubberized foot expands shooting angle options while providing optimal stability. The foot itself is dampened a bit, so it’s not wobbly at all.
Light and travel-friendly, this monopod is ideal for shooting subjects at a distance since it can support heavy pro-spec DSLRs and long lenses. However, its use is not limited to shooting from a distance. This monopod is versatile enough to be used by all sorts of photographers.
7. Joby GripTight PRO TelePod (Budget Winner)
A versatile device, the Joby GripTight PRO TelePod is more than just a simple monopod. This device can be used as a handgrip, monopod, elevated stand, or even as a miniature tripod and has attachments for both mobiles and cameras!
The TelePod PRO is an incredibly versatile contraption. However, it’s mainly aimed at vloggers, bloggers, and travelers. The monopod’s Bluetooth Impulse remote shutter allows you to take shots from a distance. Since its maximum load capacity is only one kilogram, you can’t expect to mount anything more than your cellular devices or small cameras.
Joby’s GripTight PRO TelePod ensures great stability even on uneven surfaces and during high winds. Its legs adjust into three positions and even flatten completely.
The GripTight PRO Telepod is also budget-friendly! So if you need a monopod immediately, with no time to save up, this is the one you should consider. The Joby TelePod is extremely lightweight as well making it quite easy to carry around while traveling.
Choosing the Best Monopods
Since we’ve established the necessity of having a reliable camera stand for all photographers, the next step for you is to choose the one best suited to your situation. There’s a wide variety of monopods on the market today, as you can tell from our list.
In order to decide which one is the best for you, you need to consider your budget, space, and purpose. After all, you need to buy a monopod that suits the type of photography you do and that you can carry around easily as well!