We look at the best monopods on the market right now, whether you’re shooting stills or video, or both
Striking a balance between support and portability, monopods are perfect for action photographers or run-and-gun filmmakers who need something more fluid than a bulky or cumbersome tripod. There are plenty of monopods on the market, from a range of reliable manufacturers, but it can be confusing to sort through the range to find what you need.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to our favourite monopods on the market right now, from low-budget bargains to premium pro gear. Let’s get cracking...
1. Manfrotto Element Monopod Aluminium - Red (£34.95)
Manfrotto may be synonymous with high-quality, but that doesn’t mean shelling out an arm and a leg for a great accessory. This featherlight half-a-kilo monopod will not only support up to 15kg of camera gear and extend up to a maximum height of 1.5m, but it’ll also only set you back £34.95. That smart red trim gives it style points too.
2. Manfrotto XPRO Photo Aluminium 4 Section Monopod (£59.95)
Designed to support setups with heavy lenses up to 8kg in weight, this aluminium monopod also uses a Quick Power Lock System to ensure fast setup. With its new rubber leg warmer design that allows for fast and secure movement, this is very much designed to recall the quality of Manfrotto's 055 and 190 tripod series.
Manfrotto XPRO Photo Aluminium 4 Section Monopod
This 4-leg section, aluminium Manfrotto XPRO Photo Monopod (MPMXPROA4) without head is designed to support heavy lenses up to 8kg. It extends to a maximum height of 180cm and closes down to a portable 56cm, and with its new rubber leg warmer design and Quick Power Lock System you can ensure a quick, effortless and reliable setup. Manfrotto's XPRO Photo series bring the premium style and performance of the 055 and 190 series tripods on single-legged camera support.
3. Vanguard VEO AM-264TR Aluminium Monopod (£64.95)
Vanguard has a great rep in the photo industry, and it’s well-deserved – this aluminium monopod with tri-stand will not let you down. Extra stable thanks to its ultra-strength flip locks, this monopod also packs a built-in ball joint feature that allows for smooth panning, making it a solid option for video shooters on a tight budget.
4. Induro Series 3 Stealth Carbon Monopod, 4 section (£130)
Keep your travel kit easy to carry with this monopod from Induro, which at just 300g is almost impossibly light. Constructed of magnesium alloy, with a layer of carbon fibre, the Stealth monopod’s light weight doesn’t mean it skimps on functionality, with a maximum capacity of 8kg and four leg sections.
5. Manfrotto XPRO Video Monopod MVH500 (£179)
This 4-section monopod from Manfrotto is specifically designed for videographers, though photographers have no reason not to give it a look as well. Constructed of aluminium, it has a maximum height of more than 2m and is extremely sturdy on its three retractable feet. It'll support up to 5kg of camera kit.
Manfrotto XPRO Video 4 Section Aluminium Monopod
Manfrotto's XPRO Video Monopod with MVH500 head has been designed for professional videography. It has a max weight limit of 5kg enabling the use of bigger and heavier rigs. The monopod features Manfrotto's state-of-the-art leg construction with the perfect combination of rigidity and locking safety. A full fluid base ensures shooting smoothness on pan, tilt, and swivel. Its 3 retractable feet make it extremely sturdy, whilst its counterbalance system allows you to manage heavy equipment.
6. Gitzo Carbon Monopod Series 4 6S (£269)
Once you’re willing to spend a little more cash, the capacities start to really climb – Gitzo's Carbon Monopod Series 4 6S is able to handle a whopping 30kg of camera gear. Its carbon fibre build means it doesn’t require a significant weight increase, as the unit weighs in at just 0.67kg. Also on board are six leg sections and a large foot that provides optimal stability. Whatever you’re shooting, this monopod is guaranteed not to let you down.
Gitzo GM4562 Series 4 6S Carbon Monopod
Designed to guarantee unfailing support for the highest quality equipment, the Gitzo Carbon Series 4 6S Monopod has a maximum height of 154cm and a maximum load capacity of 30kg. Stronger than ever before thanks to the state-of-the-art Carbon eXact tubing and G-lock Ultra leg locks, this rigid yet lightweight monopod features a new big foot to ensure stabile footing on any surface.
7. Libec HFMP Monopod Kit (£318)
While it’s only able to handle smaller payloads (up to 4kg), the advantage of this video-focused monopod is that it is designed for free-stand operation, using its rubber feet to support camera rigs without requiring the user to keep hold of it (though you’re of course advised not to wander off and leave it unattended). That 4kg payload means it’s perfect for supporting CSC or small DSLR filmmaking rigs.
8. Steadicam AIR-25 Monopod (£449)
Now this looks exciting. A new monopod from Steadicam, the AIR-25 uses a gas spring and foot pedal to allow the user to adjust its height hands-free. A deliberately oversized rubber foot keeps it stable on a wide range of surfaces, while its three sections include a twist leg lock that allows for 360-degree rotation.
Steadicam AIR-25 Monopod
The Steadicam AIR-25 uses a gas spring and foot pedal to allow photographers and cinematographers to adjust the monopod's height with ease. Made from carbon fibre, the Air-25 has a 11.3kg capacity limit and is made up of 3 sections, including one twist leg lock that allows for a 360-degree rotation. The monopod can extend up to 158cm and collapse down to 71cm.
About the Author
Jon Stapley is a professional journalist with a wealth of experience on a number of photography titles including Amateur Photographer, Digital Camera World and What Digital Camera. See more of his writing on Jon's author page.