Whether you’re just getting into photography as an amateur or hobbyist, or you’re an experienced photographer with practice, reputation, and a large portfolio, one of the most important pieces of equipment for you to own is a monopod. Having a good quality camera, access to beautiful subjects, and an eye for lining up the perfect shot - those things are far less valuable if the camera isn’t still when it comes time to take a picture. Monopods allow you to take steady shots with less hassle and in more places than a full tripod. If you’re looking for steadier photos without overloading your gear bag with heavy equipment, here are some recommendations to help you find the best monopod to meet all of your photography needs.
Gitzo GM5540 Mountaineer 6x Carbon Fiber Monopod
The Gitzo GM5540 Mountaineer 6x Carbon Fiber Monopod (retail $333) is a solid and strong monopod choice. This monopod’s main benefits are its sturdiness and strength. It is built with a light carbon fiber frame and packs down to just 21.5 inches in length for easy portability. It has six extensible sections that use a twist-lock mechanism called the “G-Lock” to extend its height to nearly 64 inches. It weighs just over a pound and a third, and it supports a nearly 40 pound camera and lens load. Because of its price, however, the Gizto GM5540 Mountaineer may not be the best for a hobbyist or starter, but it is a strong, reliable, and stable monopod.
Manfrotto 685B Neotec
The Manfrotto 685B Neotec (retail $189) is an excellent monopod for a wide variety of uses. It has a foot pedal at the base, allowing users to quickly and conveniently increase the height of the monopod with only one hand, extending it up to 66 inches. It collapses down to a length of just under thirty inches. The base also has a suction cup for extra stability. The height lock has a safety release to prevent the user from accidentally lowering the height during use. This monopod is sturdy, supporting a 17 pound load. Though it’s not the most compact monopod when it is collapsed, the Manfrotto 685B Neotec is an excellent monopod for users with medium weight cameras and lenses who appreciate durability and the convenience of one-handed operation.
Canon Monopod 100
The Canon Monopod 100 (retail $30-40) makes an excellent starter monopod for a beginning user, hobbyist, or bargain hunter. Its four section body extends up to 64 inches and collapses down to just over 21 inches. This monopod uses flip locks to lock the leg segments in place. It weighs a little more than a pound and supports a camera and lens up to 4.4 pounds. It has a rubberized grip and a wrist strap as well. The Canon Monopod 100 is good for most uses, especially for an amateur or hobbyist. It is a lighter duty monopod, however, and isn’t ideal for supporting heavier lenses and cameras.