Monopod suggestions...

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by SteveG, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. SteveG

    SteveG Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2013
    I've been enjoying hiking with my e-m5 but have been a little frustrated at my inability to hold the camera still, especially after getting tired. So I'm looking for suggestions for a lightweight and relatively inexpensive Monopod. There are so many choices and I've never used one to know what I should be looking for other than a head that can tilt maybe. Any suggestions would be appreciated
  2. greyelm

    greyelm Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2010
    Real Name:
    I enjoy going for country walks with my camera and I use a collapsible walking stick/ monopod with an adjustable head. There are loads on eBay and amazon for 20 dollars or less. The walking stick adjusts just like any other hiking pole and gives the camera that extra bit of stability when required.

    As they are so cheap why not just get one to see if it suits your requirements.
  3. dlew

    dlew Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    Real Name:
    i second that. sounds like a hiking/walking stick monopod will work for you. something like this but maybe not from this link if you want to keep costs down.

    Monopod Trekking Pole
  4. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Real Name:
    SIRUI P326. Very lightweight carbon. All five leg locks can be disenaged at once. Sturdy and well built for under $100. I like it so much I've decided to order a Sirui tripod too.
  5. Al.

    Al. Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
    Real Name:
    I saw a good idea the other day, a chap with a monopod and a bean bag attached on the top, when he saw his shot, placed the monopod and rested the camera on top , it looked very stable and no fiddling about trying to screw a camera on
  6. Danny_SWE

    Danny_SWE Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 30, 2013
    Sweden (Gothenburg)
    I have this Triopo GT-3230X8C. Carbon fibre with ball head. 4-part leg which makes it compact for travelling. A bag is included also. Feels maybe a little overkill for the MFT-system but if you use longer tele with it you will certainly appreciate the size. Also good for tall people because it's quite high, I am 180 cm and can use it quite ok without the last part of the legs extended (better stability w/o that last part).

    (sidenote: I got some deal with the 12-35/2.8 WITH this tripod, really great!)

    /EDIT: ahh... sorry man!! I read wrong, this was a MONOpod thread :( well, actually one leg can be unscrewed and used as monopod also, very versatile tripod this.

  7. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have weak ankles that give out so I rely on this:

    Series 1 Monotrek 3 Section GM1130MT - Monotrek Monopods | Gitzo

    You may find better options at better prices out there but it should give you an idea. Mine was bought as a last minute purchase when we decided to go on a long urban / nature hike on a vacation. I modified mine to have a rubber tip using rubber hoses from an automotive store. I can pull the rubber tip off when we head out to nature trails.

    My other "real" monopod weighs next to nothing. Its a 5 section carbon monopod from Gitzo. Expensive but great quality and weight. Its a (short collapsed) 5 section so it fits in my bags quite easily. I do not recommend using any monopod as a walking stick... ESPECIALLY carbon. If carbon shatters, it creates rather sharp shards that can easily penetrate like a knife.

    I usually carry large rubber bands or "bongo ties". Using my monopods, I can quickly make a tripod using sticks.
  8. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Real Name:
    I bought this monopod for $100. I am thrilled with it.

    Gitzo GM2561T Traveler 6x Carbon Fiber Monopod
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    new? that's a steal...

    Originally $250 IIRC... I think they have dropped since the newer version is been out.
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    I'll give you some considerations, lessons learned from traveling extensively with monopods:

    Collapsed length is important. Weight is important. If it's bulky or heavy, you won't carry it as often, at which point you might as well have not bought it. A collapsed length of about 16" is attainable. Anything much beyond 22" collapsed length won't fit in a standard carry-on bag, a problem with many trekking poles.

    Height is important. The monopod should bring your camera nearly to eye level, leaving you comfortable and not bent over when you are shooting. This is the weakness of most trekking pole/wannabe monopods that I have seen. They don't extend far enough.

    You need a ball head. Cheap is fine. Cheap usually means sticky and hard to use making small adjustments. But the nature of the monopod is that you make those adjustments by tilting and twisting the pole, so you can go cheap and light on the ball head.

    You need a quick-release system. Trying to screw a 1/4"-20 stud into the bottom of the camera, especially when the stud is on a ball head is both time-consuming and frustrating.

    You need a convertible tip. Soft to use indoors on floors and in most outdoor situations, plus a spike, occasionally needed for rocks, etc.

    Like any walking stick, stiffness is important. IIRC the mechanical engineers will tell you that the stiffness of a hollow column goes up at something like the fourth power of diameter. Takeway: fat is better, particularly in the 5- and 6- section monopods where the last tube is necessarily much smaller than the first.

    For a ball head I am using a Velbon QHD-41Q, which has a quick release. If I were starting over, I would look at the Manfrotto balls with the RC2 quick release. There are several. Buy the smallest.

    DO NOT BUY the stupid Manfrotto 234 monopod head unless you are shooting a square format camera or, I guess, landscape format video.

    I would also avoid the Arca-Swiss QR system. This is a great system for studio work, but all the clamps/bases I have seen have something to be manipulated in order to lock the camera in place. If you have three hands this is not a problem. For those of us with two hands, this is a recipe for dropping something. Both the Velbon and the RC2 bases automatically snap closed when the QR plate is inserted. Their plates are much smaller than the Arca-Swiss plates as well. Remember the A-S system was designed for Hassies and larger, not for 35mm and smaller.

    My favorite monopod was a 5-section Gitzo aluminum monopod that I found on eBay. Short, fat, light, ... But it's NLA from Gitzo and very rare on eBay. None of the current offerings are as short.[​IMG]

    I am now using a Benro monopod that's part of a convertible tripod. (Benro C2192) This cuts weight because I don't have to carry a separate monopod, but probably it's not what you need.

    One I have looked at carefully and recommended in a magazine article was a 5-section Promaster 7840 that got close to 16" collapsed and had twist type leg locks. I have not actually used this one, however. (I don't like lever style locks, though they are slightly faster, because they are prone to catch on things. YMMV)

  11. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
  12. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Real Name:
    Yes, I like to be one step behind and one step ahead with the wallet.


  13. garfield_cz

    garfield_cz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2011
    Czech Republic
    Real Name:
    I can recommend small UltraPod II tripod attached to top of tourist walking pole. You will get bit short yet fully functional monopod with adjustable head. Usually I use Ultrapod separately staying on big rock, but thanks to Velcro it can be quickly attached to branch or railing :thumbup:
  14. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Real Name:
    Richard Elliott
    A monopod alternative is to put a 1/4" eyebolt on the end of a strong cord, screw bolt into tripod socket, step on rope, pull up and shoot. This can give you additional stability you can carry anywhere and little cost. I had one many years ago and found it handy but misplaced it and have been meaning to make a new one.

    There are also commercial ones out there as well called the Steadepod, though it seems to get mediocre reviews: SteadePod Camera Stabilizer for Still or Video Cameras: Camera & Photo
  15. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Very nice. Good to be on the "correct" side of the depreciation equation.