BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
Contact Bunny
Bunny's Gallery

Monopod or Tripod?

I've never used a monopod and am still learning my new Canon Elan 7E. However, I am considering taking the Elan with me to China, which we'll be touring in April.

Recalling our trip to Prague last spring, there were places where I had to turn my tripod into a monopod, such as in cathedrals. Hence, I'm thinking about purchasing a monopod for this trip.

Which pod you recommend (price as well as sturdiness)? I'm considering taking my Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-200mm f/4.0L, 28-135mm zoom wide angle, and my Canon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Image Stabilizer USM auto focus lenses.

Weight is a factor - both my body weight and the weight of my equipment.

Also, I really enjoyed playing with the Singh-ray GRAD filters on the Prague trip. Http://

Is it difficult to use them with a monopod? I have a lightweight tripod. Thanking you in advance.

To love this question, log in above
2/14/2005 12:18:46 PM

Michael H. Cothran   Monopods fill in that void between when you can use a tripod and hand-holding. It does not provide the stability of a tripod, but it does help you stabilize your setup better than hand-holding. I've got a Bogen. It gets very little use, but in those special times, it is invaluable.
Monopods are all pretty much lightweight in nature. None of your mentioned lenses are real heavyweights, so any moderate-sized monopod with a small head would work well.
Just don't expect it to take the place of a tripod. It won't help one bit with really slow shutter speeds.
Michael H. Cothran

To love this comment, log in above
2/14/2005 12:48:47 PM

Jose I. Granados   Bunny,
I agree with Michael, and you may also consider that there are some monopod models (I have one Manfrotto myself) that include tripod legs hidden inside, which I have found very convenient. Have a nice trip.

To love this comment, log in above
2/16/2005 9:03:41 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I too agree with Michael. If you've never used a monopod, don't be misled into thinking that it will replace your tripod. A monopod only stabilizes the vertical movement of your camera/lens combo. A tripod will stabilize the forward-backward ... and side-to-side motions as well.
I cannot offer suggestions on specific brands, but I can tell you that monopods work best when supported against a solid object, such as a rock, or a fence post
(Just food for thought.)

To love this comment, log in above
2/16/2005 11:20:46 AM

Lewis T. Beasimer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/30/2003
  I also have the Bogen/Manfrotto with the hidden legs model #3231. I have walked through Rome with it, and it worked well.
I used the legs when I had the opportunity. With the legs, it's still not as stable as a tripod, but you can make do in most cases. I noticed you have an IS lens, too. I have used the IS with the monopod with success.

To love this comment, log in above
2/16/2005 7:07:35 PM

Dawn Penso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/6/2005
  The monopod can't take the place of a tripod, especially for low-light shots, but they can be useful if there's nothing for you to brace yourself against. If this is a one-off trip, take the tripod instead!

To love this comment, log in above
2/17/2005 4:27:12 AM

Bonnie C. Lackey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Most of the pictures in my gallery have been taken with a monopod attached directly to the camera. I often adjust it to the shortest length and use it as a handle that I can then brace against my body. This works wonderfully for getting up close or for action shots. For those of us with (hate to say it!) aging hands that are a bit arthritic, the handle arrangement reduces the weight of the camera. I have a very lightweight monopod that is made of titanium, and it adjusts in length with little effort. And now that I've used it on an almost daily basis, I find it adequate for most of my shooting situations and far easier to deal with than a tripod. I take my camera with me in the car - even to the grocery store - so ease of use is paramount.

Obviously, a tripod should come first in the list of necessary equipment but the monopod can be a pleasant surprise.

To love this comment, log in above
2/19/2005 8:06:59 AM

Emmanuel Panagiotakis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/22/2005
  go to they have some very nice monopods and tripods

To love this comment, log in above
2/22/2005 2:11:49 PM

Scott Pedersen   I have a Quantrary one. Its really nice has a quick release plate, can tilt the head. Its really sturdy and I paid 40ish bucks for it new at Ritz camera. Love it. None of those fancy named ones come with the quick release, or a head so you have to go and buy a head and they are really expensive. Now I found this one out after I bought my monopod and tripod. Sunpacks plate interchanges between there tripod and monopod and they of course come with two plates. If that is still the case that is the one a photographer should be looking at. That is nothing but BS when you have to swap plates to use one or the other. Thats my opinon.

To love this comment, log in above
2/22/2005 3:01:16 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.