Top 5 Best Monopods For Photography & Videos

Best Monopods For Photography & Videos

When the situation absolutely requires it, monopods are worth their weight in gold. Figuring out what those situations are and then finding the right equipment are things we learn from experience. Either our own experience or the experience of others.

I love learning from others, and I love helping photographers out myself. Let my experience and product testing help you find the best monopods for your photography and video needs. But first…

So Why The Need For a Monopod?

So Why The Need For a Monopod?

The basic answer: for sharp images. Let’s say we’re a pretty good photographer or videographer. We have taught ourselves how to hand hold our cameras so as to minimize any problems associated with camera shake causing unsharp or even blurred images.

We can keep a video shot from having a lot of random, distracting movement. Those are good skills to have. Sometimes, though, we rely a little too much on our own practiced steadiness. Certain situations require more support.

What video and photographic situations require more support?

  • Low Light. The longer our shutter is open, the more chance there is of image degradation due to camera movement. A good rule of thumb is to limit our bottom shutter speed to the reciprocal of our lens focal length.
  • Long lenses. Any time we use our longer focal length or telephoto zoom or prime lenses, we need to be concerned with camera shake. The increase of magnification also magnifies the potential shakiness problems.
  • Macrophotography, ultra close focus. The same basic reasoning as with tele lenses. Higher magnification increase potential for unsharp images due to camera shake.
  • Panning. Especially in regards to videos, but this also holds true for still photography of action. Using a monopod makes for smoother panning.

Monopod vs Tripod, Which is Better?

Monopod vs Tripod, Which is Better?

Those bullet points I listed above have been in some of my previous reviews about tripods. So, a question reasonably comes up about what is the best tool for a photographer of videographer?

In a sense, when using a monopod, we become part of a tripod. The monopod and our own two feet. This gives us a lot of control in eliminating camera shake while also being able to manoeuvre quickly to frame a shot. For weddings, videography, bird photography and sport photography, a monopod would excel.

man using tripod on ice

When repeatability and the ultimate in stability is needed, however, a good tripod is hard to beat. Extreme low light, macrophotography, astro photography, panorama stitching, focus stacking, etc… are all great reasons for using a tripod.

When it comes down to it, no one product is better than the other in my opinion. It all depends on the subjects you are trying to capture and the best tool for that purpose.

How I found the Best Monopods for Photography & Video

In order to find the best monopods for photography and videos, we do well to have some personal standards of what’s important. Here’s what I looked at:

  • Size. Height is an important consideration. Stooping over while using a heavier camera and lens causes some lower back pain after a while. Size can also relate to how sturdy a monopod might be, but there are other factors involved in that in addition to size itself.
  • Weight. I’m listing this separately because some of the best monopods use carbon fiber construction which reduces weight quite a bit. Since portability is one of the main reasons for opting for a monopod in the first place, weight becomes a prime consideration.
  • Quality construction. This is one of the other factors that relate to sturdiness. Regardless of how thick or strong the legs of a tripod or monopod are, if the locking mechanisms are poorly designed or made of inferior materials, then the value of the tool goes way down. Quality is also expected in the fit and finish of all the parts, including the heads and any quick release system.
  • The type of head. I like using a decent ball and socket head with a monopod, but other types are useful, too. I’ve done of review of tripod heads (any tripod head is also a monopod head) that might help. Pistol grips, three way heads, fluid heads, are also useful on monopods, depending on what you’re shooting.
  • Quick release systems. I would rather not have a quick release at all than use an inferior product. But a quick release is unquestionably useful for some shooting scenarios. Being able to instantaneously pop the camera off the mount to quickly get to another shot adds to the usability of the best monopods. Quick release comes into play with any action photography, and is also welcome for videography.
  • Price. The best monopods are not cheap, at least when compared to certain versions you can find on some discount store shelves. But there still isn’t any reason to break the bank if we don’t have to. We will pay more for our higher quality and more capable tools, that’s a given. These that I’m recommending are what I consider reasonably priced for serious photographers, videographers, and YouTube vloggers.

A Review Of Top 5 Best Monopods For Photography & Videos

1. Sirui P-204SR P Series Monopod

Sirui P-204SR P Series Monopod Review

Sirui P-204SR P Series Monopod Specifications

Weight: 3 lbs
Collapsed Height: 27″
Extended Height: 63″
Maximum Load: 17.6 lbs
Price: Click here to find latest price

Sirui P-204SR P Series Monopod Review

First up on my list is the full featured Sirui P-204SRP monopod, which has almost replaced my own full time tripod!

At 63” maximum extension without a head, the height is comfortable for extended use, even for a taller person like myself (6’2″). I decided to add my flat based Manfrotto MVH500AH head and was pleased with the combination. Adding this head gave the monopod an extra few inches of height.

I added a third party head as this particular model doesn’t come with one (which is standard for most monopods). This model does have a standard 1/4 inch screw thread on top that I could mount a camera too. But I found a monopod becomes much more versatile with a quality head.

Sirui P-204SR P mini tripod legs

But what really made this monopod standout for me in my photography and videography were the attachable mini tripod legs. Hold on, isn’t this meant to be a monopod and not a tripod? Well you’d be completely right! But hear me out on this…

Unlike other traditional monopods, Sirui has added in mini tripod legs which can be attached to the base of the monopod (these legs can also be used as their own seperate tripod as well). This in turns makes this into a 3 in 1 combo of monopod, tripod and minipod. Not bad!

But isn’t that all a gimmick thought? Too be honest, that was my original thought, but it came in handy at almost all my photography and videography sessions.

The mini tripod feet actually have a ball and socket gimbal type arrangement on them (this is almost like a reverse ball head). Deployed in any configuration, this allows for about 20 degrees of tilt in any direction which was great for panning and drag shots for videography.

As of the quality of the fittings and build quality, everything was up to scratch with the high strength aluminum alloy build. All of the assisting locks, fasteners and bolts were either of the same aluminum or stainless steel construction. Just we wary that this monopod is heavy than the average monopod due to its build.

Sirui P-204SR P ball head movement base

Final Thoughts

Setting up my Sirui P-204SRP was as simple as it gets. The leg locks and unlocks with twist rings, barely any effort for the short twist which made it quick to change, yet it locked securely. There was also an option for an aluminum spike to be added which came in handy for sports and bird photography.

I would like to see this monopod offered in a kit with a head to lower the price a bit, but I don’t feel it was overpriced for the quality and versatility it offers for videographers and photographers. Overall this was a great monopod that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any creator.


2. Benro Aluminum 4 Series A38TD Monopod

Benro Aluminum 4 Series A38TD Monopod Review

Benro Aluminum 4 Series Monopod A38TD Specifications

Weight: 4.2 lbs
Collapsed Height: 27″
Extended Height: 72.3″
Maximum Load: 8.8 lbs
Price: Click here to find latest price

Benro Aluminum 4 Series A38TD Monopod Review

Next on my list is another full featured but slightly pricey monopod which is a great ready to go out of the box unit.

The monopod itself extends to about 68”, however the video head adds a few inches to that. At maximum height, I found it was comfortable to use without having to stoop over unnaturally. I realize that I am an above  average height male, so there will be some variation in how each individual photographer relates to that.

I’ve worked various jobs with other photogs and I see that this group of people has just as much variation as people in general. That’s why I try to give actual measurements if available, or else relate size comparisons to everyday objects.

As for the legs on this monopod, they are made with aluminum and are thick and strong without being too big. For the model I chose, I opted for the the twist lock levers as I find them a lot faster out in the field.

There are many options available for this tripod for such things as flip locks and different heads. So you can really customise to your hearts content!

When it came to to the upper side of this monopod, the grip was really comfortable, but I thought it was a little on the skimpy side. Extending it just 2 or 3 more inches would please me. But beggars cant be choosers!

While I’m on this side of the monopod, I’ll talk about the head. It’s removable, which means I could attach one of my many other heads if need be. As for the included head, I found it very capable. Just be aware that it’s not a true fluid head, so it doesn’t have the ultra smooth dampening, but this video head is more than adequate for the job.

Benro Aluminum 4 Series A38TD video head

Final Thoughts

As for the quick release plate, everything felt right at home once I had attached my Canon 80D to the 1/4″ screw thread. From there I was able to easily remove the plate with the quick adjustment of the toggle

One thing I forgot to mention about this monopod is that it also has the ability to add mini tripod legs to the base of the legs. This made videography and even long exposure photography a breeze. Like the above Sirui, these legs can also detach as their own seperate unit.

Cant go wrong with this one!


3. SIRUI P-326 6 Section Carbon Fiber Monopod

SIRUI P-326 6 Section Carbon Fiber Monopod Review

SIRUI P-326 6 Section Carbon Fiber Monopod Specifications

Weight: 0.88 lbs
Collapsed Height: 15″
Extended Height: 60″
Maximum Load: 22 lbs
Price: Click here to find latest price

SIRUI P-326 6 Section Carbon Fiber Monopod Review

Moving onto the next monopod on my list is a smaller and lighter unit which is almost indestructible due to its carbon fiber build.

Seriously, this thing is light! It comes in at 0.88 pounds which is a quarter of the weight of the above mentioned monopods. So if you are trying to keep your kit light, this is a great contender.

At full extension this monopod reaches a height of 60″ which is done with its four telescoping legs. It can also compact down to a mere 15″, while this is on the shorter side, it made it great for easily throwing into the backpack.

When it came to setting up this unit, I was able to attached my camera to the monopod plate using the reversible 1/4″ screw thread. While I was using my full frame DSLR with a telephoto lens, I found no flex at all as this SIRUI P-326 6 is rated at holding up to 22 pounds.

As for the legs, they unlock readily and lock down firmly with a small twisting motion. Having so many sections, I was concerned it might be unsteady at full extension. But as I mentioned above, having a carbon fiber build really can do wonders.

SIRUI P-326 6 Section Carbon Fiber Monopod legs spike

Final Thoughts

As with any of the twist locks, I have to resist the temptation to really bear down on them when tightening. Over time, this will compress whatever bushing material is in the twist lock, making it less secure. Easy enough to fix if it happens to you, but an avoidable problem.

Unlike the above mentioned models, there are no legs on the bottom of this model. Just a regular good old fashioned monopod.

But by not having those mini legs, the price of the unit is notably cheaper which makes this a great option for a photographer on a budget.


4. DIGIANT MP-3606 Professional Camera Monopod

DIGIANT MP-3606 Professional Camera Monopod Review

DIGIANT MP-3606 Professional Camera Monopod Specifications

Weight: 3.97 lbs
Collapsed Height: 29″
Extended Height: 70″
Maximum Load: 11 lbs
Price: Click here to find latest price

DIGIANT MP-3606 Professional Camera Monopod Review

For its very low price, this DIGIANT MP-3606 monopod is nicely made and has a wealth of useful features. The full extended height of this aluminum monopod is a respectable 70” while still compacting down to 29″.

Like the first two products on my best monopods list, this one too has mini attachable/detachable tripod legs. This seems to be an increasing trend which I am really happy with!

As for the weigh of this monopod, it is a little heavy, even for its all aluminum construction. I’m guessing the legs themselves must be a little thicker than some of the other monopods I tested. Even with that, no monopod is that much of a chore to carry around. 

DIGIANT MP-3606 Professional Camera Monopod in the box

Like the above Sirui, thins one too has a basic twist lock ring mechanism. The ring is made of plastic and feels like it isn’t quite as heavy duty as the sections are. Overbearing pressure on the twist lock might cause some problems after a while. 

When it came to the head, it is a nice pan and tilt head, just like what is on most basic budget tripods. When shooting video, just be sure and keep that in mind as you’re panning, and self dampen your own movement. With practice, that’s a skill that can be mastered by any serious shooter.

Overall this monopod was a please to use and was surprisingly functional for its entry level price point.


5. Yunteng VCT-288 Monopod

DIGIANT MP-3606 Professional Camera Monopod Review

Yunteng VCT-288 Monopod Specifications

Weight: 2.73 lbs
Collapsed Height: 22″
Extended Height: 58″
Maximum Load: 6.6 lbs
Price: Click here to find latest price

Yunteng VCT-288 Monopod Review

I have not seen this brand before, but after testing it, I decided to add it as the cost conscious choice on my list of best monopods for photography, video, and YouTube vlogging. It appears to be very well made, I was impressed with its features, and it is the most affordable item on this list.

Maximum height of this aluminum monopod is about 58 inches, so it’s a little on the short side, but still very usable. What also makes it usable are the tripod feet base and the fluid head.

The fluid is a true fluid head. It has that feel I expect from an oil/fluid dampened video head. It is dampened both for tilt and for panning. The head also has a good quick release system. The plates look very much like a couple I already have and are available online. The head itself is well worth the cost of this package.

DIGIANT MP-3606 Professional mini legs fluid head

The tripod feet are nice, having a limited angle of adjustment similar to several other brands I handled. They did tend to unscrew themselves a bit with use, but that’s about the only nitpick I really found, beside the height, for this budget item. When I balance that nitpick up against the fine fluid head, and the very low price point, I think I could live with this monopod.

The lever locks are plastic and seemed sturdy enough. The tripod feet base comes off and can be used as a minipod with a small ball head added to it. Or, mount the fluid head of this kit on them and now you have a minipod for video. The hand grip area was very small, but it was just right in its padding.


Wrapping It Up

I enjoyed the testing for this review. It’s always nice to come across some useful new ideas. Matching up decent sized monopods with video heads and tripod feet bases makes for a very usable package, especially when shooting location video.

One thing I would caution about, though. Just because a monopod has tripod feet at the bottom, don’t leave the camera unattended on top. It will fall. I repeat, it will fall. The bottom feet aren’t meant to replace a tripod. They add extra stability to the monopod.

I was impressed with all these I tested and can recommend any on this list as one of the best monopods for photography and video. You can also check out my guide here dedicated to monopods for sports photography.

You can learn more about monopods below so you can starting shooting like a pro in no time!