Learning About Monopods
Monopods provide support for cameras and help photographers steady their shots. They also help take the weight off heavy cameras and long lenses. This benefit reduces fatigue after long shooting sessions. While similar to selfie sticks and extension shooting poles, they’re usually sturdier, and meant to rest on the ground.
What's a Camera Monopod?
Also known as a unipod, this one-legged support is also a collapsible pole. This photography accessory steadies a mounted camera by eliminating vertical motion. Leaning it against solid objects, such as a wall, turns the single-leg pole into a makeshift bipod that also dampens shakiness in the horizontal axis. Stabilizing cameras in this way eliminates blurry shots. The best monopods for video capture also reduce jerkiness in footage. By serving as a stable platform, a unipod makes it easier to shoot sharp images and videos at slow shutter speeds and with long-focus lenses.
How Do Monopods Compare to Tripods?
They’re lighter and more compact than tripods, and better suited for on-the-go photography. They’re also easier to pack when traveling, and ideal for outdoor photography. Sports and wildlife photographers who spend a lot of time shooting in one place choose unipods for these reasons. Some of the best monopods also double as walking and hiking sticks. These trekking poles have capped and threaded tops that fit monopod heads.
A monopod is easier to deploy than a tripod. With three legs to spread out, setting up a tripod takes longer. Therefore, unipods are better for quick action shots. However, having three legs make tripods more stable. This design locks cameras firmly in one position and makes tripods better for studio and time-lapse photography.
How to Choose a Monopod
The three key features to consider are weight capacity, height, and construction. The most common materials used for camera monopods are aluminum and carbon fiber. Aluminum is the more affordable option. It’s a strong, lightweight metal. Carbon fiber is a tough material that’s also strong, lightweight, and durable. A monopod’s weight rating is the maximum weight it can bear without buckling. Choose one with a higher rating than the combined weights of your biggest camera, lens, and battery grip. Consider those with the highest weight capacities when looking for monopods for DSLR cameras.
Look for a unit with a maximum height that puts its top at your eye level. You may also consider the pole’s folded length to determine whether it’s short enough to go in your camera bag. The monopod head is another feature to consider. Besides flat heads, the most common ones are ball, fluid, and pan-and-tilt. Ball heads add flexibility and allow you to point your camera wherever you'd like. Pan-and-tilt heads allow multi-axis movements. Fluid heads are perfect for video monopods, as they enable smooth moving shots by providing fine control over pan and tilt.
Get a monopod to keep your camera steady, and to support heavy photography equipment. Check the wide selection at B&H Photo and Video to find the perfect monopod for your cameras and lenses.