Monopods are a great alternative to carrying a tripod when you need support for your camera but you won’t need to keep the camera absolutely still, as for long exposures. Monopods are not as heavy and cumbersome to carry around as a tripod and they offer stable camera support when used properly. So what are your options when looking for a monopod? Just like tripods they come in a variety of designs from light weight to heavy duty and everything in between. Here are two extremes and their advantages and disadvantages. I have a Bogen 3018 Heavy-Duty Professional Monopod that I have had for years, now discontinued. I also have a Mountainsmith Trekker FX walking stick/monopod combination, a more recent acquisition. It may sound odd to have two monopods but here is the thing, when I’m hiking through the mountains I don’t really need, or want to carry, the heavy-duty monopod. The Mountainsmith walking stick/monopod combination is great for hiking because, well, that’s what it was designed for. The heavy-duty Bogen monopod is great for a day shooting where you won’t be covering a lot of ground, say the sidelines of a soccer game or at the racetrack.
Both will hold a heavy camera and lens. I put my D7100 with 70-200mm f2.8 lens on both, so there no problem with the weight either one can hold. The heavy-duty monopod is much more sturdy and therefor stable. The walking stick monopod flexes a little bit but with proper technique can provide a stable platform. The Bogen monopod is taller at 64 5/8″ vs. 56″ for the Mountainsmith. The difference in height can effect your back on a long day of shooting, if you’re as tall as I am and shooting sports. If you’re just trekking around, the walking stick is lightweight and it’s a very nice monopod when you need one. The difference in weight between the two is substantial with the walking stick coming at nearly 1 full pound lighter. The Bogen weighs 25.75 ounces (725 grams) and the Mountainsmith weighs 10.25 ounces (275 grams). If you are looking to shed every pound possible for that long hike in the mountains, the Mountainsmith is a better choice.
It all comes down to how you will be using your monopod. If you’re shooting sports and you want a heavy-duty monopod definitely the Bogan is the best but it is also the heaviest. If you want a lightweight walking stick that also has the capability of being a monopod then the Mountainsmith is a great choice. Both will support even the heaviest camera and lens combination that I own. Taller, sturdier and heavier vs. shorter, not as sturdy but lighter is what it all comes down to. Both live in my car, along with my tripod, so I will have whatever I need when I’m out shooting.
If you would like to purchase the Mountainsmith Trekker FX walking stick/monopod, please consider using the link above or this one to Amazon.com and help support this blog, Thanks!